Guide / Åre
”In contrast to all that nature has to offer, the small village of Åre has the pulse of a big city”
On serene nature and active nightlife
7 Jan 2022

For the past 10 years Malin Nilsson has worked with outdoor culture and digital marketing, not seldom at the same time. Since 2018, she’s the digital marketing specialist and project manager at Hjärtat, a digital communication agency focusing on outdoor culture based in Åre.

— It’s now been 13 years since I made the best decision of my life and moved to Åre. I knew nobody in Åre back then, all I had was my snowboard and a conviction that the mountains had to be a bigger part of my life. And thankfully that’s the case, no matter the season. When the winter ends, I will get the adrenaline from downhill biking.

For someone who hasn’t been to Åre and the region, how’d you describe it?

— Åre is the biggest ski resort in the Nordic countries. High mountains, beautiful blue lakes, and the wilderness just around the corner. There’s something for everyone and for all seasons; skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, hiking, running, mountain biking, exploring, rafting, yoga to name a few.

— In contrast to all that nature has to offer, the small village of Åre has the pulse of a big city. Superb restaurants, local pubs and nightclubs, and lots of local craftmanship and shops. 

Photography: Niclas Vestefjell.

My favourite thing that makes me proud of Åre: 

— I would say the spirit of the people living and working here; no matter where you go, you’ll meet friendly people, always going that extra mile to help you out — no matter if you are a tourist or a local. A lot of effort is put from a central organizational level in Åre to educate and spread hospitality to guests. It has surely paid off. 

My favourite weekend routine: 

— In wintertime, I love finding the hidden spots around the ski area. Those spots just outside the slopes where the snow is untouched, the calmness is present, and you hear nothing but the sounds of nature. In contrast, hanging out with friends at the crowded ”locals’” pub in the evening makes any day complete. 

My favourite place for dining out:

— No doubt that all restaurants in Åre are excellent. There’re not many places I know with the same density of high-class restaurants. However, I also have no doubt that my top favourite restaurant is Imilla. A tiny restaurant in the heart of Åre, owned and run by two guys with a passion for food — and people. The service is no less than outstanding every time and the food is amazing. Inspiration from the Nordic counties and France. The best thing is ”chef’s choice”. A menu of six courses, different every time and you have no idea in advance of what you will be served. Don’t miss out! 

My favourite place for a creative or business meeting:

— Never underestimate what happens to your creativity when/after doing sports. And never underestimate what happens to your business relations when having a great time together. Not surprisingly, I would say that the best place for a meeting is on the slopes. After that, you can get down to business.

My favourite breakfast place:

— On the highest peak in the ski area of Björnen, you’ll find the exquisite hotel Copperhill Mountain Lodge. Stunning view over Åre valley and striking breakfast. All you want, and then some in a design atmosphere that will satisfy all your senses. 

My favourite local entrepreneur or creative I want to promote:

Tinas Praliner. For any chocolate lover, do not miss out on this. Exclusively handmade pralines, beautifully designed and heavenly taste. Available at our local supermarket Ica. 

My favourite hotel for a staycation:

— Again, Copperhill is my favourite choice. Although it’s so close to where I live, I get the feeling of complete relaxation and being far away from home, but still being in the mountains. 

My favourite excursion:

— Any time of the year, the Tännforsen waterfall is an amazing place to visit. Located 20 km west of Åre you’ll find one of the biggest waterfalls in Sweden where people started to visit already in 1835. It’s breathtakingly 60 metres wide and the fall is around 40 metres tall. The walk from the parking to the waterfall is only a few minutes, through a dense and mystical forest. I recommend taking the left path from the start; then you will get to the highest point of the waterfall first, continuing down until you get to the bottom.

— In the summertime, the most amazing place on earth is Pyramiderna. The landscape is almost unrealistic beautiful, like taken from a movie. During the ice age, around 9,000 years ago, this spectacular nature was created. Photos don’t make this majestic nature justice, but you’ll get a hint. 

— Take the car to Vålådalen / Vallbo (around 35 kilometres from Åre) and from there you can either walk or go by mountain bike. Please note that it’s not allowed to enter the pyramids, you can only go around them!

My favourite route for a run or walk: 

— If you like to run intervals, you’re at the right place. Hills everywhere, so just put on your winter running shoes and get out, and up. No matter where you go, you’ll find an amazing view at the top. It doesn’t have to be all that high; start at the train station and find your way up to Fjällgården for example. It won’t take that long, but the training is intense.

My favourite thing no skier (or snowboarder) should miss out on:

— Hire a ski coach. For a few hours, or days. No matter the level of your skiing/snowboarding skills, you will benefit a lot more than you think. There’re always things you can improve, even if you are an experienced skier, techniques that will make you enjoy your skiing even more. Try it, I guarantee you will at double the fun on the slopes. 

— There are many great instructors in Åre to help you out, to name one. 

My favourite space for great design /art

— The local artist Pauline Davidsson has a playful way of portraying Åre in different landscapes and sceneries. Art that makes you happy! You can buy full-size paintings, posters, trays, or postcards with her art. Make someone happy and send colourful happiness in a postcard to someone special. How often do you get anything else but bills and advertisements in your physical mailbox these days? 

Local art from Pauline Davidsson.

My favourite example of tech innovation in Åre: 

— I would say that Guestbike deserves to be mentioned. Leave your car at home and travel to Åre by train. Once here, you can rent an electric bike by the minute to get around the village, go to the slopes (there’s equipment on the bike to fasten your skis), or just to explore. 

My favourite local media:

— For inspiration, it’s definitely Seasons of Åre by Vestefjell. This skilled photographer knows how to capture the best shots of Åre. 

My favourite thing at home:

— It might sound a bit cheesy, but the best thing about my home is that it is located in Åre. Walking distance to everything; the slopes, the gym, my job, and all the restaurants and shops in Åre. I love the simple life where I don’t spend time on unnecessary things, like transportation. Meaning I get a lot of time to go snowboarding. And as a bonus, the office is also strategically located just by the lift; lunch rides are very common. Did I mention I love to live here?