Cottage on Blidö, near Stockholm
East of Sweden’s capital is the Stockholm archipelago, where islands calve into the Baltic. Reached via two ferries, Blidö is one of the furthest out, an airy place of woods, hedgerows, rye fields and timber houses. Among the latter is this two-person studio cottage, right on the water. Its bright interiors include a conservatory – perfect for watching the sunset – and a sauna, while outside, canoes are tied to your own private jetty, and there are bikes to pedal around, watching for roe deer.
• £77 a night, minimum two nights, homeaway.co.uk, ref 1987453
Less far-flung but similarly rustic is Grinda island. Just back from the sea, an attractive “cabin village” has 27 units in various sizes among apple trees. Each cabin has a private patio, simple kitchen and barbecue, with shared shower units and water taps close at hand. Visitors can rent kayaks, hike through meadows on a nature trail, and swim; seal-watching trips and petanque games demand less adrenaline. Most restful of all is the nearby Hotel Wärdshus’s floating sauna.
• Cabin for four from £110 a night, grinda.se
Kolarbyn Eco-Lodge, Västmanland
Hidden under turf and grass, Kolarbyn’s charcoal huts, 30 miles from the city of Västerås, scream fairytale. They forgo electricity or running water in favour of old-fashioned pleasures: you drift off in front of a log fire and awake to birdsong. Beds are inflatable mattresses with sheepskin rugs, and guests chop their own wood and pick their own blueberries. Guided activity options in the surrounding spruce forest include overnight beaver safaris.
• Hut for two from £90 a night, kolarbyn.se, activities extra
Boström Cottage, near Strömstad
West Sweden’s new Meet the Swedes scheme allows tourists to chum up with friendly locals and benefit from their neighbourhood knowledge. Those who rent Maria and Sture Boström’s summer house on Rossö island, for instance, can accompany the couple on hikes or kayak trips, or simply share a barbecue. They offer fishing and golf recommendations, too. Although the cottage has a kitchen and garden, it has no hot water and the toilet is outside.
• A week’s stay for two from £264, meettheswedes.com
Lapplands Pärla, Lapland
The name means Lapland Pearl, and this pretty property borders a lake and reindeer farm deep in northern Sweden. Tenants can fish for perch, trout and grayling, and have a small, sandy beach, a skiff and two bikes to themselves. The one-bedroom cottage has a sauna and kitchen, but most tempting is the light-filled, cushion-covered conservatory. Bring an eye mask if visiting in summer, as the midnight sun can make sleep difficult.
• A week’s stay from £308 for two, lapplandsparla.se. Book on stugknuten.com, ref 16648
Svinoya Rorbuer, Lofoten Islands
Crimson-painted fishermen’s cabins are a traditional feature of northern Norway’s wild Lofoten archipelago. Sample one of these stilted rorbu – timber-built and each boasting modern kitchens, lounges and nice bathrooms – in the cod-fishing town of Svolvær. Try surfing lessons and deep-sea rafting before scoffing whisky-marinated Arctic char and cloudberry cheesecake at the quayside Børsen Spiseri fish restaurant.
• Rorbu for four from £140 a night, svinoya.no
Grande Hytteutleige, Geirangerfjord
Waterfalls, vertiginous green slopes and a meandering, idyllic waterway explain why Unesco-protected Geirangerfjord is one of Norway’s premier tourist spots. Overlooking it – and positioned just off the hairpin-happy Eagle Road – are Grande Hytteutleige’s five simple cabins. Bedding, fridges and a patio are included, but showers and toilets are in a separate building, 10 metres away. Kayaks and motorboats are available for rent, with scenic hiking paths heading into the hills.
• Two-bedroom cabin from £84 a night, grande-hytteutleige.no
Breidablik Cabins, Bergen
The Norwegian Trekking Association maintains 460 cottages, huts and other accommodation around its thrilling countryside. While some are basic, others are quite stylish. With a Game of Thrones-vibe and open until mid-September, Breidablik’s two stone cabins (sleeping 10 altogether – you pay per person and may not have it to yourselves) have grass roofs and come with crockery, blankets and firewood. The views of forested valleys are magnificent, with lots of peak-bagging options all around. Be sure to reserve ahead.
• £22 a night members, £32 non-members, ut.no, ref 3.1717
Bøyum Camping Cabins, Sognefjord
Norway’s largest waterway is the Sognefjord, and this family-owned campsite is near its southern end. Cabins have kitchen, shower and toilet. There’s free Wi-Fi, too, but you’ll probably be far too busy admiring Jostedalsbreen, continental Europe’s largest glacier. Other local activities include salmon fishing and, rather improbably, beach volleyball.
• Cabin for two from £75 a night, including bed linen, boyumcamping.no
Oslofjord Cabin, Oslofjord
The Oslofjord curves round from the Norwegian capital towards the Baltic. One of its largest islands is gentle-paced Brønnøya, with its apple orchards, gravel roads and beaches. This attractive waterside cabin sleeping six is shrouded in plants and has a bright, white-walled kitchen and three bedrooms. There are bikes and board games to use, and access to a tennis court. Oslo is 15 minutes away.
