Swedish Heritage at the Old Coppermine Fröå Gruva

Nestled at the foot of the picturesque Åreskutan, lies the remains of a quaint, bustling mining village called Fröå Gruva. The once thriving, mining settlement and surrounds has been beautifully preserved and provides a glimpse into Swedish heritage and the glory days of times gone by. These days the mining operations stand still and the village remains peaceful and silent, yet makes for a fascinating historical outing for curious visitors who wish to seek deeper into the world of Swedish heritage.

Vandring vid Fröå Gruva, Åre | Foto: Sandra Lee Pettersson

The Old Mining Town – an Important Swedish Heritage Site

The story of Fröå Gruva started back in 1744, when Anna Larsdotter, showed a piece of copper from the rock to a local prospector, Anders Floor. Little did she know that this was the start of a mining operation that would last 170 years, affect over 600 people and in the process, become Jämtland County’s largest settlement and later, an important Swedish heritage site. The village housed a school and even had a hotel at its peak. Mining operations continued up until 1919, when it no longer was sustainable and filed for bankruptcy. Residents of the town remained for a further 50 years, until 1971, when the last permanent resident finally left their cabin and moved on.

Hiking at Fröå Gruva, Åre | Photo: Sandra Lee Pettersson
Nowadays Nowadays Fröå Gruva is a well visited Swedish heritage site rich in history and old buildings.

A Well Visited Heritage Site

While Fröå Gruva may be considered a ghost village by definition, it is actually far from that. Nowadays it is a well visited Swedish heritage site rich in history and old buildings. During summers, the village comes alive with role playing actors, guided tours, plays and art, offering a representation of prosperous times gone by. The main road was named in honour of Anna Larsdotter and a tour into the mine is really impressive, particularly the 9,5 meter water wheel that has been restored to former function to turn and pump water out of the mine in a complex system that is best described as fluid art.

Walking around the Swedish heritage site of Fröå Gruva is easy going and informative with exhibits and displays for visitors.

The village is still used with all sorts of functions, despite the fact that it has no permanent residents. The old bakery spreads its mouth-watering scents of freshly baked flat breads during the summer months and the Gruvvinden cottage is used by musicians to play traditional music. The reconstructed mining mill houses souvenirs, historical artefacts and literature – exciting pieces of Swedish heritage. The old barracks are open and show what life was like for the working miners without families and the old crofts and farms are open in July during the annual mining festival. There is even a restaurant and café that in open for visitors to enjoy a meal or snack during their visit.

Vandring vid Fröå Gruva, Åre | Foto: Sandra Lee Pettersson
The area around Fröå Gruva is exciting to explore.

Visiting the Heritage Site in Winter

While the mine is at its liveliest in summer, it still remains a worthwhile destination to visit in the winter. The restaurant and café is open and skiers feeling a bit cold should take the chance to stop and tuck into the hearty lunch buffet or a hot chocolate and flatbread sandwich crammed with local delicacies. Ski tracks are prepared from Björnen, outside of Åre and are available from 3,5 kilometres in length. It is about 4 km between Björnen and Fröå gruva.

HERE’S THE SKINNY

ACTIVITY

Hiking, Excursion, Heritage

SEASON

Summer, Autumn, Winter

SKILL LEVEL

Easy at Fröå Gruva
Easy-Difficult along the hiking trails

DISTANCE

Numerous trails from the mine vary between 2,5-17 kilomtres.

START

Fröå lies 7km from the turn off along the E14 at Björnänge. Part dirt road. Free Parking.

MAP

Åre Trails vandringsleder
Z7 Åre-Vålådalen-Bydalen

TERRAIN

Dirt road, forestry trails, pathways (somewhat uneven), raised platforms and marshlands. Can be wet with rainy weather.

PACKING LIST

If you are planning to head out on any of the trails it’s important to take with water and some form of energy on the longer trails. A first aid kit is also important should an accident happen. Dress according to weather and check weather conditions before heading out on longer tours.

WHERE TO EAT

Bergstugan restaurant & café is open in winter and summer.

PRESERVATION

The association that acts as a caretaker of the mine constantly tries to preserve the Swedish heritage and culture of the mine in a sustainable manner for future generations.

DON’T MISS

Check the Fröå Gruva webpage for current events during summer. There is also a Christmas Feast that is served during December in the restaurant.

ARE WE MISSING SOMETHING?

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Hiking at Fröå Gruva, Åre | Photo: Sandra Lee Pettersson
Many pleasant hikes start from Fröå Gruva

Hiking Trails from Fröå Gruva

  1. Byxtjärn, approximately 3 kilometres from the mine is the local Åre residents summer bathing spot. The stone pathway testifies to times gone by when the lake was channelled towards the mine at Fröå Gruva.
  2. North West from the mine are the remains of yet another mine, Bjelkes, which forms part of a 13,5 kilometre hiking trail.
  3. The Björnen Triangle is a longer trail of approximately 17 kilomtres, which takes you through the mining village, through mountain birch forests, valleys and marshlands. The first point of the triangle is the Blåstens wind shelter. The trail changes direction and heads south to Björnen. The trail then changes direction and heads back to the start, along a dirt road and which passes the lake.