Hiking and Backpacking in Sweden: Tips & Trails

Backpacking in Sweden: A hiker in Mullfjallet, Åre, Sweden

In this post, we'll take a look at:

Discover Sweden’s beauty through hiking on its 80,000 miles of marked trails. Explore pine forests, rugged mountains, and scenic coastal paths with sea cliffs and beaches.

In this post, we’ll delve into the world of ultralight hiking and backpacking in Sweden, providing tips to help you prepare for your upcoming outdoor adventure.

We’ll share the TOP 5 trails in Sweden in two parts. The first is for day hikes under 25 miles, great for exploring in one day. The second is for longer multi-day trips.

Key Tips for Hiking and Backpacking in Sweden

  • What to expect: Sweden has awesome hiking with over 80,000 miles of marked trails. The trails take you through different places like forests, mountains, and coastlines. You can go on trips that last multiple days because there are basic huts and campsites along the trails. The weather is usually mild in the summer with long daylight hours, but it can get chilly and rainy, or even snowy in higher areas, even during warmer months.
  • Essential gear: In addition to everything else, make sure to pack a waterproof rain jacket and pants. Bring a portable cook set, non-perishable foods, a map, compass or GPS, a first aid kit, a headlamp, and a lighter or waterproof matches.
  • Wildlife: Some Swedish wildlife warrants caution. Bears inhabit much of the country and adders parts of the south. Seals and white sharks require vigilance along coasts. However, moose, Sweden’s largest resident, pose the greatest danger—bulls during mating seasons and cows with calves. Ticks also risk transmitting diseases in warmer months.
  • Wild camping: Wild camping, or freedom to roam, is permitted in Sweden thanks to the right of public access. This allows people to camp anywhere in natural areas, forests and beaches, as long as it is at least 500 feet (150 m) from the nearest house or private land. Campers must not disturb or damage the natural environment and should practice ‘leave no trace’ principles. However, it is banned in national parks and nature reserves, so check regulations before camping in protected areas.
  • Best time to go: Late spring, summer, and early fall are the best times for hiking in Sweden. May through August has warm temperatures (60-75°F), long daylight hours until nearly midnight in June, and less rainfall. July and August are busy, while April/May and September/October are less crowded with colorful foliage, though there might be damper, cooler conditions. Winter (November to April) is scenic but dark and cold, suitable for snow activities like snowshoeing or cross-country skiing.

Top 5 Day Hikes (Under 25 Miles)

We’ve selected top day hiking trails where lightweight gear is especially handy:

  1. Lake Circuit Tyresta Nationalpark (8.5 miles).
    See on AllTrails.
  2. Brunnsviken Loop (7.7 miles).
    See on AllTrails.
  3. Hellasgården Loop (11.9 miles).
    See on AllTrails.
  4. Lake Kävsjön Loop (9.7 miles).
    See on AllTrails.
  5. Abiskojokk River – Abisko Östra Loop (7.0 miles).
    See on AllTrails.

Top 5 Multi-Day Trips

Discover the most stunning long trails in Sweden for amazing adventures:

  1. The King’s Trail: Abisko – Nikkaluokta (STF Signature Trail) (62.9 miles).
    See on AllTrails.
  2. Fjällräven Classic (70.0 miles).
    See on AllTrails.
  3. Raslången Loop (25.1 miles).
    See on AllTrails.
  4. The King’s Trail: Abisko – Vakkotavare (65.8 miles).
    See on AllTrails.
  5. The High Coast Trail (Höga Kustenleden) (79.6 miles).
    See on AllTrails.

Annual Weather Averages

In Sweden, the annual average weather varies across regions, but here’s a general overview:

Spring (April to June): Temperatures range from 30-60°F (0-15°C). Spring brings longer daylight hours, blossoming landscapes, and moderate conditions. However, it can be damp.

