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Pilgrim path in Skaraborg
Hiking the Pilgrim path in Skaraborg. The trail runs through unique nature, cultural sights and past the lake Hornborgasjön, famous for its annual gathering of cranes.
Photo credit: Lukasz Warzech

Hiking in southern Sweden – the top trails

Southern Sweden’s best trails will have you immersed in magnificent nature, with a helping of culture completing the experience.

Southern Sweden is idyllic – and in many different ways. This part of the country encompasses everything from the stunning archipelago of the west coast and Gotland’s unique sea stack fields to the deep, enchanted forest of Småland, complete with a myriad of clean lakes. There are plenty of trails to choose from, lasting from a few hours to a week or longer. Most are divided into sections, allowing you to dip in and out or complete a single stretch of your choice.

The climate of Sweden’s south is milder than that of the north, and you can often hike all year round, even though the main season runs from March until October. Bear in mind that the weather is changeable even in summer, which calls for layer-friendly clothing and rainproof outerwear, along with comfortable hiking boots.

As for accommodation, you may be tempted to bring a tent to get the full natural immersion. Thanks to Sweden’s right to roam custom (‘Allemansrätten’), you’re allowed to pitch up a tent for a night or two (with certain exceptions). If you prefer to stay in cabins, hotels or B&Bs, you’ll find plenty of options along the most popular trails.

Some of the best hiking trails in southern Sweden:

Gotland

Klintkustleden (Klintkustleden trail)

Known as one of Sweden’s finest coastal paths, Klintkustleden trail takes you along the island of Gotland’s unique coastline, incorporating pine forest, wetland and high cliffs. You’ll also get a cultural fix in the shape of centuries-old castles and fishing villages. Many spots along the trail, which starts at Björkume and ends at Harudden, can be reached by bus and you can find accommodation and food along the way. Some cliff climbs can be challenging but this stunning trail is otherwise a fairly easy hike.

Södra Hällarna and Brucebo nature reserves

Nature reserves of particular interest on the west coast include Visby’s Södra Hällarna trail, which has a wonderful wooden walkway allowing you to traverse its marshy forest. About two hours’ hike north of Södra Hällarna, you’ll find nature reserve Brucebo – a cave-studded oasis, where rare orchids and other type of flora thrive.

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Beach on Gotland

Summer evening at Södra Hällarna nature reserve on the west coast of Gotland.

Photo: gotland.com

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Beach on Gotland

Photo: gotland.com

Summer walk on Gotland

Photo: gotland.com

Brucebo nature reserve

Photo: gotland.com

Småland

Smålandsleden (Smålandsleden trail)

Smålandsleden is a network of 31 paths (including the John Bauer trail) that stretches some 900 kilometres, allowing you to experience the untouched nature of northern Småland – think lingonberry-rich forests sprinkled with lakes. There are various starting points, some of which are connected to public transport, such as Huskvarna that nestles at the southern tip of Lake Vättern. This path will take you to the quaint city of Gränna – home of the ‘polkagris’, the classic red and white striped peppermint candy.

Franciskusleden (the Francis trail)

Several notable pilgrim paths – most of which are fairly easy to walk – wind their way through the province of Småland. Franciskusleden (the Francis trail) is a good option. Starting at the convent in Byarum and heading north, this 100 km route takes you to Jönköping and the idyllic shores of Lake Vättern, Sweden’s second largest lake. From here, the trail hugs the eastern side of the lake, past Gränna – where food and accommodation is available – and on to the Alvastra Monastery. For the last 10 kilometres, you’ll hike within the tranquil and scenic Omberg Ecopark.

The Emigrant Trail (Utvandrarleden)

The historic Emigrant Trail (Utvandrarleden) takes you through villages and locations featured in the novel suite “Utvandrarna” (The Emigrants series), by famous author Vilhelm Moberg.

Store Mosse National Park

Store Mosse National Park – southern Sweden’s biggest marshland – is a hiker’s paradise, with more than 40 kilometres of walking paths. The shortest is 500 metres long, the longest 14 kilometres. Skogstrollens stig (the path of the Forest Trolls) is a hit with families, while the trail around Lake Kävsjön is ideal for birdwatchers – cranes and eagles are among many species you’re likely to spot. To experience more of the unique nature of Store Mosse, the “Lilla Lövö runt” trail is recommended. Svartgölsleden and Wibecksleden trails are wheelchair accessible.

