The slow tourism definition is; “To connect with the local people, experience their culture, and learn about their heritage. An enlightening trip that is meant to have an emotional impact, while remaining sustainable for both the local communities and environment.” Its concept is the same to “Hygge”, the Danish philosophy of enjoying the good things in life with great people, and “mysigt”, the Swedish word for comfort.
Connecting Slow Tourism with “Hygge” and “Mysigt”; Welcoming words with many connotations
To belong and feel worthy is important for all humans. Often, we feel out of room and space. It is probably part of the human condition. This is why turning up at someone’s threshold, and as a stranger being welcomed is such wonderful feeling.
When we travel or going on holiday, we seek to create moments of warmth and calm. The moments when everyone is smiling and the sun comes from underneath a cloud, or when getting a tasty cup of hot chocolate from a cosy café.
These moments have names. In Denmark you call it “Hygge” In Sweden, there is also a similar idea to “hygge”, we call it “mysigt”, and in English, it can be called “cosy.”
For this text we will borrow the Danish word “hygge”.
Whichever name you use, these are moments we want to collect. To find them we need to go to places that are as far away from a tourist trap that you can go. We believe that you more than anything want to avoid needing a “cool-off” period when coming back from travelling. The travel itself should give us energy to deal with our everyday life.
However, today travelling often mirrors our hectic fast-paced lives, it is often rushed, crowded, and draining. We just want to take a break and return home refreshed. We need to change our travel patterns to enjoy a “hyggligt” holiday without feeling tired.
Just cross the Öresund bridge and take a trip from south to central Sweden! Easy travelling and at the same time a great opportunity to change our travel pattern to enjoy a “hyggligt” get-away without the hustle of travelling far.
Take a break from modern travel
You don’t want to waste any of the limited time that you have on classic tourist traps. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have the opportunity to relax, and it will result in superficial experiences.
You might be looking to be part of a solution and are longing to be part of a growing sustainable tourism effort. An important way is to change our mindset. We associate travel and vacation with “doing” instead of “experiencing and respecting the local destinations”.
Many believe they aren’t making the most of their trip unless they are doing something every hour. This mindset, together with the invisible pressure to showcase “been there, done that” on social media, leads to travel experiences that are exhausting instead of rejuvenating and creates a sense of invasion among the locals instead of greeting guests.
An ongoing trend: Slow travelling
Slow travel allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture, community, and natural beauty of the region. By spending more time in fewer places, you can reconnect with nature and gain a more authentic and enriching experience. You would have the time to be cosy and really relaxed. Separate yourself from your routinized everyday life and enjoy the moment.
It replaces the stress and exhaustion of the mainstream sightseeing that is promoted by the tourism industry.
We believe in tourism that promotes the tranquillity and joy of exploration at your leisure. This shift not only enhances the travel experience, but also boosts your mental and physical well-being.
So, what if your journey could create a window to the life of the locals? Where do they go for leisure? Where do they eat? Which hidden gemstones would they like to share with a guest, curious enough to ask for them? Instead of encounters that are created purely on commercial transactions, slow travel promotes genuine interactions with locals. These interactions can lead to unbelievable stories, insightful cultural exchanges, and a sense of belonging.
Slow travel is not just a different way to travel, it brings back the original effect and definition of a vacation, that is to relax and feel refreshed. By embracing slow travel, we can transform our travels from ticking off a checklist into a fulfilling journey of discovery, connection, and rejuvenation.
Find your “Mysigt” in Sweden
There are many wonderful “Mysigt” places in Sweden, and we recommend you to slow travel and truly get to know the destination.
If you are a keen visitor to Sweden, you already know that the Swedish culture is very often connected to exploring the landscape and natural beauty of the area. At times it might be hard to find and connect with the locals. But in the summer, you will find them on a hike in nature, sunbathing on the beaches, playing in recreational areas, and probably even in a fishing boat on one of the many lakes.
At GoNatureTrip, we are also inspired by Ikigai (that which gives your life meaning, or purpose) and we firmly believe that the “sum of small joys in life and from travelling will result in more fulfilling experience as a whole.”
Feel free in Swedish nature and walk through Swedish geological history
In Sweden you are always close to a lake, a river, or a beautiful forest. Swedes believe that the best refresher is the outdoors, where you can breathe fresh air, explore your limits, and revitalize your body and mind.
In addition, the Swedish Allmansrätt protects your right to pick berries and mushrooms, so enjoy the forest and nature under the conditions.
