Road Trip Touring North-East Coast of Sweden by Motorhome

Touring Sweden by a motorhome

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Author: Eva Oscarsson

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Related links: https://gonaturetrip.com/destination/5-day-road-trip-touring-sweden-by-car/

Description: Follow me as I travel to the North of Sweden and visit the famous archipelagoes in a motorhome

What inspired me to take this road trip touring North-East Coast of Sweden by a motorhome to visit the archipelagos was more than the majestic scenery. I was brought up in a locality in the Greater Stockholm Region in Österåker, which is part of the region of Roslagen, so I had the archipelagos around the corner.

As a child, I would ride my bike to the closest public recreational water area – Österåkers havsbad (local seaside beach). From there, I can see the Bay of Trälhavet. It is a beautiful view of stretches of islands I will never forget.

I now live on the west coast, and I can easily take a ferry to the closest island in the Gothenburg archipelago. However, I must admit that despite its closeness I do not go as often as I would like. Nevertheless, when I get an invitation from my friends, Riitta and Carin, who have summer houses on the island of Orust and on the island of Koster, I jump into my car. The water, island, nature, hikes on foot and by bike, and the Finnish sauna have me totally hooked on archipelago life.

Since I have yet to go up to the coastline of Norrland or the east Swedish coastline, where much of the Swedish archipelago are.

Road Trip Touring North-East Coast of Sweden by Motorhome

Trip overview – The much beloved Swedish archipelago “Skärgården” and nature sites

  1. Day 0 – 1 & 7: Kalix – Swedish Lapland
  2. Days 2-4: Luleå – Luleå archipelago
  3. Days 5-6: Skellefteå – Bay of Bothnia

As you may or may not know, there are several different archipelago areas (see below). They are not only on the coasts, but also in many Swedish lakes. So, what is the Swedish archipelago a part from a cluster of scarcely populated islands?

The archipelago areas consist of both islands and parts of the coastal area, but there are several different definitions. The one that I found (on Glesbygdsverket) is that an archipelago refers to “islands along the coasts, as well as adjacent mainland areas”. Therefore, islands in larger lakes can be defines as archipelago.

archipelago sweden north east coast high cabin cottage rock

Six regions with archipelagos:

  • The coast of Norrland through the following counties; Norrbotten, Västerbotten, Väster- norrland and Gävleborg.
  • Stockholm, Uppsala and Södermanland
  • The counties Östergötland and Kalmar
  • The south coast, Blekinge and Skåne.
  • The archipelagos of the west coast counties of Västra Götaland and Hallands
  • Islands in large Swedish lakes, such Vänern, Vättern, Hjälmaren, Mälaren, Storsjön and Ivösjö.

My plan is to visit the ones on the north-east coast on this journey. I would travel along the coast, starting in Luleå, going up north towards Kalix and then down south to Skellefteå, then finally ending my motorhome trip in Luleå.

I could have hired a car, however, I wanted to really enjoy every part of the road trip. Instead of looking for a place to stay every night, I could just park my motorhome near the water or find a camping. This way, I would have more time to explore and admire the surroundings. If you need to rent a motorhome, you can rent from Skanditrip.

Day 0 – 1 & 7: Luleå

Luleå archipelago

They say that the archipelago of Luleå is one of the most beautiful Swedish archipelagos. There are more than 1312 islands full of unique birdlife and flora. On many of the islands, you can rent cottages, cabins, find hiking trails, book a sauna, and sit on a ramp to fish. Of course, you can go swimming too.

If you are looking for kayaking and canoeing, there are islands with kayak and canoe rental services. Otherwise, there is a wide selection of the nature reserves, such as Bockön, Kluntarna and the Likskäret nature reserve to hike in.

Luleå archipelago tour swimming jumping lake

Day 2 – 4: Kalix

The Lapland coastline up until the Bay of Bothnia

The archipelagos north of the polar circle are so magical. My mother and father told me stories of their summer visits to Kalix in Bay of Bothina. They kept on going back despite the distance and their advanced ages. There was something magical and soothing in Kalix they explained. The long summer night’s special light, the never-ending day, and it would feel as life would last a bit longer.

