Every July, as it has done each year since the 17th century, Åsele comes alive to the sound of thousands of happy and excited visitors flocking to enjoy Sweden’s largest folk fest and famous market, Åsele Marknad. Last year’s event held, as always, over four days in the third week of the month, attracted around 150,000 people.
But that’s not the only reason to visit – an exciting mix of spectacular landscape and wildlife plus vibrant local heritage means there’s much more to do after you’ve filled your bags with market purchases. Those who’d like to learn more about the past can pop into the museum at the centre of Åsele town, which has a fascinating array of displays and artefacts, including the county’s largest collection of textiles and accessories.
Lovers of the great outdoors can choose between visiting Västerbotten’s only national park, Björnlandet, an ancient canyon formed during the Ice Age or to fish from one of the many excellent waters in the municipality.
Travel back in time at the café in the village of Hälla which still boast its original interior from 1953, or travel through the ancient and mysterious vast caverns and caves at Vitterhuset, just outside of the village Östernoret. Here you can walk the Saga Path to find out more about the mythic creatures which were said to live in the caverns and don’t forget to visit the adventure assault course either. If you travel to the village of Tallsjö, you will find another snapshot in time in the form of the well-preserved Asplunda store which was run as a business between 1895 and the 1950s. Located between Åsele and Vilhelmina is one of Scandinavia’s best preserved heritage sites dating from the 1700s – the system of mills and water flows at Torvsjö. Featuring a heritage exhibition and forestry museum this is a real opportunity to discover what life in Lapland was really like in the past.
The Åsele Wärdshus Hotel and Restaurant serves dishes made from only the freshest ingredients which are sourced locally or direct from the surrounding countryside. The business has been run for nearly 40 years by Wolfgang Bay who, in 1989 was awarded gold medal by the highly respected Gastronomiska Akademin.
In the village of Avasjö, Danielssons Ko & Co, produces a range of local meat products and at Ekogården Berget in Nordanås, you can bake your own bread using traditional methods and enjoy a meal prepared from the farmstead’s own produce.
Åsele is a hotbed of activity – even during the cold winter months. The market held at the end of March sees a combination of markets stalls, handicrafts and trade fair alongside a dog show, and one of the country’s largest ice fishing competitions – Åsele-Nappet. Several cross-country ski tracks skirt the edges of Åsele town while nearby Åslia, has a ski slope. Dog-sledding enthusiasts, meanwhile are quick to make their way to the arena at Gafsele. A regular venue for the sport’s World Cup, it is filled trails that are suitable for both training and competition.