Sweden’s most primitive hotel offers stays in charcoal burners’ huts

You might be patting yourself on the back for using your towel twice in a hotel, or drinking from a stainless-steel straw instead of a single-use plastic one. But, what if you could be even more eco-friendly than that? The most primitive hotel in Sweden, Kolarbyn Ecolodge, opens the doors of possibility. Swap the concrete jungle for the Skinnskatteberg forest, and a feather down duvet for a mud and grass hut.

Johan van Helvert Kolarbyn 5220 - Sweden's most primitive hotel offers stays in charcoal burners' huts
Photo: Johan van Helvert

The Kolarbyn Ecolodge is a two-hour drive from Stockholm and is the epitome of authentic. Twelve huts sit near each other in the forest, camouflaged so well by spruce, birch, and pine trees that you’ll almost miss them. Instead of contemporary cottages, you experience forest huts that sprout mushrooms and bilberries.

Mikaela Larm kolarbyn 01 - Sweden's most primitive hotel offers stays in charcoal burners' huts
Photo: Mikaela Larm

Kolarbyn has been a charcoal burning site for several hundred years, or so the rumors say. The leftover tools and remains of destroyed huts show that it might be the truth after all. And, although the forest workers are long gone, you can live their lifestyle for USD$145 (1,320 SEK) per night.

Claudia Deglau kolarbyn 01 - Sweden's most primitive hotel offers stays in charcoal burners' huts
Photo: Claudia Deglau

You will chop your own wood, cook on an outdoor fire, and make use of the outdoor cooking equipment. Basic ingredients will be available too. There are no showers and no electricity, but you can use candles and headlamps, heat and use the sauna, and wash in the Skarsjon lake. You can also collect drinking water from the forest spring, and use the “rustic” outhouse toilets which aren’t The Ritz but are fresh.

WildSweden kolarbyn 01 - Sweden's most primitive hotel offers stays in charcoal burners' huts
Photo: WildSweden

The huts blend in with the background but are never too far from others.

Kolarbyn interior 01 - Sweden's most primitive hotel offers stays in charcoal burners' huts
Photo: Per Groth

When it comes time to go to bed, there will be no Egyptian cotton sheets to lull you off to sleep. You get a wooden bed frame with an insulated air mat and a sheepskin rug topper. There are two beds in every cabin, with room for a third child’s bed between the two. A woodstove in the cabin also helps you to remain warm and dry.

WildSweden Kolarbyn winter 01 - Sweden's most primitive hotel offers stays in charcoal burners' huts
Photo: WildSweden

Aside from the opportunity to get back to nature, you can also arrange to stay longer for canoeing or an evening Beaver or Moose safari.

kolarbyn ecolodge canoe floating sauna2 - Sweden's most primitive hotel offers stays in charcoal burners' huts
Photo: Inez Davidson

Canoe to the floating sauna

Kolarbyn big hut - Sweden's most primitive hotel offers stays in charcoal burners' huts
Photo: WildSweden

You can choose to cook outside or inside this the communal building.

Read also: This 118 ft2 small Norwegian ski cabin comfortably accommodates a family of four.

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