Yesterday, after some unexpected events, we arrived in Hölick later than planned. As the season only starts in mid-May, finding a place to sleep in the deserted village was merely impossible. Far from being as comfortable as in other parts of Sweden, shelters of the nature reserve with their very basic 3 walls and 2 built-in benches were not an option to spend the night as it would be too cold. This led to my first experience with the Swedish Allemansrätten: anyone has the right to enjoy outdoor activities respectful of the environment, including camping on any land (but for a few exceptions). Finding a beautiful isolated beach, I had my first outdoor camping adventure in Sweden. Not very enthusiastic at first, as I was already picturing myself in a cute red cottage on the water, I have to admit that it turned out to be a fantastic experience with a magnificent sunset and a bonfire on the beach!
Still, I am a bit sceptical today, when I hear that we are driving towards the Höga Kusten (High Coast) to hike a part of this famous trail and find a stuga (cabin) to sleep tonight… A stuga is a shelter in the wild in which one can spend the night, and its degree of comfort is usually rather basic, but often includes a very welcomed fireplace.
Parking by the trail head, the sight of a red Audi already stationed worries me, as stugas are based on a first come, first serve basis… We hike the 800 metres up the strenuous trail with our 15-kilogram backpacks containing the gear for the night, and the piece of salmon bought at a local fisherman’s on the road.
Keeping an eye open for a potential spot to pitch our tent (just in case!), eventually we see a Swedish flag floating on the horizon: the stuga is in sight! No smoke out of the chimney: this is a good sign. Barely looking at the fantastic view from the summit, we run in to check if it is free or not: the stuga is ours for the night!
Getting in, we discover a very cute chalet with a stove, a nice wooden bench with a table and chairs, candles, firewood and even small details like a mirror, a pair of binoculars, bottle openers, axes, saws, blankets, board games, a light powered by a half-square-metre solar panel, and more. The three windows overlook the Baltic Sea offering fantastic views on its winding coast and islands covered in pine trees. This spot is magical!
After chopping some more wood, we build a nice fire and enjoy our warm evening, writing by the stove, taking in a beautiful sunset and eating our delicious smoked pepper salmon. The night will be warm in our improvised bed made of wooden chairs, benches and foam mattresses, waking up only a couple of times to add some wood before the 4:20AM sunrise and early fish-paste breakfast!
After this first experience in a stuga, I am looking forward to exploring more of them along the High Coast trail. These chalets built for hikers to use them for free showcase an attention to details that goes way beyond mountain safety. Hikers respect them, letting them clean, taking their trash with them, and often leaving a sweet or funny note for the next visitors.
Thanks Sweden for my first stuga experience!
Marcella & Claire
- The comfort of stugas can vary greatly, and this one is one of the cutest and most picturesque we have encountered on the High Coast trail.
- For a comprehensive list of stugas in the High Coast trail area, including GPS coordinates and commodities, refer to Stuga hopping in the Höga Kusten area.
- Check out this interactive map (short tutorial) for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos (zoom out) about the area!