The alpine village of Åre, 100km west of Östersund, is Sweden’s most prestigious ski resort, with over forty lifts, 110 ski slopes and guaranteed snow between December and May. In summer, the village is a quiet, likeable haven for ramblers, sandwiched as it is between the Åresjön lake and a range of craggy hills that’s overshadowed by Sweden’s seventh highest peak, the mighty Åreskutan mountain (1420m).
A cable car, the Kabinbanan (125kr return), whisks you from just behind Storlien’s main square up to a viewing platform (1274m) and Stormköket restaurant (open in conncetion with the Kabinbanan’s operating times), some way up Åreskutan. From the viewing platform it’ll take you a further thirty minutes to clamber to the summit. Wear sensible shoes and warm clothes, as the low temperatures are intensified by the wind, and it can be decidedly nippy even in summer. From the top the view is stunning – on a clear day you can see over to the border with Norway and a good way back to Östersund. There’s a tiny wooden café, Toppstugan, at the summit (open in connection with the Kabinbanan’s operating times), serving coffee and extortionately priced sandwiches. If you’re walking back to Åre, bear in mind that even the shortest route requires stamina; other, longer, paths lead more circuitously back down to the village. One word of warning: there are phenomenal numbers of mosquitoes and other insects up here in July and August, so make sure you are protected by repellent.
Åre Gamla kyrka
In the centre of town, Åre Gamla kyrka (use the key hanging on a hook outside the door to get in), just above the campsite, is a marvellous thirteenth-century stone church: inside, the simple blue decoration and the smell of burning candles create a peaceful ambience.