National Park Guides

A Guide to National Parks in Sweden

POSTED ON February 14, 2024 BY Ralph S.


Introduction

Sweden, a paradise for nature lovers, is renowned for its pristine wilderness, uninterrupted chain of lakes, and mind-boggling northern lights. An integral part of this natural world are the Swedish National Parks, spread across approximately 2,703 square miles (7,000 square kilometers) of the country. These protected areas serve as a testament to Sweden’s commitment to preserving its unique ecology for future generations.

Sweden was the first country in Europe to establish a national park system. It all began with the inception of nine parks, and today, the count has risen to an impressive 30, each one open to the public and offering a unique range of outdoor activities.

From the dense forests of Tyresta National Park to the frozen tundra of Abisko, these parks are a diverse representation of Sweden’s remarkable geography. In particular, Sarek National Park, Skuleskogen National Park, and Kosterhavet National Park stand out for their unique natural features.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker, a bird watcher, or simply someone who appreciates the tranquility of nature, these parks offer something for everyone.

Join us on this journey through Sweden’s magnificent landscapes and rich biodiversity in this guide to the national parks in Sweden you don’t want to miss.

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Store Mosse National Park

Store Mosse National Park

  • Location: Jönköping County, in southern Sweden. Map
  • Size: approximately 77 sq. mi. (199 sq. km).
  • Establishment Date: 1982.
  • Number of Visitors: around 70,000 visitors annually.
  • Number of Hiking Trails: Three main trails: the Loop Trail (4 miles/6.5 km), the Wetland Trail (1 mile/1.5 km), and the Forest Trail (2 miles/3 km).
  • Total Length of Hiking Trails: about 7 miles (11 km).
  • Lowest Point: Store Mosse National Park entrance, at 676 feet (206 m) above sea level.
  • Highest Point: Hökensås Nature Reserve, at 1,033 feet (315 m) above sea level.

Store Mosse National Park, located in the heart of Småland, is a haven for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. The park’s most notable feature is its vast bog wetland, the largest in southern Sweden, covering over 12 square miles (30 square km). The bog is home to a diverse range of bird species, including cranes, whooper swans, and snipes. In fact, over 40% of Sweden’s crane population spends its winter at Store Mosse.

Apart from birds, the park is also home to an abundance of flora and fauna. Visitors can spot carnivorous plants such as sundews and bladderworts, as well as rare orchids. The park’s rich biodiversity is also evident in its extensive network of hiking trails, which provide ample opportunities to explore the different habitats within the park.

Abisko National Park

Abisko National Park

  • Location: Norrbotten County, in the north of Sweden. Map
  • Size: approximately 77 sq. mi. (199 sq. km).
  • Establishment Date: 1909.
  • Number of Visitors: more than 100,000 visitors annually.
  • Number of Hiking Trails: Five major trails.
  • Total Length of Hiking Trails: about 356 miles (574 km).
  • Lowest Point: Lake Torneträsk at 919 feet (280 m) above sea level.
  • Highest Point: Mount Nissunnjiegna, at 2,939 feet (892 meters) above sea level.

Abisko National Park, nestled in the northernmost part of Sweden, is among the most visited national parks in Sweden. Known for its distinctive arctic landscapes, the park spans the Swedish-Norwegian border and lies within the Arctic Circle, presenting visitors with a spectacular blend of high mountains and the expansive Lake Torneträsk. The park’s proximity to the Norwegian border contributes to its unique climate, which is characterized by relatively mild winters and cool summers.

In the colder months, visitors can partake in thrilling winter sports such as snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.

However, the allure of Abisko extends beyond its varied outdoor activities. One of its key attractions is the well-known Kungsleden hiking trail, which draws hikers from around the globe. The park is also home to the indigenous Sami people, whose rich culture adds a fascinating historical element to the park.

But perhaps the most captivating feature of Abisko is its unrivaled views of the Northern Lights, making it one of the best places in the world to witness this awe-inspiring spectacle. Whether you’re dog sledding under the summer sun or marveling at the Aurora Borealis, every trip to Abisko National Park is an adventure filled with extraordinary experiences.

