Things to do
With a total area of 731,589 hectares across 29 national parks, Sweden is practically one big national park.
The first national park, Sarek, was established in 1909, the first of its kind in Europe. There’s a lot of lush, rolling countryside but mountain terrain rules and it covers almost 90% of the parks' combined area.
Arctic circle adventure
Head north to one of the four national parks of Laponia (Swedish Lapland) – one of Sweden's many UNESCO World Heritage Sites – to experience the habitat of the native Sami reindeer herding people and survivalist style mountain hiking and climbing through tundra, boulder fields, waterfalls and glacial rivers.
Sarek (more than 100 glaciers) and Padjelanta (lake and vast tracts of open landscape) are two of the biggest national parks. Muddus is known for its deep ravines and Stora Sjöfallet for its forest and alpine peaks.
Watch for elk, lynx, wolverine and the endangered Arctic fox. And go in December-March to see the Northern Lights. But be warned. This is not strolling in your runners territory. This is hard-core hiking and adventure.
All-season park activities
For all season adventure, Fulufjället National Park in central Sweden is part of PAN parks, a network founded by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Europe, and is a nature haven. Here, you can ramble through ravines, traverse plateaus and see the world's oldest tree.
Go berry picking, lake fishing and chance a dip in a clear lake. In winter ski, dogsled and snowshoe trek. And for laughs you can ice pick up Sweden's highest waterfall at 112 metres. Yes, really. Tiveden National Park which lies midway between Stockholm and Gothenburg, is more water than park, and known for its year round adventure activities.
If you prefer to leave the crampons at home and fancy some broadleaf forest, make your way to the southernmost parks—Söderåsen National Park, Dalby Söderskog National Park and Stenshuvud National Park together covering approximately 2,000 ha (4,900 acres). Yes. That’s a whole lot of wild.
Sea and sand parks
Kosterhavet National Park is the first national marine park of Sweden and was inaugurated in September 2009. It consists of the sea and shores around the Koster Islands.
For a coastal theme visit Haparanda Archipelago National Park in the Gulf of Bothnia. It’s a whole lot of low islands with wide sandy beaches.
The Swedish National Parks are very well kept and ask that you respect their pristine condition. Check out the list of parks and have a look at their sites before you visit to determine level of survivalist clothing gear to pack ranging from lazy country strolls to hardcore Arctic conditions. You might want to bring a handbook on how to build your own igloo in case of emergency. You never know.