Europe, Experience, Featured Articles, Retreats
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Discover the Luxury of Simplicity at Sweden’s Award-Winning Eco Retreat

urnatur eco lodge

Tucked away among the trees of Holaved forest in southern Sweden is a totally off-the-grid eco retreat designed to encourage residents to reconnect with nature.

Known simply as Urnatur, this small family-run complex has been offering visitors an experience that “stimulates all the senses” for the past twenty years.

If ever there was proof that the concept of ecotourism is not new, this is it.

urnatur eco lodge

Hand-crafted wooden cabins with grass-covered rooves blend into the natural surroundings. An ‘air castle’ hides within the towering evergreen’s spindly branches, accessed by an impressive hand-built spiral staircase, and a wonderful treehouse provides a whimsical treat for solo travellers. Interiors are the epitome of Swedish design, integrating elegance and simplicity, without impacting at all on the environment.

urnatur eco retreat

For owners Ulrika Krynitz and Håkan Strotz, their wish to live as one with nature has seen them develop their dream into a reality. Over the years, Urnatur has grown from a small sustainable farm to include the hotel and conference centre, as well as being an outlet for Ulrika’s nature-inspired textiles and products, which decorate the rooms and lodge.

urnatur eco lodge

Meals are mostly made up of local and home-grown produce – berries, wild herbs and mushrooms are picked in the immediate surrounds and lamb comes from the owner’s own flocks, making the journey from farm to table in a matter of moments.

urnatur eco lodge

Guests are encouraged to tap into their inner Bear Grylls by taking a class in foraging or basic fire and knife skills. Håkan, the owner, also offers tuition in working with timber for those keen to learn a few tricks of the trade from a master. You only need look at the Wood Hermitage for evidence of his remarkable carpentry skills – all the buildings, except for the main cabin, were built by hand using trees blown over during severe storms in 2005 and 2006.

interior design urnatur

If survival tactics are all too much to bear, there’s always the chance to relax and unwind in the wood-fired sauna or outdoor wooden bathtub onsite, or take off by yourself and discover what lies beyond the hermitage’s boundaries.

Be sure to explore the area in daylight as only old-school kerosene lamps are available to light the way when darkness falls. Then, when the sun finally sets, fire becomes the focal point of the night. Sit by the wood burner stoking the embers and enjoy the hypnotizing sounds of the surrounding forest.

urnatur sweden

Urnatur was recently awarded the coveted Grand Travel Awards Ecotourism Prize for 2012 for their efforts in active preservation of cultural heritage and measures to promote biological diversity. The awards are run jointly by the Ecotourism Society of Sweden and trade journal Travel News.

When to Go

The season runs from 1 April to 15 October. Bookings must be made in advance.

Getting There

Urnatur lies 7 km outside of Ödeshög. About three hours by car from Stockholm and Malmö; two hours from Göteborg. The closest train station is roughly three miles away at Mjölby and Tranås. Swebus stops at Östgötaporten in Ödeshög.

Have you ever stayed somewhere completely off-grid? Tell us about it…

Image Credits: Urnatur


  1. That name — “Urnatur” — seems utterly appropriate; even its tonal qualities seem suited to the experience we’re envisioning there. What are the etymological origins of “Urnatur?”

    Very inspired by everything we’re seeing at this ecoresort, its elegance and simplicity. Interested to learn more about some of the activities and adventures to be had in the surrounding area.

    • Hi there
      Urnatur has a few meanings, depending on what you read. Some say it means ‘the essence of nature’, others say it means ‘ancient nature’. Either way, they definitely named it right didn’t they?

  2. This totally looks like what I need right now – a place to truly get away from it all and unplug. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Andrea

      Thanks for commenting!

      A little unplug time is so good when you get it. If you can break through the withdrawal barrier it’s always worth it! Urnatur would definitely be one of the nicest places to escape the grind 🙂

  3. Jill Roberts says

    Awesome combination of nature and modernism! I appreciate this effort of reverse move to nature because it’s the right way of peace and keeping the balance of environment at the end. I would like to thank those brilliant Swedish architects. Like the grassed roof most!

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