Fulufjallet National Park

Fulufjallet National Park

  • Location: Dalarna County, in central Sweden. Map
  • Size: approximately 150 sq. mi. (390 sq. km).
  • Establishment Date: 2002.
  • Number of Visitors: around 10,000 visitors annually.
  • Number of Hiking Trails: about 10. Hiking map (pdf), Films, folders, documents and maps
  • Total Length of Hiking Trails: about 87 miles (140 km).
  • Lowest Point: Njupeskär, at 2,297 feet (700 m) above sea level.
  • Highest Point: Stor-Snjurken, at 3,589 feet (1093 meters) above sea level.

Fulufjallet National Park is a jewel of the Swedish wilderness, known for its pristine old-growth forests and unparalleled natural beauty. It’s coveted as one of the most well-preserved wilderness areas in Sweden, offering a refuge for various wildlife species, including the enchanting brown bears. The park is a haven of serenity, with its multitude of trails leading through majestic forests and alongside tranquil streams, immersing visitors in a landscape that is both tranquil and teeming with life.

Among the park’s most impressive features is the Njupeskar waterfall, Sweden’s tallest waterfall, cascading down from a staggering height of 305 feet (93 meters) with a free fall of 230 feet (70 meters). The waterfall, with its powerful roar and misty allure, is a sight that captivates all who visit. The path leading to the waterfall offers an invigorating hike through the park’s rich old-growth forests, adding to the adventure. The blend of serene wilderness, diverse wildlife, and the breathtaking Njupeskar waterfall truly makes Fulufjallet National Park an unforgettable destination for nature enthusiasts.

Tyresta National Park

Tyresta National Park

  • Location: Stockholm County, in southern Sweden. Map
  • Size: approximately 7.6 sq. mi. (19.7 sq. km).
  • Establishment Date: 1993.
  • Number of Visitors: around 160,000 visitors annually.
  • Number of Hiking Trails: Four marked trails.
  • Total Length of Hiking Trails: about 42 miles (68 km).
  • Lowest Point: South corner of the park, at 79 feet (24 m) above sea level.
  • Highest Point: Björnberget, at 180 feet (55 meters) above sea level.

Tyresta National Park, located just a few kilometers from Stockholm, is an oasis of nature amidst urban sprawl. It’s heralded as the home to southern Sweden’s largest area of ancient coniferous forest with tall pine trees.

The park’s sprawling landscape of over 7.7 square miles (20 square kilometers) is proof of the resilience of the primeval forests that have stood the test of time, offering a unique glimpse into the region’s natural history. The park’s proximity to the city makes it conveniently accessible by public transport, thus catering to both residents and tourists seeking an escape into nature.

The park is a biodiversity hotspot, sheltering many species of animals. From elk and white-tailed deer to various reptiles, amphibians, and countless bird species, the park’s diverse fauna is a delight for wildlife enthusiasts. During winter, the park transforms into a snowy wonderland, offering a perfect setting for cross-country skiing.

Skuleskogen National Park

Skuleskogen National Park

  • Location: Västernorrland County, in northern Sweden. Map
  • Size: approximately 11.82 sq. mi. (30.62 sq. km).
  • Establishment Date: 1984.
  • Number of Visitors: around 20,000 visitors annually.
  • Number of Hiking Trails: 23
  • Lowest Point: The trail leading from Slåttdalsskrevan up to the summit of Skuleberget, at 131 feet (40 m) above sea level.
  • Highest Point: Skuleberget, at 968 feet (295 meters) above sea level.

Skuleskogen National Park is a stunning example of the country’s rugged coastal landscape. It’s renowned for its dramatic cliffs and deep ravines, carved out by glaciers during the last ice age. The park offers visitors a chance to experience the breathtaking viewpoints over the Baltic Sea.

Skuleskogen has three different entrance points; however, only the south entrance is open in winter.

One of the park’s highlights is Slåttdalsskrevan, a narrow ravine that stretches over half a quarter mile (200 meters) and boasts 98-foot (30-meter)-high cliffs on each side. The trail leading through the ravine is an exhilarating adventure, with ladders, suspension bridges, and stunning views waiting at every turn.