Camping is allowed in certain parts of the park. Rooms and beds can also be rented at the farms of Svänö and Lövö. With no electricity and with water being fetched from a well, this accommodation is reminiscent of old times.

Another national park, one and a half hour’s drive from Store Mosse, is Åsnen National Park, with walking paths suitable for families.

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Utvandrarleden, the Emigrant Trail

Hiking 'Utvandrarleden' (the Emigrant trail), a 130 kilometre long trail leading through the countryside around Tingsryd, Emmaboda and Lessebo in Småland.

Photo: Alexander Hall

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Utvandrarleden, the Emigrant Trail

Photo: Alexander Hall

Utvandrarleden, the Emigrant Trail

Photo: Alexander Hall

Store Mosse National Park, Småland

Photo: Christoffer Collin/Smålands Turism

Öland

Mörbylångaleden trail, also known as “Signaturleden Öland”

The scenic Mörbylångaleden – a five-day, 83 km trail of varied landscapes encompassing forest, arable pastures, wetlands and coast – is southern Öland in a nutshell. The trail consists of five sections and there’s accommodation at each section. There are some basic shops along the way, but make sure to pack enough food and water to last you a day. In addition, this UNESCO World Heritage Site – which applies to all of southern Öland – offers activities such as kayaking and gallery visits.

Eketorpsleden (Eketorp’s trail)

Setting off from Eketorp fort – Öland’s southernmost ancient Iron Age fort – Eketorpsleden will have you immersed in idyllic pastures with little stone mounds guiding the way. This looped trail stretches across a mere 1.6 kilometres through the almost otherworldly terrain of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Stora Alvaret” – one of the globe’s largest limestone plateaus.

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Mörbylångaleden hiking trail

Mörbylångaleden is a hiking trail with a unique natural beauty and rich cultural history on Öland.

Photo: Alexander Hall

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Mörbylångaleden hiking trail

Photo: Alexander Hall

Neptuni fields on Öland

Photo: Alexander Hall

Mörbylångaleden on Öland

Photo: Alexander Hall

Eketorp Fortress on Öland, Småland

Photo: Ölands Turismorganisation

Halland

Hallandsleden (the Hallandsleden trail)

The province of Halland is known for its natural beauty and you’ll get to experience plenty of it along Hallandsleden. It’s divided into 26 sections and three sub-trails, clocking up a total of 453 kilometres. Expect varied terrain, spanning open landscapes, deep forest and stunning archipelago. You’ll also get to discover ancient monuments and historical buildings. If you opt for the 36 km trail (difficulty level: “medium”), running from Varberg to Ästad, you have the medieval Varberg Fortress to look forward to, along with high-end accommodation and fine dining at one of Sweden’s biggest vineyards, Ästad Vingård.

Prins Bertils stig (Prince Bertil’s trail)

Named in memory of the Duke of Halland, Prince Bertils stig is an 18 km long stretch that will introduce you to some of the loveliest spots in the city of Halmstad. This largely coastal path – complete with sandy beaches and old stone quarries – runs from central Halmstad towards Tylösand and on to the lush Möllegård nature reserve. Historically significant sights to look out for include the 17th century Halmstad Castle and Möllegård’s Mill, built in 1850. Much of the trail is classified as “easy”, accessible even for prams and wheelchairs. In Halmstad, plenty of accommodation is available.

Åkulla bokskogar (Åkulla beech forests)

The spectacular nature reserve area of Åkulla bokskogar (Åkulla beech forests) is spreading across 50 square kilometres, featuring twelve trails of varying difficulty level and distance. You’ll also find the Hallandsleden trail running through this haven of greenery, inhabited by many endangered species.

Food and accommodation is available within the nature reserve area itself, as well as a small museum – the wonderfully niche Stig’s Motorcycle and Motor Museum. Since Åkulla bokskogar nestles between Varberg, Falkenberg and Ullared, it’s easily accessible by public transport.

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Map navigation during a hike at Hallandsleden

The Hallandsleden trail goes through a varied landscape along the west coast of Sweden.

