freedom treks sweden

Land of Lakes and Castles

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  Tour Operator   Freedom Treks


Step back in time on a steam train and steam boat | Pine forests, green fields & sparkling lakes

Start this tour in stunning Stockholm, a city built on 14 islands and connected by 57 bridges, before heading South and exploring a wonderful mix of countryside, stately homes, and coastal villages. The cycling is along country lanes, through forests, meadows and past lakes and is undulating in parts.

Stop to swim in the glistening lakes or in clear Baltic waters whilst enjoying views of the ocean and the endless islands, visit old manor houses with impressive gardens and explore idyllic villages and towns with narrow streets full of colourful wooden houses. Enjoy the peace and a little part of Europe yet to be fully discovered.

Tour Information

Self-Guided     £   645


  • 5 nights accommodation in 3 star hotels and charming B&B's
  • Board basis: Bed and breakfast
  • Hybrid bike hire with pannier
  • Cycle helmets (on request)
  • Luggage transportation
  • Maps and Route information (GPS tracks available on request)
  • Full briefing after Day 2s transfer
  • Local contact number for assistance
  • Transfers on Day 2 & Day 5
  • Boat transfer on Day 5 (road transfer included in May and September when the steamboat does not run)
  • Flights and transfers

Shorter rides available on the Land of Lakes & Castles - Leisurely tour.

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While great care has been taken to show full and correct tour details, unfortunately transcription errors do occur and, although we continually seek to eliminate these, we apologise for any mistakes. Plans or bookings should not be made exclusively based on information shown on this website but must be confirmed with the tour operator.

Boat Bike Tours

> Travel stories > Amsterdam to Bruges by Tara Rogers – Freedom Treks

Amsterdam to Bruges by Tara Rogers – Freedom Treks

The Amsterdam to Bruges boat and bike cycling holiday is a seven night, eight day adventure, jam-packed with historical tales and sights of the unexpected in Holland and Belgium. It’s available either as a guided tour with the leadership of an experienced multilingual guide or self-guided under your own steam. It’s also probably one of the best cycling tours in Europe for a first-time holiday cyclist. Freedom Treks Marketing Manager Tara Rogers road-tested the tour with her husband Sean. Here’s how she got on.

freedom treks sweden

Right on Point

If you’ve never cycled in Holland and Belgium before, you might not be aware of the Junction Network (or if you want to try your Dutch ‘Knooppuntennetwerk’). Invented just 20 years ago by a Belgian mine engineer called Hugo Bollen, his cycling signposts – created specifically for recreational cyclists – are designed on a network of nodes, which simply point towards their next closest numbered junction. Following the Junction Network won’t take you on the most direct route from village to village or city to city in Belgium and Holland, but it does take two-wheeled tourists along the most scenic routes.

We found the green and white signposts easy to follow, usually situated at shoulder height on the right hand side of the road or cycle path. Thankfully, the joining of the dots – so to speak! – was made even easier thanks to our dedicated Tour Guide Tom. He gave a briefing after dinner each night, writing the following day’s sequence of numbers on a large whiteboard map in the main deck salon. His beautifully drawn diagrams illustrated notable places of interest, where we’d have our coffee break and where we’d reach the all-important loo stops!

freedom treks sweden

Should you choose to go on your own (as we did on the second to last day), taking a quick snap of the whiteboard on your mobile phone is a quick way to keep the route close at hand. I copied the numbers onto a scrap of paper which I kept underneath my watch strap to glance at regularly rather than hopping off my bike to check my phone (handlebar bags aren’t provided on this particular tour). No doubt there are specialist bits of high tech equipment to do the same thing in a more sophisticated way (a round-the-neck pouch may have helped me look a little less amateur)!

Keep Pedalling Unless I Say Otherwise

Should you choose you stay with the group on daily rides, your tour leader is most likely to be very familiar with the route. As a result, those with even the poorest of map-reading skills will be content with the automated ease of cycling behind the person in front of you (one bike apart, safety now). It was a wonderful observation of group camaraderie which emerged after a very short time. A sweep is nominated on each day – don’t worry, it’s a willing volunteer – and that’s the person who will stay at the back, making sure that the same number who began the cycle that day ended it too. “CAR!”, “BIKES!”, “TRACTOR!” we’d hear warnings hollered loudly to ensure we formed a single file to avoid oncoming traffic.

We’re both reasonably active people. We live in Brighton, and I use my Japanese commuter bike to get to work and run errands. In fact, we don’t have a car, so a bike is our only form of independent transport. Even so, the close to 300 km distance was further than we’d ever cycled in one week. We were unsure of what to expect and if we’d be fit enough.

freedom treks sweden

What we’d not factored in to our equation was the differing topography; Brighton – one of the hilliest cities in the UK (or so it feels on my daily commute!), versus Holland and Belgium – well known for their flat terrain. After the first day’s cycle, despite the unwelcome wind blowing in from the North Sea, we realised the cycling really was going to be exactly as it said on the tin – very relaxing, very easy-going, and very leisurely.

The classic flat countryside lent itself perfectly to day-long rides starting between 8:30am and 9:30am and ending at 5:30pm – there are some days which you can start or end at lunch. Despite being in the saddle all day long, this tour is graded easy and the cycling is perfect for all ages and abilities. Ranging from nine through to mid-seventies, it was often those at the far ends of the age spectrum who would cycle with absolute ease up front or finish ahead of those of us preferring to navigate independently. Many of the group enjoyed the luxury of an e-bike, which gave a little extra and very welcome pedal power. Back on the boat we were rewarded beach day with beautifully-baked homemade cakes (Victoria Sponge never failed to delight).

freedom treks sweden

The route has been perfectly planned to show off Belgium and Holland’s prettiest parts: cycle paths through cornfields peppered with poppies; country lanes through luscious woodlands; towpaths along cottonwood tree-lined canals; grass and gravel dikes across polders (vast expanses of land reclaimed from the sea which now serve as flood plains).

In fact, the Netherlands consists of nearly 20% water and 26% of it is under sea level, meaning no shortage of windmills, pumping stations, dikes and locks on the tour. There are 1048 windmills in Holland – we didn’t get to see them all! – but on day two we visited an impressive collection of nineteen 18th century windmills at Kinderdijk, a protected UNESCO World Heritage site.

freedom treks sweden

In rural suburbia, we cycled through the most immaculate villages and towns, delighted by thatched cottages with gardens bursting with foxgloves, Dutch barn houses with miniature moats adjoining dainty canals, pet goats lazing in outhouses on stilts, noisy cockerels with glossy plumes the colour of autumn. In striking architectural contrast we hadn’t expected to see so many fiercely minimal houses, dripping with modernity and perfect angles, cast in cement, steel and glass.

The tour also routed through industrial areas, most notably as we sailed into Antwerp on day three, a busy commercial port (second only in size to Rotterdam, Europe’s biggest shipping harbour). The imposing scale of the vessels alongside us on the Scheldt River was by now rather unusual though; we’d grown quickly accustomed to gentle sailing along quiet canals, occasionally passing the odd small shipping barge or passing slowly through docks expertly navigated in and out of by Roy our Captain.

freedom treks sweden

The Magnifique is a fine 63m Dutch passenger barge. She was refitted in 2010 to accommodate up to 40 passengers in her 19 cabins, all below deck. Each cabin was slightly different, but all were tastefully decorated with maritime walnut and brass fittings. They were also spotless, cleaned every day single-handedly by our energetic stewardess Mika (floors mopped, beds made and en-suite bathrooms – toilet, basin and excellent shower – sparkling). Storage varied from cabin to cabin; our Superior Twin Cabin had plenty: a wardrobe with hanging space and five shelves, a bedside cabinet, bureau and bathroom cabinet. We heeded the advice to bring luggage in soft bags – hard cases would be difficult to stow underneath the cabin bunks.

Mealtimes are a casual, sociable affair. Whilst on some boat and bike tours guests are allocated a seat for the week, dining was far less informal on the Magnifique. As there were only two of us, we dined with different guests each night; however, most groups tended to keep the same seats for each mealtime.

freedom treks sweden

Dinner consisted of three hearty courses; fear not that you’ll go hungry. I assure you, for every calorie we hoped we might burn off from our daily cycling, we ate double thanks to Chef Raymond’s delicious and creative cooking. The final evening’s barbeque was a wonderful surprise – dining alfresco in the warm summer sun, freshly prepared salads served buffet style, tender steaks perfectly grilled. All but one of the 7 nights are catered, and we decided as a group which night we’d eat off the boat – usually Antwerp or Bruges.

The breakfast buffet was usually served around 8am, continental style with cereals, yoghurts, fruits and freshly baked breads. Hot scrambled eggs, bacon or sausages were often but not always available. If you’ve a sweet tooth try hagelslag a typical Dutch topping much like chocolate hundreds and thousands which you pour liberally on to buttered toast. You’d make your packed lunch at breakfast too, helping yourself to the selection of hams, cheeses and rolls along with a drink carton and snack wrapped in a paper bag.

We were given a complimentary drink with dinner on the first night after which alcoholic drinks are available from the bar: Jupiler Pilsner and Leffe Blonde on tap (€2), and a selection of wines and spirits (€2.50). Drinks are placed on a cabin tab, which you settle at the end of your stay (in cash, there are no card facilities on board). Tea, coffee and hot chocolate were complimentary until 4pm.

freedom treks sweden

It’s worth noting that although there is Wi-Fi on board with 50mb data free each day, it runs on a mobile connection which was mostly non-existent and patchy when available; a good excuse to pack away the laptop or tablet and grab a book instead. Or, as we were lucky enough to do, discover the hidden talents of fellow guests. I enjoyed a portraiture class with an American-artist based in Barcelona, a mini-manicure in a pop-up nail bar with the youngest female passenger, aged 11 from Chicago, and enjoyed a wonderful display of highland dancing on our final evening courtesy of light-footed guests from Aberdeen. (I shan’t mention the dance moves as the evening progressed to Oops Upside Your Head, which took Tom quite by surprise, describing it later as “a strange memory of lying in a row on the floor pretending to be in a canoe”.)

People of the World

I’ve always considered myself a slightly more independent traveller. The thought of being herded around as a group, anxiously following an upturned umbrella held by an overly enthusiastic guide has never appealed. I don’t know what it is about the anxiety of looking like a tourist when I’m in a new place. To me it feels like a big flashing sign above my head that says ‘I’m an outsider, I don’t know where I am, please feel free to rip me off!’

Our newly-acquainted companions from Adelaide, Australia felt the same. They’d converted to organised active holidays around five years ago, and they too weren’t keen on the idea of being herded around, but after experiencing a guided cycling holiday before, and coming back for more, it was a comforting early sign. Phew. It wasn’t going to be that kind of guided tour!

freedom treks sweden

The dynamic of a group of strangers all getting on is of course more luck than rocket science. However it did help that we actually had a rocket scientist on board, along with an artist, a helicopter charterer, an antiques dealer and a veterinary surgeon. There was never a shortage of interesting stories, and luckily for our group, laughter (fellow companions if you’re reading this, a sincere and heartfelt thank you, officially, for making the week so very special). We parted with enthusiastic musings of another cycling holiday in Europe together.

