Natural Places in Sweden
There are many natural places in Sweden that are stunning. Such as, archipelagos, Biosphere Reserves, Nature Reserves, rivers, lakes and National Parks. We have listed some of the most beautiful natural places in Sweden that are simply breath-taking and definitely worth visiting. We don’t suggest to rush these places, rather take your time and spend a day there to relax and take it all in.
1) Biosphere Reserves and Archipelagos
A biosphere reserve is an ecosystem with plants and animals of special scientific and natural interest. The concept comes from UNESCO to help protect the sites. The idea is to promote the management and research of the ecosystem. This includes the sustainable use of natural resources. Anything taken from the ecosystem must deal the least amount of damage. Meaning Biosphere Reserves are undisturbed and are one of the greater natural places.
There are 4 Biosphere Reserves you could visit in Sweden.
In South of Sweden:
- The Rich Wetlands of Kristianstad (Kristianstads vattenrike)
- East Vättern Scarp Landscape Biosphere Reserve
- Blekinge Archipelago
- Gothenburg Archipelago
- Stockholm Archipelago
In the Centre south, centre and North of Sweden:
- Lake Vänern Archipelago and Mount Kinnekulle
- Lake Torne area
- The Nedre Dalälven – River landscape.
- The Northern Archipelagos in the Bay of Bothnia
If you want to head North to Lapland, then we suggest you to go to the centre of Sweden first. For example Dalsland or Värmland. Additionally, the province of Dalarna and Jämtland has many natural destinations, since it is not densely populated. One of the region’s highlights is the great outdoor resort, Åre. It is the most genuine place to go for skiing in the winter and MTB and hiking in the summer.
2) National parks and Nature Reserves
There are countless national parks and nature reserves in Sweden. We can’t list them all, so we will list our top picks.
- Sarek National Park. One of the oldest national parks in Europe and it is undisturbed, making it one of Sweden’s largest natural places. It is also adjacent to our next two picks, Stora Sjöfallet and Padjelanta. so you could visit all 3 in one go!
- Stora Sjöfallet National Park. Home of the great waterfall, Stour Muorkkegårttje. It is undoubtedly the most powerful and visually astonishing waterfall in Europe.
- Padjelanta National Park. It is fairly flat and open compared to the rest, so hiking through it is easier. The park shares its borders with Norway in the west. There is a vast plateau around 2 large lakes, Vastenjávrre and Virihávrre, which is often referred to as “the most beautiful lakes in Sweden”.
- Tiveden National Park. The park consists of mostly wild forest over rough terrain, and there is the Junker Jägare’s stone, which is a 15 meters tall boulder. Hiking through it will be a challenge.
- Nature Reserve Glaskogen. It includes over 300 km of hiking trails, perfect for those who like to hike. Some stay over a week just to hike and enjoy the lake. Lenungshammar is its center of operations. There you can camp, rent a canoe, rent cabins or wind shelters, have a picnic and find tourist information. To stay overnight in Lenungshammar or use the picnic facilities, you need to buy the Glaskogen card.
- Nature Reserve Hökensås. Hökensås is a very unique place. The landscape was formed as the inland ice retreated. It covers around 5200 hectares and includes both flat areas and steep ridges. There is a special hike tour following the traces of the ice age. You get to experience thousands of years of changing climate.
- Vindelfjällen Nature Reserve. It is a mountain landscape with glaciers, snow peaks and mountain heaths. You can spot reindeer, Arctic fox and gyrfalcon. It is the biggest natural reserve in Sweden and one of the largest protected areas in Europe.
- Sveaskog. Sweden’s largest forest owner and they welcome visitors to their Eco parks. They have a large selection of their finest forest areas that you can visit.
- Old-growth forests. You can find scarce old-growth forests mostly in the northern parts of Sweden. However, there are also patches of these unique woodlands in the center or south of Sweden.
