Wildlife holidays in Sweden

Sweden is one of the world's most underrated wildlife destinations. Neighbouring Norway may grab all the glory for its mountains, dramatic coastline and polar bears, but Sweden's vast coniferous forests, pristine lakes and snowy northern valleys are some of the largest tracts of true wilderness in Europe, offering a plethora of adventure opportunities and packed with exciting species, too.

Sweden wildlife holidays bring you up close with everything from beavers and wild boar to reindeer, moose and even the elusive lynx as well as many species of birdlife. The tradition of allemansrätten (every man’s right) means you’re free to roam and wild camp just about anywhere you like so long as you don’t disturb the wildlife or harm the environment. Foraging is allowed, and, depending on the season you’ll find plenty of berries, mushrooms and fish.

Experienced guides will take you to find beaver dams, spot lynx footprints, photograph moose and reindeer in the snow and listen for wolves howling at night. And you can rest assured that your travels not only support communities in rural Sweden, they go towards raising funds for wildlife conservation, too. Read on to discover more.

What do wildlife holidays in Sweden entail?

The majority of wildlife holidays in Sweden are small group trips, but often with as little as seven people per guide. They last anything from four to nine days and are either centre based - where you’ll go out and explore the wilderness each day from a comfortable lodge or camp; or point-to-point, where you’ll move on to a different destination each day, either on foot or by canoe, with nights spent wild camping. Some trips are fully participatory, meaning that you’ll help setting up camp and cooking - though this all adds to the camaraderie.

On all our trips you’ll be introduced to the wildlife and landscape by experienced local guides, who are passionate about the landscape and the wildlife that inhabits it and are a dab hand at helping you spot some of the country’s shyer creatures.

Where to go

Our wildlife holidays take place either in southern Sweden, a two hour hop from Stockholm, or way up north in Swedish Lapland. Stay south and you’ll be based either in the wild open spaces of Dalarna, the waters of the Saint Anna Archipelago or Bergslagen Forest in Skinnskatteberg, which is moose central, and also home to beavers and wolves, roe deer and mountain hares.

Swedish Lapland, where our other wildlife breaks are based, is incredibly beautiful, with landscapes ranging from mountains and frozen lakes to ancient boreal forests and rivers. The remote Laponia area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its nature and Sámi culture, while Jokkmokk is home to a large Sámi community, where you can meet a family of reindeer herders and enjoy an evening meal in their lávvu (traditional tent).

What will I see?

What you’ll see on a wildlife holiday in Sweden very much depends on what time of year you go. In summer you could head for the deep forests, secluded lakes and old villages of the Dalarna region, or to Bergslagen Forest in Skinnskatteberg. The latter is home to Sweden’s largest populations of moose, as well as beavers, wolves, roe deer, mountain hares and, though rarely sighted, lynx. Wildlife expeditions are guided and feature gentle walks, canoeing and boat trips in order to make the most of your time in the wild.

You’ll track moose on foot or take to the lake to search for beavers and other wildlife, including birds such as the black-throated diver, osprey and crane. You could also spend the night in a remote tented camp, eating dinner round the campfire and spending the evening listening to the howling of wolves in the distance.
If you prefer your wildlife watching to be water bound, then a small group kayaking holiday in the Saint Anna Archipelago is just the thing. You and your fellow travellers will glide quietly through the stunning marine landscape, marveling at large birds of prey, spotting seals and their cubs sunbathing on the flat rocks and camping on forested islands at night.

Alternatively, you could head north for your summer wildlife fix, to the truly wild and wonderful Sarek National Park. The most remote part of Laponia, in Swedish Lapland, it has no road access, so you’ll be dropped here by helicopter, for an adventurous break tracking wildlife on foot and wild camping and cooking underneath the stars. Chances are that you’ll have some exciting encounters with moose and reindeer and you may see eagles and buzzards soaring up above. If you’re very lucky, you could spot bears and wolverines, though probably through binoculars.

Winter holidays take place in Lapland, home to the largest moose in Europe. During winter, you can watch and photograph them, along with their much smaller cousins, reindeer, as they gather in the valleys in search for food. You could also take to the frozen wilderness with a team of huskies, stay in a Sámi tented camp, or go on a lynx tracking break in a remote corner of Lapland.

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From SKr7595 6 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2020: 12 May, 19 May, 26 May, 2 Jun, 9 Jun, 16 Jun, 23 Jun, 26 Jun, 3 Jul, 10 Jul, 17 Jul, 24 Jul, 31 Jul, 7 Aug, 11 Aug, 18 Aug, 25 Aug, 1 Sep, 8 Sep, 15 Sep
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Sweden or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.

Best time to see wildlife in Sweden

We’d say June, July, August and early September are the best time to go on a wildlife holiday in Sweden, with temperatures in the low 20°Cs and crucially long, light days. Winter holidays to Lapland take place between November and April and will bring you close to moose and reindeer, plus the Northern Lights, but you’ll need to wrap up – it can hit -30°C at night and hovers around -10°C to -20°C by day. If you hope to see the elusive lynx, go for March. This is mating season and the only time of year when they call to one another, which makes tracking them that little bit easier.

Practicalities

Organised tours, whether tailor made or small group, often include seeing the wildlife as part of a mixed active itinerary with hiking, canoeing, dog sledding, snowshoeing and hopefully observing the Northern Lights (in winter at least) mixed in. These holidays are suited to outdoorsy people, but range in intensity from relatively low-key where you can go at your own pace, and stay in comfortable guesthouses or tented camps, to more intense trips where long days are spent kayaking or hiking, nights are spent wild camping and you should be prepared to carry all your own supplies.

For wildlife holidays down south, you’ll fly into Stockholm, and transfers can be arranged from there. Heading to Swedish Lapland? You can fly to Luleå in northern Sweden and be transferred by shuttle bus to Jokkmokk, where some wildlife breaks are based. Alternatively, reduce your carbon footprint by taking the night train from Stockholm to Jokkmokk.
Written by Nana Luckham
Photo credits: [Intro: Jonathan Othén] [What do wildlife holidays in Sweden entail?: KennethSchulze] [What will I see?: Artur Rydzewski] [Best time to see wildlife in Sweden: Malene Thyssen]
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