Hälsingland county in Sweden has seven Decorated Farmhouses inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Firstmorning.se visits two of those and also other farm houses, folk museums, art galleries, a linen factory, restaurants & cafés and churches nearby. Please join us for a cultural tour in southern Hälsingland. It takes a whole day and you can go any day during the summer, be it sun or rain.
The tour length is approximately 8 hours and driving distance about 140 kilometers. Start off in Bollnäs, then drive north to Arbrå and Orbaden. From there drive a bit south again and cross the river Ljusnan and take the old road to Växbo. Drive southeast to Rengsjö, northeast to Trönö, south to Söderala, west to Hårga and then north to Bollnäs again.
The history of the old farm house of Kämpens goes back to the 16th century. Here you will find decorations and objects from different epochs until the mid 20th century. Previously privately owned, Kämpens became a folk museum in 1963. We have celebrated many traditional Midsummer Eves at Kämpens Hembygdgård.
OPENING HOURS: Guided tours after agreement.
Swim: Långnäsbadet, Karlslundsbadet. Eat: The best restaurants in Bollnäs are Izolis and Strandrestaurangen. Other activities: Tour with steam boat Warpen. Bolleberget – a small mountain top with great views and a driveway all the way to the top.
The area of Arbrå Fornhem consists of 15 buildings, the oldest are from the 18th century. Most of them have been moved here during the 1920s. The living quarters are decorated with wall paintings, furniture, objects and tools from local farm houses.
As Arbrå Fornhem is only open by appointment, we are so lucky to meet Ingrid Östergårds and Gun Palmqvist who are getting the place ready for a wedding. They give us a private tour and show us a 19th century loom they are restoring and tell us a piece of interesting and important herstory.
OPENING HOURS: Guided tours after agreement.
Eat: Arbrå Wärdshus.
Lifstorpet is also a part of Arbrå Fornhem, but is situated in the village of Orbaden. Every summer local artists exhibit and sell their art work at Lifstorpet. This year there is also a flea market, a shop and a café in one of the buildings – Orboden.
OPENING HOURS: Open every day until August 10, 2019, 12am-4pm.
A Decorated Farmhouse of Hälsingland World Heritage
Gästgivars is one of the seven Decorated Farmhouses of Hälsingland World Heritage. The festivities building is open to visitors with guided tours during the summer. Make sure to visit the new shop and café at Gästgivars run by Konditori Collini. They have the most exquisite pastries in a cozy environment.
Gästgivars is privately owned and let to Arbrå Handicraft Society. In summer, the society runs exhibitions, handicraft sales, activities for children and courses.
OPENING HOURS: Open all days until August 18, 2019, 11am – 5pm.
Guided tours every day at 11.15am and 2pm, 100 SEK, free for children under 15.
Open weekends all through August, 2019, 11am – 5pm.
Guided tours at other times and for larger groups can be pre-booked: +4627825640, firstname.lastname@example.org
Eat: Ristorante Da Carlo – only pre-bookings for a minimum of 12 guests.
Are you looking for products made of the most exquisite linen, you need to look no further than Växbo Lin – founded on the site of the open air museum of Trolldalen in 1989 by Rolf Åkerlund, a native of Växbo village. Buying old spinning machines from Lille in France, 10 people worked with restoring them to production mode. By way of anecdote: Pda was one of those people restoring the spinning machines!
Bought by entrepenerus Hanna and Jacob Bruce in 2006, Växbo Lin has since grown into a reputable producer of linen products, carrying forth this unique handicraft tradition. In 2019, Växbo Lin was awarded the Swedish Industrial Heritage Site of the Year by the Swedish Industrial Heritage Association.
Apart from strolling around for hours in the shop, botanizing among all the colourful linen products, make sure to visit the weavery to check out all the machines and the production in process. Afterwards, rest your tired legs and refresh your thirsty throat, it sure is dusty in the weavery!, in the small snackbar at the back of the shop.
Opening hours during the summer
Saturday June 1st – Sunday August 25th
Every day 10am – 6pm
Regular opening hours during the rest of the year
10am – 5pm Monday – Friday
10am – 2pm Saturday
Trolldalen open air museum is a short stroll from Växbo Lin. When leaving Växbo Lin by foot just exit the road to the left into a signed path through the woods. After 500 meters, take the left path and it will take you to the valley of Trolldalen. Here you will find one of the best preserved flax preparation mills from the 19th century, a forge, a pottery studio, a bakery and a restaurant.
The small flax sheds and workshops in Trolldalen remind us of the flax-growing farmers use of hydropower in producing linen until as late as the 1950s. Each farm had their own flax shed in the valley, but the linen was spun and weaved at each farm. Nowadays, the flax used in the production at Växbo Lin comes from France and Belgium.
