Author Viveca Sten

The perfect day in Åre by author Viveca Sten

From the most awe-inspiring views to the best après-ski hangouts.

Photo: Niclas Vestefjell
February 2023
Stunning natural scenery, some of Scandinavia’s best ski slopes, and a vibrant restaurant and entertainment scene. But that’s not all. Nowadays, Swedish resort town Åre is also a world-famous setting for crime writer and local Viveca Sten’s grisly murder mysteries. Curious? Read on for the inside story on getting the best out of 24 hours in Åre.

“Last fall saw the release of Hidden in Memories, the third novel in Viveca Sten’s acclaimed Åre Murders series. Just a few months later, work began on screen adaptations of the series’ first two installments, Hidden in Snow and Hidden in the Shadows, right here in breathtaking Åre. Perhaps now more than ever before, her success with Åre Murders has launched Sweden’s uncrowned queen of whodunnits into the limelight.

In the following interview, Viveca Sten shares with us what makes Åre the perfect place for creating nail-biting suspense. She also reveals her best vacation tips for anyone who dares to visit the setting of her ruthless fictional murders — Åre’s winter wonderland.”

Viveca Sten on skis
Viveca Sten on skis in Åre’s alpine paradise. Photo: Private

Why Åre is tailor-made for thrillers

“Åre lends itself so perfectly to mystery thanks to two unusual traits: First, it’s a place of stark contrasts, with families who’ve been in the area for generations living and working alongside new-comer entrepreneurs and hordes of seasonal tourists. The second is its natural environment. While its beauty almost defies description, nature can also prove lethal here if you don’t pay it enough respect. Åre’s potent natural forces and simmering social tensions make for a sublime setting for a crime novel.”

Åre in 24 hours: Viveca Sten’s top tips


“There are two places in Åre I’d stay at any day of the week and twice on Sundays. One is Hotel Åregården — a picturesque hotel with an illustrious history that was first opened in 1895 by female hotelier Kristina Hansson. Can you imagine what kind of iron will she must have had? At a time when Swedish women couldn’t yet vote, she convinced the bank in neighboring Östersund to grant her a loan to start a hotel under her own steam. It's a truly inspiring story.

My second favorite is boutique hotel Copperhill Mountain Lodge, right at the very top of the Förberget peak. The view from up there is unbeatable! Be careful, though: I set the brutal murder in Hidden in Memories at this exact spot.”

Copperhill Mountain Lodge
A snow-covered Copperhill Mountain Lodge. Photo: Copperhill Mountain Lodge


“One of the things I love most in this world is filling a backpack with hot cocoa and pastries and setting off for some cross-country skiing at Ullådalen. Especially on a blue-sky day in the early springtime when the snow really sparkles in the sunlight, you know. Amazing!”

Ullådalen, Åre
Cross-country skiing at Ullådalen. Photo: Niclas Vestefjell


“My favorite spot for lunch is restaurant Hummelstugan. They have an unspoiled view out over the Åresjön lake and the Renfjället mountain that is just to die for! The food is also first-rate. You might have to wait a little while for a table during the lunchtime rush, but hang in there. I promise your patience will be amply rewarded.

If you’re in the mood for a long, truly leisurely, delectable lunch, ski on over to the Buustamons Fjällgård hotel at Rödkullen instead. Their restaurant serves outstanding meals that you can enjoy while listening to the cozy crackling from their open fireplace.”

Buustamons Fjällgård
Have lunch at Buustamons Fjällgård. Photo: Buustamons Fjällgård

Coffee break

“Hot tip: When you get to the top of the mountain, do what I do and treat yourself to a freshly made, piping-hot waffle with a side of whipped cream and cloudberry jam in the snow outside the Lillåstugan café. So, so good.

When the weather is fine, I also recommend taking the Gondolen ski lift and then either walking or hitching a ride behind a snowmobile up to the peak of the Åreskutan mountain. The panoramic views from there will make you feel like you’re on top of the world—just about as close to heaven as a person can get! The cute little wooden café up there is a nice bonus too.”

Gondolen, Åre
The Gondolen ski lift will carry you up to the summit of the Åreskutan mountain to take in the amazing panoramic views.


“Don’t be shy to try Åre’s après-ski. It’s the perfect way to recharge your batteries before dinner after a long day on the slopes. Stop at Hotel Fjällgården on your way down the mountain, or ski all the way down to Verandan Åre. The atmosphere there is hot, humid, and heady, and the place is usually jam-packed with skiers looking to live it up. Read: It’s everything you could want in an après-ski.”

Fjallgården, Åre
Après-ski at Hotell Fjällgården is the perfect way to recharge your batteries before dinner after a long day on the slopes. Photo: Hotell Fjällgården


“The Vinbaren Åre restaurant is my family’s first choice for dinner. We’ve made it a tradition to eat here together every year on December 22. Another sure bet is Granen Hotel & Restaurant. They have a wonderfully cozy dining room and a scrumptious menu.

If you’re looking for a more casual dining experience, I’d try Werséns. They have the best pizza in town, no contest. I absolutely adore their pizza topped with shaved reindeer and lingonberries.”

Vinbaren, Åre
Vinbaren – one of Veronica Sten's favorite restaurants. Photo: Vinbaren

Till the break of dawn

“The best place to cap off your evening is Bygget — a nightclub/bar where you can dance till you drop.”

Must do

“You can’t visit Åre without stopping by local chocolatier Åre Chokladfabrik on your way home. Do yourself a favor: Grab a basket and fill it with the most heavenly chocolate known to man. They even have yummy vegan chocolate, which I appreciate a whole lot, since I’m allergic to milk protein.”

Åre Chokladfabrik
Local chocolatier Åre Chokladfabrik’s vegan chocolate is some of Viveca Sten’s favorite candy. Photo: Åre Chokladfabrik

About the author

Name: Viveca Sten
Lives: Stockholm and Sandhamn in the summer, Åre in the wintertime
Occupation: Crime writer
Favorite ski slope: Lundsrappet in Åre
Favorite time of year in Åre: January. The weather is often glorious, the temperature low, and everything’s covered in sparkling hoarfrost as far as the eye can see.


Årevägen 81, 837 52 Åre

Copperhill Mountain Lodge
Björnen Copperhill 62, 837 97 Åre

Mörvikshummeln Box 63, 837 52 Åre

Buustamons Fjällgård
Buustamon 142, 837 98 Åre

Våffelkåtan Åre
837 52 Åre

Skutan Ski Lodge
Bondevägen 12, 837 52 Åre

Fjällgårdsvägen 35, 837 52 Åre

Sankt Olavs väg 40, 837 52 Åre

Vinbaren Åre
Stationsvägen 11, 837 52 Åre

Tottvägen 127, 837 52 Åre

Årevägen 95, 837 52 Åre

Fjällbyvägen 12, 837 52 Åre

Åre Chokladfabrik
Björnänge 801, 837 97 Åre

Text by Agnes Regell