In a globalised world, wherever you travel, and within Europe particularly, most elements of daily life seem at first glance very familiar.

But scratch beneath the surface and the subtle differences begin to reveal themselves, adding a new dimension to the adventure of travelling and reminding us that cultural differences are still alive and well after all.

One of these which strikes many first-time visitors to Sweden is The Great Double Duvet Mystery (and its counterpart, The Great Double Bed Mystery). Rent a cabin in Sweden, look closely at that beautiful bed in your lovely hotel room, or knock on the door of a friendly Swede’s house and ask politely if you can look in their bedroom, and you’ll soon discover something odd:

Where are all the double duvets? Where are all the double beds?

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Photo: archiproducts.com

Is this some hangover from Sweden’s socialist roots resulting in a bizarre national bedding shortage? Is there some stratospheric luxury tax on double-sized anything that makes these commodities the preserve of the super-rich?

Or (unfathomable horror of horrors!), could it be that the Swedes actually like it this way?

If so, well…um…surely it’s not very romantic, is it? I mean, I thought the Swedes were supposed to be saucy and quite fond of a bit of…um…nighttime exercise.

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Coming from the UK, where we have a proud and well-ingrained tradition of spending your nights scrapping furiously with your bed partner in a silent tug of duvet war and waking up at 3am with your unmentionables bared to the sub-zero atmosphere of your bedroom, this does seem strange indeed.

Look on any Brits-in-Sweden expat internet forum and you’ll find a post on this issue from someone who’s married a Swede without reading the small print (I’m one myself!) and got a bit of a shock when they came home to find a pair of single duvets lurking innocently side by side on the bed as if this were the most natural thing in the world. They panic and immediately seek reassurance from the cyberspace community that their new life partner hasn’t lost their mind.

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Fear not – it is normal, and it works just fine. The Swedes would argue that it’s by far the most natural arrangement – for cabin and hotel owners, any room can be adapted for use as a twin or a double; for couples, not only do you avoid the midnight duvet fight but also the saggy-meet-in-the-middle-mattress problem (though in homes and hotels you will often find a double mattress placed on two single frames).

And when it’s time to inject a little romance, well, if you’re going to let a couple of inches of feather-filled fabric stand in your way, then shame on you…

So please don’t despair when you arrive at your idyllic log cabin in the Swedish countryside and see the beds. Shrug your shoulders, think “When in Rome…” (or Stockholm), and give it a go. Who knows, you may even be converted!

Sweet dreams!

Best regards

Bob from The Nature Travels Team

Sofia from Nature Travels shares her top tips for enjoying Sweden’s capital, the “Venice of the North”.

I grew up in a small town Waxholm (also spelt Vaxholm), 45 minute bus ride from Stockholm, and have spent many days shopping, meeting friends and hanging out around the capital. These are my tips for what not to miss when spending a few days there.

Boat trip

The fact that Stockholm is built on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges makes a tour by boat something of a given. There are many sightseeing boats that will take you on a guided tour around the waterways of the city.

If you have some more time on your hands, it’s worth taking one of the archipelago boats and exploring some of the 30 000 islands that make up the Stockholm Archipelago. Strömma Kanal Bolag has different cruises in the archipelago.

VaxholmAnother option is to take a day tour to Waxholm (the town where I grew up). It’s an idyllic archipelago town with many well-preserved wooden houses from the turn of the last century, painted in the archipelago’s typical delicate pastel tones. Waxholm has numerous charming restaurants, cafés and shops.

Waxholm is easily accessible year-round, by Waxholmsbolagets boat traffic or by bus, If you take the bus, the trip is covered by Stockholm’s public transport service and so is also included in the Stockholm Card. Why not take the boat one way and then the bus back?

Djurgården

Another thing to do in Stockholm is to visit the green island of Djurgården. It is beloved by both Stockholmers and tourists. Djurgården is a calm oasis. There are fine areas to stroll in and to have a picnic. Djurgården is also home to several of the city’s top museums and attractions (including Skansen and the Wasa museum described below), as well as enjoyable cafés and restaurants.

