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Northen lights
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, is a natural light display that is frequent during the winter months in northern Sweden.
Photo credit: David Schreiner/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se

12 breathtaking natural wonders in Sweden

From the highest coastline in the world to a hidden freshwater archipelago – Sweden has plenty of natural wonders just waiting to be explored.

Here are 12 nature experiences that deserve to go on your bucket list.

In a world where cities and countries are constantly competing in launching new, spectacular buildings and attractions that will overshine the latest ones, it can be quite liberating to take a step back and look past the building cranes and the noise of concrete drilling. Find a place that was created without a single human hand. A place that, even if it’s been unchanged for thousands –sometimes even hundreds of millions of years – is still as majestic today. Man-made sites are imposing in all their glory, but sometimes nature can be even more impressive.

Some natural wonders are so incredible that it can be hard to believe that no one else than Mother Nature herself is behind them. In ancient times they were often explained with supernatural forces. Sweden has a strong tradition of folkloric tales where mythological creatures played a central role in shaping nature. Oddly placed huge rocks were said to have been thrown by raging trolls and the sweeping mist that hovers over meadows at dusk and dawn was thought to be dancing elves.

Another example is the Northern Lights, also called Aurora Borealis. The Vikings believed this spellbinding natural phenomenon to be the Valkyries taking fallen soldiers to meet Odin, while the Sámi – the indigenous people of Sweden – thought the lights were the souls of the dead. If you disrespected the souls by dancing or singing, the light would dip down and carry you off to the afterlife. Even though we know today that the Aurora Borealis appears as solar particles collide with gases in the earth’s atmosphere, it’s still an eerie and entrancingly beautiful experience.

While Sweden doesn’t have any Mount Everest nor Niagara Falls, our natural wonders are unique and accessible, often easy for anyone to experience them. Imagine skiing under the Midnight Sun in the middle of the summer or taking the family on a waterfall safari while the autumn leaves paint the landscape red and yellow. Sweden is scattered with ancient natural wonders waiting to become long-lasting memories of yours.

Here are 12 natural wonders in Sweden to visit in your lifetime.

Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in an office or mowing your lawn. Climb that damn mountain.
Jack Kerouac
Sarek National Park
There are 30 national parks in Sweden, one of them is Sarek with magnificent mountain ranges, glaciers and wild rapids. It is unspoiled wilderness. Sarek national park is a part of the Laponian area, that was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
Photo: Anders Ekholm/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se

The 100 glaciers in Sarek National Park

Wild waters, an astonishing alpine area and a dramatic delta landscape – the mountainous national park of Sarek is home to countless natural wonders. Situated in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Laponia in Sweden’s Arctic region, Sarek invites you to both the Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun. To sprinkle the experience even more, this is the land of the Sami with their reindeer husbandry and almost 100 glaciers. Visitors pitch their tents or stay on the outskirts of the park at night as Sarek National Park is free of comfortable accommodation. In short, Sarek is the place if you want to experience Swedish nature in its most raw and beautiful way.

Mountain peak
Kebnekaise is Sweden's highest mountain, consisting of two peaks, a southern peak and a northern peak.
Photo: Felix Oppenheim/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se

Kebnekaise – the highest mountain in Sweden

The tallest summit in Sweden, Kebnekaise stretches a whopping 2,106 metres into the sky and is a given point on many adventurers’ bucket lists. The top is reachable via a hiking trail from Nikkaluokta. After 19 kilometres, you’ll reach the foot of the mountain and STF Kebnekaise Mountain Station from where there are two nature paths leading up to the mountain top. The hike can be quite challenging, but as you conquer the massif formed by Mother Nature hundreds of million years ago, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views over the barren landscape in Sweden and Norway.

The Coral Cave, Jämtland
Experience a guided tour through what is considered to be the longest cave in Sweden, the Coral Cave in Jämtland.
Photo: Gerd Sjöberg/Strömsund Turism

The Coral Cave in Jämtland

Step into the Coral Cave by Lake Stora Blåsjön and you can expect to crawl through narrow passages and wander in great halls. It’s taken thousands of years for the water to erode the limestone-rich rock, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the cave was discovered by humans. Several new passages have been found throughout the years, and today this six-kilometres-long natural wonder is considered the longest cave in Sweden. The name comes from the stalactite-covered ceiling, reminiscent of corals. The cave is only accessible through guided tours during the summer months. To top it off, end the excursion by taking a refreshing bath in the waterfall at the cave entrance.

