Three of Sweden’s best trekking trails
From north to south, we’ve rounded up three of our favourite home-turf trails.
Did you know Sweden is the third largest country – by area – in the EU? But with just over 10 million people there’s a lot of space to move around in. Plus, 65% is covered by forest and thanks to our Right of Public Access law, known as Allemansrätten (find out more about what this law entails), you can pitch your tent pretty much anywhere. All this means Sweden is a trekker’s paradise. So it wasn't easy to pick just three trails, but eventually we managed it. Here are three of Sweden's best trekking trails, according to the Fjällräven team.
The High Coast Trail (Högakustenleden)
Best time to go: all year, but take snow shoes during the winter months
Landscape: Undulating, through forests and with ocean views
Highlight: Slåttdalsskreva, a deep and narrow crevice in Skuleskogen National Park
Sweden’s High Coast (Högakusten) has got to be one of the most beautiful parts of the country. OK, we’re biased, it’s where Fjällräven was founded and will always be our ‘home’. But it has a picture-perfect combination of deep, magical-feeling forests, a coastline indented with headlands and bays and rolling hills dotted with striking rocky outcrops. It’s no surprise the area is a Unesco World Heritage Site. Needless to say, you don’t want to forget your camera.
The High Coast Trail starts at Hornöberget in Lövvik in the south and runs to Örnsköldsvik in the north. It’s divided into 13 stages, ranging from a short 4km (the last stage), to 15km (stage 5). You can pitch your tent anywhere, but there are also small hotels and official campsites (with toilets and hot showers) along the way too.
The Kings Trail (Kungsleden)
Best time to go: all year, although avoid June and July if you don’t like mosquitos.
Landscape: lowland, mountainous and open plains.
Highlight: Passing Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise.
This one we know pretty well! Fjällräven Classic Sweden follows part of the Kings Trail and the region was Fjällräven founder, Åke Nordin’s, favourite place to go trekking. Passing through no less than four national parks – Abisko, Stora Sjöfallet, Sarek and Pieljekaise – you really feel you’ve escaped to the wildness. You’ll see reindeer, moose, bird of all sizes, possibly even the elusive arctic fox. The scenery is dramatic: large, mirror-like deltas; expansive lowlands offering views for miles and miles; rows upon rows of mountains framing the landscape. There are forests, rivers, lakes and open plains.
You can start the Kings Trail either in Abisko or Hemavan depending on whether you want to walk north or south. You can camp wherever you want, but the Swedish Tourist Agency (STF) runs 16 cabins along the route, of varying sizes and facilities. There are roughly 10-20km between each cabin (or stuga in Swedish). However, between Kvikkjokk and Ammarnäs, the least walked part of the trail, there are no cabins so you’ll have to camp on this stretch.
The Skåne Trail (Skåneleden)
Best time to go: spring and summer
Landscape: lots of forests, but also coast, lakes and small towns and villages.
Highlight: The beach and headland combination around Ängelhom and Kulleberg.
Charming villages, fields painted emerald and gold, long, white sandy beaches, lakes hidden deep in the woods; gorges, sheer coastal cliffs and seemingly endless broad-leafed forests – Skåne’s landscape is stunning and incredibly varied. However, it’s often overlooked by tourists heading straight up to the wilds of the north. This is a shame. The landscape here is welcoming, accessible and gorgeous.
The Skåne Trail is unique in that it’s not, strictly speaking, a single trail. Rather it’s a network of interconnected trekking routes. There are five sub-routes: The Coast to Coast Route; The North South Trail; Ridge to Ridge; The Österlen Trail; The Öresunds Trail. The Coast to Coast Route is the longest at 370km with 25 sections. However, the most varied are probably the North South Route (325km) and the Östersund Trail (172km). Once again, you can camp pretty much wherever you like, but the beauty with the Skåne Trail is that there are plenty of villages and small towns to pass through with B&Bs, hotels and shops. This is one of Sweden’s largest farming areas, so there is plenty of great, locally-produced food to enjoy.
Images: Håkan Wike, Sarah Benton, Lisa Löwenborg