Skansen

skansenSkansen is an open-air zoo and museum. Here you can stroll through five centuries of Swedish history, from north to south. As a zoo, Skansen is primarily devoted to showing Scandinavian animals. Some 75 different species and breeds of Scandinavian animals are represented.

As an open-air zoo and museum, it’s probably most enjoyable in summertime, but is open for visitors all year around and in early December the site’s central square is host to a popular Christmas market.

Vasa museum

The Vasa Museum is a maritime museum located on the island of Djurgården. The museum displays an almost fully intact 17th century ship, the 64-gun warship Vasa, that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. The showpiece is the ship itself, which is simply magnificent. To look up, or down, at a ship that is almost 400 years old and is essentially in its original state is a fantastic experience.

Södermalm

SodermalmSödermalm is the old working class area of the city, which has turned bohemian chic. Södermalm has a lot of cafés, restaurants, bars and rows of boutiques with a mix of vintage, independent labels, and Swedish mainstream designers.

The vibe in the streets of Södermalm is relaxed, creative and trendy, especially in the Sofo area (South of Folkungatan). SoFo is a play on the acronym SoHo (South of Houston Street, in Manhattan).

In the warm months, Nytorget Square is a bustling social scene. The last Thursday of every month is called SoFo night, where retailers are open until 9pm and offer free entertainment and refreshments to shoppers.

Gamla Stan

Gamla stanGamla Stan, the Old Town, is one of the largest and best-preserved medieval city centres in Europe, and one of the foremost attractions in Stockholm.

All of Gamla Stan is like a living pedestrian-friendly museum, full of sights, attractions, restaurants, cafés, bars and places to shop. The narrow, winding cobblestone streets, with their buildings in so many different shades of gold, give Gamla Stan its unique character. Even now, cellar vaults and frescoes from the Middle Ages can be found behind the visible facades, and on snowy winter days the district feels like something from a storybook.

Västerlånggatan and Österlånggatan are the district’s main streets. In the middle of Gamla Stan is Stortorget, the oldest square in Stockholm.

Drottninggatan – Sergels Torg

KulturhusetThe City area of Stockholm is where the big department stores are and a lazy shopper’s paradise. Sergels Torg is a sunken pedestrian plaza with a triangular pattern (colloquially referred to as Plattan, “The Slab”) and a wide flight of stairs leading up to the pedestrian street, Drottninggatan. Drottninggatan (“Queen Street”) is a major pedestrian street. The majority of the street is car-free and lined-up with numerous stores and shops.

Kungsträdgården

Kungsträdgården (Swedish for “King’s Garden”) is a square/park in central Stockholm. It is colloquially known as Kungsan. The park’s central location and its outdoor cafés makes it one of the most popular hangouts and meeting places in Stockholm. It also hosts open-air concerts and events in summer, while offering an ice rink during winters.

I think that covers it! Those are my my tips – writing this makes me want to go strolling around the streets of Stockholm – hmm, I think a trip to Stockholm might be on the cards for me this spring!

Sofia

Nature Travels

Bob from Nature Travels muses on his recent experience of booking a hotel room…

In April this year, Sofia and I are going to the Azores to spend 10 days as volunteers on a whale and dolphin research project – we’re very much looking forward to it. The flight connections mean that we need to spend an overnight in Lisbon en route, so we decided to make the most of it and spend two nights there.

Next step was to find a place to stay, and in my Google search I quickly arrived at a well-known hotel booking website. Hard as it may be to believe, it was my first time there.

And so my search began. I was presented with a wide range of options which were easily searchable/comparable and accompanied by attractive images and useful descriptions, the reservation process was smooth and painless, and in no time at all I had secured my room in Lisbon and had my confirmation in my inbox. I’d been on the site about 10 minutes, and the job was done. Hooray!

