Things to do
Sweden’s best cycling routes
Cycling in Sweden gives you the opportunity to explore rugged mountain ranges, long stretches of varied coastline, bustling cities and lush countryside. This guide takes you through the best cycling routes and suggests some great places to eat along the way – there really is something for everyone!
Biking in Sweden is one of the best ways to discover this beautiful country. Why not take a long ride along the stunning coastline, or explore the national parks of the north? You can also tour Sweden’s lake and forest-covered interior, or make the most of its cities with the help of comprehensive dedicated cycling lanes.
Covering an astounding 2,500 kilometres, the Swedish stretch of the Baltic Sea Cycle Route takes cyclists from the far northern town of Haparanda on the Finnish border down to Ystad on the south coast. Along the way, you’ll experience everything from sandy beaches and rushing rivers, to hushed forests and rolling countryside. And because you’ll pass through many towns and cities, you can hop on and off almost anywhere.
If you want a bite to eat before hitting the road, Haparanda has a number of excellent eateries, including the River Restaurant, known for its delicious, hearty fare – and plentiful vegetarian options. Köksbaren in Umeå serves modern Nordic fare, while in Sundsvall Villa Marieberg is perfect if you fancy treating yourself. In Ystad, try Store Thor, described as one of the best by none other than famous fictional police superintendent Kurt Wallander.
Slightly further south and to the west is Sweden’s ski mecca Åre, where you’ll find a number of excellent cycling trails. Storulvån runs 120 kilometres, while Ullådalen offers some serious uphill challenges along its relatively short 32 kilometres. From Åre, you can go westwards on the 10 kilometre mixed gravel and paved road to Duved and the Karoliner Monument. On this route you can try some of the locally produced food at the Millestgården Eco Lodge.
Dalarna in central Sweden has a wide variety of cycling trails, with Cykelvasaleden arguably the most well-known, mainly because it follows the same path as the world-famous 90 kilometre-long Vasaloppet cross country ski race between Sälen and Mora. In Sälen, Viktors restaurant offers classic Scandinavian fare.
Sweden’s West Coast
Kattegattleden is Sweden’s first national cycle path and was named European Cycle Route of the Year in 2018. The stunning coastal route is 390 kilometres long and takes you all the way through the Halland region, from Helsingborg in the south, to Gothenburg in the north. Each of the eight sections offer good choices when it comes to attractions, places to stay and eat, bicycles for hire and other amenities. Make a stop in Steninge and enjoy the predominantly vegetarian fare at Steninge Coastal Station, which uses local ingredients and also boasts an award-winning porridge bar. In Båstad you can enjoy a Mediterranean-inspired meal while enjoying wonderful views of the sea at Veranda Café & Bistro.
While cycling the west coast of Sweden you might also want to island hop in the Bohuslän Archipelago – the ferries serving the islands allow you to take a bike on board.
Klarälvsbanan is another car-free trail winding through the beautiful inland scenery of west central Sweden. The 220 kilometre-long route features forests, lakes and mountains, while also passing through a series of charming villages, such as Munkfors, Sysslebäck, and Hagfors. In the latter, you might want to stop by the museum dedicated to legendary Swedish jazz singer Monica Zetterlund.
Sweden’s East Coast
On the east coast you’ll find Sweden’s oldest cycling route, the 400 kilometre-long Mälardalsleden, which takes you around Lake Mälaren. The trail connects a number of cities, including Stockholm, Södertälje, Eskilstuna and Västerås. It covers the entire Mälardalen valley and also connects to the Sverigeleden cycling trail, which gives you access to a large network of trails totalling about 800 kilometres.
The Viking Route not only has a great name, it’s also an excellent 35 kilometre trail that begins along Lake Erken then heads south towards the medieval villages of Malsta and Lohärad. On the shores of Lake Erken you can try one of Sweden’s finest traditions – fishing for crayfish (in season, of course – usually August and September).
You can also island hop with a bike in the Stockholm archipelago. Sandhamn is a perfect day trip, while Möja not only allows you to explore inland forests and beautiful coastline, but here you’ll also find the legendary Wikström’s Fisk Restaurant, where they serve only what they catch from the surrounding sea.
South of Lake Mälaren, in south-east Sweden, you can try the car-free roads around the 87 kilometre Göta Canal, which runs the length of Sweden’s longest waterway. The mostly flat route starts in the small town of Sjötorp, which sits by Lake Vänern, and ends in Tåtorp. For food, try Mallboden Café’s specialty waffles, the high-end fare and excellent wine list at Brunn Restaurant in Söderköping, or Kapten Bille’s Restaurant in Norsholm, which features a beautiful veranda overlooking the water.
Further north on the east coast you’ll find Sweden’s High Coast (Höga Kusten), where the 130 kilometre High Coast Trail takes you from Hornöberget in the south, to Örnsköldsvik in the north – and through the entire UNESCO World Heritage Site. Along the way you’ll experience country meadows, rugged mountains, sandy beaches and deep, dark forests. Recharge your batteries at any number of eateries as you cycle. Strike, in Kramfors, has a hearty menu, while Trattoria Nevia in Örnsköldsvik has those carbs you need. The family-owned Mjälloms Tunnbröd Factory in Ullånger meanwhile, has been making a unique style of Swedish crispbread for generations.
Sydostleden takes cyclists from Växjö in Småland to Simrishamn on the coast for a total of 270 kilometres. The terrain is easily accessible and offers some of Sweden’s finest nature, from lakes and forests to pristine coastline. Before leaving Växjö, take time to enjoy the city’s budding food scene, including Michelin starred PM & Vänner and Brasserie 1742 inside the Kosta Boda Art Hotel.
Ginstleden – the Genista Trail – is south of Gothenburg and follows the North Sea coastline. Skåneleden – the Skåne Trail – is a 1,250 kilometre long marked trail that offers five separate sub trails for a total of 105 sections. As you pass through Malmö in the south take advantage of its reputation as an international food destination. If your trip is a bit further in the future, be sure to book a table at Bloom In The Park. This Michelin-awarded restaurant will be worth the wait. In Sweden’s far southwestern region, in Tranås in Skåne, the two star Michelin-awarded Daniel Berlin is making a big name for itself, so stop by and taste Skåne on a plate.