Slåttdalsskrevan Canyon, whose deep crevasse is 131 feet (40 meters) deep, 689 feet (210 meters) long, and 23 feet (7 meters) wide, is a favorite among park visitors. The Tärnättholmarna Islands are composed of ancient forests, seas, and high snow-capped mountains.

The park is also known for the Via Ferrata, an exciting aerial trail that allows hikers to get a bird’s-eye view of the park. And with its cozy cabins and barbecue huts, Skuleskogen National Park is the perfect spot for a family picnic or a peaceful retreat.

Kosterhavet National Park

Kosterhavet National Park

  • Location: Västra Götaland County and Strömstad Municipality, in western Sweden. Map
  • Size: approximately 58.1 sq. mi. (150.7 sq. km).
  • Establishment Date: 2009.
  • Number of Visitors: around 90,000 visitors annually.
  • Number of Hiking Trails: not defined.
  • Total Length of Hiking Trails: not defined.
  • Lowest Point: sea level.
  • Highest Point: Hamnholmen, at 128 feet (39 meters) above sea level.

Named after the Koster Islands, Kosterhavet National Park is Sweden’s first marine national park. This park shows the country’s significant strides in coastal preservation. Situated close to the Norwegian border, this marine wonderland boasts a rich biodiversity of sea life, making it an exceptional destination for marine biologists and nature enthusiasts alike.

The park encompasses a unique underwater environment teeming with over 6,000 marine species, some of which are rarely found elsewhere. Its clear, cold waters offer great visibility, making snorkeling and diving an unforgettable experience.

The park’s charm also extends above the water surface. It features a network of remote islands with pristine beaches and picturesque coastal trails, inviting visitors to explore their untouched beauty. The surrounding crystal-blue waters provide a stunning backdrop to these islands, creating an environment that is as aesthetically captivating as it is ecologically important.

Overall, Kosterhavet National Park stands out as the only marine park in Sweden, offering a distinctive blend of marine exploration and island adventure, making it a unique and must-visit place.

Stora Sjöfallets / Stuor Muorkke National Park

Stora Sjöfallets / Stuor Muorkke National Park

  • Location: Norrbotten County, in northern Sweden. Map
  • Size: approximately 312 sq. mi. (809 sq. km).
  • Establishment Date: 1909.
  • Number of Visitors: around 70,000 visitors annually.
  • Number of Hiking Trails: not defined.
  • Total Length of Hiking Trails: not defined.
  • Lowest Point: Vajmatjåkkå, at 1,690 feet (515 m) above sea level.
  • Highest Point: Sarektjåhkkå, at 6,854 feet (2,089 m) above sea level.

Stora Sjöfallets / Stuor Muorkke National Park, the third-largest national park in Sweden, is a captivating display of nature’s grandeur, nestled in Norrbotten County in northern Sweden, Gällivare Municipality, and Jokkmokk Municipality. It forms a distinct natural triangle in close proximity to the Norwegian border, alongside Padjelanta and Stora Sjöfallet national parks.

The park is home to the eminent Akka massif, affectionately referred to as ‘The Queen of Lapland.’ This rugged mountain range’s imposing, mystic beauty beckons hikers and mountaineers from around the globe, providing them with awe-inspiring landscapes and challenging terrains.

The park’s geographical positioning allows visitors to experience the spellbinding phenomenon of the midnight sun. During the summer months, the park is bathed in surreal, perpetual daylight, a spectacle that’s truly mesmerizing. Additionally, the park’s proximity to the towering mountain Kebnekaise, Sweden’s highest peak, amplifies its allure for outdoor enthusiasts.

Though situated in the northern realm, the park’s southern regions reflect the diverse natural beauty found in other parts of Sweden, offering a harmonious blend of landscapes that never fail to captivate the park’s visitors.

