Nature Fix: National Parks in SwedenJune 27, 2016
Sweden is devoted to all things outdoors. As such, the country has devoted an enormous amount of effort toward developing its national park system. In fact, it was the first country in Europe to establish a national parks service when it opened nine parks in 1909. In all, there are almost 30 parks with several more scheduled to open in the near future. Here are some of our favorites:
Sarek National Park — One of the oldest parks in Europe, this park in Jokkmokk also contains six of highest peaks in Sweden with another 200 that haven’t even been named. It’s a paradise for hikers and climbers although it’s a bit difficult to get to. The park also is quite dangerous for the inexperienced as it experiences large amounts of rainfall and regular flash floods.
Padjelanta National Park — The largest national park in Sweden, it contains large herds of reindeer as well as three traditional Laplandic villages. The harsh climate of the park, also in Jokkmokk, makes for relatively few flora and fauna but almost 400 species of plants and a large number of birds still call the park home. It is a forbidding place but well worth visiting for the intrepid traveler.
Ängsö National Park – Located in the Stockholm archipelago, the Guardian listed it among the best parks in in Scandinavia. The park is known for its variety of trees and is only accessible by boat.
Fulufjället National Park — Located in central Sweden in Älvdalen, this park is generally cold throughout most of the year and fairly forbidding. Still, the tourist will find an absolutely magnificent display of old growth forest populated by such rare species as brown bears and the Eurasian lynx as well as a 10,000-year-old tree one of the oldest in the world – known as Old Tjikko.
Söderåsen National Park — A relatively small national park, this one in Ljungbyhed is noted for wholly encompassing picturesque Oden Lake — a small circular lake named in reference to the fact that the Norse god Odin only had one eye. In any case, the views from the park of the surrounding primeval forest are stunning.
Färnebofjärden National Park — Unusual for Sweden, this park near Heby contains a flood plain and a mass of old growth forest. Those facts mean that, for better or worse, more insects thrive here than in any other place in Sweden. In short, it is an entomologist’s paradise.
Kosterhavet National Park — The most recently established, this national treasure in Bohuslän is the only purely marine park in the archipelago. It holds over 6,000 separate species of marine animals – 200 unique to the area – including rare arctic terns, skuas and harbor seals as well as the local and relatively rare Norwegian lobster.
Abisko National Park – Into hiking? The park in Swedish Lapland features one end of the King’s Trail, one of Sweden’s most famous hiking trails that stretches more than 400 km. The park also is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights.