If you love the outdoors, it is hard to find a country better suited to indulge your passion than Sweden. Sweden is an ideal location for outdoor and adventure holidays, whatever your age, interest or level of experience.
Sweden is a country which constantly challenges your preconceptions, and many first time visitors are amazed by the beauty and variety of its landscape, the overwhelming sense of quiet to be found in its truly wild places (Sweden contains some of the largest and last remaining areas of wilderness in Europe), and the wealth of possibilities the country offers as an outdoor holiday destination.
Within Sweden’s borders you can discover the peace of its huge expanses of forest, the barren beauty of the limitless mountain plains, mile upon mile of quiet beaches and the wonderful, accessible world of the archipelagos, remote yet just a short distance from the cultural attractions of the major cities.
From canoeing in the clear light of early dawn, to trip skating on the frozen sea, to snowshoeing expeditions under endless Arctic skies – Sweden has a great deal more to offer the outdoor enthusiast than you might imagine!
Perhaps the image that springs to mind when many think of Sweden is the majestic mountain world of Lapland, in the north of Sweden. Lapland is certainly well-known as a fairytale winter destination, but far fewer consider the excellent opportunities offered by the area for a summer adventure holiday. With (almost literally) unending daylight during the summer season, Lapland is a wonderful destination for a summer holiday. The well-marked trails and freedom to camp wild make it a paradise for hikers, from novices to seasoned trekkers. And if you would rather explore the wilderness on four legs, Lapland also makes a wonderful destination for a mountain horse-riding holiday!
Northern Sweden accounts for more than half the total area of the country, but just over 10% of its population live in this vast region. It is a world of extremes: extreme beauty, extreme nature, extreme seasons of light and darkness, but despite its remoteness, northern Sweden is easily accessible from mainland Europe – the wilderness is closer than you think!
The centre of the country is a land of contrasts – the rich cultural heritage of the capital, Stockholm, the economic heart of the country, sits comfortably alongside some of Sweden’s most scenic and wildlife-rich areas. Central Sweden is ideal for canoeing holidays, timber rafting on the wide meandering Klarälven river, or hiking and cross country skiing in the quiet mountains of Dalarna. It is also home to some of Sweden’s most fascinating large mammals, including the brown bear and the wolf.
Southern Sweden has a very difficult feel from the wilder and more remote areas further north. In the south you will find a patchwork quilt of attractive rural landscapes – less untamed than other parts of the country but with their own special charm, and a wonderful area for hiking, cycling or horse riding.
Nature and the Swedes
Nature is very important to the Swedish people – it is part of their heart and soul. Indeed, many common Swedish names are taken from the natural world. For example, “Bergman” (as in Ingmar Bergman) means “man of the mountains; “Björn” (as in Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA) means “bear”. Swedes have a very intimate relationship with the flora and fauna of their country, and most Swedes have a keen interest in the outdoors.
One product of this deep-rooted love of the natural world and the enjoyment of the outdoors is “Allmansrätten”, or the “Every Man’s Right”, system of public access. These laws allow the visitor a unique freedom to explore Sweden’s natural areas, including the freedom to camp wild. Of course, such freedom comes with the responsibility to protect and conserve, and Swedish children learn the principles of the Right of Public Access at a very early age.
At Nature Travels we have a portfolio of experiences which represent the breadth of outdoor holiday possibilities that Sweden has to offer. We work only with small-scale, locally-owned companies in Sweden, all of whom are deeply committed to ecotourism and know and respect the flora and fauna of the regions in which they operate. Sweden is a wonderful destination for wildlife, outdoor and activity holidays, and we feel that by committing strongly to the principles of sustainable tourism, the natural beauty of Sweden can be conserved and enjoyed for generations to come!
The Nature Travels Team