Far from the busy urban hum of Stockholm, in a northeastern corner of the island of Gotland, lies the remote peninsula of Furillen. A military area until the early 1990s, it is still largely unknown to tourists. Surprises are found around every corner: craggy limestone formations stand starkly beside deserted beaches, and sea birds nest among the ruins of an old gravel quarry. This is the Sweden of Stieg Larsson, of Ingmar Bergman (indeed, the famed director lived nearby) – wild, romantic, filled with brutal beauty.
A high-speed ferry or plane from the Swedish mainland takes you to the medieval city of Visby, a UNESCO World Heritage site surrounded by ancient stone walls. From there, it’s a 45-kilometer drive to the hotel, during which the landscape becomes progressively weirder and wilder. Finally, a striking gray structure rises before your eyes: the Fabriken Furillen, a lime factory and eco-friendly design masterpiece created by photographer Johan Hellström.
Inside, you experience a warmly welcoming interior that utilizes modern Scandinavian design and incorporates the myriad shades of gray and white found in the surrounding landscape. In the restaurant, formerly the factory workers’ canteen, heavy chains still hang from the ceiling. Sleep in a grand studio, a spacious suite, or one of 14 double or twin rooms, where you’ll enjoy a magnificent view of the Baltic Sea or the quarry’s dramatic gravel hills. Alternately, find perfect solitude in one of two electricity-free hermit cabins on the peninsula’s southern tip.
Once you’re settled in, go exploring: visit the fishing hamlet of Lergrav, take a ferry to the island of Fårö and experience the surroundings that inspired director Ingmar Bergman, or traverse the hidden reaches of the peninsula on a “Sheppskult” bicycle, provided free of charge. Afterwards, enjoy a meal in the restaurant, prepared with local and seasonal ingredients fresh from the hotel’s own farm.
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