Establish meaningful connections
Slow travelling means connecting with local people and cultures. So, the most obvious places would be in recreational open bath areas, such as Stenö havsbad, or why not jump on the boat for a day-trip to Enskärsoren. This is where the Swedes gather, and for you to better understand Swedes’ summer culture.
You can swim in most lakes, however, if you want to ride a water jetty in a lake on private land, then you need to ask for permission. The landowners work hard to maintain their land, lakes, and open areas clean and sustainable. So, be respectful to their wishes. Skogsand is an example of where the locals go for an evening swim.
Visit the Blue Zones
Did you know that there are Blue Zones in the south of Sweden? In fact, Emmaboda is on the map of blue zones, that is places where people live longer.
Malin Axelsson from Ödevata Countryside Hotel welcomes you experience their eco farmstay where their lifestyle is in tune with nature. “The blue zones in Småland is for sure an interesting place for anybody who want to learn more about places on earth where local people live long and healthy lives. We ‘Smålänningar’ are proud of our unique traditions and lifestyle. At Ödevata we are happy to share our knowledge and green lifestyle with you. Our place is for sure a small oasis, so we are not surprised to learn that we are situated in one of the blue zones.” says Malin.
You can take part in typical Ödevata activities, such as going for a morning hike, rowing on the quiet Lake Ödevaten, and cooking effectively outdoors using less kitchenware. In addition, you can just hang out in their fantastic aquaponic greenhouse.
Enjoy healthy, tasty, traditional local food and family run cafés
For example, you can taste fresh and natural fruits and vegetables from orchards. Some regions in Sweden have more orchards than others. For example, you will encounter such regions if you take the Lake Vättern roundtrip. On the Swedish countryside you can find family run small cafés in the most unexpected places.
Locally sourced food from ecological farms is the guiding principle at Café Rådis i Söderhamn, where Swedish fika has been served since the 1930s. The interior of the café was renovated in 1954 and hasn’t been touched since then. Here the true meaning of fika is dominant; to sit down for a sweet time with family and friends, enjoy a healthy lunch with local salmon on the menu, or a traditional cake or cinnamon roll. This is the opposite of fast-food, it was made for deep talks and many important decisions have been made here, since it is situated next to the city hall.
Summertime is the perfect time for a garden-fika, so why not visit the beautiful gardens of the world heritage farmhouse Erik-Andersgården? It carries memories of a time of rich trading, farming and wood industry in the area. At the café you get greens from the backyard, home-made cheese from the farm nearby, and delicious cookies and cakes baked on the spot. There’s also a few rooms if you want to stay in a unique place.
Be a part of growing local green family businesses
There are many establishments run by families that strive to make their place sustainable for the coming generation to enjoy. You can contribute and make a difference by staying in family-run accommodations, buy from local farm shops, and participate in outdoor cooking. If you would like a special meal in nature with a local chef – Per Elmefors at Savour Outdoor can help you to find the right spot. Would you prefer to cook your own meal, there’s quite a few nice spots presented at grillplatser.nu.
If you are travelling in a motorhome, you can find motorhome spots by lakes and do some nature camping. However, in summer there is often bans on grilling outside, so your best bet is to find a place where they offer outdoor cooking opportunities.
Truly unwind and experience the wonders of villages and towns
The smaller the village or town, the greater the chance you will find truly magical experiences. Maybe the magic lies in the fact that your expectations are kept low? Or maybe it is because of the warm feeling you get when seeing the joy on a local person’s face when showing you their favorite places and things? The best experiences are often found when you have the time and the courage to stop and listen to your intuition.
Don’t ignore your guts when it is telling you to turn at the next crossroad. Make time to stop by the beautiful lake and talk to the people on your journey.
Poem on the marvels of slow travelling
BY C. P. CAVAFY
TRANSLATED BY EDMUND KEELEY
As you set out for Ithaka
hope your road is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
angry Poseidon—don’t be afraid of them:
you’ll never find things like that on your way
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high,
as long as a rare excitement
stirs your spirit and your body.
wild Poseidon—you won’t encounter them
unless you bring them along inside your soul,
unless your soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time;
may you stop at Phoenician trading stations
to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
sensual perfume of every kind—
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
and may you visit many Egyptian cities
to learn and go on learning from their scholars.
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years,
so you’re old by the time you reach the island,
wealthy with all you’ve gained on the way,
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvelous journey.
Without her you wouldn’t have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor, Ithaka won’t have fooled you.
Wise as you will have become, so full of experience,
you’ll have understood by then what these Ithakas mean.