Time for Tea, Art And Tales of Folklore

Cities and towns were mostly explored on foot (with the exception of Ghent on day five, when we cycled into the city centre with two free hours to sightsee on our own), usually during morning or afternoon coffee breaks. Sometimes stopping in a quaint town square, often with a delightful bakery (De Bourgondier in Damme was a particular favourite), or independently run coffee shops such as Theeschenkerijwatertanden in Jaarsveld on day one which wouldn’t be out of place in a West London suburb.

freedom treks sweden

The other opportunity to sightsee was during the optional after-dinner guided walk. Wherever we were Tom’s wonderfully-animated and imaginatively-detailed tales brought alive the surroundings. From the legend of mythical giant Druon Antigoon slain in Antwerp to the mermaid captured by fisherman from Damme, immortalised on a number of weathervanes in Zwin, we simply wouldn’t have enjoyed the places we visited purely by reading about them from a guidebook. Without him, we’d have also been pronouncing cities incorrectly too. Ghent is not in fact a short single syllable, but more guttural (“ghhheeHHHNT!”) and replaces the ‘oooo’ in Bruges with a roll of the ‘r’ and add an ‘ahh’ – “Brugg-ahh!”).

If there was just one place of interest I could visit, I’d choose the Cathedral of our Lady, Antwerp (or, if you want to practice your Dutch, Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekathedraal). One of the most impressive Gothic structures in Europe, building began in 1352 and took 170 years, and although it was never as such ‘completed’, it opened for worship in 1521. It’s home to an incredible collection of original sixteenth- and seventeenth-century works by Flemish Masters including Massys and Floris, commissioned originally by the city’s guilds to decorate the cathedral’s altars. Most notably, the art collection includes four Baroque masterpieces by Rubens, including the Raising of the Cross. It costs €3 to get in.

freedom treks sweden

The only thing we might have done differently? Add on two nights in Amsterdam pre-tour rather than just the one we booked. With a delayed flight of 172 minutes from London Gatwick to Amsterdam Schiphol, our day of sightseeing in Amsterdam ended up as a few hours of ‘night-seeing’ before boarding the Magnifique the following afternoon.

We chose not to book any post-tour nights to stay in Bruges as the itinerary included two nights’ stay in the West Flanders capital. We’d never been to this stunning city, but there was the perfect amount of time to explore this compact city, steeped in medieval heritage, intricate canals and historic buildings built into the city’s waterways.

Our train back to London by Eurostar was scheduled to leave at 7pm (allow an hour by train from Bruges to Brussels au Midi, €6.40 one way). We were able to leave our bags on the boat and enjoy Bruges all day. If the weather’s fair try Juliette for brunch and then escape the crowds. We relaxed peacefully in Astrid Park, a beautiful secluded space with ornate bandstand and manicured gardens on the grounds of a former Franciscan monastery.

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Ingebretsen's Nordic Marketplace

Cycling through scandinavia.

freedom treks sweden

There are many ways to tour Scandinavian countries. You can take a cruise, go by train, take a tour bus. But one of the best ways to really see these countries is on bicycle. The summer season may be drifting away, but a bike tour in Scandinavia will require planning.

This week’s blog will point you in the right direction to find out more information about cycling in the Nordic countryside and cities.

(Disclosure: Freedom Treks, Bicycle Touring Pro and Culture Trip websites are linked here. They sell tours, books, maps and other items for cyclists. Ingebretsen’s does not endorse these companies or tours, we are simply supplying information and a link so you can check it out yourself. If you like cycling check out some of Ingebretsen’s cycling-themed items here .)

freedom treks sweden

  • World Class Cycle Routes
  • Unrivalled Scenery
  • Cultured Cities
  • Authentic Food and Drink
  • Welcoming Locals

Another company, Bicycle Touring Pro , has created a video called “Cycling In Scandinavia – What You Need To Know.” It is a long video (nearly 90 minutes) and I would suggest it only for those who are seriously considering a long trip. The speaker on the video finished a 2.5-month-long bicycle tour in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.


I also suggest the blog TravellingTwo where they answer 10 questions about cycling in Scandinavia.

freedom treks sweden

Copenhagen is often considered the most bike-friendly city in the world. Tourists are often overwhelmed by the number of bicycles flying by, and children are taught to ride before they’re even old enough to go to school. Thanks to bicycle-friendly measures taken by the city, nearly half of all Copenhageners commute to work by bike, and 35 percent of all people who work in Copenhagen—those who live in the suburbs included—commute on their bicycles. Cyclists enjoy 390 kilometers (about 242 miles) of designated bike lanes, and Greater Copenhagen now has a “Cycle Super Highway” which connects the city to the town of Albertslund with plenty of amenities along the way, like air pumps, safer intersections, and traffic lights timed to average cycling speed to minimize stopping.

Culture Trip has a blog called “The Most Spectacular Places to Cycle in Denmark.” They discuss Bornholm Island, Svendborg, South Funen Archipelago, Frederikshavn, Rold Skov (Forest), Limfjord Cycle Route, and Fur Island.

Another website to check out is Visit Denmark “Plan your cycling route online.”


freedom treks sweden

With largely flat landscapes, long hours of summer daylight, and miles of beautiful countryside, Finland is ideal for cyclists from amateur to professional.

Culture Trip has a blog called “The Most Spectacular Places to Cycle in Finland” (we are beginning to see a Culture Trip pattern.) They are Turku Archipelago (see Visit Finland’s website on this cycling trip), The King’s Road, Häme, The Iron Curtain Trail, and Rovaniemi.

You can find bike maps from Finland at BikeMap . Also, Bicycle Touring Pro has a blog about cycling 650 kilometers across Finland.


According to our friends at Culture Trip , “Iceland’s various landscapes of awe-inspiring nature will be even more intimate when experienced from the open air of your bicycle. Be one with the weather in this spectacular places to cycle in Iceland.”

freedom treks sweden

And they do, of course, have The Most Spectacular Places to Cycle in Iceland. Included are Reykjavik, Svalvogar Circuit in the Westfjörds, the Highlands, and Snæfellsnes Peninsula. They also include some advice if you decide to cycle in Iceland.

An excellent site with everything you need to know about cycling through Iceland is part of the website Inspired By Iceland.

Of course, if you are in Reykjavik you can go to the Skálafell Bike Park where bikes are transported by chair lift .

freedom treks sweden

And if you are in Iceland you may see Joff Summerfield , from the UK riding a penny-farthing or high wheel bike.


Our pals at Culture Trip say “Norway is a huge and hugely beautiful country. It stretches over a distance equal to that from Denmark to Rome, so there is plenty of variation and diversity to find in the landscape, and plenty of breathtaking cycling routes of varying difficulty to explore all over the country.”

freedom treks sweden

Here is their list of The Most Spectacular Places to Cycle in Norway: Sørlandet, Oslo, Bergen to Haugesund, Geilo, Rallarvegen, Oppdal. Smøla, Helgeland, Lofoten, Lyngen, and Finnmark.

Visit Norway provides information on 10 of their national cycle routes you can take in Norway. In addition there is information on rules of cycling in Norway:

When cycling on the roads in Norway, the same traffic regulations and road signs apply to you as to cars and other vehicles:

  • Keep to the right.
  • Give way to those coming from your right.
  • Don’t drink and bike.
  • You may cycle on the pavement, but adapt your speed.
  • You may not cycle on motorways and dual carriageways.
  • Only children under the age of 10 may be carried as passengers.
  • Always wear a helmet when cycling. A high visibility vest is a good idea, especially on busy roads.

freedom treks sweden

Your bike must have this mandatory equipment:

  • white or yellow light in the front
  • red light in the back
  • red reflector in the rear
  • white or yellow reflectors on the pedals
  • two brakes that work independently
  • bicycle bell


freedom treks sweden

Last, and certainly not least, Sweden “With its long-winding roads and routes dedicated to cycling both in the cities and spread across the coasts and inner-rural byways, Sweden is jam-packed with spectacular places to cycle.”

Our final Scandinavian stop at Culture Trip gives us “The Most Spectacular Places to Cycle in Sweden.” They recommend: Klarälvsbanan, Kattegattleden, Åre Bike Park, Göta Canal, and Baltic Sea Cycle Route.

Visit Sweden will introduce you to five long cycle routes in Sweden. You can also learn how to enjoy a day on your bike in Sweden .


freedom treks sweden

2 thoughts on “ Cycling Through Scandinavia ”

Thank You for this post and links You gave. To me it was amazing that among them I did not find a single word about Oulu, which the most bikeable town in Finland, when comparing amount of citizens / bike routes.

Here are my two links showing winter biking in Oulu:

Summer biking 1

Winter biking 2

Happy biking!

As you can imagine there is a massive amount of information on this topic. We will take a look at these sites when we do another post on biking. Thank you for letting us know.

Comments are closed.


Tags: Freedom Treks , Cycling , Short Breaks , family holidays

Freedom Treks

As travellers become more adventurous with their holiday styles, Freedom Treks has noted a sharp rise in the number of first-time customers trying out short bike breaks.

With nearly 30 short cycling tours to choose from, the cycling holiday specialist has found that many holidaymakers feel a 3 to 5 night break is the perfect introduction to the sport.

Saul Follett, Freedom Treks Manager, said: “For those new to bike tours, a short break can be a great way to try this style of holiday without committing too much time or money. In many cases, having become hooked on cycling after a long weekend away, customers come back to book a longer or more challenging trip for the following year.”

For others, however, weekend or mid-week breaks are simply ideal if they're short on time but big on holiday ambition.

Saul Follett added: “Guests are always amazed by how much they can pack into a few days away on a Freedom Treks' short break. Whether they're looking to recharge their batteries or want to take advantage of better value mid-week flights, they can count on returning home feeling like they've achieved something after a short cycling break with us.”

Of Freedom Treks' range of short break cycling tours, five of its most popular include:

  • Escape to Bruges (Belgium: 4 nights from £216pp) – For those who prefer to unpack once, this is a wonderfully relaxed introduction to cycling tours and the picturesque city of Bruges. Travellers have the flexibility to pedal through the Flemish countryside and North Sea coast beach towns on a series of quiet tracks or take it easy back at base, wandering the medieval streets on foot and indulging in the moules-frites, chocolate and Belgian beers for which it is famed. For an extra special stay, guests can upgrade to a 4-star converted 17th century convent for £63.
  • Umbria - Wine Tasting (Italy: 4 nights from £385pp) – Just a 1.5hr train ride from Rome, Tuscany's less touristy neighbour is a Mecca for wine-lovers . This four day tour allows travellers to savour the region's charming history and drink in the lush landscapes as they journey between some of its most delightful towns.  And with two tasting sessions of the area's world-class wines included along with a tantalising tasting menu, cyclists will relish the chance to enjoy a guilt-free gastronomic getaway.
  • Tulips in Holland (Holland: 4 nights from £417pp) – For a classic view of the Netherlands in the springtime, this short break was designed to enjoy the Dutch landscape's legendary kaleidoscope of colours. Pedal past tulip fields, sand dunes and traditional windmills, cycle along tranquil canals and stop in Edam to sample some of their famous cheese.  And on day 4 there's even the option to take a break from the bike by heading into Amsterdam or set off to explore the 17th century mills of one of Europe's oldest industrial areas.
  • Brewery Tour (Austria & Germany: 4 nights from £292pp) – With Bavaria famous for its breweries, this circular trip provides as much of an introduction to wheat beer as the joys of two-wheeled travel. After touring the Austrian Lake District and sampling the refreshing local tipple along the way, what better way to unwind than by soaking up the brew's medicinal benefits - with a beer bath in Franking!
  • Bolzano to Verona (Italy: 4 nights from £410pp) – With four days of leisurely riding to enjoy, this idyllic itinerary picks out quiet country roads to cycle through Tyrolean mountain villages and along Lake Garda's glistening shores to the enchanting setting of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. For some well-deserved down time, there may even be the chance to catch a spectacular opera performance at Verona's open-air amphitheatre.

