HIT THE ROAD
FROM THE ICY WILDS of Sweden TO THE MOONSCAPES OF THE HEBRIDES, DISCOVER the road trips of a lifetime
Home or away, prepare to get in your car and go on the road trip of a lifetime with these exhilarating driving holidays
1 The FROZEN NORTH THE ROUTE Östersund to Åre Bjornen, north-west Sweden THE CAR Ford Edge THE DISTANCE 100km
START IN... Östersund Pocket-sized Åre Östersund airport, an hour’s flight north of Stockholm, is your gateway to the bold mountain vistas and eerie Scandi-noir beauty of Åre Bjornen, one of Sweden’s most glamorous ski areas. As well as being fantastic for skiing, Åre is an all-round winter desination with activities including spas, a chocolate factory, igloos and dog sledging. You will cruise along the E14 past frozen lakes as frost crystals glint in your headlights and smoke drifts from wooden houses painted russet red and mustard yellow. If you see a moose, stop: it’s their right of way. If you see football hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic, press on: he’s probably off to his villa in the mountains.
THE PIT STOP Northern Lights
In the small town of Åre you’re so close to the Arctic Circle that you can see the Northern Lights between August and April if your luck is in. A spectacular display can also be seen at Tännforsen, a further 2Okm west from Åre, where you can stroll terrifyingly close to Sweden’s largest waterfall. Heading back to Åre, make the 5km detour up to former copper mine Fröå Gruva, to check out its café, which dates back to the 192Os. It’s the perfect spot to indulge in fika – basically, very delicious Nordic coffee and cake.
THE FINISH Copperhill Mountain Lodge
The 112 pine-clad rooms of the Copperhill Mountain Lodge, 1Okm from the town of Åre, are built around a cavernous central atrium. You can stay snug on a faux-fur blanket-strewn sofa, with a glass of Swedish Hernö gin. If you have 15 like-minded mates, you could rent the 16-person villa (left), set apart from the hotel. Do choose gröt for breakfast – Copperhill’s own organic porridge with cinnamon and apple. Despite the name, it tastes sublime. Doubles from £100, B&B
THE CAR Ford Edge
It can drop to a very cool -12°C in Sweden, but a click of the key fob turns on the heating in the Ford Edge (right) so it’s toasty before you even step in. This luxury SUV has a 12-speaker sound system by Bang & Olufsen, which is the same brand used in Lamborghinis. And good news: the rubber-studded tyres combined with the collision-avoidance system will keep you, and the moose, safe if the roads turn icy. Getting there: Easyjet flies from London Gatwick to Ostersund Froesoe from £40 return