Njupeskär, Dalarna
Njupeskär waterfall is located in Fulufjället national park in Dalarna. The waterfall is 93 metres and the water falls completely free 70 metres, which makes it one of Sweden's highest waterfalls.
Photo: Nisse Schmidt/ Visit Dalarna

Waterfall safari in Dalarna

There’s no better way to appreciate the power of nature than to take in a waterfall with all your senses. Listen to the roar of the rushing water. Feel the escaping droplets on your cheeks. Watch the sun rays hitting the splashing water and being reflected into a fleeting rainbow. Sweden is sprinkled with waterfalls, large and small. In the county of Dalarna, you can tick off seven of them on a waterfall safari. One is Njupeskär, with a height of 93 metres, making it one of the highest waterfalls in the country. It’s reachable via an easy hike through the beautiful Fulufjället National Park and with a little imagination, you might even spot the mythological creature of ‘näcken’ in the water, playing his violin.

Lurö archipelago, Värmland
Lake Vänern is home to the the largest freshwater archipelago in Europe.L
Photo: ESS foto/Säffle kommun

Lurö – the largest freshwater archipelago in Europe

Sweden is home to several well-known and appreciated archipelagos, like the Stockholm archipelago and the Bohuslän archipelago. However, there is a less known and less crowded archipelago, spread out in Lake Vänern. A hidden gem, but also the largest freshwater archipelago in Europe, the Lurö archipelago is a great place to become one with nature. Come with your boat or take the ferry from Ekenäs to the main island Lurö. A world of 250 islands awaits, from barren inserts to boggy pine forests. Go island hopping by kayak, swim in the clear water and immerse yourself in the tranquil environment.

Gullmarsfjorden, Lysekil in Bohuslän
Gullmarsfjorden in Bohuslän offers a beautiful fjord with red granite cliffs, picturesque fishing villages and much more.
Photo: Roger Borgelid/Väst Sverige

Gullmarn – the only threshold fjord in Sweden

Gullmarsfjorden, or Gullmarn, is a threshold fjord in the Bohuslän archipelago and the only ‘real’ fjord in Sweden – yet it’s still a hidden gem. The name Gullmarn is Old Norse, meaning God’s Sea. And this fjord does offer a heavenly nature experience. A nature reserve that boasts steep cliffs with red granite on one side and grey gneiss on the other, meadows and sandy beaches. At the mouth of the fjord, in between Lysekil and Fiskebäckskil, the depth is almost 40 metres. It then extends down to 120 metres further in, making it a popular diving spot thanks to the exciting marine life. Lumpfish, saddle dolphins and sometimes even orcas have been spotted here.

Limestone monoliths
Limestone monoliths, called 'raukar' in Swedish, can be found all along the coastline of the Swedish Baltic islands of Gotland and Fårö.
Photo: Helena Wahlman/imagebank.sweden.se

The sea stack fields of Gotland

A dog, a chimpanzee, an old man and a maiden – all moulded in rough grey limestone. The fascinating sea stacks of Gotland and Fårö may look like they were man-made figures, but they are all created by natural erosion during the last Ice Age. Make sure to wear comfortable shoes like trainers while walking around the sea stack fields as the ground is often rocky and uneven. Marvel at the great arched gate in Lergrav, and be dazzled by the barren, almost otherworldly landscape of Langhammars. Use your imagination, and you might even come up with new figures for the sea stack collection.

Åsnens national park, Småland
Åsnens national park consists out of lakes, islands, forests and wetland. A place for you to come close to nature and its various species.
Photo: Alexander Hall/Destination Småland

Åsnen – one of Sweden’s many mighty forests

70 percent of Sweden is covered by forest. The country has 30 national parks from north to south, and while Åsnen is the latest on the list, its forests, lakes and uninhabited islands have been here for ages. Come here to kayak in summer, hike in autumn, ski in winter or try forest-bathing in spring – the possibilities for pure nature experiences here are endless. As a typical Swedish natural wonder, the area is steeped in mythological tales. One of the entrances has been named ‘Trollberget’ (Troll Mountain) and not far from there you’ll find a gap in the boulders where the trolls were said to celebrate Christmas.