Sweden's most primitive hostel, Kolarbyn, is enjoyed by guests from both near and far. Here, the focus is on hospitality and high-quality nature experiences. The hostel, which was started by Marcus Eldh, is now run with continued success by Malin Bruce. And in recent years, it has placed at the top of several 'best of' lists.
Kolarbyn Eco-Lodge consists of twelve huts in the forest outside Skinnskatteberg in Bergslagen. There is no electricity or running water, but an abundance of personal attention by the hosts, good service and often guests of differing nationalities. You are treated to nature experiences, silence, and wilderness just a few hours from the big city stress. At night, you fall asleep near a crackling fireplace and then wake up to a gentle choir of birdsongs.
Marcus Eldh from Wild Sweden started the business in 2004, but as his safari business grew Andreas Ahlsén took over Kolarbyn's accommodation business in 2009 who passed the torch over to Malin Bruce in 2017. The companies continue to work closely together, and many of Wild Sweden's Safari tours of wolves, elk and beavers start from Kolarbyn.
The hostel, which is part of the Swedish Tourist Association's offerings, can also boast a long list of awards. Kolarbyn is recommended by Lonely Planet, among others, has twice been nominated for the Swedish Grand Tourism Award and is on several top lists like 101 Amazing Hotels.
Malin Bruce was born and raised in Täby, outside of Stockholm, but lives in Ramnäs a few miles from Kolarbyn. In addition to Kolarbyn, she runs the adventure company Swenture and is a project leader for hiking and biking trails in Västmanland. Malin has previously worked as a salesperson in the media business and is a trained florist. She also teaches kids about the wonders of nature and is a member of the Swedish Scout Movement.
For Malin, who loves to be out in nature, Kolarbyn is the dream job that gives her the opportunity to guide many wonderful and exciting guests in the fantastic surroundings of Kolarbyn.
The hostel, which is part of the Swedish Tourist Association's offer, can also be proud of a wide range of awards. Kolarbyn is recommended, among other things, by Lonely Planet, nominated a few times for the Great Tourism Prize, and is featured on several top lists like 101 Amazing Hotels and SJ's list of Sweden's most popular green destinations.
An important part of Kolarbyn's soul and identity is the annual building of a charcoal pile which burns in late summer at the entrance to the hostel. There, some of the region's elders demonstrate how to make charcoal, an endangered craft that just over a hundred years ago characterized the entire Bergslagen region and among other things had a significant impact on the poetry of Dan Andersson.
The labelling comittes statement
Labelling Committee´s motivation (11 December 2013)
At Kolarbyn, it is not just the annual charcoal pile that burns, but the warm hospitality that you receive. You get an insight into past generations' everyday life and a genuine understanding of the value of the forest and its many inhabitants. Andreas Ahlsén and his predecessor Marcus Eldh have shown that simplicity and authenticity go a long way and resonate outside of Sweden.