Photo: Alexander Hall

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Map navigation during a hike at Hallandsleden

Photo: Alexander Hall

Hiking Prince Bertil’s trail

Photo: Alexander Hall

Coastal view at Prince Bertil's trail

Photo: Ron Johansson / Visit Halland

Ästad Vingård in Halland

Photo: Kristian Sahlberg

Ästad vineyard

Photo: Kristian Sahlberg

West Sweden

Gotaleden (the Gotaleden trail)

In western Sweden, you’ll find Gotaleden, which is made up of nine sections, stretching across 71 kilometres of scenic nature and areas of cultural interest. You’re in for a varied adventure, taking you from central Gothenburg to Alingsås. In between these two charming cities – brimming with things to see and do – you’ll wander through verdant countryside, such as the Delsjön nature reserve.

The trail, most of which is classified as “easy”, has a good choice of accommodation and places to stop for a bite to eat, microbreweries and sights of cultural interest. As Alingsås is the “capital of fika”, make sure to try some sweet baked goods. Thanks to its proximity to cities, Gotaleden is accessible by public transport.

Kuststigen (the Coastal path)

Discover the glorious west coast of Sweden by hiking Kuststigen. Divided into 38 sections and three sub-trails, the route in its entirety runs from Uddevalla to Sotenäs via Stenungsund. Points of interest along the sections, are the island of Bohus-Malmön, the rocky landscapes of Ramsvik and the Anneröd beech forest. Along the easier paths, there are opportunities to stop for a swim. Public transport is available along the entire route. There are several shorter loops suitable for day hikes, which are particularly easy to reach via public transport.

Pilgrimsleden Norra Dalsland (Northern Dalsland Pilgrim Path)

Pilgrimsleden Norra Dalsland introduces you to more than 100 kilometres of spectacular nature and several historic churches. Setting off from Vänersborg and heading north towards Edsleskog, Åmål, the beginning of the trail runs mostly through easy-to-walk country roads, whereas the latter stretch will have you hiking through untouched, hilly landscapes (thus a little more challenging). Accommodation highlights include Upperud 9:9, a one-of-a-kind hotel housed in a historic granary (storehouse for threshed grain), and Happy Celery glass cabins.

Pilgrimsleden Skaraborg (Skaraborg Pilgrim Path)

Hiking along Pilgrimsleden Skaraborg will transport you to medieval times. This 50 km historic trail – classed as “easy” to “moderate” – is dotted with fascinating traces of yesteryear’s pilgrims – keep an eye out for abbey ruins likely to have been used as lodgings. You’ll find these in both Gudhem and Varnhem. As for the nature, beautiful plains give way to lusher terrain in which flora and fauna thrive and rivers flow. Food and accommodation is available along the trail.

The trails of Koön and Marstrand

The island of Koön is a much-loved part of the Swedish west coast, particularly since it’s home to the summer paradise Marstrand, known for its excellent seafood. Three trails of varying difficulty, from 2.5 to 5 kilometres each, snake through the island. They can be combined to form a longer hike and all will treat you to views across the island of Åstol and the spectacular Carlsten’s Fortress.

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Gotaleden hiking trail

Gotaleden hiking trail between Gothenburg and Alingsås.

Photo: Jonas Ingman

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Gotaleden hiking trail

Photo: Jonas Ingman

Gotaleden walking path, West Sweden

Photo: Jonas Ingman/Westsweden.com

Gotaleden walking path, West Sweden

Photo: Jonas Ingman/Westsweden.com

Gotaleden walking trail, West Sweden

Photo: Jonas Ingman/Westsweden.com

Kuststigen, walking trail in Bohuslän

Photo: Lukasz Warzecha/Westsweden.com

The Bohuslän Coastal trail

Photo: Viggo Lundberg/Westsweden.com

Pilgrim path in Skaraborg

Photo: Lukasz Warzech

The Skaraborg pilgrim path

Photo: Lukasz Warzecha/Westsweden.com

Pilgrimsleden (the Pilgrim Path) in West Sweden

Photo: Lukasz Warzec

Hiking at Marstrand

Photo: Roger Borgelid/Westsweden.com

Marstrand

Photo: Per Pixel Petersson/imagebank.sweden.se

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