For more information on short cycling breaks or to book call 01273 224 066 or visit .

For all press enquiries please contact:

Lynsey Devon    [email protected]   020 3544 1563 / 07717 078 862

Becky Horton     [email protected]    020 8330 2143 / 07766 738 020

About Freedom Treks

  • Freedom Treks, part of Ski Safari Ltd, has been offering a wide choice of cycling holidays throughout Europe since 2003.
  • With over 150 self-guided and guide-led bike tours offered across 19 European countries, Freedom Treks' destinations are hand-picked to introduce active travellers to the most scenic of Europe.
  • Its itineraries offer pedalling at a relaxed pace by day and comfortable accommodation in characterful hotels, guesthouses, boats or barges by night.
  • All tours enjoy the practical benefits of having luggage transported separately and the security of knowing local assistance is available if needed along the way.
  • To find out more visit , call 01273 224 066 or follow us on Facebook ( Freedom Treks )

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Home » Europe » Sweden » Backpacking Guide

Backpacking Sweden Travel Guide 2024

Keen to discover one of the most beautiful countries in Europe? This backpacking Sweden travel guide will show you the way!

The only catch? Backpacking in Sweden can be an EXPENSIVE endeavor if you are not prepared for the high prices. Never fear! It is entirely possible to go backpacking in Sweden on a reasonable budget…

This is the only Sweden travel guide for budget backpackers you will ever need…

Get tips and honest advice on where to go backpacking in Sweden, backpacker accommodation, suggested Sweden itineraries, top things to do in Sweden, how to travel the country, daily travel costs, best hikes, Sweden budget travel hacks, and much more!

A truly fantastic adventure awaits you in the fabled land of the Vikings… Let’s dive right in…

Why Go Backpacking in Sweden?

Backpacking in Sweden is a chance to experience one of Europe’s safest destinations whilst venturing off the normal Europe backpacking trail.

With endless tiny villages and a lifetime worth of outdoor pursuits, Sweden is the perfect travel destination for both newbie backpackers and veterans who want to get off the beaten path.

Sweden is a truly amazing country packed full of stunning natural landscapes, remote wilderness, friendly locals, iconic coastal villages, trendy big cities, and a fascinating history.

Sweden is a very diverse country with plenty on offer for backpackers. While backpacking Sweden, you will have ample opportunity to experience cosmopolitan life in Sweden’s famous urban centers, like Stockholm, Malmö, Uppsala, and Gothenburg.

Each of these important Swedish cities has distinct cultural identities, interesting history, great food, and plenty of free things to do.

And then there is wild Sweden…

Sweden is home to one of the largest untouched wilderness areas in all of western Europe. Fun fact: there are 29 national parks in Sweden ! If you love trekking and being out in natural environments, then you are going to love Sweden!

Swedish Lapland in the far north of the country is a whole other world onto itself. Whether you visit in the winter or the summer, there is an endless array of outdoor activities to try.

backpacking sweden

If that wasn’t enough to boggle your mind, then you have the 2,000-mile coastline to think about.

On the Swedish coast, the pace of life is contrasting and distinct from the rest of the country.

Point being, Sweden is indeed massive and uniquely different depending on where you visit in Sweden. Finding something fun and interesting to do is never difficult. By the end of this Sweden travel guide, you will have come to terms with the top places to visit in Sweden as well as the lesser explored hidden gems of the country.

Best Travel Itineraries For Backpacking Sweden

These backpacking routes can easily be combined or customized according to your own time frame and plans!

#1 Sweden Itinerary 7 Days: Exploring the Cities and Culture

Stockholm -> Uppsala > Örebro ->Gothenburg -> Skåne  to Malmö  -> Stockholm .

backpacking sweden

This itinerary is meant to be done as a road trip in a cheap rental car. It could be done also with a combination of buses and hitchhiking, though you would be cutting it close to get through the whole itinerary in 7 days.

This itinerary has you starting off in Stockholm (where you will almost certainly fly in). You can easily spend two days getting to know Stockholm before heading to Uppsala.

Uppsala is a former Viking religious hub turned university town. After taking in the sights in Uppsala, head to Örebro —and the nearby  Stadsträdgården National Park (which is spectacular). Time and weather permitting, a night in a tent within the park is well worth it.

Moving on from Stadsträdgården and Örebro, your next stop is the ultra-hip city of  Gothenburg . The road between Öbrero and Gothenburg is simply stunning and there are some great hostels in Gothenburg to check out too.

Your final stop will be the southern tip of Sweden through Skåne . This is your chance to get to know a slice of the Swedish coast. Be careful, you might not want to leave.

#2 Backpacking Sweden 10 Day Itinerary: Coast, Hikes, Cities

Stockholm ->  Kalmar / Öland ->  Skane to Malmö ->  Gothenburg  ->  Örebro ->  Uppsala -> Stockholm .

backpacking Sweden 10 day itinerary

Ideally, make this trip clock-wise from Stockholm to leave the option to explore more of the coastal south if you so choose.

Discover thriving urban life in Stockholm . Get to know the fairy-tale landscapes, churches, and castles of Kalmar . Pass through the green forests and towns on the drive from Skane to Malmo .

Get a feel for the real Sweden in  Gothenburg .  Spend a day exploring  Stadsträdgården National Park near  Örebro . Get to grips with  Uppsala , Sweden’s former capital.

Around Skane, you do have the option to pop over to Copenhagen (if you have an abundance of time) for a day or two as well. For a quick Swedish road trip of the southern coast, it doesn’t get any more idyllic than this. More about each of these places later in the guide.

#3 Sweden Itinerary 14 Days: National Parks and the North

Sweden itinerary 14 days

This literary offers up numerous points where you might find yourself doing some trekking or camping, and thus get side-tracked (in the best way possible).

Making this big of a tour of Sweden in just 14 days definitely requires some serious motivation. The distances in between destinations tend to be massive.

It might be the case that you opt to fly north, but honestly, you’d be missing a lot along the way. Of course, flying can be quite expensive within Sweden also.

After departing Stockholm you can head south to the coast stopping in Lund and  Malmö . From the southern coast driving towards the west to  Gothenburg , you will start your journey north through the center of the country.

Some of my favorite Swedish National parks found on this route are Stenshuvud , Djurö , and Hamra .

Once you arrive in Dalarna , you will think you woke up in a fairy tale. In the summer there are stunning fields of wildflowers set amongst the old wooden cottages.

Once you get far north, the adventure possibilities are around every corner (if you think like me). There are plenty of great trekking and camping opportunities. More on trekking in Sweden later in the guide. After hitting up  Östersund , you can experience the indigenous culture vibe in  Jokkmokk , before heading to  Luleå and back south.

#4 Sweden Itinerary 2-3 Months: (Almost) The Whole Damn Thing

Kiruna ->Abisko -> Kebnekaise -> Jukkasjärvi -> Jokkmokk ->Gällivare ->  Piteå -> Luleå -> ?

sweden itinerary

Getting up north into Swedish Lapland and the wilderness areas is less intimidating when time is not a restriction. If you are backpacking Sweden during the summer, you should seriously consider taking on the Kungsleden Trek (the King’s Trail).

For many travelers backpacking Sweden, seeing the Northern Lights is a real highlight of their trip.  Abisko is the place to make that happen.  There isn’t much happening in Abisko per se, though, between the Northern Lights and access to the  Kungsleden Trek  nearby, there is plenty to keep you busy.

Kiruna offers up a small slice of civilization in an otherwise desolate and isolated region of the country.

The small town of  Jokkmokk makes for a great opportunity to learn about the local Sami culture . In  Gällivare , it’s all about the outdoor sports. Snowshoeing, hiking, skiing, and dog-sledding (in season) are all on offer.

If you are in the area near Kiruna, make the trip to  Kebnekaise , Sweden’s highest mountain. For a truly off the beaten path coastal town in the far north, definitely hit up  Piteå .

Ever heard of the famous Ice Hotel? One of them is in  Jukkasjärvi . Along with the Ice Hotel, the sleepy village of Jukkasjärvi has enough attractions in or around the village to keep you busy for a couple of days. It’s a cool place to just hang out as well.

Luleå is the vibrant cultural city of the North and merits at least a couple of days. Visiting Luleå snaps you back into reality after days (or weeks) of being in isolated areas.

Places to Visit in Sweden

Backpacking in Sweden might just be the most interesting country in all of Scandinavia . The cities are beautiful, public transportation is relatively inexpensive, the food is tasty, and you can hike and camp across the whole damn country!

Many travelers will be surprised to find that English is widely spoken in Sweden. That is lucky for us English speakers because Swedish is a complicated language to learn.

Sweden can be expensive , and if staying and eating in high-end places are your thing, be prepared to pay a high price for the pleasure. That said, with some effort backpacking Sweden need not be overly expensive.

Certainly bringing along a good tent is a big step for backpacking Sweden on a budget. There are many places to pitch your tent and besides saving money, camping will get you out into the heart of what makes backpacking in Sweden so awesome.

Let’s now take a look at where to go backpacking in Sweden…

Backpacking Stockholm

Stockholm is one of my favorite European cities for a multitude of reasons. If you love art, history, and dreamy cobblestone streets, you are going to love backpacking Stockholm .

Sweden’s seaside capital is the base of operations for all backpackers entering the country. Here you will start to get to grips with what backpacking Sweden has on offer.

As I mentioned before there are heaps of museums to explore in Stockholm. There is the Abba Museum for pop music fans and the Vasa Museum for maritime history lovers.

backpacking Stockholm

Enjoy a long walk through the Gamla Stan (old town) neighborhood. The wonderfully preserved cobblestone streets are an urban explorer’s delight. The Gamla Stan is made even more enjoyable by the fact that there are no cars!

Be sure to check out the 13th century Royal Palace . The architects were not fucking around; the palace is magnificent and its age is even more impressive.

Skansen was one of the world’s first open-air museums. A visit here will give you a taste of what Swedish life like in centuries past. The  Museum of Contemporary Photography is a really cool place for anyone with even the slightest fascination/appreciation for photography.

For a brilliant introduction to backpacking Sweden, I couldn’t think of a better place to land than Stockholm.

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Backpacking Kalmar

Kalmar is gaining popularity with backpackers, but I would still tentatively put it in the Sweden “off the beaten path” category.

backpacking sweden

Blessed with excellent beaches (two nude beaches), a badass castle , and outlying fairy-tale pastoral landscapes, it is no surprise that more and more travelers are discovering the magic of Kalmar.

There are several excellent places to eat and drink including Lilla Puben. They have a mind-blowing 120 whiskeys on offer!

Backpacking Lund

Lund is old. Like really old. It was first established in 990 and has been thriving at various capacities ever since. Lund is probably most famous now for being a vibrant university town.