Färnebofjärden National Park

Färnebofjärden National Park

  • Location: Gävleborg County and Dalarna County, in central Sweden. Map
  • Size: approximately 240 sq. mi. (623 sq. km).
  • Establishment Date: 1998.
  • Number of Visitors: around 255,000 visitors annually.
  • Number of Hiking Trails: not defined.
  • Total Length of Hiking Trails: not defined.
  • Lowest Point: 426 feet (130 m) above sea level.
  • Highest Point: 541 feet (165 m) above sea level.

Färnebofjärden National Park, nestled in the heart of Sweden, is a mesmerizing blend of water and woodland, dominated by the mighty Dalälven River, the second-longest river in the country. The river splits into numerous channels, creating an intricate network of waterways that form a key characteristic of the park. The region’s crowning glory, Lake Färnebofjärden, is an extraordinary sight, its shimmering expanse home to a diverse array of wildlife, including the majestic white-tailed eagles.

This park is a birdwatcher’s paradise, offering sanctuary to over 205 bird species. Spring and early summer are particularly exciting times for visitors, with guided tours providing unique opportunities to spot the rich avian diversity.

Whether you’re kayaking along the Dalälven, hiking through the verdant forests, or birdwatching by the lake, the park offers a captivating and enchanting wilderness experience, making it a must-visit for all nature enthusiasts.

Tiveden National Park

Tiveden National Park

  • Location: Örebro County and Västra Götaland County, in southern Sweden. Map
  • Size: approximately 22 sq. mi. (56 sq. km).
  • Establishment Date: 1983.
  • Number of Visitors: around 30,000 visitors annually.
  • Number of Hiking Trails: about 11 marked trails.
  • Total Length of Hiking Trails: approximately 21 miles (34 km).
  • Lowest Point: Unden, at 495 feet (151 m) above sea level.
  • Highest Point: Tivedshögen, at 1,362 feet (415 m) above sea level.

Despite being one of Sweden’s smaller national parks, Tiveden National Park is an area that intrigues with a unique blend of nature artwork. It features giant boulders scattered by ice-age glaciers amidst beautiful scenery. A tapestry of marked trails winds through the park, leading adventurers to discover sparkling blue lakes encircled by primeval forest.

Visitors are often spellbound by the contrast between sandy beaches and rocky outcrops as they explore, each turn unveiling a landscape sculpted over millennia. The Stenkälla trail is a highlight, where the sheer size and placement of the boulders create an ambience of ancient, untouched wilderness.

Within its modest bounds, Tiveden is home to an enigmatic world of mysterious caves and grottoes begging to be explored. Stay Camping allows guests to fully immerse themselves in this pristine environment under a canopy of age-old trees. For those seeking tranquility, the sand beach offers a serene retreat with its clear waters and contiguous forests, making this park a jewel for those who find solitude in nature. Each location in Tiveden is a chapter of a saga, narrating the earth’s deep history and the resilient beauty of the Swedish landscape.

Ängsö National Park

Angso National Park

  • Location: Västmanland County, in central Sweden. Map
  • Size: approximately 2.5 sq. mi. (6.4 sq. km).
  • Establishment Date: 1909.
  • Number of Visitors: around 15,000 visitors annually.
  • Number of Hiking Trails: about 6.
  • Total Length of Hiking Trails: approximately 16 miles (27 km).
  • Lowest Point: sea level.
  • Highest Point: 98 feet (30 m) above sea level.

Ängsö National Park, located off the coast of Västmanland in Sweden, is an idyllic haven of natural beauty and tranquility. A visit to Ängsö is a journey back in time, as the park takes pride in preserving traditional Swedish landscapes. The charm of this island park lies in its stunning meadows and pastures, which bloom with a vibrant variety of wildflowers and plants in early summer, presenting a sight to behold. The island’s eastern side serves as a dedicated bird sanctuary, providing a safe haven for a wide array of avian species. The island’s diverse habitats and unique biodiversity make it a paradise for nature enthusiasts.

Access to Ängsö National Park is a unique adventure in itself, as the only way to get to this park is by boat from Strömkajen, adding a touch of excitement and exclusivity to the experience. For those seeking an immersive experience, camping is permitted at certain places in the park. However, to preserve the serenity and natural state of the park, camping is restricted to two nights at a time. The combination of natural beauty, rich biodiversity, and unique accessibility makes Ängsö National Park a truly unique destination for visitors.

