Typically, when you ask Swedes where in Sweden they would most like to go on holiday, they get melty-eyed and talk about Lake Siljan. It’s understandable – the area combines lush green landscapes, outdoor activities, a rich tradition of arts and crafts, and some of the prettiest villages in the country. It's the loveliest part of the already lovely region of Dalarna, source of the ubiquitous painted-wooden-horse souvenirs.
Though Lake Siljan is the picture of tranquillity now, 360 million years ago it felt Europe’s largest meteor impact. Crashing through the Earth’s atmosphere, the giant lump of rock hit with the force of 500 million atomic bombs, obliterating all life and creating a 75km ring-shaped crater.
The area is a very popular summer destination, with numerous outdoor festivals and attractions. Maps of Siljansleden, an excellent network of walking and cycling paths extending for more than 300km around Lake Siljan, are available from tourist offices for Skr20. Another way to enjoy the lake is by boat: in summer, M/S Gustaf Wasa runs a complex range of lunch, dinner and sightseeing cruises from the towns of Mora, Rättvik and Leksand. Ask at any tourist office or go online for a schedule.
The big summer festival Musik vid Siljan is held in venues around the lakeside towns in early July; look for schedules at tourist offices.
Check out the Siljan area website (www.siljan.se) for lots of good information.