An obvious starting point when first setting out to explore Lund is the Lund Cathedral . The Cathedral was built in 1100 and there has been a religious service held here everyday for the last 900 years. There are also some fine panels carved into the entrance which are well worth checking out.

backpacking sweden

Feeling hungover from the big night out with the university kids? Take a peaceful walk through the Lund Botanical Gardens and try to shake off the cobwebs.

Lund is full of other great places to go on semi-urban hikes as well. There are over 28 reserves along with a dozen parks in Lund. The  Rinnebäck Ravine  is a popular, yet secluded urban escape good at any time of the year.

It’s easy to get from Lund to Malmö or to see the southern coast of Sweden at Ystad or Trelleborg .

Backpacking Skane and Malmö

Located in the far south-west of Sweden, Skane and  Malmö  are distinctly culturally different from the rest of Sweden. Skane was in fact not a part of Sweden until the 17th century (it was part of Denmark).

Skane is the gateway to many beautiful islands that dot the surrounding coastline. Grab a beer and lunch in Skane’s old town before setting of to explore the rest of the town.

Ales Stenar has been deemed “the Stonehenge of Sweden.” Luckily the busloads of tourists are yet to arrive. A fun afternoon activity involves heading out to a farm around Skane and picking strawberries.

backpacking sweden

There are also plenty of wild blueberries to be found in the forests. That’s right. Your backpacking Sweden adventure has brought you to the fine crossroad of stuffing your face with an endless amount of berries.

Be sure to hit up the  Malmö Castle . For a more modern but equally impressive architectural marvel, check out the Twisting Torso building. Very impressive indeed. That’s the thing about backpacking in Sweden: architectural quirks are everywhere.

Depending on the region you visit, you can experience great differences between the building designs. This is true of both modern and old architectural styles.

Backpacking Gothenburg

If you liked Stockholm, you are going to find just as much pleasure in getting to know  Gothenburg . As Sweden’s 2nd largest city, there is plenty for backpackers to do here, and if you have spent a few days camping on the coast, the comforts of city life will be refreshing.

The Haga district is  Gothenburg’s hipster capital . Browse through the vintage shops en route to a cafe serving up warm cinnamon rolls the size of dinner plates. If you pass your time backpacking Sweden without trying a Hagabullen cinnamon roll, I will be very disappointed in you indeed.

backpacking sweden

If seafood is your thing definitely head to the  Feskekörka fish market . Here you have your pick of several spots to eat serving only the freshest fish around (obviously).

Time permitting,  I highly recommend taking a boat to explore the  southern archipelago islands . There are 20 some odd islands and you can explore some of them by bicycle.

Note: In 2008, Gothenburg became the official city name after it was changed from  Göteborg , the Swedish name. This is still a contentious issue around town.

Backpacking Örebro

Whilst  Tiveden National Park is not in Örebro (it’s 84 km southwest) you should absolutely make time to stop here en route. The glacier-carved park is loaded with awesome hikes and camping possibilities. You must spend a night or two camping if you have time.

backpacking Sweden

In Örebro, the magnificent 13th-century  Örebro Castle ( Slott ) makes for an interesting visit.

Before you head to the  Hälls Konditori for some of their legendary Fika  (cake) and coffee, consider taking a picnic to the  Stadsparken . Stadsparken is a picturesque green space adjacent to the Black River . A summer-time picnic in the park is a chance to slow down and digest some of the awesome scenes you have experienced during your backpacking Sweden journey.

An afternoon meandering through the  Länsmuseum is well worth it too. The museum features lots of cool protest art/posters from the 1960’s.

Backpacking Uppsala

As you begin to swing back towards Stockholm you will pass through  Uppsala . Uppsala is a university town and an important cultural institution of Sweden. The  Uppsala Castle  is as impressive as any of the amazing castles you have seen thus far.

Of course, you won’t be able to miss the stunning  Uppsala Cathedral , which dominates the city’s skyline. The cathedral was built in 1270 (!) with many bits and pieces added on over the years. Especially epic are the two massive pipe organs. Oh, and the Uppsala Cathedral is the biggest church in the Scandinavia region FYI.

backpacking Sweden

Svartbäcksgatan Street is a pedestrian oasis of the city dotted with cool cafes, shops, and places to eat. One could easily spend a few hours (and a few coffees later) wandering around the attractive streets.

Get in touch with Viking history at the  Gamla Uppsala burial grounds. This site has been described as one of the most important archaeological sites in the whole country.

Backpacking Kiruna

Kiruna is the biggest city in the northern areas of Sweden. All the services of a small city are situated here. Kiruna is a great place to stock up on supplies for a hiking trip (or a nice spot to rest up afterwards).

Many of the attractions around Kiruna are indeed best experienced in the winter.

backpacking sweden

Dog sledding and snowmobiling are big winter activities in Kiruna. If yo decide to go for a dog sled ride, ask to see the dogs and make sure that they are treated well. In most cases they are treated well, and you can tell once you are out on the sled that the dogs love working and running in the snow.

Ten kilometers outside of town is the famous Ice Hotel . Come and get the coldest and most expensive drink of your life (the hotel is pretty amazing though).

Kiruna grew in population during its boom years as a mining town. In fact, they claim to have the world’s biggest iron ore mine,  LKAB . On certain days of the week you can descend underground and have a guided tour of the mine.

Backpacking Luleå

The northern coast of Sweden is dotted with cool towns, and Luleå is definitely one of the most fun and scenic.

Luleå is home to the nearby Unesco World Heritage–listed Gammelstad , Sweden’s largest church “town”. The  Nederluleå Church was built in 1492 using highly skilled stone craftsman.

backpacking sweden

If you get the chance to explore the  Luleå Archipelago it’s an awesome experience. Many of the islands are uninhabited and offer up excellent camping and hiking opportunities. The larger islands, decorated with classic red-and-white Swedish summer cottages, are accessible by boat from Luleå.

Pop into Roasters Cafe for the best coffee in town. If the weather turns foul, you can easily spend a few hours getting warmed up in Roasters or at the Bishop’s Arms Pub .

Backpacking Jokkmokk

To get to grips with what Sami culture is all about, head to Jokkmokk. It’s known for the centuries-old Jokkmokk Winter Market , an annual event that draws thousands for handicrafts made by the indigenous Sami people.

There are a handful of interesting museums in town, the best of which is  Ájtte Sami Museum .

backpacking sweden

It is possible to pay for an organized “Sami cultural tour” in Jokkmokk. I did not pay for an organized tour and I don’t recommend that you do either. You can glean the essence of Jokkmokk just by walking the streets, and talking with locals in the handicraft shops or at the market.

Like most of northern Sweden, Jokkmokk is surrounded by prime wilderness areas ripe for camping and trekking. If you get bored in town, an outdoor adventure awaits in every direction.  Kvikkjokk is a fun day trip from Jokkmokk.

Backpacking Abisko

If it is  Northern Lights you seek, Abisko is the place to come make that dream a reality. Abisko is a small tiny backwater town in the far north of Rinnebäck ravine . The areas in and around Abisko are remote, wild, and excellent for people who enjoy being in such environments.

backpacking sweden

Here, there is nothing to do and everything to do at the same time. Point being, apart from the excellent trekking, camping, and opportunities to watch the Northern Lights spottings, there is little else in the way of civilization.

Bring along a good camera and capture the magic of the Aurora Borealis .

The legendary Kungsleden (King’s Trail) begins in Abisko National Park.

Backpacking the Kungsleden Trek

The Kungsleden (King’s Trail) trek is a long-distance hiking path in the Swedish Lapland . The trek itself passes through some of the country’s most impressive scenery.

backpacking sweden

At 270 miles (440 km) long, the Kungsleden Trek is one of the most beautiful long-distance hikes in the world. This hike is what backpacking in Sweden is all about.

Every year, more and more people are tackling the Kungsleden Trek. The ideal season to begin the hike is between June or July. The Swedish summers are very pleasant and the hiking is equally so. I can’t can’t think of a better way to enjoy the fine summer weather other than taking on the King’s Trail hike.

Accommodation and Camping Along the Kungsleden Trek

Backpackers have several accommodation options along the Kungsleden Trek.

You can choose to carry your own camping gear, and stop to sleep basically anywhere you please. The alternative to self-contained backpacking is opting to stay in the truly beautiful mountain huts (staffed mid-June – late September). In my opinion, it is good to go for a mix of both camping and huts.

Huts offer up a more social hiking experience. Plus you are guaranteed a dry place to cook and hang out in with the huts. At the same time, people come to tackle the Kungsleden trek in order to disconnect from the internet and connect with the wilderness. Point being, having people around every evening can get old after a while.

Getting Off the Beaten Track in Sweden

In a country full of remote stretches of coast and various expansive wilderness areas, you don’t have to put too much effort into getting off the beaten path. It just kind of happens naturally in Sweden.

Exploring Swedish Lapland and the national parks on foot as much as possible is key to discovering the magic of wild Sweden. Camp out (if it’s the summer). Go on plenty of treks. Put up a travel hammock next to a far flung lake and watch for Moose (though don’t get too close). Spend time in small villages. Don’t rush through places. Stop and discover.

Whilst a few towns in the North are popular with tourists (because of the Northern Lights), most of the north of Sweden is sparsely populated and large parts of it are not frequently visited by foreigners.

backpacking sweden

You will have more than enough opportunities to get off the beaten path in Sweden. As far as western Europe goes, backpacking in Sweden has some of the most beautiful and untouched regions on the continent. The exploring is endless. How far you travel just depends on how much motivation you have!

Aether Backpack

We’ve tested countless backpacks over the years, but there’s one that has always been the best and remains the best buy for adventurers: the broke backpacker-approved Osprey Aether and Ariel series.

Want more deetz on why these packs are so  damn perfect? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

Top Things To Do in Sweden

Below I have listed the  10 best things to do in Sweden :

1. See the Northern Lights

There are few places on earth where the clear sky is filled with brilliant hues of green, blue, and purple. Seeing the Northern Lights in the north of Sweden is bound to be a true highlight of your life.

backpacking sweden

2. Go to the Beach

Believe it or not, Sweden has some amazing beaches. Ok, the water is cold, but the beaches and the surrounding landscapes are stunning.

freedom treks sweden

3. Pick Blueberries in the Forest

All throughout Sweden, you can find wild blueberries in the forest throughout the summer. Have fun becoming a blueberry-feasting forest dweller!

backpacking sweden

4. Try Swedish Food

Sweden has an excellent culinary tradition that tempts backpackers at every turn. Some stuff is a bit weird I admit, but it’s always fun to try new things (even if they are a little gross).

backpacking sweden

5. Fall in Love with Stockholm

Sweden’s capital is charming as hell. Once you get to know it, Stockholm will quickly become one of your favorite cities in Europe.

backpacking stockholm

6. Explore Tiny Villages

Sweden is dotted with ultra-picturesque tiny villages rich in history and culture. Don’t just hit the cities in Sweden…the tiny villages have lots to offer!

backpacking sweden

7. Stay in a Swedish Mountain Hut

Scattered through Sweden’s national parks are a system of mountain huts for hikers. Most of them are quite basic, but there is always good company to be found from the fellow hikers who stay in them.

backpacking sweden

8. Visit a Sámi Community

The Sámi are an ethnic group indigenous to Swedish Lapland. You can visit a 400-year old Sámi market in the northern town of Jokkmokk.

backpacking sweden

9. Explore the Swedish Archipelago

Sweden is home to hundreds of thousands of islands off of its coast. In some cases, you can rent a boat and explore an archipelago on your own terms. The adventure options are endless…

backpacking sweden

10. Hike the Kungsleden Trail

If you have the time, hiking the 440-kilometer King’s Trail in northern Sweden is one of the best outdoor pursuits in the whole country. The Kungsleden Trail is one of the world’s best long-distance hiking trails. For people who love trekking this is a must when visiting Sweden in the summer.

backpacking Sweden

Wanna know how to pack like a pro? Well for a start you need the right gear….

