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Sometimes a holiday immersed in nature is all we need to recover from a long, stressful period. And what better place than one of Sweden national parks? Lost in the pristine nature and breathing clean air is the perfect trip to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Sweden has a lot to offer in terms of unspoiled natural parks. There are many of them all over the country, and they can be visited for free! The Swedes are very keen on preserving nature as it is. They ensure the habitats of the wildest animal and plant species are preserved and that’s amazing.
Do you have an interest in visiting Sweden’s wildest places too? If so, you can not miss this guide: I’ll show you some beautiful Sweden’s national parks, from the further north, where it’s possible to see the Northern Lights, to those closer to Stockholm. I will also tell you the best times to visit and how best to reach them.
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How many National Parks are there in Sweden?
To date, there are 30 National Parks in Sweden, and they make up about 2% of the country’s total land. All the parks are freely accessible all year round, and in many parks, you will even find log cabins where you can spend a night for free. All you have to do is check-in at the visitor center before nightfall! At the visitor centers you will also find all the info you need to go hiking and to get to know the park’s history.
Here’s the Swedish National Parks in alphabetical order:
- Blå Jungfrun
- Dalby Söderskog
- Gotska Sandön
- Haparanda Skärgård
- Norra Kvill
- Stora Sjöfallet/Stuor Muorkke
- Store Mosse
Where to see Northern Lights in Sweden – the northern area
What is popular in Sweden? Northern lights sightings, I guess. In this section, I will list the most beautiful parks in Swedish Lapland where you can spot the Polar Lights. I will also tell you how to get there and what the best time to visit them is.
Abisko National Park
Abisko is one of the best national parks in Sweden since it houses the Aurora Sky Station. This 77 square km (48 sq miles) park is located in the north of the Arctic Circle and is famous for being one of the best spots in Swedish Lapland to observe the Northern Lights.
The activities you can do in this Swedish National Park are countless: you can take a dog sled ride, go on a snowshoe hike to admire flora and fauna, or go crossing-country skiing.
When to visit Abisko?
It depends on what your goal is. During the summer, the temperatures are less rigid, and a phenomenon called Midnight Sun occurs: there is light all day long every day. This is certainly an advantage for those who love hiking and spotting wildlife since it’s possible to do it at any time of the day or night.
On the other hand, during the summer (April-July), you will miss out on the snow and, above all, the Northern Lights. The best time for the sighting of the Aurora Borealis is October-late March. More specifically, March is ideal because of the lack of rainfall that could compromise the sighting. You can visit Aurora Sky Station website to know more.
How to get to Abisko
Abisko is the easiest Swedish Lapland’s park to reach. It is not recommended to visit by car because weather conditions are unfavorable due to snow and ice. So, what you need to do is get to the city of Kiruna, which is 1300 km away from Stockholm. Don’t worry! You can get there in a few hours by a flight, you just have to check the availability in advance.
From Kiruna it’s possible to take a train that will take you to the national park in about 2 hours. You can book all the stages of your trip here.
Sarek National Park
Sarek is probably the hardest park to reach in Sweden because there are no roads leading to this park. It is exclusively reached by walking or skiing, and it is recommended only to the most adventurous and experienced hikers. The area is famous for being completely unspoiled and for having a 35 km valley, the Rapa Valley. Among the animals you might spot, there are elks, raptors, and brown bears.
Inside the park, there are six of the highest mountains in Sweden, and if you want to hike them safely, it is always better to have a tour guide.
When to visit Sarek? This Sweden’s National Park has something to offer throughout the entire year, so the choice is yours. The ideal months for mild hiking are July and August so that you can enjoy the midnight sun.
If you wish to see the Aurora Borealis in Sarek, you will have to visit in the winter months (December-late March), when the days are very short and the night much longer.
Padjelanta National Park
Padjelanta is the largest national park in Sweden, with an area of 2000 square km (1243 sq miles). Within this region, there are also other parks, like Sarek, which we talked about in the previous paragraph.
This parkland is in the northern part of Sweden, right on the border with Norway. It is recommended for those who love trekking and hiking. The hardest paths on the mountain’s slopes offer breathtaking views of three lakes.
