Shimmering water, lush green fields and winding roads. Old stone fences can be found almost everywhere, and along the roadside wild apple trees grafted by past generations flourish. Åsnen is a holiday wonderland offering nature and culture in an exciting mix.
Welcome to Åsnen – a place where you can enjoy the silence and tranquillity without crowding. Here you are met with a unique lake archipelago consisting of 1000 islands and more than 700 kilometres of shoreline. Several of the islands have not had any human impact for years and are inhabited by rare birds that are sensitive to disruption, such as the white-tailed eagle, osprey and black-throated diver. The bird and wildlife is rich and if you are lucky, you may even be able to glimpse a lynx or a moose in the forest.
One of Europe’s most valuable broadleaf forest is located in Åsnen, and during early summer the tall-trunked beech forest forms a glittering roof that makes it feel like you are walking inside an organic cathedral. The combination of old broadleaves and wood slowly decomposing and becoming new life, explains much of the local biodiversity.
The latest addition in the area is Åsnen National Park, where you are met with a multifaceted natural mosaic of different ecosystems. When it comes to natural environments, there is no greater mark of quality than the national park designation. Åsnen National Park was established in 2018, signifying officially that the natural characteristics of the region are unique and internationally noteworthy. 75% of the national park consists of water, and to reach the national park archipelago you will need either a boat or a kayak – getting around can be quite an arduous task. Here you will find wilderness and uninhabited islands with no amenities.
In the 1930’s, German limnologists jokingly called southern Swedish lakes with brownish, humous water ”cognac lakes”. Still to this day, Åsnen lives up to that description. The water is brown and depth of visibility is limited. This might lead to conclusions that Åsnen is polluted and unsuitable for swimming and fishing, but this is not the case! Åsnen’s cognac coloured water is explained by the fact that organic material with a high content of humic substances, that are not poisonous or polluted, reach the lake via waters that have run through marshes and forestland. In other words, Åsnen is excellent for both swimming and fishing and is very clean, even though it has a brown hue!
The beech forests aside, Bjurkärr’s and Åsnen’s most famous trees are the Carolean oaks. The strikingly straight oaks are said to be of Eastern origin. In the 1700’s, King Charles XII’s Caroleans were in Poland and, according to legend, the soldiers supposedly pocketed a few acorns and carried them home to Småland. Today, the straight oaks tower into the sky in Bjurkärr in Åsnen National Park.
Åsnen gives you all you could wish to experience on your holiday in Småland. Glide silently across the water surface through the tranquil lake archipelago, where everything you hear among the uninhabited islands is the calling of the black-throated diver and osprey. Here you can really breathe and experience true silence.
Those who prefer to walk or cycle can of course also experience the wilderness of forest and water. The Banvallsleden trail from Ulvö in western Åsnen to the Toftåsa peninsula in the southern part of Åsnen National Park, takes you right through the wildest and most unchanged section of the lake. Maybe you will catch a glimpse of the king of the forest, the moose. In the eastern part of Åsnen you get a completely different experience. Here you will find jagged beaches, sometimes offering a sensation of the open sea with large, open waters and an archipelago of forested islands, but also forests, pastures and a muted cultural landscape.
In spring and early summer, Åsnen’s unique meadow orchards are fantastic to visit. The meadow orchards, consisting mainly of apples but also pears and plums, are amongst the most beautiful and biodiverse environments created by man. If you come later in the year, you will instead get to enjoy the ripe fruits that shine in beautiful red, and the rare meadow fungi that grow on the meadows under the trees.
A horseback adventure becomes an unforgettable event. Go on a riding tour in a small group where you ride along the lush forest trails and avoid encounters with cars, or book a private riding lesson with an experienced instructor.
Lake Åsnen is a fishing paradise for everyone! 15 000 hectares of water makes it possible for both anglers and those who prefer to sit still behind a fishing rod to catch something. According to previous test fishing, fourteen fish species swim in the lake. But who knows if there are more species hiding in the many bays of Åsnen. Do not forget the fishing license required for fishing in the lake!
In order to experience history, culture and nature in the same outing, you take a trip to Kyrkö mosse in southern Åsnen. Here you find cars like you have never seen them before. After decades resting in the moss under spruce and pine, the lacquer has faded and turned the cars into thoughtful works of art. A car cemetery that exudes nostalgia and times gone by.
Åsnen has culinary experiences for everyone. Farm shops and restaurants offer smoked fish that has been caught in the lake and meat from animals that have grazed along green slopes. Enjoy a glass of apple juice from one of the many local apple orchards as a mealtime drink. When the night comes, you crawl into the tent or get into the hotel bed and recharge the batteries for another exciting and eventful day.