These are packing cubes for the globetrotters and compression sacks for the  real adventurers – these babies are a traveller’s best kept secret. They organise yo’ packing and minimise volume too so you can pack MORE.

Or, y’know… you can stick to just chucking it all in your backpack…

Backpacker Accommodation in Sweden

The truth is, backpacker accommodation in Sweden can be pricey. That said, a number of the big cities in the south have reasonably priced hostels for around €20-25.

Once you get further north, hostels are few and far between but you can still find hostels across Sweden . I may be repeating myself but honestly, if you really want to save some cash (an enjoy the hell of out Sweden) I recommend that you bring along a good tent . That way you will have real freedom to sleep where you want (within reason) without having to shell out heaps of money.

You can find cheap home stays on farms in the north as well.

One of my favorite ways to meet locals and save some cash is to use  Couchsurfing . Couchsurfing truly is one of the best tools available to help save you money traveling. Plus, you are always bound to meet interesting people! More on CS later in the article.

The Best Places To Stay in Sweden

Wild camping in sweden.

You should have gathered by now that there are a million and one place to camp in Sweden.

Want to wake up to some of the most epic views of your life? If a bit of sun or a dry spell is forecasted, all the better reason to get out there and pitch your tent. You’ll save  heaps  of cash by camping too. Win win.

Always obey “no camping” signs. Respect farmers property, and when in doubt always ask permission BEFORE setting up shop. The last thing you want is some half-sober gun-wielding farmer pissed off because you are squatting on his (or her) land.

Get familiar with   “leave no trace principles”  and put them into practice.

If you are in the market for a solid, lightweight, and reliable tent, I highly recommend the  MSR Hubba Hubba 2-person tent . This compact tent is up to the challenge of battling Sweden’s intense climates.

To get to know this tent better, check out my in-depth  MSR Hubba Hubba Review .

backpacking sweden

Sweden Backpacking Costs

Staying in hostels every night, drinking like a fish, eating out for every meal, going to bars all night, and booking last minute trains will certainly destroy any budget you might have hoped to keep.

Backpacking in Sweden is no different. Shit adds up quick if you’re not careful! A  comfortable  daily budget for backpacking Sweden is between $70-100 USD . With that kind of a budget, you can eat well, get a hostel bed, a beer or two, and put some money towards a rental car.

It is possible to travel in Sweden on a shoe string budget. A bare-minimum budget for backpacking Sweden is $30-50/day (or less!).

To make a bare-bones budget feasible, you’ll need to be hitchhiking, camping, cooking a lot of your own food, not drinking much, and generally watching every krona you have.

Camping is great because some days you don’t spend any money at all. That said, as soon as you make it to a town to resupply or grab a budget hotel, you can easily drop $100 in under an hour if you’re not careful!

I recommend Couchsurfing as much as you possibly can. The more you Couchsurf and hitchhike, the more money you can spend on beer, good food, and activities. Pure and simple.

As I mentioned before (and will again) having a good tent and sleeping bag are crucial to budget backpacking. Both will save you a ton of money on accommodation. Whilst backpacking in an expensive region like Scandinavia, having the right gear and ability to camp out is very important to keep costs to an absolute minimum.

Here is what you can expect to spend on a daily basis (excluding car or van hire) whilst backpacking Sweden:

A Daily Budget in Sweden

Money in sweden.

The official currency of Sweden is the Swedish Krona .

ATM machines are widely available in all cities.

Carrying cash on you is always a good idea. Cash is a must for buying local crafts, veggies, or bread at local markets. That said, Sweden is moving closer and closer to being the first cashless country. Cards are accepted at more and more places. In a few years time, maybe you will be buying your vegetables from a small farmer in the middle of nowhere with a bank card. Strange.

Tip : Find out whether or not your bank in your home country has fee-free international withdrawal. If so, activate it for your trip or for whenever you travel abroad.

Once I discovered my bank card had that option, I saved a huge amount in ATM fees! When traveling to Sweden on a budget, every dollar (krona) counts right?

Travel Tips – Sweden on a Budget

Sweden is a very expensive country to travel but there are a few things you can do to save costs.

Accommodation  in Sweden is going to take the lion’s share of your budget. Staying in the city centers will naturally result in higher rental prices but prices drop the further away you get.

Public transport  in Swedish cities is reliable and cost-effective.. The  cheapest  way to commute is by bicycle. Cities like Stockholm have excellent cycle lanes in place to keep you safe. You’ll earn those meatballs, too!

Groceries  in Sweden are in keeping with other Nordic European destinations. Expect to pay around $3 for a loaf of bread and $1.30 for a liter of milk. Sweden has plenty of low-cost supermarkets like Netto and Lidl, where you can do your weekly shop on a budget.

Entertainment  across Sweden is steep, so set yourself a monthly budget and stick to it. Fortunately, Swedish cities are extremely walkable, so you can spend many hours chilling in leafy parks and eyeballing glorious architecture! Don’t miss the free museums either.

Why Should You Travel to Sweden with a Water Bottle?

Plastic washes up on even the most pristine beaches… so do your part and keep the Big Blue beautiful!

You aren’t going to save the world overnight, but you might as well be part of the solution and not the problem. When you travel to some of the world’s most remote places, you come to realise the full extent of the plastic problem. And I hope you become more inspired to continue being a responsible traveller.

STOP USING SINGLE-USE PLASTIC! If you’d like some more tips on how to save the world .

Plus, now you won’t be buying overpriced bottles of water from the supermarkets either! Travel with a filtered water bottle instead and never waste a cent nor a turtle’s life again.

grayl geopress filter bottle

Drink water from ANYWHERE. The Grayl Geopress is the worlds leading filtered water bottle protecting you from all manner of waterborne nasties.

Single-use plastic bottles are a MASSIVE threat to marine life. Be a part of the solution and travel with a filter water bottle. Save money and the environment!

We’ve tested the Geopress  rigorously  from the icy heights of Pakistan to the tropical jungles of Bali, and can confirm: it’s the best water bottle you’ll ever buy!

Best Time to Travel to Sweden

Determining when to go to Sweden largely depends on what you want to do. For trekking, hiking, camping, and exploring the national parks, summer is best, though Summer is the busy season in much of southern Sweden.

Summer is typically the time when many Swedish people are out enjoying their country too! When traveling in the summer, it is crucial to book your accommodation in advance—especially backpacker hostels are there isn’t a ton of them in Sweden to begin with.

Early spring and late fall can be cold in Sweden, and snowfall is common during these periods in the north of the country.

Winter brings a totally different vibe to Sweden. If you are coming to Sweden to experience the spectacle of the Northern Lights, then winter is the best time to see them. Cold, clear nights up north mean excellent Northern Lights displays from December to February.

The weather in Sweden can be a bit tricky at any time of year. Sudden storms can bring cold temperatures, even in the summer.

If you bring the right gear like a solid rain jacket, a warm down jacket, and a badass sleeping bag, the cold and wet won’t really effect you. You’ll just deal with it and have a fine time anyway. Check out my list of the 7 best jackets to take traveling here .

backpacking Sweden

Festivals in Sweden

There are lots of amazing festivals in Sweden happening throughout the year. Whether we are talking about an epic Pagan festival, live music, or food exhibitions, the Swedish people know how to have fun. Let’s have a look at some of the best festivals in Sweden:

Midsummer, Summer Solstice (June 20), all over Sweden : Midsummer festival is a big deal in Sweden. Some Swedish people will tell you it is the most important holiday/celebration of the year. When the summer solstice rolls around, you can sure sure to find a celebration no matter where you are in Sweden.

Gothenburg Culture Festival, August, Gothenburg : The Gothenburg Culture Fest bring a huge array of activity to the streets of Gothenburg. Street food, street theater, and all genres of music pumping out of every bar and club. That is what this festival is about.

Walpurgisnacht, May, all over Sweden : One of the most important Pagan festivals in Scandinavia takes places at the beginning of May.

Stockholm Pride, End of July, Stockholm : Stockholm Pride is one Europe’s largest LGBTQ pride festivals in Europe. Some 600,000 people turned out in one way or another in 2017!

Way out West, August, Gothenburg : Arguably Sweden’s most popular music festival for several years running. Way out West attracts big name acts from all over the world. Past acts have included Kendrick Lamar, Fleet Foxes, and Arcade Fire.

backpacking sweden

Summerburst, June, Stockholm and Gothenburg : Love EDM? Want to eat some mali and dance your heart out? This festival is for you.

Emmaboda, July, Emmaboda : Emmaboda is Sweden’s ultimate hippie festival. Complete with camping, mellow music, and positive vibes, Emmaboda is an authentic alternative to main stream music festivals in Sweden.

What to Pack for Sweden

On every adventure, there are six things I never go traveling without:

For plenty more inspiration on what to pack, check out my full  backpacking packing list.

Pacsafe belt

Travel Security Belt

This is a regular looking belt with a concealed pocket on the inside – you can hide up to twenty notes inside and wear it through airport scanners without it setting them off.

sea to summit towel

Microfiber Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Gifts for backpackers

Petzl Actik Core Headlamp

A decent head torch could save your life. If you want to explore caves, unlit temples, or simply find your way to the bathroom during a blackout, a headtorch is a must.


‘Monopoly Deal’

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Mesh Laundry Bag Nomatic

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Staying Safe in Sweden

Statistically, Sweden is safe, in fact it’s one of the safest countries in Europe. Violent crime against backpackers is almost unheard of. You are more likely to be attacked by a male moose in the bush than you are to be physically harmed by a person.

That said, you should always keep your wits about you when backpacking in big cities—anywhere in the world. Pickpockets in Stockholm in particular are notoriously skilled and operate throughout the city. Never keep your wallet or phone hanging out of your back pocket!

backpacking Sweden

Be careful when crossing rivers in the back country. Remember Sweden is home to potentially dangerous animals including moose, wolves, and bears—moose being by far the most dangerous.

Male moose are truly massive, aggressive, and ultra strong. An encounter with one in the wild could end very badly for the person involved.  If you accidentally stumble upon one whilst trekking, play it cool and slowly (or quickly!) get yourself out of there!

Check out Backpacker Safety 101 for tips and tricks to stay safe whilst backpacking.

I strongly recommend traveling with a headlamp whilst in Sweden (or anywhere really – every backpacker should have a good headtorch !) – check out my post for a breakdown of the best value headlamps to take backpacking.

Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll in Sweden

In Sweden, party drugs are definitely around in the urban club scene. However, all drugs in Sweden including weed are quite expensive.

Furthermore, Sweden has some pretty strict drug laws so whatever you do, be smart about how and wear you get your party favors.

Alcohol is the popular drug of choice among the Swedish people. How else do you stay warm when it’s -30 outside?

There is a pretty awesome pub scene in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and university towns like Uppsala and Lund. The parties in Sweden are legendary. The Swedes really do know how to have a big night out. The first time you go out on a Saturday night in a Swedish city, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

backpacking Sweden

Travel Insurance for Sweden

Traveling without insurance would be risky so do consider getting good backpacker insurance sorted before you head off on an adventure.

