Canoeing in Sweden
I was looking forward to this two week Sweden trip for a long time. Sweden is one of my most favorite countries. The landscape is simply stunning and the people are very friendly. Summer in Sweden isn’t that long. The best time to visit Sweden is June or July. If you’ve never been to Sweden you’ll be amazed about the Scandinavian summer. It gets dark during the night time. But not that long as you’re used to! Sunset was around 11pm. Sunrise already at 3am. Which leads to 4 hours of night time. Amazing! Fabian, a good friend of mine and myself decided to spend two weeks in Sweden. Our plan was to do a 8 day canoeing trip and some hiking afterwards.
On my last trips to Sweden I always took the ferry from Travemünde to Trelleborg. I never went over the bridges from Denmark to Sweden. This time I had to drive over this huge bridges. It was crazy. I never drove over such huge bridges. I mean the big container ships just go under them. Btw, a car trip from southern Germany to southern Sweden takes about 18 hours. Which is quite a lot for Europeans 😉 Nevertheless, I always enjoy driving a car through Sweden. Not on the highways though, which is pretty boring. But the small streets in the inner country… you can just enjoy the landscape around you.
We arrived in Bengtsfors earlier than expected. We rented a canoe from a company called KanuKing. Check them out! Nothing bad to say at all. Very friendly people and fair prices. They let us sleep on their campground for free! As we had plenty of time, we organized our stuff and packed all things we needed for a 8 day canoeing trip into four waterproof barrels. We had waaaaaaaay too much food with us. But as we had some empty space, we packed all of it! Other than that, we basically had our normal camping gear with some extras and a lot of luxury items. There was no need to pack lightweight. Tents, hammocks, camping chairs, sleeping bags, etc.
Our trip displayed on Google Maps
The weather on the first day was mostly sunny with some clouds during the daytime (which isn’t bad when you’re exposed to the sun all day). In the camp it was all sunny!
We got a short introduction on how to steer a canoe. As I was on a canoeing trip before, I did the job as a steersman. After one hour on the first small lake we paddled through a small cannel to a lake called Lelång where we would spend most of our time. Because of the introduction which took place pretty late, we only paddled for three hours this day. Our intention wasn’t to make big stretches. It was vacation time. So our focus was enjoying our time outdoors. We found a small camp spot over two floors made for exactly two tents. I had to set up my tent on a rock plate without stakes. This was a premiere for me! After setting up camp we had to try out all our new gear (hammock, axe and saw).
Sun all day!!!
First things first. Cooking breakfast on a spirit stove. I never cooked on a spirit stove before. We got one from the canoe rental company. After using the spirit stove for eight days I definitively prefer a gas stove. Way easier to handle! We spent our lunch break at a lovely bay, which was the most beautiful bay on our whole trip. That’s why we spent a lot of time there. We walked all over the island and discovered a lot of camp spots. This place looked crowdy, although we were the only ones! It was the perfect spot to chill and go for a swim. Nevertheless we continued our trip. This days camp spot was gorgeous once more. I was able to set up my tent on a little plateau with a perfect view all over the lake!
Sunny all day until our camp spot. Strong winds in the evening and some thunderstorms further away. The weather calmed down for a perfect sunset with almost no clouds and no wind at all.
Every morning we cooked porridge and of course coffee! Whoever of us woke up first had to make coffee 🙂 On day 3 we wanted to paddle to the next lake. We had to pass a sluice which was a little exciting in a canoe. Right after the sluice we followed a pretty narrow river for over an hour. It was all shade… a well wanted change after paddling in the sun all the time! At around 4pm we spotted a huge plateau which led to a perfect spot for our camp. As on the last day, just as we set up our tents, it got very windy and clouds were rolling in. It also got pretty chilly in the wind. We put our sleeping bags in our hammocks and were fine. The next three hours we did a nap in our hammocks. As the wind calmed down we came back to life again!
A bit cloudly, but absolutely no wind at all in the beginning. The water was almost like a mirror.
Fabian slept in his hammock this night. I prefer sleeping in my tent though! He slept very well, so I had to make coffee this morning. As the water was very calm we were pretty fast this day. We reached our planned spot already at lunch. Paddling further wasn’t an option as all the upcoming area was a conservation area. Camping was strictly prohibited! On our way down we came by a beautiful bay. That’s why we paddled the same way back for a bit. It has been worth it. We enjoyed a perfect view of sunset this evening. Once more my tent was right besides the lake with also a perfect view of sunset.
Mainly sunny with rain forecast for around 5pm
Today was all about efficiency. We wanted to be at camp before the rain. We had an early start this day and paddled back to the sluice. There was some drizzling for about 10 minutes. Nothing bad at all as the sun was out. The combination of drizzle and the sun lead to an awesome rainbow right over the lake. Around lunch time the sluice was already behind us. Plenty of time to find the right spot. We were quite in hurry while setting up our tents. This time we also set up a tarp to be perfectly prepared against the rain! Guess what?! It didn’t rain at all!!
Pretty cloudy in the morning, sun all around noon, some clouds in the evening
Because of all the clouds and also fog we weren’t in a hurry at all this morning. We cooked some bacon on top of our normal breakfast. As the sun came out we packed all our stuff. Today’s plan was to paddle only a bit towards an island and look for a spot on the island. Just at the beginning of this island we found a perfect rock to take a nap on. Awesome! A little further we arrived in another bay. Time to set up camp. This bay was also the home of some seagulls.
Mix of sun and clouds. Pretty windy in the afternoon
Paddling on the lakes the last days was a lot of fun. Not today!! It got very windy in the afternoon. With all the wind it got pretty rough on the water. A lot of big waves and steering the canoe wasn’t that easy any more. After a while the waves got bigger and bigger. I didn’t feel comfortable being on the water any more. Our only option was to land at a private landing stage. The landowner came down and helped us getting our canoe out of the water. He offered us to stay in his garden as long as we wanted to. He also offered us to set up our tents in his garden. I really love the kindness of the Swedish people! We relaxed in his garden and watched the weather. The waves calmed down a bit and we continued paddling after two hours.
Very windy throughout the whole day. At least the sun was out.
We had to paddle back to the canoe renting company. A long stretch left for one day. Because of the rough water on the day before we didn’t paddle a lot. The morning wasn’t easy paddling at all. Pretty big waves once more. It was pretty exhausting. That’s why we took a lot of short breaks to regain some energy. After around a third back to the campground there were a lot of small island which blocked the big waves. We reached the campground in time. On our last day we paddled the biggest stretch!
All in all this eight day canoeing trip was amazing. Being out in the nature always fills up my energy level!