It’s everywhere for the love of it all – in the north (wilderness, foaming rivers, high alpine peaks and plains in Swedish Lapland), south (rolling countryside and beaches that never end), east (coastline and magical archipelagoes) and west (coastline and giant lakes). Even in Sweden’s big cities; Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, Sweden’s nature is literally on your doorstep.
Just about everything in Swedish Lapland in the far north of Sweden is a ‘must do’ in terms of nature experience; here are two to give you an idea of what is in store.
The first is gazing, mouth agape, at the Northern Lights at Abisko National Park in November-April at the Abisko Mountain Station. And if ‘peace, perfect peace’ is what you seek we suggest Sarek National Park. Sarek is 2,000 square kilometres of high alpine peaks, valleys and foaming rivers. And nothing else. You’re on your lonesome own some here and you must have experience of this type of terrain before you attempt Sarek.
Coming to the south of Sweden? Want to see a giant head in a pristine natural setting? Look no further than Stenshuvud National Park. Stenshuvud means ‘Sten’s head’ in English and this almost 100-metre hill on the coast actually resembles a head. From it you get fabulous views of the Baltic Sea, over to Danish island Bornholm and around it, lush forest and pastoral heath and marshland settings. Good for sea views, great for discovery walks and brilliant for the soul. And you can take a dip in the sea here.
Go east for Sweden’s archipelagoes, starting with capital city Stockholm, which has its very own. So what do to? Go island-hopping summertime by taking an archipelago boat from Strömkajen in front of the Grand Hotel, Nybrokajen or Stadshuskajen outside the City Hall (Stadshuset). There is a wide choice of accommodation to suit all tastes and pocket depth, what with a mind boggling 24,000 islands.
The big hitters, nature-wise, in the west of Sweden are the fabulous West Coast, also called the Bohuslän coast and the province of Västra Götaland. The West Coast and its archipelago have become world famous for their delicious shell fish; oysters, lobster and prawns. Visit quaint fishing village Grebbestad from where you can take an eco-friendly seafood ‘safari’ and then devour your catch at Everts Sjöbod, a restored 19th century boathouse.
For wild nature at its most watery take a trip to Sweden’s first national marine park, Kosterhavet National Park, centred around the car-free Koster Islands with its unique coastline of beaches and rocky islands. And Sweden’s only coral reef. You can take a boat out to many of the islands in the West Coast archipelago from Gothenburg.