So why on earth was I left feeling so rattled, on edge and plagued with a gnawing sense of dissatisfaction?

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I sat back to ponder on how I’d spent this 10 minutes of my life.

What’s clear is that the booking experience was an almost perfect exercise in persuading me to make a decision to purchase. The very best that marketing theory, consumer psychology and shopping cart design can offer had been unleashed on me to make sure that I didn’t leave without handing over my card details, and in the face of such an onslaught, I’d found I was frankly powerless to resist.

Throughout my time on the site, my screen had been filled with little pop-ups and messages giving stats relating to my search, “There are just 2 rooms left for your chosen dates”, “Don’t delay! 66% of our accommodation in Lisbon is now booked for the dates you are viewing”, “20 other people are currently viewing this hotel for your chosen dates”, “The last booking made for this hotel was 15 minutes ago from Germany”….and on they went.

The messages quietly but very effectively ramped up the pressure as I browsed, until by the end they had whipped me into a frenzy of uncertainty, desperation and self-doubt and I was a quivering wreck, silently screaming, “Just let me pay! Take my card details now and get me a room before it’s too late!” Delaying a minute longer would surely mean I’d be forced to choose the only overpriced flea pit still left with a space.

stress3

Am I exaggerating? Well, maybe a little. But I realised that what had been missing from the process of choosing and booking this important piece of my holiday had been any sense of fun or enjoyment. I have no doubt that, when we arrive in Lisbon, the hotel will be just fine, and I certainly can’t fault the efficiency of the booking process or the price I paid. But had I enjoyed choosing it? No. Was I now looking forward to enjoying the product I had purchased? Not at all. When the last card number was entered and “Book now” button pressed, all I felt was a palpable sense of relief that it was all over.

Is there something special about purchasing a holiday compared to other products? What is the purpose of a travel website – simply to facilitate the process of choosing and booking a component of your trip as quickly as possible? If so, then the website I used did its job almost flawlessly. Or is the planning and the dreaming part of the fun, extending that precious holiday feeling to make arranging the trip an integral part of the enjoyment? Should we really be using the same approach to buying our holiday as we do to renewing our car insurance?

Nature Travels is of course also a travel company, offering products which we hope our guests will find attractive and wish to purchase. So is booking with Nature Travels any different? We would like to think so. We may never be able to match the technological sophistication of the website I used. But we would hope that the experience of researching, discussing, planning and (hopefully!) booking your holiday with us can be an integral part of the overall enjoyment of your trip, and perhaps heighten the sense of excitement and anticipation as you prepare for your adventure.

Oops, no more time to chat…my car insurance expires in a week…but just one final thought:

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Here are 10 reasons why winter is great and you should all embrace the cold season!

1) Beautiful views – nothing beats the magical wonder that is a blanket of snow or a crispy frost, pair that with a bright blue sky or a majestic sunrise/sunset and you don’t even have to get up at the crack of dawn or stay up past your bedtime to enjoy it!

scenery

2) Snow days – waking up to find a fresh layer of snow outside your window is always exciting, even more so if you go to school and discover that it’s shut and you have a surprise day off to play! Even if you’re not at school, the snow will bring out your inner child.

Wilkins-Wonderland

3) Get creative – whether it’s making a snow angel, building a snowman, or ambitiously attempting to build your own igloo, let your imagination run wild! Or just make snowballs and throw them at your friends.

emily-suamarez-igloo

4) Winter adventures – sledding, ice skating, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing, ski touring, ski bobbing, snowmobiling and end the day in a cosy log cabin in front of a fire. If it doesn’t snow much where you are then great news, it’s holiday season and a good excuse to go somewhere different and play in the snow!

snowshoeing

5) Ever seen snow under a microscope? – nature is amazing, that is all!

