Five Amazing Hiking Destinations in Sweden
Sweden has an abundance of natural beauty, and if you happen to visit the country exploring its many formations, sights, and trails is a must. Especially during warmer weather, there’s little more awe-inspiring and adventurous than heading out on a hiking trip across one of Sweden’s famous long distance trails. As you wonder at the scenery around you, you’ll also get to take in the rolling landscapes, lush evergreen forests, lakes with pristine water, and the fresh air that only the mountainous wild can provide. If you’re ready to throw a rucksack over your shoulder and strap on your boots, here are five incredible places to go hiking in Sweden.
One of the most legendary hiking destinations in Sweden in Kungsleden, which stretches 275 miles from Abisko Mountain Station to Saami Village. The name Kungsleden means “The King’s Trail”, and it’s one of Western Europe’s last vast wildness areas that’s remained largely untouched. Kungsleden falls about 100 miles inside of the Arctic Circle and includes tundra, enormous glaciers, towering birch forests, and the highest peak in all of Sweden, the 6,926 foot high Mount Kebnekaise.
This is no easy trail to take on, but it’s definitely an outdoor lover’s ultimate adventure. It’s especially neat that over the years small huts have been placed along the trail, each about a day apart, and those who are trekking through are free to take refuge in the cozy hideouts. Crossing the big rivers along the way is made easier by strong suspension bridges, and hiking Kungsleden from north to south will give you the most warmth from the sun. A round trip through this trail takes three to five days to complete.
2. Padjelanta Trail
Padjelanta Trail is over 93 miles long and lies in one of the furthest points in Northwestern Sweden. It ranks among the most gorgeous hiking destinations in Sweden because of it’s fascinating buildings and scenic views. If you’re looking to integrate a cultural experience on your hiking trip, this is the perfect pick because it encompasses a number of villages between Ritsem and Kvikkjokk. Padjelanta is Sami for “highland”, and this particular trail passes through points where native Sami people settle during the summer so their reindeer can graze.
Those curious about how the Swedish delicacy smoked arctic char tastes will find plenty of spots to sample it along the trail, and there’s no end to the exciting gems that you’ll discover. Carry along a good amount of supplies, plan to spend at least ten days for a round trip hike, and you’ll be good to go.
One of the best hiking destinations in Sweden that’s close to Stockholm is Upplandsleden, which is also near Uppsala. Also known as Uppland Trail it goes over 248 miles long, so people don’t typically try to hike the entire length of the trail. However, there are many rustic cabins and lovely places to stay in the immediate area, so seeing even part of Upplandsleden can easily be turned into a weekend getaway.
What’s amazing about this trail is the scent of the pine forests that hangs in the air — it’s truly magical combined with the look of the villages, pastoral landscapes, and historic windmills serving as a backdrop. You’ll want to take tons of pictures during your hike, so work in enough time to do so.
There are prominent orange trail markers along the way, so this is a good option for those who are intermediate hikers or those who aren’t super comfortable with navigation. As long as you have good quality hiking boots or shoes you’ll be able to complete this trail just fine, and no technical gear is required. There are cabins around the area that are free to use, as well as rest stops, fire pits, wind shelters, and great places for swimming.
4. Hoga Kusten Trail
Land uplift is a natural phenomenon where the land rises steadily over time. That’s exactly what has happened in Vasternorrland county, which has risen by over 328 yards since the Ice Age. The more than 186 mile long Hoga Kusten Trail passes right through Vasternorrland, and it’s the only long distance coastal hiking trail in Sweden. One of the highlights of Hoga Kusten Trail is Skuleskogen National Park, which has majestic glaciers and peaks, is on the Gulf of Bothnia, and contains a striking rock canyon.
Hoga Kusten Trail begins in Hornoberget and runs to Ornskoldsvik on the north end. Most hikers opt to complete the trail in segments, and it takes about a week to go through the entire thing. Fortunately, Hoga Kusten Trail is situated close by E4 highway so it’s easy to get to by car.
If you hike Hoga Kusten Trail during the summer you’ll notice that there’s a lot of celebrations going on. Urkult is one of them, which is a folk and world music festival that’s sort of like Sweden’s version of Woodstock. In addition to hiking you can also enjoy climbing, kayaking, and horseback riding while you’re in the area.
It’s true that the bulk of the epic hiking destinations in Sweden are located in the northern part of the nation. There’s much to see and do in that part of the country, but there are some great places to go hiking in Southern Sweden as well. The top trails in the south are contained within Skaneleden. It’s in the southernmost county in Sweden and is a combination of four separate hiking routes. In all, Skaneleden is over 621 miles long.
One of the great things about hiking Skaneleden is you’ll have many options to choose from. If you want a challenging hiking trip, take one of the week long routes. If you’re more into day trip hikes you’ll find gorgeous scenic routes that are perfect for that as well. Skaneleden runs north-south, and the southern portion of the trail goes through Dalby Soderskog, which is the Skane region’s oldest national park. Fans of bird watching will definitely want to stop by there, as it contains an incredible array of bird species due to the deciduous forests that cover the area.
Lead image by Cody Duncan