Stenshuvud National Park

Stenshuvud National Park

  • Location: Skåne County, in southern Sweden. Map
  • Size: approximately 1.5 sq. mi. (3.9 sq. km).
  • Establishment Date: 1986.
  • Number of Visitors: around 246,000 in 2022
  • Number of Hiking Trails: about six short trails.
  • Total Length of Hiking Trails: approximately 7 miles (11 km).
  • Lowest Point: sea level.
  • Highest Point: Stenshuvud Hill, at 318 feet (97 meters) above sea level.

Located in the picturesque region of Österlen, Stenshuvud National Park is a delightful blend of nature, history, and culture. The park features the iconic Stenshuvud hill, from which visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the Baltic Sea and surrounding landscapes. Visitors can explore the park’s diverse habitats, including beaches, cliffs, forests, and meadows, each teeming with unique flora and fauna.

Stenshuvud also has a rich cultural history dating back to the Iron Age. The park is home to ancient burial grounds, stone circles, and other remnants of prehistoric settlements. A visit to Stenshuvud offers visitors a chance to not only connect with nature but also to delve into the fascinating history of the region.

The park offers a range of outdoor activities, from hiking and birdwatching to swimming and sunbathing on its sandy beaches. The Nature Interpretation Center is another highlight, offering interactive exhibits and guided tours for visitors to learn more about the park’s diverse ecosystems.

Dalby Söderskog National Park

Dalby Söderskog National Park

  • Location: Skåne County, in southern Sweden. Map
  • Size: approximately 3.7 sq. mi. (9.6 sq. km).
  • Establishment Date: 1918.
  • Number of Visitors: around 50,000 visitors annually.
  • Number of Hiking Trails: about 3 marked trails.
  • Total Length of Hiking Trails: approximately 9 miles (14 km). More info is here.
  • Lowest Point: sea level.
  • Highest Point: 393 feet (120 m) above sea level.

Dalby Söderskog National Park, despite being one of the smallest of the Swedish national parks, is a prime example of the old hardwood forests of South Sweden. The park is a perfect green oasis all year round, offering an enchanting experience of tranquility amidst its dense beech and oak forest. This blend of ancient trees, combined with the thrilling whispers of the wind rustling through the leaves, exudes an aura of mystique and charm, making it an irresistible attraction for visitors.

The park’s verdant woodland is a sanctuary for a vast array of indigenous flora and fauna. Its dense understory is adorned with vibrant wildflowers like ramsons and anemones during spring, creating a spectacular natural carpet that adds to the park’s allure. The park also provides refuge for a myriad of bird species, offering birdwatchers an intimate experience with nature. Overall, Dalby Söderskog captivates visitors with its rich biodiversity and timeless beauty, making it a must-visit destination despite its small size.

Muddus/Muttos National Park

Muttos National Park

  • Location: Norrbotten County, in northern Sweden. Map
  • Size: approximately 156 sq. mi. (405 sq. km).
  • Establishment Date: 1942.
  • Number of Visitors: around 8,000 visitors annually.
  • Number of Hiking Trails: one main marked loop from the Skajdde (Skaite) entrance, with several sections.
  • Total Length of Hiking Trails: over 34 miles (55 km).
  • Lowest Point: sea level.
  • Highest Point: 1,207 feet (368 m) above sea level.

Muddus/Muttos National Park, situated in the heart of Swedish Lapland, is a sanctuary of unspoiled natural beauty known for its primeval forests and rich wildlife. This expansive park, stretching over 493 sq. km., is one of Sweden’s oldest national parks and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Laponian area. The park is divided into two distinctive areas: the southern part, dominated by a vast marshland, provides a spectacular view, especially during sunrises and sunsets. The northern part, on the other hand, flaunts a dense forest, adorned with centuries-old pines and spruces, interspersed with crystal-clear lakes and winding rivers.

The park’s unique geographical features include impressive deep gorges and cascading waterfalls, the most famous of which is Muddusfallet, where the roaring waters plunge into a deep rift. The park is also a bird watcher’s paradise, hosting a variety of bird species, including the rare Western Capercaillie and Siberian Jay.