Summer (July to August): This is peak hiking season. Temperatures range from 55-75°F (15-25°C). Days are long, providing ample daylight for outdoor activities. July and August are generally drier with occasional rain.

Fall (September to October): Temperatures start dropping, ranging from 30-55°F (0-15°C). Fall foliage is vibrant, but there’s an increased chance of cooler and damper conditions.

Winter (November to March): Winter is cold, with temperatures often below freezing. Snow is common, especially in the northern parts. Winter sports like skiing and snowshoeing are popular during this period.

Before you grab your backpack and head outdoors, take a look at the weather statistics for Sweden (Stockholm):

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
High °F323339496066716960494135
Low °F242327334250555346393226
Rain/Snow (D*)655668898898
Note: This table is approximate; weather can change with altitude.
D* – Days of rain or snow.

FAQ

Can I have a campfire while camping in Sweden? 

In Sweden, you can usually have campfires when camping, but there are rules. You must get permission from the landowner, and you can’t have fires during dry times when there’s a high risk of forest fires. There are also rules about building fires safely, like picking the right spot, clearing the area, having water nearby, and putting the fire out completely. Some national parks and nature reserves, especially in the backcountry, might have more rules or ban campfires. But, in general, campfires are a common and enjoyed part of camping in Sweden.

What are some safety tips for backpackers in Sweden?

Whether day hiking or embarking on a multiday backpacking adventure, travelers venturing into Sweden’s vast wilderness areas should always be prepared. File a detailed itinerary with someone trusted and carry essential gear like maps, first aid, extra layers. Before trekking off-trail, ensure proper outdoor skills and orienteering ability. In remote areas, consider a personal locator beacon. Natural hazards include unpredictable weather, rocky terrain, large wildlife like moose – proper footwear and attire protects explorers. For outdoors enthusiasts touring Sweden’s magnificent scenery rich with fjords, forests and fells, following basic wilderness safety practices empowers one to fully experience nature’s beauty while significantly reducing risks that could cut travels short.

How to deal with wildlife encounters while hiking in Sweden?

When hiking in Sweden, you may encounter wildlife like moose, bears, wolves, lynx, deer, foxes, and more. Generally, keep your distance and do not approach or feed the animals. Make noise as you hike to avoid surprising them. Be extra cautious around moose, especially females with calves, bears, and wolves, staying downwind and giving them a wide berth. Know proper deterrents like bear spray for aggressive encounters. Stay calm, don’t run, and back away slowly. Be aware of signs like tracks and scat. Hike in groups when possible.

What are the primary differences in hiking experiences between Sweden and Norway?

The main differences between hiking in Sweden versus Norway are the terrain, trails, and crowds. Sweden tends to have gentler, rolling forest lands while Norway is known for its steep, dramatic fjords and mountains. Sweden generally has more established hiking trails and signage, making it easier for beginners and casual hikers. Norway’s trails are often steeper, requiring more advanced hiking skills. Sweden’s trails and national parks also draw bigger crowds than Norway’s more remote trails. However, both offer beautiful scenery from waterfalls and villages to glaciers and wildlife. Overall, hiking in Sweden may be easier and more accessible, while Norway provides more solitude and challenging terrain.

What are the most popular national parks in Sweden?

Some of the best national parks to visit in Sweden are Sarek National Park, which is famous for its stunning glaciers, peaks, and valleys; Abisko National Park, known for its beautiful northern lights and hiking trails; Gotska Sandön National Park, a remote island with sandy beaches and rare animals; Hamra National Park, where you can camp in the wild forest; Padjelanta National Park, which has huge open plateaus; Stora Sjöfallet National Park, with loud waterfalls and ancient forests; and Fulufjället National Park, an untouched place with icy lakes. Sweden’s national parks have diverse landscapes, ranging from the Arctic Circle to the shores of the Baltic Sea. You can enjoy various nature activities like hiking, camping, watching the Northern Lights, and encountering wildlife.

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