GodsSnowflakes

6) Log fires –whether it’s open, burner or a bonfire for Guy Fawkes, we all enjoy warming up in front of a crackling fire, especially if you have some marshmallows to toast.

log-fire2

7) Frosty walks – we don’t get much snow down here in Dorset but we enjoy a frosty morning walk. You can jump in freshly frozen puddles and the ground is so solid that you don’t get your wellies covered in mud.

frosty-bridge

8) Our winter wardrobe – an abundance of accessories, hats, scarves and gloves with every outfit and it doesn’t matter if you’ve got a little extra Christmas weight as all can be hidden under a massive jumper!

child-playing

9) Which leads nicely to winter food and drink – soups and stews take a front seat this season and it’s always great to come in from the cold and drink a hot chocolate to warm you up.

hot-chocolates

10) Hibernation – its not only hedgehogs and bears that want to sleep until winter! You might be feeling a little lazy this time of year but so is everyone else so you snuggle up in a blanket with your favourite book, guilt free.

book

10.5) And finally – the excitement of seeing snowdrops and daffodils for the first time and realising that spring is on the way!

So wrap up warm and get outside and play! Enjoy!

Check out our winter adventures here.

Tree decorationsJulgransplundring – “Christmas tree looting” is a tradition in Sweden that happens 20 days after Christmas, that is 13th January. Julgransplundring is traditionally when you “undress” and “throw out” Advent and Christmas decorations.

In connection to this, especially if you have younger children, you often arrange a small celebration. You dance around the Christmas tree and play various games: demolition/eating of gingerbread houses, raffle and opening filled Christmaimagess crackers (in Sweden you make your Christmas crackers yourself, fill them with candy and hang on the Christmas tree).

This happens both in people’s homes and daycare centres, schools and sports clubs.

The tradition has its origin from when originally you hung goodies, apples and snacks in the tree. The decorations were simpler then and you did many of the decorations yourself. So you raided the Christmas tree of goodies, and ate them up!

Once you’ve plundered the Christmas tree of goodies, you throw the Christmas tree out! It’s seen as an julpl3end of the long month of celebration which starts with First Advent and includes the Advent period, Lucia, Christmas and New Year.

So you loot the Christmas tree and throw Christmas out of the house! Until next year……

In Sweden, Christmas is celebrated in the afternoon and evening of the 24th of December. In the morning, many do the last Christmas preparations, then at 3pm the whole of Sweden sits down to watch Donald Duck on TV.

Disney on TVDonald Duck and his friends wishing you a Merry Christmas is an American TV-show that was first broadcasted on American TV in 1958 as an episode of the TV series “The Wonderful World of Disney”.

In Sweden, it has been shown on TV at 3pm on Christams Eve since 1960. The program ends with Benjamin Syrsa singing “When You Wish Upon A Star” (in Swedish of course).

Then often there is a knock on the door and Santa arrives to deliver presents to the children (and adults) who have been good over the year past. Read more about the Swedish Santa on our previous blog on the subject:

https://naturetravels.wordpress.com/2009/12/04/jultomten-swedens-santa-claus/

After presents have been opened, it’s time to eat the Julbord, special type of Swedish smörgåsbord, which is the standard Christmas dinner in Sweden! Julbord is a word consisting of the elements jul, meaning Christmas and bord, table.

Julbord

The classic Swedish julbord is filled with small dishes and you pick and choose your favourites – a traditional smörgåsbord starting with the cold food such as smoked salmon, pickeld herring, eel etc.and of course the Christmas ham! It’s a ham that has been cured and sometimes smoked and then cooked in the oven. It’s traditional in the Nordic countries to coat it with a layer of mustard mixed with eggs and breaded with breadcrumbs.

After the cold food, you move on to the warm food – small meatballs, pork ribs, sausages, potato, Janssons frestelse, boiled potatoes.

Both the cold and warm food are served together with soft and crisp bread, butter and different cheeses and beverages.

