When I went on a press trip to the north of Sweden in February 2020 to skate at Tavelsjön, the Elite Hotel Mimer in Umeå was our base. The hotel is centrally located, has all facilities and is a very classy place. From the rooms to the breakfast buffet and the restaurant, everything is taken care of. The ideal hotel for a few days in Umeå!
Elite Hotel Mimer is located in a former school building. The building dates from 1897 (which also explains the name of the restaurant arton nittio sju).
The rooms are spacious and have comfortable beds. My room had a sunrise view. I left the curtain open, there was no vis-à-vis anyway. Wonderful to be awakened by the sun.
In the spacious bathroom you will find care products such as shampoo, soap, conditioner, body lotion, … For enthusiasts there is also a wellness and a gym in the hotel. In the hotel there are a total of 139 rooms.
The breakfast buffet can be found in the restaurant. There is a wide range of local and international delicacies. People with certain dietary requirements are also catered for. There are different types of homemade bread, cheeses, cold cuts, … There is even skagenröra and gravad lax at the buffet. Also various yoghurts and nuts / power foods. At the warm buffet you will find pancakes, eggs, …
In the evening, the breakfast room of Hotel Mimer transforms into a restaurant where you can eat à la carte. We ate there one evening. Yummy! And especially handy that you can go upstairs immediately after dinner, which may be necessary after an active day 🙂
The hotel is centrally located in Umeå. There is a spacious parking lot in front of the hotel. You will find the bus stops in the street nearby. The hotel is within walking distance of the river and the shops.
Book your room
Considering a citytrip to Umeå? Or stay in Umeå to discover the wider region of Västerbotten? Elite Hotel Mimer is a perfect choice! Book your room here.
In February 2020 I went on a press trip to Umeå. I discovered a nice city. Big enough to give that city feeling, compact enough to instantly feel at home. Moreover, there is also a lot to do and experience in the surrounding area. Want to know how you can travel to Umeå? How far is it from Stockholm to Umeå? And is Umeå above the arctic circle?
Where is Umeå located?
Umeå is the largest city in Norrland and is located about 600 km above Stockholm. The city is located a few kilometers from the Gulf of Bothnia, Vaasa (Finland) is located on the other side of the water.
Umeå is the southernmost point of Lapland, depending on which definition of Lapland you use. You are north enough to have a good chance of northern lights. The city is located about 300 km below the arctic circle.
Travelling by plane to Umeå
There are currently no direct international flights to Umeå. With a stopover in Stockholm and thanks to the regular domestic flights, you can limit the waiting time.
The airport is barely 10 minutes from the center of Umeå. You can use the taxis at the exit of the airport, but the cheapest is without a doubt the Airport bus.
Umeå airport bus
During peak times, a bus departs every 20 minutes and has several stops in Umeå. You can find the timetable and the price on this website. A ticket costs only a few euros. Tickets can be purchased through the ‘Ultra Vill Mer’ app. This app is also available in English. You can also buy a ticket from the vendor machine in the airport or from the driver on the bus (no cash).
Transfer in Stockholm
Transfer times are often limited in Stockholm. Because Arlanda has a different terminal for international and domestic flights, you may have to change terminals. Sometimes you also have to go through security for this. Check at the airport whether there is a transfer bus that can transport you between the terminals so that you can avoid the security check and thus save time.
By train to Umeå
This time I took a domestic flight from Stockholm to Umeå, but you could also perfectly travel by night train to Umeå. You can choose a flight that lands in Stockholm in the morning and then spend the day in Stockholm (use the lockers in Centralen for your luggage) or choose a flight that lands in the late afternoon / early evening and then immediately travel on with the night train.
Traveling with the night train in Sweden is quite comfortable. You get on the train in the evening and you arrive at your destination in the morning. You save a hotel stay and have a whole day on site.
Travelling by bus to Umeå
Flixbus, which provides daily long-distance bus journeys throughout Europe, also has bus connections between the main cities in Sweden.
The number of bus trips depend on the season. Timetables and more info can be found on the Flixbus website.
Has ice skating in Sweden been on your list? In Tavelsjön you can go ice skating all winter and even participate in a race, Tavelsjörännet!
In February 2020, I was invited by the Ghent skating club LBSG, Björk & Boström Sportresor and Visit Umeå to discover Umeå and the surrounding area. The highlight of this press trip was Tavelsjörännet, a skating race of about 104 km on the natural ice rink of the lake Tavelsjö. Fortunately you could also skate shorter distances and that’s what I would do!