In the 1970s, certain parts of Trolldalen served as a filming location for the movie Pippi Långstrump – På Rymmen.
NEARBY: Swim: at Nydammen at the top of Trolldalen. Eat: ice cream at Lanthandeln Café & Keramik
The area around Växbo Kvarn has something for everyone. Around the millpond you will find a restaurant, a bakery, an amazing candy shop, a forge, a pottery studio and Växbo Loge with clothes and silver jewelry. The children have their own playground, Kvarnleken, with rabbits and free range chickens. This is the also place for taking a bath on a hot summer day before having lunch at the well renowned restaurant Växbo Krog. The restaurants is also open in December serving Christmas smorgasbord. Växbo Krog is listed on White Guide – the best restaurants and cafés in Sweden.
So if you have had an early start to your tour of south Hälsingland, it should now be time for lunch. And perhaps some serious shopping? Majas Café & Gift Shop is the perfect place with a two story building packed with decorative things for your home. For lunch, we can recommend their huge shrimp sandwich and a bottle of Hallonsoda (rasperry soda pop) – it will keep you well satisified until dinner time.
Until August 31: Monday – Friday 11am – 7pm, Saturdays 11 am – 5pm, Sundays and holidays 12am – 5pm.
From September 1: Monday – Friday 11am – 6pm, Saturdays 11am – 3pm, Sundays and holidays 12am – 3pm.
The farm house village of Västerby consist of about 30 buildings, some originating from the 17th century. A collection of every day objects from five centuries of farming culture is on display as well as different art exhibitions. Västerby has a café and a shop selling handicrafts plus a chance to see traditional baking of flatbread (only Thursdays in July).
Västerby is one of our favourite places to visit. It gives such a genuine feel to what it was like in the old farming days. The buildings and surroundings are extremely beautiful.
Västerby has now closed for the summer season of 2019, but is usually open from the end of June to the beginning of August, 10am-4pm.
Open for special events, see separate schedule.
Trönö Kyrkor, Trönö
No country tour is complete without a visit to a church. If you go to Trönö, you will have the opportunity two visit two churches – and not just any churches, but perhaps the two most beautiful churches in Hälsingland.
Trönö new church was built in 1895. In 1996 it was refurbished and opened again in 1988, but only 8 months after it was destroyed in a fire. The new church as it looks today opened in 2001. Some parts of the church were not rebuilt which gives a beautiful courtyard in the middle of the church.
Trönö old church is the best preserved medeival church in northern Sweden, dating from the 13th century. It has not been altered through the ages, which is very unusual. The pulpit was built in 1664 and the belltower dates back to the 16th century. Make sure to climb the stairs at the back of the church to get the feeling of being one of the poor parishioners having to sit in the seats with no view.
OPENING HOURS: Daily until September 1, 9am – 5 pm.
For guided tours, please call: Kerstin Olsson +46702443176 or +4627036038.
NEARBY: Söderblomsgården – folk museum.
When driving from Trönö towards Kungsgården and then turning south to Söderala, you will drive about 11 kilometers on perhaps the most winding road in all of Hälsingland. Be prepared for a crooked ride!
A Decorated Farmhouse of Hälsingland World Heritage
Erik-Anders farm house was built in the 1920s in a mansion-like architecture inspired by the higher classes. The impressive festivities room on the first floor is worth a visit and the decarations are made by the Knutes, a family of painters who walked around from village to village offering their services of painting furniture, walls and interiors.
The area has a visitor center, a café, a shop, a furniture display and a garden restored to how it looked in 1920.
Erik-Anders also offers accommodation.
All days 23 June – 31 August 11am – 5pm.
Saturdays and Sundays 1 – 29 September 12am – 3pm.
Booked groups after agreement.
Entrance fee 60 SEK/adult to the farm house.
Entrance fee, guided tour at 2 pm everyday, 120 SEK/adult.
Guided tours in English must be booked in advance at email@example.com
Hälsingehambon, a traditional folk dancing contest, starts off at Ol-Nils Hembygdsgård in Hårga and continues through three phases unitil the winners are appointed in Järvsö.
Ol-Nils has been hosting the very popular music and sing-a-long event Lattas Döttrar with Hanna and Lina Hedlund for the past few years.
Ol-Nils has now closed for thesummer season of 2019, but is usually open all through July.
NEARBY: Hårgaberget with an observation tower.
Our tour has now come to an end. I hope you have enjoyed yourselves. As this is quite a packed and somewhat hectic itinerary, you could split it into a two day trip. Why not stay one night at hostel Ohlandersgården in Rengsjö which you will pass when driving from Rengsjö to Trönö. You need to be a member of the STF – Swedish Tourist Association to stay here; 295 SEK per year. STF cooperates with HI Hostels and members pay reduced prices at over 4 000 hostels in over 80 countries.