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Enjoy autumn and winter kayaking on the scenic waterways of Sweden

The multitude of archipelagos, lakes, rivers and waterways make Sweden ideal for kayaking in the autumn and winter. With a little planning and the right gear, paddling can be enjoyed all year round on the east and west coast. Here are some top picks.
Three persons are each standing on a paddleboard, holding their paddles. The surrounding trees have leaves shifting from green to yellow and orange, giving hints of autumn. The sun is shining through the leafy branches.
01. West coast: Stand up paddling on Fylleån
Stand up paddleboard, Fylleån, Halland
Photo: Johan Adermalm

The calm river Fylleån in the Halland region on the west coast of Sweden is great for stand-up paddling (SUP) enthusiasts year-round. Your adventure begins in Snöstorp east of Halmstad where the river gently meanders to the sea. If you love kayaking and canoeing, SUP is an experience for you to try. Paddling off-season has the added advantage of less traffic on the river.

Utsikt fra fra en kajakk, med solnedgang i horisonten i skjærgården i Roslagen
02. East coast: Gräsö is a paddlers’ paradise
Padling rundt Gräsö, Roslagen
Photo: Kerstin Söderberg

The island of Gräsö in the Roslagen archipelago enjoys vibrant nature and wildlife such as dwarf mountain pines and sea eagles. Here on the east coast, quaint fishing villages and lighthouses at the islands of Örskär and Djursten add to the magnificent scenery. For canoe, kayak or SUP lovers these are fantastic waters to explore in the autumn and early winter months. 

Two persons are paddling across silvery-blue, open waters.
03. East coast: Kayak fishing at Rävsten
Sweden's waterways are open to everyone, Sweden
Photo: Lindsten & Nilsson/imagebank.sweden.se

There are plenty of kayaking options in the spectacular Roslagen archipelago on the east coast. Courses for beginners, equipment rentals and guided adventure tours await bold fun-seekers. A good starting point is the tranquil island of Rävsten featuring sea kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and fishing kayaks, where you sit on top (SOT). These stable kayaks are fun and easy to use.

A canoe with two people on a calm lake surrounded by forest, with the sun setting between the trees.
04. West Coast: A unique lake system ideal for kayaking
Canoeing in Dalsland, West Sweden
Photo: Roger Borgelid/Westsweden.com

The Dalsland region on the west coast boasts one of Europe’s most beautiful lake systems. The Dalsland-Nordmarken area offers kayaking on paddling friendly lakes linked by 250 kilometres of canals. These narrow waterways were once used for moving timber and ore. With 100 fully equipped campsites it makes them a kayaking paradise. The fresh water is so clean you can drink it. 

05. West coast: The winter wonderland of Bohuslän
Winter kayaking, West Sweden
Photo: Roger Borgelid/vastsverige.com

Paddling in the archipelago of Bohuslän on the west coast in the winter months allows you to become one with nature. Your only company will most likely be harbour seals and a variety of sea birds. The imposing landscape entices you to pause on one of the barren granite cliffs to enjoy a warming beverage. 

06. West coast: Seafood safari around Väderöarna
Die Wetterinseln, Westschweden, West Sweden
Photo: Roger Borgelid/Wetsweden.com

Kayaking around Sweden’s westerly “Weather Islands” in the Bohuslän archipelago makes for a perfect day close to nature. Return to a renovated guest house once occupied by the harbour pilots. Learn more about this bygone era, hike or go fishing for lobster and crayfish. Afterwards, enjoy a meal at Värdshuset Väderöarna accredited by “A Taste of West Sweden”. 

07. West coast: Quaint fishing villages in Grundsund
West coast sunset, Grundsund
Photo: Asaf Kliger/imagebank.sweden.se

A winter adventure in Grundsund on the west coast involves kayaking in a vivid landscape of raw beauty.  In the picturesque fishing village of Edshultshall on the island of Orust you can stay overnight at Lådfabriken, an old factory for wooden boats now converted into a charming B&B. Here you can relax with a hearty and delicious dinner after an exciting day at sea. 

Several wooden fishermen's huts along the sea and boats anchored by them.
08. West Coast: Meet Grebbestad off season
Grebbestad’s classic red fishermen’s huts, West Sweden
Photo: Anna Hållams

Take the opportunity to enjoy the popular summer village of Grebbestad at a calmer pace. With less people and fewer boats, you get closer to the wildlife of the west coast. Grebbestad is home to the European Belona oyster. On a paddling tour, learn more about and taste these native oysters that some claim to be the best in the world.