I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re easy to use, professional and relatively affordable. They may also let you buy or extend a policy once you’ve started your trip and are already abroad which is super handy.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

freedom treks sweden

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

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How To Get Into Sweden

Sweden is a vast country and covering big distances is just a fact of life if you want to see a wide swath of it. Luckily, Sweden is well connected in many respects.

Trains run on time. Buses are on the cheap end considering how expensive other things in Sweden can be. Hitchhiking is safe. Planes can shoot you up towards the Arctic Circle in just a few hours. Depending on your time frame, budget, and desired experience, there are many different ways to get around Sweden.

backpacking sweden

Entry Requirements for Sweden

If you’re flying into Sweden from abroad, you will probably land at the Stockholm Airport.

Stockholm Arlanda Airport  is Sweden’s main international airport, located about 23 miles outside of the city.

Sweden has numerous land borders: Norway, Denmark, and Finland. Most of the time, you can cross from one country to the next without having to show a passport as the borders are open (as they all over western Europe). On rare occasions, the customs police will stop you and ask for your documents.

EU citizens will only need their passport or ID cards to enter Sweden. Citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Switzerland, the US, and a handful of other countries do not need to pre-apply for a visa; their valid passport will be stamped on arrival.

Other nationalities will need to apply for a Schengen Visa beforehand to visit all Schengen zoned countries.

As a non-European traveler, you can only stay in Sweden and other Schengen zone countries for three months out of every six months. Once six months have passed from your original arrival date, the visa resets.

backpacking sweden

What the Hell are Schengen Area Countries?

The Schengen visa can be a bit confusing because not all European countries are part of the Schengen zone. Greece, Germany, Spain, Portugal, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Czech Republic, etc. are part of the Schengen zone.

A few other countries – namely Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway – are not technically associated with the EU, but they are part of the Schengen zone; whereas, the UK, Ireland, and most Eastern European and Baltic countries, are not part of the Schengen zone, even though they are part of the EU.

Theoretically, you can visit Sweden for three months, and then hop over to a non-Schengen country – like Croatia, Albania, Bosnia and Bulgaria – for three months, and then travel back to Sweden with a fresh three-month visa. A lot of long-term travelers plan their travels around the Schengen visa accordingly.

Be sure to check our comprehensive guide if you plan to stay in Europe for more than 90 days .

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How to Get Around Sweden

I have good news for you guys! Public transportation in Sweden isn’t as expensive as you may have feared.

Buses are the cheapest form of transportation, followed by trains. Taxis are widely available too, though they can be super, super expensive, and should be avoided in my opinion.

Already traveling in Europe? Train travel to Sweden from other countries in Europe is another fine option for arriving into Sweden.

Travelling by Train in Sweden

Whether you are backpacking around Europe or just Sweden you should consider buying a  EuroRail pass . If you plan on taking multiple train rides on an extended backpacking trip, a Eurorail pass is the way to go.

Check out our in-depth guide to  train travel in Europe .

The EuroRail website is configured based on your location and currency. If  you are American looking to check out EuroRail prices  click here . For Europeans/UK citizens  this one  is yours.

Traveling to Sweden is now super easy when you book with Flixbus ! Buy your Flixbus bus tickets ahead at unbeatable prices for fast and last minute travel.

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Renting a Car in Sweden

Renting a car on your Sweden backpacking adventure will give you the freedom to roam. There is nothing better than moving about at your own pace. Having a set of wheels gives you that. Plus, who doesn’t want to make the ultimate Swedish road trip at least once, right?

You can sort your car rental here  in just a few minutes. Booking in advance is the best way to ensure you score the lowest price and your choice of vehicle. Often, you can find the best car rental prices when you pick up the rental from the airport.

backpacking sweden

Campervanning in Sweden

By far the best way to get around Sweden independently is by campervan. It ain’t the cheapest option, but it is bound to be the most fun and comfortable.

Campervans are great because you are traveling with a mobile shelter and kitchen that is capable of parking just about anywhere for the night.

Whilst campervan rentals in Sweden are not budget friendly, you do end up saving money on accommodation and cooking for yourself. The biggest win for going the campervan route is the unprecedented freedom you have.

Really enjoy a place you went for a day hike and want to sleep there? Easy. Interested in parking super close to a popular attraction so that you can be the first one to arrive in the morning? Sorted.

Want to snuggle up with your lover, sip tea, and read whilst it is pouring rain outside? No problem. Curious to know if a castle or small village is really haunted at night so you need to park close to it? Bam. Do it.

The list of benefits to  renting a campervan in Sweden  goes on and on.

Keep in mind that campervan rentals in Sweden and across Scandinavia are seasonal. The rental prices are at their highest in the summer. Even if you can only swing a campervan rental for a couple of days, it will be worth it. If you’re traveling with your mates, you can split the cost to keep individual costs down.

When booking a campervan, the details matter. Does your rental come with sheets, blankets, a stove, and electricity outlets? Be sure to ask. Go for the campervan with the best price point vs all of the gear and gadgets. You can simply pack all the gear you need to have a successful campervanning adventure in Sweden!

backpacking sweden

Hitchhiking in Sweden

Whilst I did not personally hitchhike in Sweden, I have been told my several people who have that it is: 1. very easy and 2. equally as safe.

You might want to avoid hitchhiking in and around any major cities, especially in the south.

If you are traveling in a group of two or more and have two large backpacks with you, you may find hitching a ride to be difficult. People are always less likely to stop when they see two people and lots of baggage.

No country on earn is void of creepers or assholes. Whilst hitchhiking in Sweden you need to be smart and trust your instincts. If someone gives you bad vibes, simply decline the ride. There will always be another one.

More over less though, I have heard nothing but positive reports from people hitchhiking in Sweden.

Onwards Travel from Sweden

After backpacking Sweden, many backpackers head to Norway or Finland. There is regular train service between large cities in Sweden and their counter parts in neighboring countries.

Backpacking in Scandinavia is awesome, so if you have the time and budget, you should definitely see as much of it as you can.

Likewise, if you are heading elsewhere in Europe, you have options. Taking a budget flight is the cheapest way to get to another part of Europe, though the train is more fun (and better for the environment).

If you are flying back to the USA from Sweden, you should the check prices of flights departing other major European capitals like Oslo, Paris or Madrid. Sometimes you can find ridiculously cheap flights from those cities to the states!

Working in Sweden

Sweden is not a cheap country to travel and so making a few bucks here and there to help you on their way is a good idea. Wages are comparatively high compared to pretty much everywhere else and even bar jobs pay around $20 per hour. That said living costs in Sweden are higher, too.

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Work Visa’s in Sweden

Citizens of the EU and EEA can live and work in Sweden. Everybody else will need a work and resident visa however. Whilst Sweden is amongst the most welcoming of Northern European countries, the application process can be expensive and you will probably need sponsorship from an employer or at least proof of employment.

Volunteering in Sweden

Volunteering abroad is an amazing way to experience a culture whilst helping your host community. There are plenty of different volunteer projects in Sweden including teaching, construction, agriculture and pretty much anything.

Obviously, Sweden is a wealthy country and doesn’t need as much volunteer help as other nations. That being said, there are still opportunities available for backpackers to contribute to local communities and small businesses. From animal care to English teaching and housekeeping, there are plenty of areas where you can make a difference. Citizens from outside the EU will need to apply for a residence permit before arriving in order to volunteer.

Want to find some awesome volunteering opportunities in Sweden? Then signup for Worldpackers , a platform that connects local hosts with volunteer travelers. As a Broke Backpacker reader, you’ll also get a special discount of $10. Just use the discount code BROKEBACKPACKER and your membership is discounted from $49 a year to only $39.

Programs run through reputable work exchange programs , like Worldpackers, are generally very well-managed and highly reputable. However, whenever you are volunteering do stay vigilant especially when working with animals or children.

freedom treks sweden

Worldpackers: connecting travellers with  meaningful travel experiences.

Teaching English in Sweden

If you’re considering a long stint in Sweden, read up on how to get a job teaching English in Sweden . Wages are high here and the work/life balance highly rated. However, you will usually need a degree and TEFL in order to be considered.

If you’re not staying so long, you’re better off teaching online. However, note that the online teaching jobs are usually nowhere near well enough paid to stand the high costs of Swedish life.

What to Eat in Sweden

There are lots of amazing things to try in Sweden. Let’s get to know some of Sweden’s tastiest foods/rituals:

Fika : A social coffee break time that should always include a delicious pastry or cinnamon buns.

Cinnamon Buns : The best treat to have with your coffee (Fika) on a chilly morning.

Våfflor ( waffles ): The Swedish love their waffles…and they are damn good at making them. Must try with whipped creme and cloudberry jam.

Elk Steak : Sweden has some of the tastiest game you will ever try. If you like to eat meat, Elk steak is a sustainable, local food source that goes great with red wine!

Smörgåsbord : The ultimate classic Swedish buffet feast.

Toast Skagen : A type of delicious open face cracker-sandwich topped with dill, shrimp, mustard, and fish roe.

Swedish Meatballs : Usually served with potatoes and a salad. Everyone has their own way to make them!

Knäckebröd : Sweden’s version of crisp bread. Knäckebröd has been a staple in Sweden for centuries. You can pretty much put anything you want on it.

Wild Berries : Cloudberries, blueberries, and raspberries grow all over Sweden. When the season is on— it’s on. Time to get your hands sticky.

backpacking sweden

Swedish Culture

The Swedish people are some of the most laid back, fun-loving, thoughtful, and welcoming people you will meet. They are proud of their country— its traditions, history, and of all of the fine natural landscapes.

Life seems to be pretty good in Sweden. Education and healthcare are free. The ocean around the big cities is clean. The forests are beautiful…what’s not to be happy about?

I like that the Swedish put a lot of emphasis on relaxing and spending time with loved ones. More countries should be like Sweden.

Take the time to enjoy Fika with a local and get to know what Swedish people are all about!

Useful Travel Phrases for Sweden

Swedish is the official language of Sweden, though English is widely spoken.  Here are some Swedish travel phrases with English translations to get you started. Swedish is quite a difficult language to learn, but it is always fun to try, and locals will appreciate the effort, even if you only know a word or two.

Good morning – God morgon

Can I camp here? – Kan jag campa här?

How much is this? – Hur mycket är det här?

Do you have soup? – Har du soppa?

Where is the toilet? – Vart finns toaletten?

What is this? –  Vad är detta

Sorry – Förlåt / Ursäkta

No plastic bag –  Ingen plastpåse

No straw please – Inget sugrör tack

No plastic cutlery please –  Ingen plast bestick tack

I am lost – Jag är vilse

Thank you! – Tack

One more beer please– En öl till, tack

Books to Read About Sweden

Here are some of my favorite books books set in Sweden:

  • The 100-Year-Old-Man who Jumped out of a Window and Disappeared : This quirky book has charmed readers across the world. One of my favorite books at the moment.
  • The Almost Nearly Perfect People : A witty, informative, and popular travelogue about the Scandinavian countries and how they may not be as happy or as perfect as we assume, “ The Almost Nearly Perfect People  offers up the ideal mixture of intriguing and revealing facts.
  • Lonely Planet Sweden : Always a good idea to have a Lonely Planet in your backpack.