Many of the nature reserves, such as Hökensås, and national parks, such as Tidveden, are close to Jönköping. One of the largest cities in Sweden with beautiful places for outdoor adventures, fishing and other activities.
3) Lakes and Rivers
- Lake Vastenjávrre and Virihávrre. Often said to be “the most beautiful lakes in Sweden”. The 2 lakes are located in Padjelanta National Park surrounded by a vast plateau and share its west border with Norway. It is undoubtedly picturesque and a great spot for picnics.
- Lake Vättern. 2nd largest lake in Sweden and it is a water protection zone. With Jönköping at its south point, you can enjoy its natural beauty from the city. You can easily spend a couple days exploring the East Vättern Scarp Landscape Biosphere Reserve and other wonders around it. There is plenty to do. But no worries, there are many camping sites next to Vättern with cabins.
- Lake Vänern. Vänern is the biggest lake in Sweden, and the third biggest lake in Europe. It was formed after a glaciation about 10,000 years ago. It is situated on the border between several provinces, and it is divided accordingly. There are many different fish species in the lake and is a hot spot for sport fishing. You can also visit Lake Vänern Archipelago and Mount Kinnekulle.
- Lake Storsjön. It is the 5th biggest lake in Sweden, with an area of 464 km2 and deepest depth of 74 m. Legends say that the Storsjöodjuret monster, similar to the Loch Ness Monster, lives in the lake. Every now and then there are reports of sightings, but no consensus on the description of the monster.
- River Klarälven. Klarälven is a very old river heading towards Vänern. It runs through the forests of Värmland and Norway. The evenly repeating curves created many sandy beaches at the beautiful riversides for a great day trip. It is also important for power generation as there are hydroelectric power plants in the river.
- River Dalälven. What is interesting about it is that looking at a map, it looks like it flows from the Bothnian sea into the land. But the fact is it flows into the Bothnian sea. Many consider the river to flow in the “wrong” direction! Truth is, some time during the ice age, the flow got changed. The northern/exit part is split into two rivers: Österdalälven and Västerdalälven. Plus you can visit The Nedre Dalälven – River landscape.
- River Torne. Not to be confused with the river of the same name in England. It is a river in northern Sweden and Finland. About half of its length defines the border between the two countries. So you can visit Finland while you are there and Lake Torne!
- River Ume. It is one of the main rivers in northern Sweden around 460 km long. River Ume also flows in the “wrong” direction. It runs through Vindelfjällen Nature Reserve and you can rent a timber raft to drift with the river. You can also drive or bike along it using E12, the “Blå vägen” (Blue road).
For inspiration on biking in unique landscapes check out the bike stops.
Bohuslän close to Gothenburg is great for rock climbing and coast-steering. Trad and crack climbing, travel around and look for different crags. You can also try boulder climbing.
Best way to experience it all
As we said in the beginning, the places are best experienced in a relaxed manner. We suggest to rent a motorhome from Stockholm or Gothenburg for your trip. Motorhomes allow you to stop wherever and whenever. You can park close to your activity without having to go to a campsite or find special parking spots. You don’t have to look for overnight places or worry about planning your travel and transportation. It is the most relaxing and eco-friendly way to travel around since It is both your transportation and hotel.
Jönköping is a good starting point for your northbound trip or if you are going to travel in the south or along the west coast in Sweden, then Gothenburg is a good starting point. The motorhomes are usually equipped with a bicycle rack for up to 4 bikes perfect for a natural holiday.
It is important to study the “Right of Public Access” act allowing you to park in the nature under certain conditions.
Outdoor cooking and open fires
During dry summers, there might be fire restrictions in almost all provinces and municipalities in Sweden. Some of these restrictions are still valid in some regions due to the dry grass and vegetation in the meadows and forests.
Many resorts on Go Nature Trip have their own safe outdoor cooking facilities or they offer other ways to enjoy outdoor cooking life. The rescue services, however, advise against all kinds of fire when there is a extreme drought.
For more information, please check responsible travelling recommendations.