One beverage that needs to be mentioned is Julmust. Julmust is a soft drink that is mainly consumed in Sweden around Christmas. The rest of the year it is difficult to find. It was created to give a non- lcoholic alternative to beer. Must is made of carbonated water, sugar, hop extract, malt extract and spices. The hops and malt extract give the must a quality a little like root beer, but much sweeter. The Julmust outsells Coca Cola every year in Sweden as the main non-alcoholic drink.

There is also often dessert and candy as part of the Julbord. One dessert that is often chosen as a small late evening snack is Julgröt, Christmas Porridge! It’s nicer than it sounds!

One nice tradition is to put some gröt out for the house tomte (gnome, please see link about the Swedish Santa above). When I was small we always put some Christmas porridge out in the evening and in the morning we used to find an empty bowl and a small thank you note!

Merry Christmas everyone!

christmas rice pudding

 

The room is quiet and dark, from afar you hear singing. Slowly you hear the singing getting closer and closer…

Suddenly the room fills with light. A girl in a long, white gown with a wreath of candles burning on her head enters the room.  Behind her come a procession of people in white carrying, candles in their hands and singing together the Santa Lucia song….

On the 13th December, this Swedish tradition happens everywhere across the country.

In schools, in the town square, in day-care centres, in offices, in old people’s homes, in churches and even at home, parents often get woken up by short Lucia “trains” done by their children.

Lucia-1

I remember when I was fifteen, I was part of six Lucia “parades” that year. First in the morning, my sisters and I woke my parents up with singing and coffee in bed. Then I was part of the school procession  and as I sang in a choir, the choir were the “followers” for the town Lucia, so we went to two old people’s homes, the town square and the last one in the evening in the town church.

Lucia-2

Lucia is a very cosy tradition and one I really miss now when I’m living abroad, but we’ll definitely see the Lucia celebrations in Stockholm on the live broadcast in the office on Lucia morning and drink hot chocolate and eat Lussekatter.

Happy Lucia everyone!

Sofia from The Nature Travels Team

For more information on the Swedish Lucia tradition, please see our previous blog on this subject.

gavle-goat-day

The Yule Goat, or Julbock, is a traditional ornament made out of straw and bound with red ribbons that you will see it in many Swedish homes during the Christmas season. The Julbock is said to have originated from Thor and his two trusty goats and then traditions have subsequently evolved throughout the ages. One tradition involves him playing a supervisory role, overseeing the Christmas preparations are being held properly and neighbours would trick each other by sneaking the goat into each other’s houses to remind them that they are being watched, because the pressure of your mother-in-law visiting wasn’t stressful enough! More recently the Julbock is now thought to attract presents by placing it under the Christmas tree.

The most famous Yule Goat can be found in the town of Gävle. In 1966, the tradition started of building a giant version of the straw goat in the centre of the town in Castle Square. However, in the first year at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, the goat was burnt to a crisp and since then almost every year the Gävle Goat succumbs to some sort of misfortune. The poor thing only has only a 45% survival rate of it still standing by Christmas!

gavle-goat-snow

Over the years, the town has put many things in place to help the Gävlebocken survive until the New Year but even covering the straw goat with a flame resistant coating didn’t slow down Father Christmas and a gingerbread man setting him alight by shooting flaming arrows at him. However, going up in smoke isn’t the only thing he has to worry about. In the past the goat has collapsed after being sabotaged on a couple of occasions including after being crashed into by a Volvo. One year a helicopter even swooped down into Castle Square in an attempt to kidnap him!

Only escaping destruction a small number of times has without a doubt made the goat famous and people now place bets as to how long the goat will survive. I should probably mention that burning the goat is actually an illegal act and not welcomed by most citizens of Gävle, as one American found out when he attempted to burn the goat down after assuming he was following a Swedish tradition but ended up with jail time instead. A couple of years ago the police were on the case when someone posted a photo online of 4 tattooed ankles displaying the burning Gävlebocken but that wasn’t proof enough.

gavle-goat-burnt

Will this be a year the Gävle Goat survives? In the hope to deter potential vandals, this year the town is relocating their taxi rank into the square in order to bring more people into it. He will be set in position from 30th November and you can follow his twitter, blog, instagram and even his webcam to check on his progress or whether a calamity has occurred!