A Brief History of Sweden

After the Vikings became the dominant force in Sweden around the year 800, a succession of Kings, wars, and religions engulfed Sweden for centuries.

In 1809, after the Napoleonic wars, Sweden lost Finland to Russia. Later, however, Sweden gained Norway. Norway would stay part of Sweden until 1905 when the union was dissolved and Norway became an independent country.

Most people don’t know that Norway was apart of Sweden until its independence in 1905!

In the late 1800s, around 1 million Swedish people immigrated to the United States due to a poor economy and famine. The Swedish economy picked up during World War I, where Sweden remained neutral. Sweden also managed to remain neutral in World War II; however, there were Nazis in Sweden during that time period.

Sweden was one of the first non-participants of World War II to join the United Nations (in 1946). Apart from this, the country has tried to stay out of alliances and remained officially neutral during the entire Cold War; it never joined NATO.

backpacking sweden

In 1986 the Prime Minister of Sweden, Olof Palme, was assassinated. The crime is surrounded with mystery and remains unsolved. The event rocked Sweden and was the most significant political crisis in Sweden in modern history.

Sweden joined the European Union in 1995, but did not join the Monetary Union and, therefore, still uses the Swedish krona as money rather than the Euro.

Some Unique Experiences in Sweden

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Trekking in Sweden

Sweden is the perfect playground for awesome outdoor adventures. From leisurely day hikes to long multi-day epics, there is a hike for every kind of backpacker in Sweden. Kungsleden is Sweden’s trekking crown jewel, but there are many other awesome hikes on offer in Sweden as well!

Compared to other places in Europe (like the Alps for example), Sweden’s trekking trails are not bursting at the seams with hikers. Sweden is fast becoming one of my favorite countries in Europe for trekking!

backpacking sweden

These are some of my favorite hikes in Sweden:

High Coast Trail : A 130 km trail passing through Skuleskogen National Park and a handful of UNESCO world heritage sites.

The Jämtland Triangle : One of the most famous treks in Sweden is famous for a reason. On the Jämtland Triangle trek (48 km) you can expect amazing food at the various huts, stunning mountain views, and saunas to relax in at the end of a long day of walking!

Tarfala : Turquoise mountain lakes set against a backdrop of dramatic peaks make the Tarfala valley one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever go.

Sörmlandsleden Trail : The Sörmlandsleden Trail may be over 1,000 km long, but don’t worry, you don’t have to do it all! Much of the trail is located in central Sweden and is very accessible from the road at various points. Tackle a chunk of it and you will find your self surrounded by gorgeous lakes and ancient forests.

Pilgrim Path St. Olavsleden : This is Sweden’s version of the Camino de Santiago. This centuries-old (over 1000 years!) trail stretches through Sweden and Norway, starting at the Swedish east coast before following the route to Trondheim in Norway.

backpacking sweden

Kullaberg Nature Reserve : An impressive area on Sweden’s southwest coast. Here the trails are hilly and the landscapes sublime. I love the lighthouses!

The Vasalopp Trail : Another gem of a hike around Dalarna in central Sweden. This trail is also famous for the “Vasalopp” ski event every year.  So if you’re backpacking Sweden in spring, summer and autumn you can trek it, or in wintertime, you can cross-country ski it.

Joining an Organized Tour in Sweden

For most countries, Sweden included, solo travel is the name of the game. That said, if you are short on time, energy, or just want to be part of an awesome group of travelers you can opt to join an organized tour. Joining a tour is a great way to see a majority of the country quickly and without the effort that goes into planning a backpacking trip. However—not all tour operators are created equal—that is for sure.

G Adventures  is a solid down-to-earth tour company catering to backpackers just like you, and their prices and itineraries reflect the interests of the backpacker crowd. You can score some pretty sweet deals on epic trips in Sweden for a fraction of the price of what other tour operators charge.

backpacking sweden

Final Advice Before Visiting Sweden

Well there you have it my friends. That’s all I got. You now have everything you need to have an epic time backpacking Sweden.

I hope you have found my Sweden travel guide helpful! It was a pleasure to write.

I hope you are able to get into plenty of awesome adventures (and a little debauchery) during your time backpacking around this magical and wild land. Best of luck on your journey!

freedom treks sweden

And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links . That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!

Aiden Freeborn

Aiden Freeborn

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Good Backpacking info. Thanks

Hello, my name is Matilda and I’m Swedish. I loved this post and to read other peoples thoughts about my country :). I just wanted to help you with the phrases because some are a little bit wrong.

Can I camp here? – Kan jag campa här? Sorry – Förlåt / Ursäkta No straw please – Inget sugrör tack

Thanks for the corrections! I’ve changed these phrases in the guide.

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Sharing our passion for skiing

We’ve been tailor-making ski holidays since 1996, when our founders Richard and Samantha Rice first started Ski Safari. Back then, only a few UK companies were organising ski trips to North America but Richard and Sam were convinced that other Brits would love skiing in Canada as much as they did.

Offering more freedom than other ski operators, Richard and Sam gave skiers the option to see more of the country they were visiting, and to ski at multiple resorts. This led to our pioneering ‘ski safari’ concept, which is now a defining feature of our brand.

Here’s our story...

1996 - the start of our ski journey.

Richard and Sam set up Ski Safari from their London flat. ‘Safari’ means ‘journey,’ so Ski Safari was the perfect name for their innovative new company, which offered more than standard ski trips.

1999 - Experiencing every resort

After acquiring Ski US (a travel agency specialising in America) Richard and Sam started offering more resorts across Canada and the US. Determined to only feature resorts they’d skied at themselves, first-hand experience became the backbone of Ski Safari - and Richard and Sam did a lot of skiing!

2002 - Moving to the beach

Ski Safari moved out of London to a small office in Hove, where our company began to expand. To the delight of the growing team, staff ski trips became a regular feature of the company, and still are today.

2006 - Exploring Switzerland

Drawing on our growing team’s resort knowledge, we added a number of Swiss resorts suitable for shorter holidays to our offering. We also continued to expand our ski safari options with road-trips across the western states of the US and rail journeys on Switzerland’s Glacier Express.

2008 - Discovering Japan’s powder

Wowed by the powder on a staff trip to Japan, we added Asia to our expanding range of destinations. City add-ons in Tokyo and Kyoto, and ski safaris in Hokkaido and Honshu also became part of our new offering.

2011 - Year-round active holidays

We started offering European cycling trips through our acquisition of Freedom Treks, creating a year-round programme of active holidays. Also run by our team in Hove, Freedom Treks benefits from the same exceptionally high levels of personal service.

2012 - Scandinavia and the Arctic

Based on a wealth of staff experience in Norway and Sweden, we started offering some of the world’s best family skiing as well adventurous Arctic ski safaris in Scandinavia.

2014 - South Korea and the UK’s Highest Rated Ski Operator

Having sent staff to scope out South Korea’s 2018 Olympic slopes, we loved the quirky ski culture so much that we became the only UK company to offer ski holidays in South Korea. Later in the year, we were the highest rated ski tour operator in the Ski Club of Great Britain’s UK ski industry consumer survey.

2015 - Highest Rated UK Ski Operator, again!

For the second year running, we were the highest rated ski tour operator in the Ski Club of Great Britain’s UK ski industry consumer survey.

2016 - Celebrating 20 years and a third year as the UK's Highest Rated Ski Operator

A year of double celebrations; May marked 20 years of offering incredible tailor-made ski holidays, and then in September we received the highest rating of any UK ski tour operator in the Ski Club of Great Britain's ski industry consumer survey for the third year running.

2017 - Four years in a row

For the fourth time, we came top in the Ski Club of Great Britain's ski industry consumer survey (now called the Industry Awards), with a best ever NPS score of 87.

2018 - Five consecutive years

For the fifth consecutive year we are named the UK's Best Ski Tour Operator in the Ski Club of Great Britain's Industry Awards.

2019 - A larger team, the same exceptional service

We now have 30 skiers and snowboarders in our team but as we grow we continue to offer the same exceptional service, as shown by a sixth consecutive win of the award for the UK's Best Ski Tour Operator and our first British Travel Award for Best Ski & Winter Sports Holiday Company (small category).

2020 - A challenging year, but still on top

2020 has been a challenging year for the travel industry, but we're proud to have continued to support our customers and in return retain the awards for the UK's Best Ski Tour Operator in the Ski Club of Great Britain's Industry Awards and Best Ski & Winter Sports Holiday Company (small business category) in the British Travel Awards .

Today - True to our roots

Richard and Sam still own 100% of Ski Safari and Freedom Treks, which are run by the same team from our coach-house offices, close to the beach in Hove. Our concept is the same as it was back in 1996 - we offer quality ski holidays that are tailor-made using first-hand knowledge and delivered with outstanding service.

  • Corporate (in Swedish)
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  • Top hiking routes

Top hiking trails in Sweden

Looking for top hiking trails in Sweden? Well-marked routes, easy to challenging hikes and gorgeous natural surroundings – here are the classic Swedish trails you just have to hike.

Sweden's top hiking trails include:

  • The King’s Trail (Kungsleden)


  • St Olavsleden Pilgrim Trail

The Emigrant Trail (Utvandrarleden)

The King’s Trail (Kungsleden) – Northern Sweden

Established at the end of the 19th century, the King’s Trail is considered not just one of the most beautiful hiking trails in Sweden but in the world. Stretching more than 400 kilometres through dark forests, up Sweden’s tallest mountains and along rushing rivers, the King’s Trail offers alpine landscapes – and in the summer nearly 24 hours of sunlight. While it takes about one month to hike the entire trail, you can also explore it in more manageable sections. This is helpful if you’re keen to really challenge yourself or perhaps want to hike at a more moderate skill level.

The section between Abisko and Nikkaluokta offers you the chance to scale the summit of Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise , which stands at 2 097 metres above sea level. That may sound challenging but much of this section of the King's Trail is more moderate, so know what you’re capable of and stick with it. From Saltoluokta to Kvikkjokk the hiking terrain alternates between barren plateaus and meadows surrounded by mountains and forests. This 73 km stretch takes roughly 4-5 days. Wooden steps and bridges ensure everyone's safety.

Along the middle section of the King's Trail, you’ll find the plateau of the Sarek National Park – which is often called Western Europe’s last wilderness. Did you know that Sweden was the first country in Europe to establish national parks? Sarek is one of the nine Swedish national parks that were established in 1909. You can also hike to the grandiose mountain peak Skierffe – but be careful! At the summit, the south face plummets down into a river delta. The sweeping views over Sarek National Park will make the effort worthwhile, they’re among the best views in Scandinavia. If you're looking for a less populated trail, head to the 166 kilometres stretch that runs south from Kvikkjokk.

Where to stay 

The King’s Trail offers overnight huts every 10-20 kilometres. During the summer season, beginning in June, almost all huts are manned by wardens. Hiking in Sweden is more popular in the summer, but you can also hike in the colder months. Guided hiking tours are available during both summer and winter – and are highly recommended during the winter if you have not hiked this region previously or are not very experienced.

The Swedish Tourist Association offers a lot of different accommodations for hikers . During this particular hike you can stay at  STF Abisko Turiststation , STF Kebnekaise Fjällstation or the huts in Abiskojaure, Alesjaure, Sälka, Tjäktja and Singi. The last two offers housing only (no food).

