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Kayaking, Stockholm Archipelago
Photo: Helena Wahlman/imagebank.sweden.se

Things to do

Canoeing and Kayaking

From north to south, east to west in Sweden, take your pick of waterways to paddle.

Wild thing

Canoeing and kayaking in Europe doesn’t get wilder or more remote than Swedish Lapland. And with the midnight sun lighting up the sky 24/7 in summertime in the Arctic Circle, you get double the time to explore and discover this extraordinary place. 

Swedish Lapland offers canoeists and kayakers a true wilderness experience with rivers cutting through ravines and across giant Arctic plains and marshes. The Kalix and the Torne rivers are the big name rivers here, but there are hundreds more to choose from.

Värmland

In the west of the country lies the province of Värmland, known for its giant forests, 10,000 lakes and fantastic canoeing and kayaking country. The Klara river, Sweden’s longest, carves the entire length of the province before flowing into lake Vänern, one of Europe’s largest lakes. For a choice of 80 pristine lakes and waterways on the north of the province go for giant-forested Glaskogen nature reserve. Local adventure specialists Arvika Kanot & Turistcenter will kit you out and look after you. Recharging your batteries takes on a new meaning if you opt for the 7-day trip. ‘Only the lonely….’

The Klara river, Röjdån, Rottnan and Svartälven offer fabulous canoeing and kayaking adventures and are served by outdoors experts Vildmark i Värmland, based in the town of Torsby.

West Sweden

The West Coast of Sweden stretches from Gothenburg all the way north to the border with Norway. Known as Bohuslänskusten it is dotted with darling fishing villages, while off the coast lies a sea kayaking paradise of islands, islets and skerries. This coast is world-famous for its succulent, fresh seafood and should be too for its sea kayaking.

Why? One very good reason is the northerly Kosterhavet Marine National Park, a 450 square kilometer nature haven for flora and fauna above the water line on the islands (thankfully car-free) and marine life in the depths. Explore, discover, go native. Sea kayaking in Sweden rarely gets better than this. Go here for more details on kayaking/canoe trips.

A second is the Fjällbacka archipelago. The many islands here make it un-navigable for shipping, so you have them all to yourself. And lucky for you the islands act as wind breaks, so the paddling is leisurely. Claim one of the uninhabited islands for camping on, or simply stop-off for a spot of sunbathing or eats. For sea kayaking in the Koster and Fjällbacka archipelagoes pay a visit to sea kayaking specialists and guides Nautopp in the town of Lysekil, a one-hour pleasure drive up the coast from Gothenburg.

Still in the West Sweden, but this time going inland, is the Dalsland Canal, a 240 kilometre navigable system of lakes in the heart of drop-dead gorgeous Dalsland province. And the canoe, of course, is the best mode of transport. Canoe-crazy Dalslanders even have their own ‘canoe marathon’ every year, go here for a look. If you don’t feel like busting a gut in this enduro event and want to take on the lakes and waterways of Dalsland at a more civilized pace go here.

And, of course there are many more places in Sweden where you can go canoeing and kayaking. Sweden is huge. How about trying out Skåne. Or make your way to the south-west province of Halland. And surely you knew that Stockholm is built on 14 islands and has its very own archipelago. Still on the east coast, but further south try the archipelago-rich province of Östergötland.

When?

Summertime but also year round kayaking in West Sweden