We headed out to Scandinavia last summer with two shiny new Rockpool sea kayaks on our roof and a thirst for exploration and adventure. We’d spent some time training in borrowed sea kayaks, and I’ve been an inland kayaker for over 20 years, but this would be our first proper sea kayaking trip together and it turned out Sweden was absolutely the perfect place to start.
Up front it is worth saying that Sweden is well suited to sea kayakers with limited experience who are looking to explore. Firstly, you have the simplicity of the minimal effects of tide to consider, especially in the Baltic, which makes trip planning much simpler. Then you have the thousands of easily accessible islands and rocks to add interest, and something of a safety net with the shelter they provide, to any paddle. Finally, their right to roam legislation means you don’t have to head way off the beaten track to find wild camping spots, making it easy to plan in an overnight camp.
…you have thousands of easily accessible islands and rocks to add interest, and something of a safety net with the shelter they provide, to any paddle
We’d done a good amount of research into the best places to visit and had a fabulous trip and I want to recommend three incredible places to paddle in Sweden…
The Stockholm Archipelago
There are over 30,000 islands, islets and rocks in the Stockholm Archipelago, many of which are just off the mainland and ready to be explored by kayak. You could spend a whole holiday, even lifetime, exploring this area either in the form of a number of day trips or some multi-day sea kayak touring. We had a few days here as part of our tour and decided to go with some day trips based out of Gålö Havsbad. Despite high winds we had some wonderful paddles and found the whole area an absolute pleasure to explore.
How many capital cities can you genuinely explore from the water? Not many and Stockholm is definitely up amongst the best of them and we found it surprisingly easy to do. We parked the Dub on Långholmen in the RV Park which was super convenient for everything Stockholm. From there we accessed the water easily and had a very pleasant paddle around the city.
We were unfortunate that there was no access under the bridge to Gamla Stan due to road works, so we couldn’t access the water to the east of there, but we still had a great paddle. Once the work on the bridge is complete and the channel is open again the exploring options will be even better…
The Bohusland Coast
Want an wild island to yourself for the evening? Well you’ve come to the right place…
The truly wild Bohusland Coast is a landscape that is best explored by sea kayak, especially as the area is generally very sheltered and you can pick route close to the smooth granite boulders that dominate the shoreline. We visited Stocken having read about the numerous coastal islands there and we weren’t disappointed. We stayed a few days and the highlight was a paddle out to wild camp on our own island for the night. It was a wild and wonderful trip, but since we were never very far away from the mainland it was a safe and low risk way to spend a first wild night away with our boats.
You could SUP too…
It is worth mentioning that all of these locations are not just great for sea kayaking, they are also superb for stand up paddleboarding. We had both with us for our trip and got out on the SUPs for a few sessions, but we did suffer with high winds on most days and in those conditions the sea kayaks were the better choice.
I hope you have found this blog useful and if you are planning a kayaking trip to Sweden I’m certain you’ll have a fabulous time. You might find my other blogs on our 2017 Scandinavia Van Trip and my Top Tips for Van Touring in Scandinavia useful resources too.
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