The natural skating rink of Tavelsjö
The natural ice rink of Tavelsjö would not exist without the local sports association Tavelsjö AIK. They voluntarily ensure that the track is perfectly swept every time. This Facebook group is also very interesting, you can find more information about the current state of the ice. Be sure to check the group before you go skating at Tavelsjön!
In 2020 there was a 13 km long track, in an eight shape so that you could also return halfway. Because Tavelsjö is located quite north, the place is ice sure from December to March.
Skating on natural ice in Tavelsjön
Weeks in advance I was busy figuring out which clothes to bring. It can be very cold there, but when you skate, you get warm quickly. In the end I chose clothes that I would also wear for cross-country skiing and brought an extra warm jacket with me. I also bought sturdy Lundhags to tie the skates. Incredibly Exciting!
I can skate and do this regularly on artificial ice, but the times that I could really skate on natural ice can be counted on one hand. A few times in near my home town, once in the Lakeland of Finland and once in Hellasgården. That must have been about it.
Skating on natural ice can hardly be compared to turning rounds in an indoor rink. Firstly, you can fully enjoy the nature around you. Wonderful! Tavelsjö is really surrounded by nature. Except for the typical sound of your skates, you hear… nothing! Furthermore, it is also a bit more adventurous: you have to be alert for cracks in the ice, ice floes, … The Swedes grow up with the ice and learn to ‘read’ the ice.
When skating on natural ice you actually have to push on your heels so that your skates slide smoothly over the small cracks. In theory 😉. I tied on the skates and wobbled to the rink. Fortunately we had sticks with us to help with the balance. Hesitantly I took my first steps. My heart bounced and I was so nervous. Fortunately, coach Gert was patient and ready with advice and encouragement.
I was going to participate in the 13 km. The longest distance I would have ever skated. Those 2 crazy Belgians (there was also a journalist from Het Nieuwsblad with me too) who would skate on natural ice for the first time and immediately participated in this race were the news of the town.
First we watched the start of the Swedish Master championship and the Belgians and Dutch from “our group” who would skate the marathon. And then it was up to me… Hihi, I was clearly not trained but determined to try anyway. I concentrated on the technique, tried not to trip over my own skates and alternated the “normal” skating with pushing the sticks to move forward.
It will not surprise you that the marathon skaters passed me several times, haha. I had some doubts when reaching the turning point of the loop. I started to get tired and feared that 13 km was just too high. Maybe it was enough and I should return? But with the encouragement from my fellow skaters (who were kind enough to adopt my slow pace), I kept going.
And then kilometer 8 came and I suddenly lay down on the ice. The pain in my knee and the fatigue made me give up. Yes, afterwards I was angry with myself. I should have just rested and continued but I didn’t want to hold up my fellow skaters any longer and walked back to the starting point. If only I had persevered, I would even have achieved a podium place in my category, haha! Yet it was a beautiful experience that I would do again immediately. As a beginner I might have opted for a tour with fika etc. in hindsight, but experiencing the race was also very special. Especially when I heard that there were a few real winners among the skaters of our group!
Next to the lake you find Sundligska Gården. This is the gathering place for all skating fanatics. You can rent equipment, use a spark, change clothes and warm up after skating. And did I mention the good food?
The couple who keep this place open lived in London for 15 years and then decided to return to her hometown in Sweden. They are famous for their sourdough pizzas and I also ate a delicious lentil stew there. In the summer months you can rent kayaks and mountain bikes.
Practical information skating trip Tavelsjö
The Swedish travel organization Björk & Boström also organizes this skating trip for international travelers. Here you will find the info for 2020. As soon as the info for 2021 is available, I will share it here.
Only about 400 people live in Tavelsjö itself. It is therefore best to spend the night in the pleasant town of Umeå, about 25 km away. There is a bus every day that takes you to the lake.
If the weather isn’t perfect for skating or you want to do something different, then you can visit Bildmuseet, Guitars – The Museum or another museum. Go shopping, walking or just enjoy the good food. Just search for Umeå and you will get a lot of tips!
P.S. By the way, keep an eye on the predictions for the Northern Lights while you’re here! We just had no luck last year. The days before and after our stay I saw pictures of the northern lights popping up on social media, but we only had cloudy nights.
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