Whether it’s the thrill of hiking through ancient forests, the serenity of birdwatching, or the awe of witnessing the majestic waterfalls, Muddus/Muttos National Park offers a unique and unforgettable wilderness experience.

Padjelanta National Park

Padjelanta National Park

  • Location: Norrbotten County in the north of Sweden, bordering Norway. Map
  • Size: about 766 sq. mi. (1,984 sq. km.).
  • Establishment Date: 22, December 1962.
  • Number of Visitors: around 10,000 visitors annually.
  • Number of Hiking Trails: two major hiking trails: Padjelantaleden and Nordkalottruta.
  • Total Length of Hiking Trails: approximately 590 miles (950 km).
  • Lowest Point: around 500 meters above sea level.
  • Highest Point: Mount Kebne, at 6,926 feet (2,1111 meters) above sea level.

Padjelanta National Park is a sight to behold, holding the title of Sweden’s largest national park. It stretches across an extraordinary 1984 square kilometers and forms a significant part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Unlike other northern parks, what sets Padjelanta apart is its variety of landscapes, ranging from vast open plateaus to striking mountain ranges.

Visitors are often intrigued by the park’s abundant plant life and bird species, which contribute to its vibrant biodiversity. The summer bloom of wildflowers is particularly stunning, creating a spectacular carpet of color that contrasts with the stark beauty of the surrounding snow-capped mountains. It’s also a haven for bird watchers, and it’s not uncommon to spot rare species like the Eurasian Dotterel.

A trip to Padjelanta is an adventure in wild beauty, offering an unforgettable immersion into Sweden’s diverse natural heritage.

Sarek National Park

Sarek National Park

  • Location: Norrbotten County, in the north of Sweden. Map
  • Size: approximately 1,970 sq. mi. (5,087 sq. km).
  • Establishment Date: 1909.
  • Number of Visitors: around 2,000 visitors annually.
  • Number of Hiking Trails: Two major trails: Sarek-Padjelanta Loop Trail (136.9 miles/220.3 km) and Kvikjokk Och Sarek Circular Trail (69.5 miles/111.85 km).
  • Total Length of Hiking Trails: about 206 miles (332 km).
  • Lowest Point: Lake Rittakjaure, at 1,565 feet (477 m) above sea level.
  • Highest Point: Mount Skierffe, at 1,172 meters above sea level.

Sarek National Park is one of Sweden’s oldest and wildest national parks. It is also a secluded park renowned for its majestic mountainous peaks, including Mount Sarek, Sweden’s second-highest peak. This park, part of Sweden’s northern parks, boasts numerous glaciers and over 200 mountains 5,905 feet (1,800 meters) high, offering breathtaking panoramic views that attract adventurers worldwide. The lack of marked trails adds a thrilling sense of wilderness, urging visitors to navigate the rugged terrain independently.

The park is not just about geology; it is also rich in wildlife. The elusive brown bears that roam the park add an air of mystique, and lucky visitors might catch a glimpse of these magnificent animals from a safe distance. Additionally, Sarek is home to the indigenous Sami people, who have been herding reindeer across these lands for centuries. Their traditional lifestyle adds an intriguing cultural dimension to the awe-inspiring natural beauty of Sarek, making the park a must-visit destination for those seeking a truly unique and adventurous experience.

Conclusion

Sweden’s national parks offer something for everyone, from hikers, thru-hikers, and backpackers to outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Each of these parks highlighted above has its own unique features, attractions, and outdoor activities.

If you’re planning on visiting any of these national parks, be sure to research ahead of time, pack appropriately, and most importantly, respect and cherish the beauty you find.

Get ready and head over to the Swedish landscape to experience adventure and nature at its finest.

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Don’t forget to check out our national park guides archive page, and get inspired for your next nature adventure.


RALPH S.

Ralph S. is the founder of Silverlight, an avid hiker and trail runner he enjoys spending time outdoors, riding his motorcycle and swimming at the beach when he's not busy replying to customers or developing new Silverlight gear.

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