Sweden is certainly one of the best places to live, but the hiking is also abundant and spectactular!
With thousands of kilometers of walkable landscapes, Sweden is popular with hikers of all skill levels. Whether you’re looking to spend a month traversing the Swedish Lappland or just want a throw in a quick day hike in your trip to the country, you will be spoilt for choice!
Sweden is known for its abundance of long-distance hiking trails that tend to be several hundred kilometers long, and which are split into dozens of different sections or stages of varying difficulties. This means even complete hiking newbies can experience parts of the Kungsleden or Skåneleden trail – the best and most popular long distance trails in the country.
From beach loops near seal colonies to pilgrim paths all the way into Norway – we bring you the top ten hikes in Sweden!
Sweden has something called ‘The Right of Public Access’, which basically means that when you’re in Sweden you have the right to walk, run, cycle or camp on any land you want. The only exception are private gardens, areas that are near dwelling houses and land that is under cultivation. This is also often known as Freedom to Roam, and it makes exploring this stunning Scandinavian country so much easier.
There are still a few rules you should follow while roaming around the vast Swedish outdoors, such as don’t leave any trash on the trails. Always remember to bring a waste bag, since there aren’t that many trashcans out in the wild. Especially when you are visiting nature reserves – everything you bring on the hike is coming back with you.
You can put up a tent pretty much anywhere you want, you are free to pick flowers, berries (most are edible) and mushrooms and you can even drive on private roads unless there’s a sign that specifically states otherwise. And that’s pretty amazing for hikers and backpackers, especially when you compare it to the countries with more sensitive ecosystems like Portugal, where you’re not even allowed to stray off the marked trails.
Sweden has some excellent long distance hiking trails, but we want to kick things off with an easy loop everyone can do – the Koön Coastal Path. Take the express bus to Marstrand town where your hiking adventure for the day begins!
The town of Marstrand is spread over both the island of Marstrand and Koön island, but we’re just hiking Koön here – the only way to get to the other island is by ferry, and that’s not really ideal for hikers. But if you want to see both parts of the town, you should know that it’s a really short ride, and there are ferries every 15-20 minutes.
The hike we have in mind starts at Marstrand bus stop. From there it’s pretty much just a loop around the island. You’re walking straight for a few meters and then sticking to the left until you reach Fredrik Baggesgata – here a blue ‘hikers’ sign should point out the trail.
This is an easy two hour loop everyone can do, so it’s perfectly suitable for children. It passes over wooden bridges and steps, through Wolf’s Canyon and it offers great views of the Carlstens fortress.
The Klåveröd trail is great for all of you who want to experience the beauty and diversity of Swedish nature. With incredible cliffs and stones, wetland and even a tricky cave, there’s truly quite a lot to discover on the 12 kilometers of the Klåveröd hiking trail.
The trail begins near Klåverödsdammen Pond and it’s best to hike from the picnic shelter – you can even prepare some food here if you want, and it’s great for staying out of the rain. From there, you will pass by Lake Svartesjö, which is actually associated with the long distance Skåneleden Trail. There’s a camp site here and shelter as well, but the views of the lake are all that matters.
The next important waypoint is The Chimney Valley, with its impressive cliffs and stunning landscapes.
You’ll pass near even more campsites, youth hostels and sheltered areas along the remainder of the trail, so there are plenty of opportunities for rest and refreshments. But, considering you can do the loop in no more than four hours, we doubt you’ll spend that much time taking breaks. What we’re certain of is that you will stop in your tracks every now and then to take in the stunning scenery and snap some amazing photos!
This loop trail around the Delsjö area is a great way to enjoy some of Sweden’s beaches and natural swimming areas. The trail is part of a nature reserve, and it’s pretty easy to do if you have any previous hiking experience. If you are a total beginner, you might find the elevation gain a little strenuous, but with enough breaks we’re sure you will be able to complete the trail.
Since it only takes about three hours to do the loop, you have plenty of time to ‘waste’ on other activities. You can go canoeing, swimming, and even fishing if you get a licence. The trail takes you around both Stora and Lila Delsjön lakes, so you can expect spectacular views along the entire way.
There are also plenty of picnic spots, including sheltered areas where you can stop for breaks, as well as lots of viewpoints and great photo ops. There are even cafes near the end of the loop, which are great for getting in that well deserved rest and admiring the enchanting beauty of the nature even longer.
Kungsleden is a hiking trail that runs 440 kilometers through Sweden’s most stunning mountain landscapes. It’s the best known long distance trail in Sweden and its first stage (Abisko-Nikkaluokta) is the most popular hiking trail in the country.
This long distance trail is full of spectacular adventures for both the experienced hikers and those who are just discovering the joys of trekking across mountains. And some of its stages are even suitable for families with kids – the first stage of the trail is so easy that you can freely bring along your kids, but you should allocated more time to cover the 105-kilometer section with the little ones.
Because this trail has been popular with hikers for decades, it boasts a great network of cabins and mountain huts where you can spend the night and rest. The stage between Kvikkjokk and Ammarnäs is the least developed one, with the largest distances between different service points and cabins. But remember Sweden’s right of public access – you can camp pretty much anywhere you want, so the lack of cabins shouldn’t be an issue.
The only challenge on this long distance trail will be the weather. It changes constantly, and you need to be well prepared to go through all four seasons in a couple hours. But other than that, there’s nothing really demanding – it’s not technically difficult, there are no steep climbs and the total elevation gain is minimal.
This hiking trail passes through Norway, and we actually talked about something similar in our guide to best hikes in Norway – it’s one of the many different paths that are known as St. Olav Ways. The pilgrim paths are some of the most popular-long distance trails in Scandinavia, and they usually have very powerful effects on anyone brave enough to embark upon the adventure.
