Grythyttan, Sweden: Part two of four great little places

Grythyttan, Sweden was once a ghost town until a flamboyant entrepreneur with ambitious vision literally turned the entire village into a hotel.  Today it is an Photo: Grythyttan’s Gästgivaregård

CHARLOTTE, September 22, 2011— One of the great joys of travel is the serendipitous magic of finding a destination that you overlooked in your guidebook.  Join me on Part two of a series focusing on four great little places that I regard as “treasures of discovery” from my many years of travel.

Grythyttan, Sweden:  I like to think of Grythyttan, Sweden as the town that became a hotel.  Located about slightly less than 200-miles NW of Stockholm, Grythyttan became a ghost town until revitalization efforts began. 

As a place to stable horses for travelers going to and from Stockholm, the small town of Grythyttan thrived during the 17th century providing a midpoint along the road to the silver mines in the area. Grythyttan’s Gästgivaregård (roughly translated to mean “guest house”) became a popular inn that became known throughout the country and a variety of other businesses supported both the Inn’s guests and those that traveled through on their way to points beyond.

By the end of the 60s, the inn was in such a state of disrepair that it was scheduled for demolition until the local heritage society intervened and saved it at the 11th hour.  Enter a flamboyant, 26-year old, antique dealer named Carl Jan Granqvist and the reputation of Grythyttan quickly returned to its former grandeur.

In the spring of 1973, Grandqvist reopened the hostelry, comprising of 22 buildings with 60 rooms and suites, each exquisitely filled with antique furniture and art.  The buildings dungeon was converted into a candlelit wine and cheese cellar.

For 25-years Grandqvist managed the property with such style that the town soon became the “inn” place for the rich and famous to find a relaxing respite.  With his well-deserved reputation as one of Sweden’s finest gourmands and wine connoisseurs, the flashy entrepreneur would frequently entertain guests during summer months with free chamber music concerts at his villa just outside of town. 

To accomplish this, Grandqvist provided complimentary accommodations to members of the Stockholm Philharmonic who performed in the evenings for guests and villagers alike.

Grythyttan is roughly shaped like a large roundabout with roads radiating like spokes of a wheel from the central section of town into other areas of the region. The main inn is situated on a wide spot of one of the country roads leading into town. Rooms, now found in the villages stables, haylofts, blacksmith shop and other buildings of this once prosperous town, are scattered throughout the property.

Though Carl Jan Grandqvist no longer adds his personal touch to Grythyttan’s Gästgivaregård, his personality survives in this tiny town that became a hotel.

If Grythyttan’s Gästgivaregård is on your itinerary, be sure to arrive in mid-afternoon.  Enjoy the spa.  Wine and dine in elegance. Spend the night.  Savor the magic.

For me, discovery is one of joys of travel.  These are a few of my favorites, but I am always looking for more.  Travel to lose yourself, and find yourself instead.

Peabod is Bob Taylor, owner of Taylored Media Services in Charlotte, NC, founder of The Magellan Travel Club which creates and escorts customized tours to Switzerland, France and Italy for groups of 12 or more.  Inquiries for groups can be made at  Taylored media has produced marketing videos for British Rail, Rail Europe, Switzerland Tourism, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council, the Finnish Tourist Board, the Swiss Travel System and Japan Railways Group among others.  As author of The Century Club book, Peabod is now attempting to travel to 100 countries or more during his lifetime.  To date he has visited 67 countries.  Suggest someplace new for Bob to visit; if you want to know where he has been, check his list on Facebook.  Bob plans to write a sequel to his book when he reaches his goal of 100 countries.

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Bob Taylor

Bob Taylor has been travel writer for more than three decades. Following a career as an award winning sports producer/anchor, Taylor’s media production business produced marketing presentations for Switzerland Tourism, Rail Europe, the Finnish Tourist Board, Japan Railways Group, the Swedish Travel & Tourism Council and the Swiss Travel System among others. He is founder of The Magellan Travel Club ( and his goal is to visit 100 countries or more during his lifetime.


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