Kayaking In Sweden

Kayak in Sweden! Your guide to kayaking in Sweden

If you have a love of water and an adventurous spirit, you should definitely try kayaking in Sweden. The country is home to endless lakes, rivers, and coastlines, dotted between Swedish cities and amazing natural landscapes.

Renting a Kayak in Sweden or taking one of the country’s many tours is one of the best ways to explore the unique archipelagos and waterways of the region.

What’s more, you don’t need to be a kayaking superstar to sign up for many of the canoe tours in Sweden. There are adventures and exhibitions to match all skill levels.

Whether you’re drifting through the waters around Malmo, watching the world go by, or you’re tackling some of the tougher, rockier waters around the Arctic Circle, there’s no shortage of options for anyone with a passion for nature.

Today, we’re going to introduce you to the magic of kayaking in Sweden.

When to kayak in Sweden

Provided the rivers and lakes you want to peruse aren’t frozen, you can kayak most times of the year in Sweden. However, the winter can be extremely dangerous for beginners, with ultra-cold water and short days. For the most part, we’d recommend sticking to summer.

The official “kayaking season” for Sweden is usually between June and August. In these months, countless locals and travellers take to the waters to check out the wonders of the archipelago islands. If you’re hoping to avoid the crowds, it might be worth visiting early in June, or later in August.

One point to keep in mind is if you are kayaking in the Summer, you can expect a few more pests to come your way. Bug repellent might be a must-have.

Depending on your kayaking itinerary, and where you’re going to be going, you can also plan your trip around the Spring or Autumn months instead. You may have more of the water to yourself during these seasons, and you’ll get to enjoy some different colors from the surrounding nature.

As mentioned above, winter kayaking is most likely to appeal to only the most experienced professionals, so we wouldn’t recommend this season unless you have a lot of confidence. If you are kayaking in winter, stick to the sheltered region of the Western coast.

Winter will also require a lot more preparation, including staying in a comfortable, warm lodge (rather than a camping ground). You’ll also need full wet suits to protect against the chill of the water.

Kayaking In Sweden

Kayaking or canoeing in Sweden: Tour options

There are tons of different kayaking and canoe tours in Sweden, depending on exactly how you want to explore the region. Canoe tours in Sweden can be extremely laid back, particularly if you stick to some of the rivers in the main cities like Gothenburg and Malmo.

If you’re looking for something more intensive, you can consider investing in one of the many longer camping and kayaking expeditions offered by local tour companies. Sometimes, these expeditions take an entire week to complete, and they often involve exploring numerous islands around the Swedish archipelagos.

If you want to explore a more remote area of Sweden, you can explore fully-managed trips offered by local tour companies, which promise an insight into some of the hidden gems of Sweden. These Kayak tours in Sweden generally involve spending more time out on the water and camping under the stars at night.

If you’re new to kayaking, or you haven’t tried canoeing in Sweden before, we’d recommend starting with something small. A simple kayaking trip with an experienced guide will give you a behind-the-scenes look at the wonders of the Swedish landscape.

If you’re a confident kayaker, there are opportunities to set up self-guided tours. For instance, Lake Ivösjön is the home of Welandi, a company which rents out canoes and all the additional kit you might need to head out into the water yourself and set up camp on a deserted island.

With these trips, your canoes, maps, life jackets, and other essentials are provided. You can also rent camping and cooking equipment, or barbecue packages to keep you well fed when you’re exploring everything Sweden has to offer.

Best places for kayaking in Sweden

One of the reasons there are so many canoe tours in Sweden, is there are countless rivers and waterways to explore. You can basically turn up anywhere in the country and find someone willing to rent you a canoe so you can go kayaking on your own, or in a group.

To decide exactly which regions, you want to visit with your kayaking tours in Sweden, we’d recommend:

Knowing your skill level

Some regions of Sweden are more tailored to beginners than others. The south province of Skåne is ideal for anyone who wants to simply explore nature, check out natural landscapes and do some additional bird watching.

Considering your itinerary

Outside of kayaking, what else do you want to while in Sweden? You can paddle around the watery cities of Gothenburg and the Stockholm archipelago if you want a city-based vacation with a few natural wonders.

Alternatively, head out to the Arctic Circle to see the Northern Lights.

Checking your schedule

If you have a lot of time to spend in Sweden, you can consider sea kayaking across the western coast of Sweden, visiting the Gothenburg archipelago and Bohuslän coast. There are more than 8000 inlets and islands to explore here. If you’re limited in time, stick to something closer to the cities.

It’s also worth researching the canoe tours in Sweden on offer when you’re visiting a specific region. Some of these companies will offer special deals which allow you to enjoy much of what Sweden has on offer at once.

You might be able to combine a kayak tour in Sweden with a night in the arctic circle, checking out the northern lights, or a trip to various museums.

Kayaking In Sweden

What to expect from kayak tours in Sweden

As mentioned above, kayaking in Sweden is extremely varied. There are numerous regions to explore, and unique experiences to enjoy, depending on your skill level, and your expectations. Perhaps the biggest factor impacting your canoe tour in Sweden is where you go.