 

Sofia from Nature Travels joined our Husky Mountain Expedition in Lapland in March 2014.

It was going to be an eight day experience with six days’ dog sledding. There were six of us, me, two brothers from Belgium, a Swiss couple, Laura the dog handler from the kennel and Marcus, our guide.
The day after we arrived, we packed all the equipment, people, dogs and sleds into the trucks before we were ready to drive up to the mountains.

DSCF3921A

Once in the beginning of the mountain range, it was time to leave the cars behind and head off into the mountains by sled. For the first day we stayed in the lowland forest, and it wasn’t until the second day we started climbing. Both the second and third days there was a lot of uphill and when you added the work around the cabins in the evening, we all slept early those nights.

It is not only the dog sledding one needs energy for when on a dog sled tour of this kind. Every night when we reached a camp, we first set up the stake-out line for the dogs and then unharnessed the dogs and attached them to the line. Then we carried all our equipment to the cabins and went to fetch water from the lakes to be able to start to heat all the water we need to be able to feed the dogs.

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One of us also chopped the big blocks of dog meat we had with us into smaller pieces so they would defrost more easily once we put them in the hot water. Others went to chop the wood we needed for the evening to heat the cabin and for the sauna (in those cabins which had a sauna).

Then when the water was hot, it was time to feed all the 30 dogs we had with us and at the same time dig holes for them in the snow to protect them against the Arctic wind.

All the cabins along the route are used mostly by hikers in the summer and ski tourers in winter. We had mostly a separate little cabin to ourselves or at least a bedroom for just our group. All the cabins have a host, who runs a little store and makes sure that everybody that comes knows where the wood, water, etc is. Some of the cabins had sauna and connecting washing rooms, where you can wash yourself with hot water that has been heated on top of the sauna radiator. So on the days we had sauna we tried to have a wash and get clean before dinner, times in the sauna were allocated by gender.

Our last two days we got clear blue skies and sunshine and sledding on mostly downhill and flat and I could hear myself saying to myself, “This is what living life is about! This is quality of life!”

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Best regards
Sofia, The Nature Travels team

You can find out more information on the Husky Mountain Expedition in Lapland and see our full range of dogsled tours in Sweden and Norway on our website.

You can also read another account of the Husky Mountain tour here

 

Bob from Nature Travels travelled to Gothenburg and Bohuslän in West Sweden for 5 days in September 2014, and came home with a suntan!

Any opportunity to travel to the beautiful coastal region of Bohuslän in West Sweden is always welcome, so despite a brutally early start of 2am to catch the bus from Dorset up to Heathrow, I arrived at Gothenburg Landvetter airport feeling buoyant and optimistic for the days ahead.

The trip started well with a chat with the world’s friendliest taxi driver on the short ride into town, during which we skipped through subjects as diverse as English football (he was a Man Utd. supporter), his original home of Montenegro and the Swedish welfare system. He dropped me off at the Clarion Hotel Post right opposite the station, an imposing but nicely-converted hotel in the old city Post Office building which retains much of its original charm.

fish-church

The first 24 hours were eat-eat-eat, as we sampled the fantastic herring at Gabriel’s in the “Fish Church” (Feskekôrka), the traditional welcoming atmosphere of Styrsö Pensionat (I loved the cardamom-flavoured meringue!), a little oasis of calm on the island of Styrsö just a short boat ride from the city, and a delicious veggie risotto at Palace.

herring-at-gabriels

We attempted to burn off just a little of our excess calorific intake with a kayak tour of the city under the guidance of the lovely Ulrika from Point 65, though didn’t make much of a dent.

starter-at-styrso-pensionat

Kayaking is a great way to see Gothenburg – from gliding along beside the battleship and submarine floating museums to exploring the canal running through the city centre.

