If there's something Sweden is really good at, it's taking care of the environment. Over half of its energy supply comes from renewables, and it was the first country in Europe to introduce an ecotourism charter.
But what does that mean and why should it matter to you? It's so much more than just hanging your towel up so you can use it again (incidentally, it was Sweden's Scandic Hotel Group that came up with this innovative idea back in 1993).
Here's the thing - when you choose to be eco-friendly you can enjoy the environment responsibly and help local businesses, local people, and local culture. So you can go on holiday and benefit others and the world around you at the same time. And there's no country better equipped for a sustainable visit than Sweden.
You've probably already heard about the spectacular Treehotel in Harads, but it's not the only sustainable hotel to stay at in Sweden. Far from it! Just check out these stylish and sustainable hotels that will make your trip as green as can be.
1. Hobo, Stockholm
You might think it would be hard to stay eco-friendly if you're visiting the capital. But this is Sweden we're talking about!
Hobo in Stockholm's upmarket Norrmalm district is a boutique design hotel with a stripped back Scandinavian feel. Don't expect sumptuous rooms, but do expect trendy pared-back design. It also doubles as a meeting place, “coffice”, or just somewhere to relax for a couple of hours.
If it reminds you of Berlin's uber-cool Michelberger Hotel, that's because the interior was designed by the same award-winning team from Studio Aisslinger. Various local designers have also been involved to develop the hotel's unique style - look out for artwork by impossibly cool design duo Karl Grandin and Björn Atldax in the elevator.
The hotel is run by Nordic Hotels & Resorts, a hotel group that believes in looking after its guests as well as the environment. All the food served in Hobo is locally-sourced organic produce and switches seasonally so you can sleep and eat green during your stay.
2. Hotel Skeppsholmen, Stockholm
Housed in two historic buildings on the leafy island of Skeppsholmen, this stylish eco-labeled design hotel is a beautiful blend of old and new. It's on the higher end of the price scale at around 2,270 kronor a night, but if you're planning a special trip it's really worth it.
The modern rooms have a chic Scandinavian feel, and the serene location is just a stone's throw from the city centre. It's also right next to the Museum of Modern Art and the Swedish Museum of Architecture so you won't have far to go for your culture fix.
Hotel Skeppsholmen is a Nordic Ecolabel hotel, which means it ticks strict eco-friendly boxes. So you treat yourself during your stay and give a little back to the environment too. We're sold.
Just five minutes from Malmö city centre in the trendy Western Harbour development is bicycle house hotel, Ohboy. OK, we know what you're thinking: what on earth is a “bicycle house hotel”?
Well, not only do you get a comfortable bed in a modern apartment, you're also given a bike to ride around the city. The idea is that if you give people the tools to live sustainably they can enjoy a modern, urban stay without harming the environment. It's a really interesting concept and just one of the way innovative Swedes are finding long-term solutions for addressing ecological issues.
For an extra 200 kronor you can also get a hammock to hang up in your apartment - the ultimate prop to kick-back-and-relax in after a day's cycling.
4. Radisson Blu Riverside Hotel, Gothenburg
Around 90 percent of the hotel rooms in Gothenburg are eco-friendly, so it's actually harder to find somewhere to stay that isn't eco-friendly!
The beautiful Radisson Blu Riverside Hotel on the harbour of the Göta River combines an urban eclectic theme with maritime elements. Inspired by its location next to the science park and one-time shipbuilding yard, it's a trendy but comfortable place to put your head down after a day of sightseeing.
Earlier this year, Radisson Blu won the IMEX Sustainability Award for its outstanding contribution to the travel industry for its responsible business programme, Blu Planet. The hotel group is continually working on its Responsible Business programme, and its sustainability initiative was launched to save water and reduce environmental impact.
5. Urnatur, Ödeshög
Soak up the Swedish countryside in all its glory at chic eco-friendly forest retreat, Urnatur. The unique handcrafted huts and treehouses are nestled between an old-growth forest and three lakes, as well as several small nature reserves.
There's no electricity, so it's a rare chance to properly escape modern life. On chilly nights you can light up a fire and there's a lantern for when the sun goes down. The owners provide organic food from their garden and local producers, cooked over an open fire. You'd really have to go out of your way to do anything vaguely ecologically unfriendly during your stay!
The hotel owners never stop with their mission to be sustainable, even in the harsh Swedish winter. The hotel might shut down, but they spend their time working with nature conservation - last winter they worked to restore ancient pastures and landscapes with oak trees.
Way up in the Swedish highlands on the road to the Norwegian border is Fjällnäs, Sweden's oldest mountain hotel. It sounds hard to reach, but you can be there in a couple of hours if you fly into Trondheim in Norway or a little longer if you drive from Oslo. And trust us - it's worth the drive.
It's an absolutely breathtaking spot where you can experience the nuances of the changing Swedish seasons in relative isolation. You can explore the mountain landscape, fill your lungs with fresh air by the neighbouring lake, and unwind in the luxury spa.
The rooms are typically Scandinavian, simple but clean and light - designed to help you strip away the stresses of everyday life. The restaurant serves quality ingredients from local sources, varying with the seasons, so you can eat, sleep, and explore sustainably during your stay.
7. Vox Hotel, Jönköping
Wake up in the stylish Vox Hotel to a superbly Swedish view of Lake Vättern and the nearby island of Visingsö. The newly-opened hotel was created by acclaimed architect Magnus Månsson and each luxury room is decorated with marble floors, local carpentry, and Italian tiles.
It's part of the Nordic Choice Hotels group, which says it is committed to reducing its ecological footprint. The hotel's air-conditioning is powered by the lake, and guests are provided with a selection of eco-friendly products.
All that's left for you to think about is where to explore while you're in the region - Småland is packed full of fascinating sights including the Bruno Mathsson Center in Värnamo, Husqvarna Museum displaying 300 years of diverse industrial history, and in summer you can stop by Tage Andersens Gunillaberg, a culture centre with beautiful gardens and a fine selection of art in the main building.
8. The Steam Hotel, Västerås
It doesn't get much more sustainable than recycling an old building to create a beautiful new hotel. The old steam power plant on Lake Mälaren has been renovated and has now opened its doors as the stunning Steam Hotel. The industrial romantic decor nods to the building's past as an energy producer, and the hotel's raw brick walls serve as a reminder of its history.
The hotel's modern steakhouse uses energy and power in the form of fire and steam. It also sources its ingredients from small local suppliers who share their belief in sustainability and making conscious environmental choices.
9. Fabriken Furillen, Gotland
Located on a UNESCO World Heritage site on Gotland, Sweden's largest island, Fabriken Furillen cuts a gothic figure against craggy limestone rocks and secluded beaches. The eco-friendly retreat was designed by photographer Johan Hellström and is essentially one big piece of art.
There's plenty to do on beautiful Gotland, and you can explore your surroundings on the “Skeppshult” bicycle provided free of charge by the hotel. Afterward you can recharge in the hotel's restaurant, which serves dishes prepared with local and seasonal ingredients sourced in its own farm.
And that's just a small hand-picked selection of Sweden's sustainable hotels! Discover more things to do at Visit Sweden, and enjoy your trip to one of the world's greenest countries.