Borgvik is one of the best preserved industrial sites in Värmland, and a must see stopping place for culture, pleasure and accommodation along Unionsleden. At Kungskvarnen, you will be staying in the heart of the old industrial community, can park your bike outside your room, and eat in the 200-year old mill.
Cultural heritage on the shores of Lake Vänern
Borgvik is in a breathtakingly beautiful location on an inlet in the lake, and it feels wonderful to arrive in this cultural heritage site after a day in the saddle. You enter via a winding asphalt road past the old pulp mill, that is now an art gallery. You will catch sight of the jetty and the small harbour café next to it, and continue along an imposing avenue of poplar trees and oaks past rustic stone houses until you reach Kungskvarnen and what’s left of the old blast furnace. Here, in the heart of this cultural heritage listed idyll, you can rest, enjoy good food and explore Borgvik and its long and fascinating history. A farming couple, Anki and Niclas Lundsten, have run the hotel and Kungskvarnen restaurant for many years, and now live in one of the nearby houses.
“I love the atmosphere in Borgvik. Visitors find it so peaceful and relaxing. One of our guests from a big city complained that he couldn’t sleep because it was too quiet. We took that as a compliment,” says Anki with a smile.
Kungskvarnen in Borgvik
The very first mill in Borgvik probably dates from the 13th Century, and was powered by water from the Borgviksälven river that runs between Lakes Vänern and Värmeln. When Gustav Vasa seized all church assets in the 16th Century, the mill in Borgviken became a kungskvarn or ‘royal mill’. The current kungskvarnen dates from the early 19th Century. It is partly constructed of sintered bricks, a waste product from the blast furnace here, as are many of the other cultural heritage listed buildings in Borgvik. Today the ‘royal mill’ is a restaurant and conference centre. Overnight accommodation is available in the form of spacious hotel rooms with double rooms and family rooms in the building that was once the millworkers canteen, and later an inn. The long red timber building with 20 rooms including both single and twin bed rooms and bathrooms, is of a more recent vintage.
“As each room has its own entrance with space outside, it is ideal for bike tourists who want to keep their bikes in sight. You can park them right outside the door,” says Anki.
Local and regional produce on the menu
The Kungskvarnen restaurant is open to the public for meals and coffee throughout the summer season. The hotel is open all year and serves food for overnight guests and conference groups. Eating outside in fine weather, to the sound of rushing water and with the views of the old iron works, is hard to beat. The menu features popular classics such as wonderful pies, prawn sandwiches and delicious meat dishes including fillet of beef, game and burgers, all with a local touch. For example, the lamb burger patties come from Gotland sheep on the family’s own farm that graze in the fields around Borgvik. Could you get more local than that?
With a full tummy and your body rested after a good night’s sleep or an after dinner nap, you can take a contented stroll around Borgvik. Take a look round the blast furnace ruins and step into the local museum that tells the story of ironworking here between the 17th and early 20th Centuries. Steel from here was sent to Paris to build the Eiffel Tower. You can also check out the old forge, the store, antiques shop, kayak store and enjoy an ice cream from the harbour café by the lake. For a culture and nature experience, head to Sliperiet, a modern art gallery. Sliperiet Art Gallery in a former pulp mill, is run by Oscar Magnusson (son of Värmland legend and singer Sven-Erik Magnusson) and along with art exhibitions, has a gourmet restaurant. As tiny Borgvik can boast two wonderful restaurants in summer, Anki at Kungskvarnen suggests going on a bar crawl in the cooler evening after a hot summer day.
“You start with a glass of wine or something non-alcoholic here with us and stroll along the avenue to Sliperiet for another glass, or the other way round, before heading to bed. That is a delightful way to round off your day in Borgvik.”