On a small island far out in the Sankt Anna archipelago is a small unassuming cottage. A first glance at the king’s hunting lodge on Melskär does not give a remarkable impression. But when you learn a little more, you realize that this cottage is probably unique and unparalleled in Sweden and perhaps the whole world.
For more info about Melskär and the cabin watch the video
What makes this cottage so special? Above all, it is for the reason that it is completely free to live and use the cottage. There are plenty of cottages in Sweden that are open to the public and free to use but few on their own island in a beautiful archipelago. But the big difference compared to other cottages is that this must be booked, which means that you will have the cottage completely to yourself. This is what makes the cottage unique and it is likely that there is no equivalent anywhere else. To add a little extra spice to the already exclusive stamp, the cottage is owned by the Swedish king. Since the standard of the cottage is not exactly royal, it is instead open to the public to use.
Inside the cottage there is a bed and an extra mattress that you can lay on the floor. The cottage is not large so it is not recommended to sleep more than two people. There is also a fireplace and a small table. Outside there is a fireplace where you can barbecue and firewood is provided free of charge.
The island Melskär on which the cottage is located is not large and you explore the island quickly. But there are hundreds of islands to explore in the Sankt Anna archipelago and it is a paradise for kayaking. The island is already far out in the sea belt but there are some islands further out if you really want to go out to sea and explore. There is also a seal protection area here and there are plenty of seals around Melskär. In the evening you can hear the seals singing and there is a rich wildlife on and around the island.
The king’s hunting lodge on Melskär is a treasure that few know about. To book the cottage, you must contact the county administrative board (länsstyrelsen) in Östergötland to see if it is available on the days you intend to use the cottage.
There are many cabins around in Scandinavia that stands open for the public free of charge. One of those are Lunsentorpet that you find in nature reserve Norra lunsen. Watch the video below for more information about the cabin.
The hike started at the parking lot in Heby from where you follow the trail Upplandsleden towards Lunsentorpet. Just after a kilometer you reach another small cabin that is called Fläktanstugan. This cabin is smaller and not intended for staying overnight. But it is a good place to rest and there is a fire stove that can be used if one needs to stay warm. Outside Fläktanstugan there is a watchtower where you can look for birds or other animals in the wetlands. From Fläktanstugan the trail continues towards Lunsentorpet. You walk through some nice old forrest but also some interesting parts of wetlands.
Once reaching the cabin one realise that it is a decent size cabin and can host quite a few people. Apart from the bunk beds that exist there is also the opportunity to sleep on the floor. Outside (and inside) there is a fireplace and firewood is provided. There is also a well for drinking water and a shelter one could use if one feels that the cabin is overcrowded.
Snowshoes is easy and not to expensive and increase the hiking season to be an all year round activity. Fulufjället is just as good during winter as it is during summer and a perfect destination for a winter hike. Below are two trips with snowshoe hiking in Fulufjället.
There are many cabins that one can stay in within the national park. Some need to be booked in advance while others are drop in. There are also cabins that are intended for resting and not to stay overnight other than in the case of an emergency. Look at Fulufjällets national parks website for more info regarding the available cabins and when they are open.
Ugglekojan is a small cabin in Paradiset nature reserve that is open for the public to use and free of charge. The cabin is a leftover from a Sami village that was built here in the mid 50’s. The Sami village is long gone but the cabin is still standing strong. Inside the cabin you find two bunks for sleeping, a small table and a fire stove that makes the cabin nice and cosy regardless of the weather outside. Firewood is provided, also free of charge, but the wood supply can be empty if you are unlucky.
Scandinavia is full of cabins like Ugglekojan that are open to the public to use free of charge. Ugglekojan is a bit speciell since it is so close to Stockholm. Most of the cabins are situated in the northern parts of the country but you can find some in the southern parts as well.