Northern Sweden

Northern Sweden is one of the colder regions for canoe and kayak tours. This is where you’ll visit if you’re looking into Swedish Lapland, the Arctic Circle, and the incredible Northern Lights. There are some wild and unruly rivers here, such as the Une, Torne, and Lule.

The World Heritage Site at Höga Kusten is ideal for paddle boarding and kayaking alike, with numerous phenomenal sites to see. During the summer, the midnight sun also lights the sky 24/7, so you can continue exploring for as long as you like.

Eastern Sweden

Eastern Sweden is home to archipelagos like Gryt, Stockholm, and Tjust. You can consider sea kayaking across the Eastern coastline or rent a canoe and explore the 30,000 islands on offer.

The seaside village of Dalarö is also available right next to Stockholm, and it’s a great way to relax in between paddling sessions.

Further down the coast, in Småland, you’ll find the national park of Lake Åsnen, which consists of a lake archipelago featuring various wetlands, forests, and islands. People have travelled these waters since the stone age, and there are various examples of early human settlement to explore.

You can also traverse the amazing Värendsleden canoe route here.

Western Sweden

The Western side of Sweden is home to the 10,000 lakes of Värmland, where you can paddle until your heart’s content. Sweden’s longest river of Klarälven sprawls through the province before reaching the largest lake in Sweden, Vänern.

This location is great if you want to check out some of the giant forests and wooded areas Sweden has to offer. You can start your adventure from Gothenburg, the second largest city in Sweden, and travel all the way up to the Norwegian border.

Western Sweden is particularly ideal for lovers of seafood and fresh fish.

One of the biggest reasons to visit Western Sweden is Kosterhavet Marine National Park, an amazing 450 sqm natural haven for outdoor enthusiasts. You can also visit the Grebbestad village where you can capture and eat oysters straight from the sea.

Southern Sweden

Sothern Sweden is where you’ll find Skåne, and some of the most popular regions for canoeing and kayaking within Sweden. The region is the warmest in the country during the summer, so it’s ideal if you want to avoid some if the icy cold waters elsewhere.

The nature reserve of Kullaberg is one of the top places to visit when you’re here, but you should also check out the city of Kristianstad, where you’ll discover the wonders of the Helge å river and may even track down some beautiful white storks.

Easily the most popular canoe route in this area is Skåne’s third largest lake, known as Immeln. This lake features more than 200 islands, where visitors can fish, camp, and even cook outdoors. You’ll also find a special protection landscape for birds, which is ideal if you’re into birdwatching.

Amazing kayaking tours in Sweden

There’s nothing stopping Swedish tourists from picking up a canoe and creating their own kayaking itinerary in Sweden. You may find it’s easier to invest in canoe tour as a beginner, as you’ll get a lot more support from an expert this way.

Here are some of the top kayaking tours in Sweden to consider:

Stockholm city kayak tour

Stockholm is one of the leading must-see destinations in Sweden for most visitors. Fortunately, it’s also ideal for kayaking and canoers.

You can take a Stockholm city tour with the Stockholm Adventure tour company. The 2-hour adventure is ideal for beginners and experienced kayakers alike, plus, it’s surprisingly affordable.

You’ll paddle all the way out into the bay, where you can enjoy a unique view of some of the most amazing architecture in Stockholm. It’s a wonderful way to get started with canoes in Sweden.

Get Your Guide also have a full day tour if you’re feeling more adventurous.

Winter kayaking and fika

Offered by Get Your Guide, this kayaking adventure involves giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the Stockholm archipelago during the winter months. The adventure takes about 3 hours in total, and comes with free cancellation, just in case.

Extremely popular among visitors and locals, the adventure gives you everything you need to enjoy a day on the water, including snacks, coffee, and tea.

Best of Bohuslän

Ideal for anyone who wants to spend most of their vacation kayaking in Sweden, this tour will take four days and three nights to complete in total.

You’ll head along the Bohuslän coast to discover the wonders of the unforgettable Fjällbacka archipelago with its stunning sandy beaches, unique fishing communities, and amazing islands.

The tour picks you up from Gothenburg, where you’ll receive everything you need for a wild outdoor adventure. You’ll receive your tent, sleeping bags, food, and a kayak, and you get to choose exactly where you want to set up camp each night.

It’s an amazing way to get a behind-the-scenes look at the kayaking culture in Sweden.

Canoe getaway in Skåne

If you’re hoping to enjoy the wonders of southern Sweden with your canoe getaway, why not check out this phenomenal canoe getaway. The self-guided experience takes between 3 and 5 days and gives you everything you need for a wonderful adventure.

Your tour will take you through Holjeån on an impressive river trail stretching from Östafors to Ivosjön. For beginners, this river offers a laid back paddling experience, so you don’t have to worry about being overwhelmed by the waters.

