This is our most maxed-out tour if you love tender beech forests! The hike is 9 km and will take you through Åsnen’s most beautiful deciduous forests in Åsnen National Park and Hunshult Nature Reserve. It starts in Bjurkärr and runs mostly along narrow tracks in the forest and the shores of Lake Åsnen. The very best time is when the beech trees display their full early summer greenery, usually in the beginning of May, but this does of course vary with the weather. Tip 1: Come here early in the morning, at 5 or 6 am, and you’ll be surrounded by a bird concert that is utterly captivating! Tip 2: Long sleeves or mosquito repellent!
The hike starts in Bjurkärr where there is parking, toilets, shelter from the weather and barbecue places. Start your walk by the information signs, walk straight ahead on the wide path, turn off to the right shortly after and follow the orange Strandslingan. Bjurkärr is Åsnen’s lungs with Sweden’s most valuable deciduous forest. This is also a place with many red-listed species, and it is unique in Sweden for its richness in lichens and mosses. The lung lichen that grows here is proof that you are breathing exceptionally clean air!
The orange loop leads you past ‘nature’s embrace’. It’s easy to understand why the place got this name. The beautiful beech tree spreads its branches, embracing the handsome pine tree. The place often gives off a meditative calm with the small bay with views of some of Lake Åsnen’s islands. Take a break on the beach or use the wooden deck for even better views!
After walking along the path in Bjurkärr, you reach the barbecue area and shelter from the weather. Continue for a short distance to the right, along the gravel road that led here. You’ll soon see signs to the right towards Sunnabron and you continue on a path with yellow markings to the entrance Sunnabron.
Sunnabron is one of the entrances to Åsnen National Park and is perfect for the next break. Lovely bridges that offer a near-water feel with views of Åsnen’s unique lake archipelago. On the way here you pass clumps of reeds where it’s not unusual to hear the bittern. It’s difficult to see but easy to recognise its sound – like blowing into a bottle! Continue along Östra Torpslingan to the paved road. Go to the right along the road for about 400 metres then turn left onto a path with orange markings. Opposite, on the other side of the road, there is an orange-coloured pole.
‘The sound mat feels almost like a jungle. The song thrust’s playful fumbling for exciting themes, the muffled crazy laughter of the green woodpecker, the bubbling song of the moor frog. Even the vegetation is intense and green.’ Well, that’s how Mikael Persson, one of the authors of the guide book ”Åsnens Natur”, describes Hunshult. And it says it perfectly – a Småland jungle!
In the abundant deciduous forest, swamps and water mirrors are interspersed with old stone walls and moss-clad cultivation cairns. Here you just want to walk slowly, surrounded by the incredible concert of birds in early summer. Follow the path with orange markings, and after 3.8 km you return to the road and bridge that lead back to Sunnabron. From here you follow your own footsteps (on the marked trails) back to the car park in Bjurkärr!
It’s not only the beech trees that have star status in Bjurkärr. Here we also find the famous Carolean oaks! They really stand out with their tall, straight trunks that give the appearance of reaching heaven. According to history, they date back to Karl XII’s soldiers, the Caroleans. They are said to have carried acorns in their pockets that they took to, among other places, Småland in the 18th century. The Carolean oaks can be seen in several places in the area. This particular one is by the yellow loop. Make a short detour here, it’s just a stone’s throw from your start/finish.
Bring coffee or lunch with you into nature or visit a café along the way! Check the opening times carefully in autumn, winter and spring – they can vary. Many open for Easter, others in May. Weekend opening is common in the spring, which is then later extended to all days.
Elisabeth’s Garden Café and Restaurant at Huseby Bruk offers local delicacies, often based on seasonal ingredients found in the kitchen garden. Home-baked goods, sandwiches and lunches are available to eat in or take away! Season opening at Easter.
Amy’s Café is next to Åsnen beach on Sirkön. Homemade sandwiches, crumbles, curd cakes and more. Amy’s farm shop, approx. 300 m north of the café, is always open for self-service. Season opening 2 April.
Vrankunge Garden and café that serves food, is situated just north of Bjurkärr. Flowers, locally produced and, not least, homemade waffles, filling sandwiches and Småland coffee. Berries and green produce according to the season.
Kärrasand serves hot lunches as well as coffee with sandwiches, waffles and home-baked goods. It’s a wonderful location next to a swimming area!
In Grimslöv, just north of Bjurkärr, you’ll find Grimslövs Wärdshus serving home-cooked meals of the day.
Farmors Gårdsbod sells homemade chocolate creams, ice cream flavoured with berries from the farm, seasonal berries and green and other local produce for you to take with you. Open all year round.
In Torne you’ll find Torne Lanthandel, where you can enjoy a cup of coffee, buy an ice cream or stock up on supplies for your rucksack. The shop stocks lots of local produce! Open all year round.
If you’re driving from Växjö, we recommend Toftastrand Konditori, which also has a drive in for you to pick up masterfully produced pastries or picnic sandwiches on your way to Åsnen! Open all year round.
Lovely café in the centre of Urshult community that serves biscuits, cake and pastries, and German classics such as authentic Black Forest gateau and the speciality ‘Lauge’.
Restaurang Ladan in Urshult serves delicious home cooking on weekdays.
Fill your picnic hamper with wonderfully tasty, locally produced delicacies. Artisan food for Swedish ‘fika’ with self-service, more substantial barbecue adventures or quick coffee breaks with ice cream. They offer take-away coffee and tea.