I know for sure that I need to spend some time up north. It has been a long time coming to get to know Norrland and the Swedish Lapland. So, most of my time will be spent touring on day 2 and 4, since it is the whole reason I am here.

When I continued north to Kalix, it was everything my parents decided and more. The ever-lasting lake fishing and the friendly northerners with their straightforwardness and hospitality won me over.

Kalix and its caviar

Kalix is a locality in the Bay of Bothnia. This is the spot where the River Kalix flows out into the sea. It is famous for its archipelago with 992 islands, and of course, the delicacy Löjrom (the Caviar of Kalix). Several of the islands outside Kalix are today protected nature areas, mainly nature reserves with a rich flora, water area and bird life. My selection of nature reserves are Malören (which has the shape of an atoll), Näverön, and Trustkär.

Here you can also find secluded beaches, sandbanks, old fishing villages, marinas, and heritage sites. A surprising plus for going this far up north in the summer is the outdoor swimming. Contrary to what you might think, swimming along the coastlines in the Swedish Lapland is nice and calm. It seems that in spite of the northern location, the never setting summer sun warms up the waters.

Norrland swedish Lapland north river trip

What to look out for when you travel to Norrland/Lapland

Outside the cities and towns of Lapland, such as Luleå, Skellefteå, Kalix and Haparanda, you will find stunning archipelagos with amazing sand dunes, bays with small harbors, old-growth forests and pure wilderness. On many of these islands you can see traces of old fishing communities.

It is humbling to see how people lived and worked in this stunning landscape, not only in the long summer nights, but in the wintertime, when it is cold and dark. The northern Swedish rivers and streams flows into the Baltic Sea, so one can easily combine marina life with stunning natural forests.

The islands, the closest ones to the mainland, might have bridges. What I am sure of is that you will find ferry services all over Sweden, especially in the summer time. Find out more about ferries and boat trips to the islands from the local tourist agencies or Google the name of the island and how to get there.

The recurring visitors to Lapland are?

Between mid-June to the end of July, it is a bit more crowded with Scandinavian and international visitors. Nevertheless, your most loyal companion will be the Northern hemisphere mosquitos or the black fly, in Swedish, the Knott (Simuliidae). There are around 60 different species of knott (Black fly), but the ”annoying” one is the black fly Ceratopogonidae.

It is well-known that in the Swedish north you will have to brace yourself for the knott in the period between mid-June to the end of July. So, go prepared with mosquito sprays.

In Lapland the conditions are perfect for this insect, with a humid and cool climate during the spring, summer and autumn. However, it can all be fixed with the right protection. Just ask the locals.

Skellefteå lake view sunset motorhome

Day 5 – 6: Skellefteå

The Bothnian Archipelago

The Bothnian archipelago stretches from Skellefteå to Haparanda at the Finnish border and it has brackish waters, as in the water is neither salt nor sweet. During the bright summer nights, there are many outdoor activities to do around the clock, depending on how adventurous you are.

This time I only toured Kalix and Skellefteå, as going to Haparanda was a bit too far. However, to give you a brief guide, Haparanda (in Swedish and Tornio in Finnish) are localities on each side of the Torne River. The location is a historical trading site. Haparanda skärgård, or the archipelago of Haparanda, consists of 652 islands. It is also a national park and the largest island in the national park is Haparanda Sandskär.

Skellefteå, islands and investments

Skellefteå is a locality that is becoming well-known due to the major investments that are taking place, such as a huge battery factory. With workers and consultants moving into the region, many believe that this will soon be a “hip place” in the Swedish north. The municipality also hosts a beautiful archipelago, the Skellefteå Skärgård.

There are 695 islands in total. Many of them welcome visitors with cottages, jetties, and saunas for hirere, as well as beautiful beaches, cliffs and marinas. You can check out the nature reserves, Bjuröklubb, Burehällorna and Skötgrönnan.

Skellefteå is a perfect place for the kinds of landscapes and sceneries to expect on this trip, and hopefully you can tell me which sights are your favorites.