kayak-gothenburg-warships

Getting to drive a lovely old Volvo around town on the “Time Travel Sightseeing Tour” was also great and reminded me of my old Morris Traveller!

old-volvo

Next day it was out of the city and north to the coastal region of Bohuslän, where we spent the next four days glorying in some fantastic late summer sunshine. Barely a cloud in the sky for days, temperatures into the 20s and the sunlight painting beautiful shadows and reflections on the granite and gneiss formations of the coastline.

cardamom-meringue

The water and its rich bounty of seafood were an ever-present companion during our time at the coast – sumptuous lunches of freshly-caught crayfish and cod-related fish varieties, consumed at leisure while watching the ever-changing tapestry of coastal life.

fjallbacka

We explored the coastal towns of Strömstad and Smögen, very popular in the summer especially with Norwegian visitors, and the beautiful small village of Fjällbacka, home to and setting for the crime novels of Camilla Läckberg, now one of the world’s top-selling authors (we even met Camilla’s mum!).

smogen-2

No trip to West Sweden would be complete without a visit to the stunning islands of the west coast archipelago. The Koster Islands, Sweden’s first Marine National Park, are great for exploring by bike, provided free at the harbour and making it easy to get to the lovely café and organic garden at Kosters Trädgården.

koster-tradgard

We also liked the new network of “snorkelled” (snorkelling trails), self-guided underwater information boards linked by a rope trail to teach visitors about the rich marine life of the area.

styrso

The Weather Islands (“Väderöarna”), Sweden’s most westerly point, have a real “frontier” atmosphere and make a great base for kayaking day trips, where you can end the day’s paddling with a warm welcome at the comfortable guest house and a hot tub on the jetty!

weather-islands

While West Sweden itself is rich in wildlife, from harbour seals to seabirds, the endangered species breeding centre at Nordens Ark provided a fantastic opportunity to get up close and personal with some of Sweden’s harder-to-see animals from elsewhere in the country, including the mysterious wolf and charismatic wolverine.

tiger

The centre focuses on endangered species from outside Sweden too, and we had wonderful views of the Amur tigers and (a special treat for me) a chance to get unbelievably close to the snow leopards (never felt a snow leopard breathing in my face before – wonderful!) while learning about the valuable work of the centre from head guide, Pelle.

snow-leopard

After squeezing in a short hike along the varied shoreline of Bohus-Malmön (the very last section of the the 3-day IceBug Experience walking/running event, taking place for the first time this year), our last little adventure was a kayak tour from the town of Lysekil, well-placed to offer great kayaking right from the shore – we spent a happy couple of hours exploring the gorgeous smooth rocks and islands which pepper the coastline before returning to land for fresh mussel soup! And just before the bus left, a lightning tour of Havets Hus, a small but very interesting aquarium focussing on local marine species, including a rare blue lobster!

Then all too soon it was time to head south once more to Gothenburg for our journey home. I dozed on the plane with my mind full of impressions and snapshots from the trip – the tang of the salty air, the slap of the waves on the side of my kayak, the succulent softness and rich flavours of the fish and seafood, and the seemingly endless sunshine glinting off the rocks.

smogen

The Boshuslän region has its own very special atmosphere and its proximity to Gothenburg makes it very easy to discover. One of the real attractions of the area is that it offers something for everyone – if you want challenging, world-class sea kayaking with wild camping on your own deserted island, it’s there in abundance. If you just want to chill out with a bowl of crayfish soup and a glass of wine and watch the sun go down, you can do that too!

Nature Travels offers a number of activities in the Bohuslän area, including self-guided sea kayaking, guided sea kayaking (including tours in the Fjällbacka, Koster and Weather Islands regions) and self-guided hiking.

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Nature Travels is the UK specialist for outdoor experiences in Sweden. Please follow links below for details of our range of holidays in Sweden for independents, families and groups.

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