There’s also a Naturum for the national parks of Lapland: a single visitor center for all the parks. Here you’ll get all the info you need to go on the best excursions and to learn more about the history and traditions of the indigenous population of Sami.
Sweden National Parks – the central area
Skuleskogen National Park (Västernorrland County)
This wonderful national park has one of the few centuries-old forests left on the Baltic coast. With its trees, streams, and rocky ground, this area is ideal for enjoying a beautiful nature walk.
Skuleskogen is perfect for visiting in the summer months, but it’s even more beautiful during winter when the lakes are frozen and fields are covered with snow.
If you’d like to immerse yourself in nature, it’s possible to stay overnight in one of the park’s huts. The overnight stay, as well as the entrance to the park, is free. All it takes is checking in at the Naturum Visitor Center, which is located near the park entrance.
How to get to Skuleskogen National Park
The park is located halfway between Sundsvall and Umeå, 500 km away from Stockholm, so it will take a while to reach. If you go by bus, it will take approx. 10 hours to get there, however, if you want to spend less time traveling, taking a car is the best way to go.
Fulufjället National Park (Dalarna county)
Fulufjället is a 385 square km (239 sq miles) unspoiled park, mostly made up of mountain heights and moors. This vast Swedish National Park is in the northwest part of Dalarna County in the central area of the country.
One of its peculiarities is Njupeskär, which is the highest waterfall in Sweden (about 95 meters high). The waterfall has created a canyon that you can admire from the top. If you decide to visit this park, you absolutely can’t miss it!
The area is open all year round, and it’s accessible for free. June-August is the perfect time for those who like swimming, birdwatching, and visiting the waterfall under the sun’s rays. For those who love cold temperatures, snowshoeing, and skiing, the winter period from November to February is great.
At the main entrance, you will find the Naturum Center: here you can ask for all the information about the excursions, guided tours, and rules for personal safety.
How to get to Fulufjället National Park
The Fulufjället park is 25 km away from the center of Särna, so if you travel by public transport, you need to reach Särna by bus or train and then from there, it will be easy to take a bus and get to the national park.
Sonfjället National Park (Jämtland County)
Sonfjället is in the heart of Sweden and is considered one of the most important bear habitats in Scandinavia. This is why it is possible to go on a bear sighting safari, even if it’s quite rare to be able to see one. You can request any information about bears and safaris at the Hede’s tourist office.
This park is among the oldest in Europe and is home to one of the highest mountains in Sweden, the Sonfjället. You can see the mountain from anywhere, making the park’s landscape unique.
How to arrive at Sonfjället National Park
Sonfjället is more than 500 km away from Stockholm, however, some trains and buses connect Stockholm to Hede. From Hede, it will be possible to take another bus to arrive at the park. The estimated time to reach Sonfjället from Stockholm is around 6/7 hours of travel.
Sweden National Parks – the southern area
Sweden’s southern parks are very suggestive and most likely the easiest to reach if you land at Arlanda Airport. What I’m going to cover in this section are Sweden National Parks near Stockholm.
Tyresta National Park (Stockholm County)
This Swedish national park has an area of almost 20 square km (7.6 sq miles) and is surrounded by a 27 square km (10 sq miles) natural reserve. Inside the park, you will find an ancient forest (the largest of the southern parks) rich with fir and pine trees dating back to about 400 years.
Tyresta park is only 20 km (13 miles) southeast of the capital Stockholm, so it’s easy to reach. It will be the perfect place to immerse yourself in nature and have direct contact with wildlife.
Tyresta National Park things to do
Tyresta is great for people who want to take an easy walk as well as for those who want to go trekking and hiking. Sleeping in a tent is allowed both in the park and in the natural reserve, but only in the designated area under the supervision of the Tyresta Forest Foundation. You must book in advance.
It’s also allowed to cycle in the appropriate areas, visit the lakes, and collect berries and edible mushrooms on the way. You can observe the nature that surrounds you, but it’s not possible to pick flowers and lichens, to fish, and to disturb wildlife and visitors.
Inside the park, there are also food areas including a café and a village shop where it is possible to find something to eat.