The particular path we have in mind here takes you from Selånger all the way to Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. With more than 560 kilometers to cover through the varied landscapes of both Sweden and Norway, this is trail only for hikers who aren’t afraid of a challenge. It takes about a month to cover it, and that’s with hiking at least 20 kilometers every single day. Parts of the trail go along roads, and there are plenty of mountain huts and cabins along the way. The trail actually goes thorough many different towns and it’s pretty much the best way to discover as much of Sweden as you possibly can.
St. Olavsleden is divided into 29 different stages, each of which represents a day on the trail. It’s also important to note what type of terrain you will be hiking – nearly 50% of the path is dirt roads, with the rest alternating between paved roads and hiking trails.
Image courtesy of 63Grad Photography
Not to be confused with the ever so popular Fjällräven Kanken Classic backpack, this multi-day trail is actually an annual trekking event in Sweden. There are usually around 2000 participants that are divided into multiple groups which then start on different days. Even with so many people in the area at the same time, the trail doesn’t get way too crowded.
If you want to join the annual expedition plan to do the trail in August. But you are free to take on the Fjällräven Classic whenever you want – if you’re more into hiking on your own, then it’s probably best that you skip the massive annual event.
The hiking trail goes through two valleys and a part of it actually intersects with the King’s Trail. You will get to enjoy some spectacular hill and mountain views while trekking along on some moderately rough terrain. Due to rocks jutting out of the ground, it’s highly recommended you bring some walking sticks to make this multi-day trek as manageable as possible. It’s not a very difficult trail per se, but the muddy and rocky terrain make it best suited for people with significant hiking experience.
Since a large section of this trail follows the Kungsleden, there are lots of mountain huts and cabins along the way where you can spend the night if you’re not into camping under the starry sky.
Image courtesy of Lars Nilsson
The Arild-Mölle loop is part of a larger network of hiking trails known as the Skåneleden Trail. And while I love to tell you about all of the exciting long distance trails for the most adventurous of you, I’ve decided to only tell you about the best sections of this one. The reason is simple – the entire Skåneleden trail is more than 1000 kilometers long, which is too much to cover in one go for most (sane) hikers.
But the Arild-Mölle section is just 20 kilometers long and easy to cover in a day! The loop trail is rated as difficult, so it’s a pretty good option if you’re looking for the more challenging trails of Sweden. Sure, it starts off easy and simple, but soon enough you’ll be faced with rocky terrain and steep inclines that are as rewarding as they are strenuous.
The views along this hiking trail are just spectacular with wild nature on one side and magnificent sea on the other. Expect to see all sorts of wild flowers along the way, and feel free to pick as many as you like!
Image courtesy of Susanne Nilsson
The Hjortsprångsrundan loop is a moderately difficult trail in Söderåsen National Park. It starts right next to Skärdammen pond, and it boasts some absolutely stunning nature anyone can enjoy.
If you do the loop clockwise, you will get the hardest part of the trail out of the way at the very beginning – the steep uphill stairs. Once you’ve climbed those and reached the razor cliff, you are immediately rewarded with some gorgeous views that are at their most beautiful in the fall.
From there on it’s mostly easy hiking – bear in mind that the total elevation gain of the trail is only 216 meters, and that’s with the steep ascent at the very beginning. Which is also why it’s perfectly fine to bring your dog along for the hike!
The trail does become more difficult once you reach the Korsskär valley, with lots of rocks jutting out of the ground. Hiking poles are highly recommended, since they will make it significantly less likely that you’re going to twist an ankle.
This is a spectacular trail that offers one of a kind experiences like seeing a colony of seals up close. It’s rated as moderate, but only because a big chunk of it is along a sandy beach – with proper hiking shoes, this is an easy peasy trail for everyone.
There’s almost no elevation gain and the trail is pretty much flat all the way. The views along the way are absolutely magnificent – you’re surrounded by sea on either side, making it a very unique hiking spot in Sweden. Even if you’re a total beginner it’s worth trying to do this hike – go with someone more experienced who can adapt to your pace, and you’re in for the time of your life.
The trail is in Måkläppen nature reserve, which means no trash cans. Everything you bring comes back with you, so bear that in mind and allocate some space in your backpack for anything you might want to dispose of later.
If you want to do this hike, you need to plan for it – because the wind and tides easily take away the sand, access to the area is not allowed between February and October. It’s only possible to visit Måkläppen during the three coldest months of the year, so be sure to pack lots of winter clothes!
Image courtesy of Susanne Nilsson
The 14 kilometer stretch between Krankesjön and Väderkullen is an easy section of the massive Skåneleden trail, and a great way for everyone to experience a part of Sweden’s longest hiking trail. It begins at Krankesjön Lake, which is a famous bird sanctuary – definitely bring some binoculars if you want to see some rare birds!
The trail them travels partly alongside an old railway embankment, offering panoramic views of the wetlands and the lake along the way. You can take a detour at Torna Hällestad if you want – the likely medieval village boasts a spectacular church with Hällestad rune stones in the church walls. Those stones date all the way back to the Viking period and it’s pretty impressive to consider just long they’ve been around.
At the southern part of the trail you will reach Romeleåsen Ridge, which is one of the largest horsts in Skåne. The horst is mostly covered by beech forest and spruce, but you will see all sorts of flowers on the way to that part of the trail.
This is a point-to-point trail – it’s possible to return via the same path or you could just continue hiking along the larger Skåneleden trail. Also, it’s worth noting that this area is well connected with busses, which will probably be the most convenient option for the return home.