Cycling package tour – the Archipelago
In Hamrångebygden in northern Gästrikland you will meet the open countryside with farming and fishing villages, close to the sea, the beaches and the forest. The district also offers a rich cultural history with interesting places to visit.
On your cycle tour along the Virgin Coast's friendly archipelago with flat, gently rounded rocks and red fishing huts, you will find places where you can buy fresh or smoked fish, which you can later enjoy next to the water. Your cycle tour takes you along winding dirt roads and historic forest trails, there are few slopes which means that a normal level of fitness is good enough. Hedenstugan Bed and Breakfast Hotel is 3o km north of Gävle in a place called Heden. Ideally located close to the E4 motorway yet in the middle of the forest, you will be able to enjoy your stay in a tranquil environment. Hedenstugan offers eight modern rooms with private bathrooms. The building was originally a workhouse and by the end of the 19th century it became an isolation hospital – today it is used as a hotel, and its accommodation maintains a modern hotel standard.
Day 1: Welcome to Hedenstugan
You arrive at Hedenstugan B&B Hotel where supper awaits you. You will enjoy a quiet and peaceful stay in a district with many cultural traditions. Take a stroll through the area and get to know the neighbourhood in Heden where you will find jogging tracks and the nature reserve, Hådells gammelskog (ancient woodland).
Day 2: The Axmar and Akki tour, approx. 58 km
After a hearty breakfast (buffet), you will be ready for your cycle tour which will take you northwards to Axmar. You can take a packed lunch from the hotel, or you can choose to have lunch at Trollharens Fisk. In the old fishing village, there is a shop and a restaurant which during the summer months serves a delicious fish buffet. You are located in the southern part of the Virgin coast which was named after the island of Storjungfrun just outside Söderhamn and after the unspoilt countryside along the Gästrike and Hälsinge coastline. There are more than 4,500 islands, fine sandy beaches and authentic, old fishing villages.
The destination for today's tour is Axmar. The old mill was founded in the 1670s, it was destroyed by the ravages of the Russian troops in 1721, but was shortly thereafter built up again. The buildings we see standing today date back to the 1860s. During that time, a brand new ironworks was built which was in operation until 1927. During the summer, theatre, concerts and art exhibitions are arranged in the smeltery. In the area around the works, there is a manor house and a park which is open to the public and offers several attractions. Among other things, there is a beautiful little gazebo in neo-Gothic style on a promontory in the small lake.
In Galleri Bläckhornet , you can view the art exhibitions, and if you would like to take a walk, we recommended the approx. one km long Kuststigen (coastal path). Here you can gaze out over the Axmar’s rocky unexploited archipelago and see how the land’s elevation has impacted on the landscape and vegetation. Stop at the rest area and enjoy the view of the open sea and the islands of Saxharen and Långrabbarna. And don't forget to look to the sky as the white-tailed eagle may come flying by!
In 2010, Axmar bruk’s underwater park was opened. In the waters off Axmarbrygga (jetty), discarded barges from the 17th century to the 20th century were dumped. Several trading ships were also shipwrecked here. Many of the wrecks are clearly visible from the surface of the water since the sea approach has not been dredged. It is possible to follow the area's almost 300-year history under the water. The ease of access is quite unique. See the wrecks from a boat or kayak, or on a large touch screen that shows you where they lie. You will be able to see what they look like at the moment and listen to the story behind the wrecked vessels.
Would you like to extend the tour, and continue from Axmar to Gåsholma? If you do, you will meet a varied and unmolested archipelago, where birds breed and people who love the outdoor life thrive.
Your well-deserved evening meal can be enjoyed at Axmarbrygga Havskrog, a genuine maritime restaurant which has received numerous awards for its menu and its delicacies of the sea. In the slag-stone building where the restaurant is located, bar iron and grain used to be stored. After your evening meal, you should take a leisurely cycle ride (approx. 17 km) back to Hedenstugan and your waiting bed. An alternative is that you cycle home first and eat dinner at the Viking-inspired Hakkegård on the E4 near the hotel.
Day 3: the Norrsundet cycle tour, approx. 22 km
Day 3 invites you to take a shorter trip to Norrsundet. With your packed lunch, you cycle eastwards towards the sea, through Bergby, Totra and Norrsundet.
Medieval foundations and the ruins of a fortification have been found in Totra, the remains of a defence tower from 1150 which burned down in the 1350s. It is considered to have been the central point of a larger defensive system which connected Hamrångefjärden to the sea. Today a little more than a two metre high ruin remains. An exhibition about the defence system and the fortifications can be seen at the Arbetarmuseet (the Worker’s museum) in Norrsundet. At the rate of about 70 cm per century, Gästrikland's coastal districts are rising up from the sea. In this flat landscape, it means major changes in a relatively short space of time. In the Middle Ages the sea was approx. 5 m higher than it is today. Totrakastalen was then in a small bay in lake Hamrångefjärden.
In the fishing village of Saltharsfjärden, you will find Bergmans Fisk & Rökeri (Bergman's Fish & Smokehouse) where you will be able to enjoy lunch. Take a break at one of the beautiful bays, perhaps even go swimming. On the way home you will pass Totra bathing area that goes by the name "Totra del Sol", a lake with a jetty and a shallow sandy shore.
In Hamrångebygden there are both things to do and places to take it easy – with scenic experiences all around you.