Lastly, the park has a visitor center: the Naturum National Parks House. Here you can inquire about all the rules to respect when visiting the park and it’s also possible to book a guide or buy maps and souvenirs.
How to get from Stockholm to Tyresta
It’s quite easy to get there by public transport. The bus will drop you off at the suburb of Tyresta village, which is also the main entrance to the park. Alternatively, you can arrive at your destination by car, especially if you want to head into it using secondary entrances.
Ängsö National Park (Stockholm County)
Ängsö is in the Roslagen Archipelago – one of the many in Stockholm County – and is among the smallest National Parks of Sweden (2 square km/0.8 sq miles).
Its environment is very different from that of the other parks: it’s mainly made up of meadows, pastures and small forests. The eastern side of the island is considered a bird sanctuary, and for this reason, it’s not accessible from February 1st to August 8th.
The perfect time to visit this place is from spring to early summer (mid-May/mid-June), so you’ll have a chance to observe the blooming of elder-flowered orchids.
How to arrive at Ängsö National Park
Since it is located in an archipelago, this park can only be reached by boat. In the summer and spring seasons, there are daily boats that leave from Stockholm to Ängsö regularly.
Färnebofjärden National Park (halfway between Dalarna and Uppsala County)
Färnebofjärden park is entirely crossed by the Lower Dalälven river, which makes this area a landscape paradise and the perfect home for many animal species. With the spring floods, you’ll also have the opportunity to see over 200 islands and rocks, which is accessible through a boat ride.
There is a Naturum Visitor Center where you can get all the necessary information to plan your own excursions, take guided tours or book one of the many activities.
How to get to Färnebofjärden National Park
The park is 150 km (approx. 1 hour and 50 mins) from Stockholm, 77 km (1 hour and 20 mins) from Uppsala and 52 km (50 mins) from Gälve. The best way to reach it is by bus or more comfortably by car.
Tiveden National Park (halfway between Stockholm and Gothenburg)
Tiveden park is about 20 square km (13 sq miles). It is a hilly-mountainous area made up of wild and unspoiled forests, large lakes to swim, rivers, and boulders dating back to the glacial period.
This place is perfect for spending a summer night in a tent under the stars of a beautiful Swedish sky. It is also a paradise for those who love trekking as it has approximately 34 km (21 miles) of marked trails.
The best time for excursions is the summer, as you can combine a walk with a dive into the refreshing waters. On the other hand, for winter lovers, it is advisable to bring hiking boots, and maximum caution is advised!
How to arrive at Tiveden National park
Tiveden is 290 km (approx. 3 hours and 15) away from Stockholm. It’s hard to reach this Sweden National Park with public transportation. It is advisable to visit it only if you have access to a car.
What is the best month to visit Sweden?
Each season has its perks in Sweden. You will have to decide based on the experience you would like. Winter is very cold, and the days during that time of the year are very short. The sun starts to set at 2-3 PM, and in a short time, it’s already dark.
In the regions of Lapland, between December and March is perfect for spotting the Northern Lights, even if it can’t be predicted with certainty. This atmospheric phenomenon is only visible near the Polar Circles and consists of green lights that trail up into the sky.
During the summer, the weather is less rigid, and visiting the parks for excursions is much easier. The days are brighter, especially in Lapland, where it is possible to see the Midnight Sun.
Recommendations to visit Swedish National Parks
The last thing I’d like to remind you is that the Swedes are incredibly nature-friendly people. They love their country to stay unspoiled and do not want humans to be intrusive. For this reason, remember to be a respectful tourist, don’t pollute and don’t disturb the wildlife.
Before leaving, check the local temperatures and ensure you pack all the essentials. If you travel to Sweden during winter as we did, don’t forget gloves, snow boots, and thick clothing. The wind during winter is dry and sharp, so you will need all of warmth!
Sweden National Parks Map
Here you have the overall map of Sweden. I highlighted all the parks I mentioned above. Now you just have to decide which one you’d like to visit most!
NB. To receive more information on how to spend the night in the park’s log cabins, call or send an email to the national park. You will find the contact details on the official Sweden parks website.
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