Kickstart kayaking in Vättern

Customized to suit your skill level, this canoe adventure in Sweden is intended for two people. You’ll have around three hours to learn how to improve your kayaking skills, while you enjoy some of the beauty Sweden has to offer.

The trip is simple and beautiful, with lots of unique waterways to explore as you develop your knowledge of canoe culture in Sweden. You can even use this trip as a chance to brush up your skills before you tackle some more difficult tours.

Wilderness kayaking in Lapland

Swedish Lapland represents one of the most challenging locations for kayaking in Sweden. However, this doesn’t make the region any less impressive. The guided five-day kayaking tour begins with Jokkmokk in the Arctic Circle, before eventually reaching the Pearl River reserve.

Though the weather is a lot colder here, the kayaking adventure is designed to be accessible for beginners, so you shouldn’t have to worry too much. You can camp on the shores of lake Karats and even practice a little fishing too.

Swedish sea kayaking adventure

If you’re interested in learning more about sea kayaking throughout Sweden, then this could be the ultimate day trip for you. Designed to take around 8 hours in total, this Swedish kayaking adventure visits a unique area with around 5000 islands, slabs, and rocks in total.

You’ll be guided through each amazing place with a focus on safety and precision.

The adventure includes a lot of instruction and guidance from a professional, so you can develop your skills while you’re exploring.

5 day wild camping adventure

If you’re planning to combine your adventure into the Swedish lakes and rivers with a wild camping opportunity, this is the ultimate tour for you. The 5-day wild camping adventure takes you to the remote Saint Anna Archipelago on the Eastern coast of Sweden.

You’ll find a wide range of 6000 islands to explore, with dozens of sheltered forested routes to take, and locations where you can set up your camp whenever you like. Your kayaking tour guide will handle all of the equipment you need for kayaking, cooking, and sleeping.

Weekend Sweden kayak tour

If you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to your canoe tour in Sweden, but you still want to spend longer than one day on the water, try this weekend kayaking tour. Over the course of two days, you’ll head out into the Stockholm archipelago, where you’ll relax with a partner on the open water.

Unlike many of the canoe trips which ask you to fend mostly for yourself, this tour includes lunch, dinner, breakfast, and a Swedish “Fika” experience. You also get all the tools you need for camping overnight in the archipelago.

Kayaking In Sweden

Canoe tours in Sweden: Swedish rivers

If you’re keen to stay close to the main cities and tourist spots while visiting the amazing Swedish islands, you’ll have no shortage of canoeing and kayaking options close to the mainland. Stockholm, Malmo and Gothenburg all offer kayaking gear to rent, so you can explore the canals, waterways, and Swedish rivers for canoeing.

Stockholm is actually built across 14 islands, including locations like Södermalm, Långholmen and Kungsholmen. You’ll be able to explore either on a traditional canoe, or with a stand-up paddle board in some regions.

Gothenburg offers both guided and self-guided kayak and canoeing tours. You can start from the calmer waters of Säveån and paddle through Skills canal into the southern archipelago for islands like Brännö, where you can enjoy a delicious afternoon fika.

Malmo is home to some of the best architecture in Sweden. As you travel the canals around town, you can check out destinations like the Øresund Bridge and twisted skyscraper.

If you’re looking for a safer, family-friendly paddling excursion, we’d recommend visiting the Rönne å river one-way river course winding through beautiful open meadows and fresh greenery.

Planning your kayak tour in Sweden

Proper preparation is crucial to any outdoor adventure or excursion. The most important thing you can do to stay safe is make sure you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. Nature can be beautiful, but it can be dangerous too.

Decide from day one whether you’re going to invest in a kayaking tour in Sweden, or whether you simply want to hire your gear and go from there. We’d definitely advise looking into some of the top gear companies in the region to give you more confidence when you’re on the water.

Point 65 in Sweden even sells modular kayaks so you can carry them with you wherever you go.

Other points to keep in mind include:

Take plenty of water

Kayaking and canoeing, even on easier tours, can be thirsty work. Make sure you have plenty of water with you at all times for your trip. It’s also a good idea to keep some snacks handy if you’re planning on being out for longer periods of time.

Check the weather

Always double-check the weather conditions before you go out on the water. Choppy conditions can be difficult to handle for beginners. If it’s raining, you may want to move your excursion to another day.

Dress correctly

Waterproof clothing is an obvious must-have. Rain jackets, rain pants, and a good set of shoes will ensure you stay comfortable during your adventures. Remember to bring an additional set of dry clothes, just in case.

Don’t forget to figure out where you’re going to be staying when you’re out on the waterways too. If you’re wild camping, you’re going to need to take your equipment with you into your canoe.

Enjoy kayaking in Sweden

For lovers of the great outdoors, kayaking in Sweden can be a wonderful way to explore everything the region has to offer. With endless tours to explore, and a wide selection of locations where you can rent the equipment you need, there’s no shortage of ways to get started.

Don’t forget to check out some of our other guides to the wonders of Sweden, so you can learn more about the sights and experiences on offer in this amazing country.

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