• £57 a night, airbnb.co.uk/rooms/10335621
Fossatun Camping Pods, west Iceland
Budget alternatives don’t come much quirkier. Each dinky camping pod has a bedroom and lounge area, plus electricity, radiators, Wi-Fi and proper mattresses. Guests also have access to a cooking cabin, hot tubs and a restaurant that overlooks a waterfall and sometimes doubles as a recording studio for owner Steinar’s band. All around are rivers, lakes and mountains, linked by footpaths.
• Pod for two from €50 a night with bed linen and towels, fossatun.is
Krysuvik, north-east Iceland
Swiss-designed and sleeping six, Krysuvik is one of several houses on Nollur Farm, facing the expanse of Eyjafjordur, near Akureyri. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer sublime views of the vast fjord, with Wi-Fi, spacious hot showers and a black stone bathroom scoring extra luxury points. Nearby Polar Hestar farm runs riding tours on pony-like Icelandic horses.
• From €130 a night, minimum stay two nights, nollur.is
Brimnes Cabins, north Iceland
At the Brimnes Hotel estate, every oh-so-Nordic bungalow (sleeping four or seven) has a private veranda and outdoor hot tub facing lake Olafsfjardarvatn. TVs, bathrooms, appliance-happy kitchens and Wi-Fi are on hand, and the hotel restaurant and bar are nearby. Humpback whale-watching cruises depart daily from Dalvík, 10 miles south.
• Bungalows for four from €139 a night, brimnes.net
Brennistaðir Berghylur Cottage, west Iceland
Brennistaðir farm has three cottages – plus camping pitches – amid its fields, manor, sheep, goats, horses and pet rabbits. Each roomy retreat sleeps five, and has a patio and lounge, but only Berghylur backs onto a waterfall. Farm tours are happily provided, as is sage advice on how best to tackle the dramatic Snæfellsnes peninsula, a short drive away.
• From €67 a night, booked on bungalo.com/property/516
Ferðaþjónustan Mjóeyri, east Iceland
Saevar and Berglind oversee guesthouse rooms and wooden cabins sleeping four or six, including spacious two-storey ones with balconies, kitchens and TV. They also organise tours galore: caving, salmon fishing, hiking, birdwatching. Or take a historical trip, swotting up on east Iceland’s involvement in the second world war. There are motorboats for hire for further exploration.
• Six-person cabin from £143 a night mjoeyri.is
Fun, funky and – if filled to capacity – affordable, this eye-catching home is formed of nine cylinders fused to form a three-bedroom villa for six. The interiors have wood, steel and pebble floors, and beds are in snugs with large windows. Their view is of sandy Råbylille beach, just one reason why tourists are lured to the southern island of Møn. Others include fish-smoking restaurants art galleries, chalk cliffs and tranquil meadows.
• From €1,200 a week, hausaufmoen.de
Cabin at Gjerrild Nordstrand, east Jutland
Taking the family to Denmark? Few sites are better set up for little’uns than Gjerrild Nordstrand on the Djursland peninsula. It packs in two playgrounds with trampolines, plus a beach-volleyball court and heated kids’ and adults’ pools. Grenå Beach, one of Denmark’s best, is only 300 metres away. Among the secluded cabins, opt for the well-furnished three-bedroom red one (sleeping six) and enjoy its hot tub.
• From €349 a week, novasol.com, ref D71471
Despite being nearer to Sweden, the idyllic island of Bornholm is firmly Danish territory. Lucky glampers can enjoy its beech woods, organic liquorice and sandbars by booking into one of Stavehol’s spacious bell tents (sleep four). Light-filled by day, they’re romantic at night, thanks to lanterns and wood-burners. Try to pack light: a proliferation of clothing and glassware designers, jewellers and potters means Bornholm has good shopping.
• From £60 a night, stavehol.dk. There are daily flights from Copenhagen to Bornholm in summer
Bindslev Holiday Home, north Jutland
Denmark’s northern extremity has high-duned North Sea beaches and sleepy fishing villages such as Tversted, known for its German bunkers, knitwear shops and nearby eagle reserve. It is also home to Det Blå Ishus cafe, whose ice-creams are topped with meringue foam. Canoeing is readily available. Bindslev cottage sleeps four in two bedrooms and has fireplaces, rugs and cool hanging lights in its warm pine surrounds.
• From €220 a week, danishholidayhomes.com, ref 30983000
Private Pool House, Copenhagen
Want to be close to Copenhagen? This splashy option for two people is only half an hour away by public transport, although its sleepy Søllerød Lake setting makes that hard to believe. Woodland tennis courts and a golf course are nearer still, while across the water is Michelin-starred restaurant Søllerød Kro. A rowing boat stands ready – supposing you can resist the large pool, that is. The digs include a double bed, kitchenette, bathroom and Wi-Fi.
• £74 a night, airbnb.co.uk/rooms/1219843