We first came to Tavelsjön in the summer of 2019 during a heatwave at the end of July. Wall to wall sunshine welcomed us with 7 days of blue skies and 30+ degree temperatures and blue skies.
Tavelsjö is the hometown of my partner. So, we were here to celebrate her Dad’s birthday. As you do, I’d researched the place before traveling, searching for articles on google and videos on YouTube. I saw pictures of a lake, a video of some bird watching, the local church..little else.
Not the sleepy village I thought
Previously I’d visited the south of Sweden had a picture of Tavelsjö as a sleepy village lost in forests of pine and birch. And so, I pictured a sort of remote retirement village with people communicating with whistles and whoops in the forest.
How wrong I was.
That week we swam in the lake every day and hiked up four of the ‘Tavelsjö Ten Tops (Tio Toppar). We foraged for berries and perennials, kayaked on the lake. We joined a group for daily yoga by the lake, relaxed on the village beach at Sundlingska Gården and played beach volleyball – it was quite the week.
In contrast, coming from London, I had long lost the feeling of what a community can feel like and what it can achieve when it pulls together. The Tavelsjö Tio Toppar, for example, is an initiative by the local community that saw public funds build a network trails to the tops the ten ‘peaks’ around the village.
Moreover, I went on to learn about an ice track, Tavelsjö Isbana, that existed in the winter again organised by the community, for the community, and supported by local government funding.
Altogether, I quickly came to see Tavelsjö as the outdoors paradise we were looking for. And so, shortly after returning home to the UK, we resigned from our jobs and moved out here.
It’s been six months since we arrived here and never a day goes by that I don’t marvel at the beautiful nature around the lake. That beauty is matched by welcome of the people that live here. Running in London was a head down, headphones in experience of people avoidance. But here, people greet you with a huge smile and are keen to stop for a chat.
Tavelsjön beauty, every day
So, whilst Tavelsjö – with its big heart and huge beauty – may be somewhat digitally hidden, at just 30 minutes drive from Umeå, it is the perfect escape to nature. For us, it is the perfect place to live.