The King's Trail, Swedish Lapland

Don't forget a sturdy pair of boots and waterproof clothing during your hike on the King's Trail in Swedish Lapland.

Photo : Ted Logart/Swedish Lapland

Photo : Carl-Johan Utsi/Swedish Lapland

Kebnekaise – Northern Sweden

At 2 097 metres, Kebnekaise is Sweden’s highest mountain and while the 18 kilometre round trip to the summit and back sounds daunting it is actually suited to most skill levels. The best time to hike Kebnekaise is July and August, when the marked trail is generally snow-free. This is one of the most varied hiking trails in Sweden, allowing you to experience everything from glaciers and Sami  settlements to flat gorges and wide-open valleys.

The best place to begin your hike is the STF Kebnekaise Mountain Station . STF, the Swedish Tourist Association , also maintains mountain cabins along the route.

There are two classic hiking trails leading up to Kebnekaise summit – Östra leden and Västra leden (eastern and western routes). The western trail is public and presents no out-of-the-ordinary hiking difficulties other than length, while the eastern trail is shorter but does require some climbing skills. The eastern route is also guided, weather permitting.

When hiking Kebnekaise it’s important to have a good pair of hiking boots, as well as appropriate clothing. The weather changes fast and because this is above the Arctic Circle it’s not necessarily going to be warm, even in the summer. Additionally, the mosquitos are hungry, so bring mosquito spray. It’s also a good idea to check with the guides at STF Kebnekaise Fjällstation (Mountain Station) before heading out to ensure your own safety.

Hiking in Kebnekaise, Swedish Lapland

Kebnekaise is the highest mountain in Sweden, and an appreciated hiking destination.

Photo : Mats Hagwall/Unsplash

St. Olavsleden Pilgrim Trail – Northern Sweden

The Santiago de Compostela Pilgrim Route might get more press but don’t count out the St. Olavsleden Pilgrim Trail . It passes through both Sweden and Norway and is the northernmost pilgrim trail in the world.

St. Olavsleden  follows in the footsteps of Norway’s King Olav Haraldsson, who walked from Sweden to Norway almost one thousand years ago. This Scandinavian hiking trail is nearly 600 kilometres long, extending from the Baltic Sea in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west – or, in other words, from Selånger in Sweden to Trondheim in Norway. Taking you through vast swaths of forest, over mountains, and around lakes, St. Olavsleden is a historical and cultural marvel set in some of the most stunning scenery you’ll ever pass through.

If you want help to organise accommodation, transport and food, you can book a packaged tour . If you’d rather arrange the hike yourself, you can easily access interactive maps . There are also trail ambassadors who are happy to share their experiences with you. Accommodation is available along the way, from upscale hotels to rustic huts. Camping is also an option, and for food, you can either bring your own, shop at a grocery store or try one of the many restaurants along the trail.

The weather is extremely variable so consider that when preparing for your hike. Layers that are easily added or removed, as well as sturdy hiking boots, are your best options. Weather forecasts can be obtained from  SMHI - weather in Sweden .

For detailed tips on what to pack and what equipment you might want to bring with you, read more at  The Mountain Safety Council of Sweden  (Fjällsäkerhetsrådet):  Recommended outdoor equipment on the mountain.

Hiking St. Olavsleden

The 580 km long St Olavsleden Pilgrim Trail runs from Selånger in Sweden to Trondheim in Norway.

Photo : Nils Jakobsson, Bildbyrån

Sörmlandsleden, Sörmland – Southern Sweden

If you're looking for a more comfortable hike in Sweden that still offers some challenges and plenty of beautiful surroundings, Sörmlandsleden – Sörmland Hiking Trail – is right up your alley. Located in Southern Sweden, this popular hiking trail offers more than 1,000 kilometres of varied landscape, as well as a number of places that are of cultural and historical importance.

The route is divided into nearly 100 sections that range from 2 to 21 kilometres, offering levels of difficulty that range from quite challenging to an easy hike along level ground. And like most other long hiking trails in Sweden, there are a number of exit and entry points. On Sörmlandsleden most of these are easily reached by car, bus, or train. Some sections take just a few hours to hike, while others will take the entire day.

The trail has a highly diversified natural environment: one moment you are hiking across a wide-open landscape, and the next you’ll find yourself in a dark forest or maybe enjoying the sunshine along the coastline. The trail takes you past no less than 80 lakes, where you are free to take a refreshing dip.

Lantmäteriet Ordnance Survey maps  are available at tourist offices and book stores, but note that because of unexpected events, such as road building or maintenance, the actual trail may deviate from the map. And while there are overnights huts dotted along the way, there are long stretches where you won’t find any, so if you plan to overnight bring appropriate provisions and camping gear. You are allowed to camp according to Sweden’s Right of Public Access (Allemansrätten) , which means you can hike anywhere you want – as long as you leave your surroundings the way you found them and you’re not disturbing anyone. There are also plenty of hotels, inns, hostels and B&Bs along the way.

Sörmlandsleden is one of the longest hiking trails in Scandinavia.

Photo : Trosa stadshotell

Hiking along Sörmlandsleden

Photo : Karin Reibring/Sörmlandsleden

The Emigrant Trail (Utvandrarleden) – Southern Sweden

The 110 km long Emigrant Trail (Utvandrarleden)  is a historical Swedish hiking trail in the region of Småland. It takes you through the villages from which many Swedes left to seek their fortune in the United States between 1850 and 1910.

The hard and rocky ground made it difficult to grow crops, resulting in starvation that drove, by some estimates, nearly a third of Sweden’s population to seek a better life in the “New World” in the United States. Vilhelm Moberg , a native of Småland, wrote about the emigrants’ experiences in a series of four novels, which remains a popular and poignant tale both in Sweden and abroad.

Some of the Swedish villages playing an integral part of the narrative in the books are found along the Emigrant trail, including Ljuder, Långasjö, Korpamoen, Moshult, and, most importantly, Duvemåla, where one of the key characters, Kristina, hails from.

For overnight stays along the trail, hikers can choose from a wide variety of accommodation . And you might want to tuck the Moberg novels into your pack to read as you make your way from village to village – getting a deeper understanding of the history of this Swedish region.

The Emigrant Trail (Utvandrarleden) in Småland. 130 km of winding paths and roads through the region from which a lot of people left for the United States in 1850-1910. The landscape reminds you of the hard conditions for farming back then.

Photo : Alexander Hall

Skåneleden, Skåne – Southern Sweden

Perfect for both seasoned hikers and those just getting started, the 1 400 kilometres long Skåneleden takes you through the beautiful and cultural landscape of Skåne, Sweden’s southernmost region. The trail is divided into six sub-trails for a total of more than 100 sections, which will take you along both the rocky coastline and through old virgin forests. The Skåneleden Trail is a great alternative for those who want to combine hiking with culture – and it’s particularly suited for foodies.

This beautiful hiking trail passes through deep forests of deciduous and coniferous trees, along quiet lakes, and through deep gorges. You’ll also cross endless fields, white beaches, and through the occasional picturesque fishing village. The coast route at Kullaleden is particularly impressive, as are the forests of Österlen and the woods around Hovdala by Finjasjön Lake. Stenshuvud National Park sits on 400 hectares, including 80 hectares of sea. There are three peaks in the national park, including the northern peak, which stands at 97 metres above sea level.

The trail section in northeast Skåne is for the more serious hiker. You’ll pass through the dense Göinge Woodlands, where fierce battles over Danish rule once took place. There are also plenty of lakes for swimming, and for bird lovers in particular, this area is a revelation.

There are plenty of campsites with facilities available, as well as huts and other shelters, compost toilets, and other basic amenities. The best of all – it’s all free!

Skåneleden trail

The Skåneleden trail will take you through lush forests and over woodland streams.

Photo : Mickael Tannus/

Photo : Mickael Tannus/Tourism in Skåne

Kullaleden, Skåne

Photo : Apelöga/

Hovs Hallar, Skåneleden

Photo : Mickael Tannus

Skåneleden in autumn

Photo : Apelöga

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Hiking in Sweden

The largest country in Northern Europe and yet with a population of just over 10 million, when you start exploring walks in Sweden you’ll get to see the country’s rural nature for yourself. With exquisite lakes and farmland in the south and endless forests in the north, this Scandinavian nation has wonderfully diverse landscapes. 

With beaches, islands, old-growth forests, mountains and 30 national parks, hikes in Sweden utterly spoil you for choice. With a vast and rugged coastline filled with inlets, bays and islands, coastal paths provide fantastic views and plenty of opportunities to go for a dip in the summer heat. 

From short day hikes to multi-day treks, there are trails for every ability in this friendly country.

Top 10 best walks and hikes in Sweden

Holzsteg – store mosse nationalpark loop from hillerstorp, blick von kullaberg – aussicht vom åkersberget loop from mölle.

freedom treks sweden

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Lilla trollkyrka – stora trollkyrka loop from olshammar, norra kvills nationalpark – stora idgölen loop from rumskulla, stenshuvud=steinkopf – lighthouse loop from kivik, stenshuvud=steinkopf – strand loop from kivik, stora trehörningen & beach – wunderschöner seeblick loop from olshammar, stora trehörningen & beach – wunderschöner seeblick loop from undenäs, tallarna – skyttevarn loop from trollskogen, aussichtspunkt – weitläufiger ausblick loop from röstånga, more information, top regions to hike in sweden.

In the northeast, Skuleskogen National Park is a beautiful place to explore some of the best hiking trails in Sweden. Set on the edge of the Baltic Sea, this national park has mountains, spruce forests and fantastic sea views over the neighbouring islands. 

Down in Småland in the south east, the hiking is flatter with lakes, forests and coastal walks added into the mix. You’ll still find hills here in the South Swedish Highlands, where you can explore the forested uplands and gentle valleys. Hikes in Sweden’s southern heartland include the innumerable trails out from Jöngköping where you’ll trek through magical woods and see quintessentially Swedish houses. 

In the far north, near the Norweigen border, you’ll find Abisko National Park. This phenomenal area is a great place to spot the aurora as well as hike through mountains and boreal forests. A little further south is Sarek National Park, complete with waterfalls, mountains and wide valleys. Remote and breathtaking, you could hike for a lifetime here and never get bored. 

Right to Roam in Sweden

One of the most amazing things about walks in Sweden is that they can be taken anywhere. The country has a right to roam law, making it legal to walk and wild camp almost anywhere you choose. This doesn’t extend to gardens but when it comes to walking, it does include farmland. 

This is an incredible freedom so you should always take care not to abuse it by leaving litter or damaging any crops. In national parks, the rules may be different so it’s worth checking the local situation. 

Sweden’s abundant wildlife

As such a vast and sparsely populated country, it’s no wonder that the wildlife here is abundant. Whilst adventuring in the wilds of Sweden, you’ll spot animals like reindeer, moose and deer with relative ease. 

The nation’s predators are perhaps the most sought after animals to catch a glimpse of while hiking. Lynx, bears and wolves are all residents here but these majestic creatures tend to stay away from humans. Walk enough though and you may see signs of them, perhaps even spotting them in the distance. 

You should always give wild animals a wide berth and while most pose no threat to hikers, no animal responds well to feeling threatened. 

Other animals to keep an eye out for are golden eagles, grey seals and beavers. Wherever you go in this incredible country, you’ll see wildlife at every turn.

Sweden's best walks and hikes on the map

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