Kolforsen (where the cottages are located) is a quiet picturesque hamlet about 10 mins away from the nearest village (Ockelbo), 15 mins away from the E4 motorway and 30 mins away from a major town (Gävle). The name Kolforsen means “Charcoal rapid” and is a reference to the many charcoal mines that existed in the forest, which produced charcoal that then was used in the many steel mills in this county.
Kolforsen was also a traditional summer grazing village where farmers from Ockelbo moved the whole family to in the summer and brought their animals with them. The animals were free to roam anywhere and the farmers built fences around the houses to prevent the animals from entering.
Nowadays Kolforsen is renowned for the peaceful surroundings all year round with the proximity to forests and lakes, but still close to everything that Sweden is well-known for. The recent introduction of an animal petting farm in the village has been much appreciated by residents and guests.
Ockelbo (closest town to the cottages) has approximately 6,000 inhabitants. Most people commute to Gävle and Sandviken for work whilst enjoying the tranquillity, close to nature and child friendly surroundings when at home.
Ockelbo has always had a good name in Sweden because of its high percentage of companies per capita, but has in recent years became very famous due to the local son, Daniel, marrying the Crown Princess Victoria. They are a frequent site in town with their children Estelle and Oskar.
The most famous places in Ockelbo are Wij Gardens and the Elk Park, but also the ski resort Kungsberget.
The county (where the cottages belong to) has everything you would expect visiting Sweden. The county is modern and clean with easy travel options and people speaking good English, but still with the traditional touch.
The closeness to Stockholm and Arlanda Airport and the upgraded E4 motorway, has made it easier and faster to get here and therefore there has been a sharp increase in visitors to Furuvik Amusement Park, Mackmyra Whiskey distillery, Jädraås Beer Brewery, Kungsberget skiing resort, the UNESCO World Heritage Site for Farmhouses of Hälsingland and many other tourist places.
The county is famous for being able to offer all of what Sweden is for all seasons. It has mountains for downhill skiing and it has beautiful archipelagos at the Baltic Sea. It has a many lakes and waterways where you can swim safely and catch edible fish. Most of the land is covered with forest where wild predators such as bears, wolfs and wild boars roam and animals are hunted, and where you can pick edible fungus and berries in the autumn. The county is full of adventures and activities, but also many remote areas where few people go. The best thing of it all is that it is all within easy reach from the cottages.
The summers are warm with the sun setting around 11 pm and rising again at 3 am. The winter season is what the Swedes call “good”, i.e lots of snow and cold, which makes it possible to enjoy many different winter adventures. Autumn and spring concludes the year .
As for sports this county is proud of their 4 premier league teams in Sweden’s major sports - ice hockey (Brynäs IF), football (Gefle IF), bandy (Sandvikens AIK) and Floorboard (Gävle GIK).
Another connection to the Swedish Royal Family is that princess Madeleine is the countess of this county.
With over 200,000 lakes, 27 million hectares of forest, tens of thousands of islands, and 1700 national parks and nature reserves including Europe's largest protected area, Sweden is the perfect choice for wildlife and outdoor holidays.
While much of Sweden does indeed provide fairytale winter conditions, summer in Sweden is also a glorious experience, with the country having a temperate climate in spite of its northerly location thanks to the Gulf Stream. There is usually less rain and more sunshine during summer than in for example Britain. Summer temperatures rise to the high twenties.
Many visitors to Sweden for the first time are astonished to discover such a vast majestic landscape with enormous expanses of pristine wilderness and breathtaking scenery, yet so close and accessible from the hustle and bustle of central Europe. Sweden is an easy country to travel in, most people the roads are an absolute delight, sometimes you can literally see for miles and there is very little traffic in the north of the country. Sweden enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world and a quality of life to go with it. The country also has a reputation for being clean, safe and politically stable and most people speak good English.