Sports and Outdoor Activities of Sweden

Sweden has countryside in abundance and the alle-mannsratt (Right to Roam) makes it accessible in a way rarely found elsewhere in the world. No wonder an active outdoor life has become such a staple of the Swedish lifestyle. Constantly rising demand for outdoor activities has led to an increasing range of trails for hiking, canoeing and cycling, and the construction of hundreds of new ski lifts, golf courses and

guest harbours. There has also been a boom in adventure sports – from challenging hikes in remote mountain regions and sea kayaking in the outer archipelagos to competing in the long-distance Vasaloppet skiing race, the Vansbrosimningen swimming race or the Vatternrundan cycling race, which together make up what is known as the Swedish Classic. More leisurely pursuits include horse riding and fishing.

Hiking Trails

Although it is possible to pitch a tent almost anywhere, it is often more practical to follow one of the many well-tended hiking trails. There are numerous lowland trails, such as the Skaneleden, which mns south to north through Skane. Mountain trails

proliferate, the best of which is the renowned Kungsleden stretching 450 km (280 miles) (p274-5).

Maps of the trails usually provide information about stopping-off points, attractions, accommodation and services along the way.

The most popular mountain areas have marked trails for day trips and longer hikes with overnight accommodation in huts and at mountain stations. For more than 100 years, Svenska Turistforeningen (STF) has been the main provider of services in the mountains in summer and winter.

The mountain trails mainly run through road-free land. There are STF mountain stations at strategic locations from Abisko in Lapland to Grovelsjon in Dalarna. Although out in the wilds, these are relatively easy to access and make an excellent

A hiker en route to the Sylarna mountain station, Jamtland Walking with poles, a popular form of exercise starting point for hiking tours in the mountains. The stations have hotel-standard accommodation, restaurants, self-catering kitchens, shops and equipment hire.

Along the trails, there are simple huts in which to stay, with a self-catering kitchen and in some cases provisions for sale. Space cannot be booked in advance, but everyone usually gets a roof over their head. In the summer, STF has special hosts to help with tips and advice.

The trails crossing the high mountains can be extremely demanding for the uninitiated. It is important not to be too ambitious and to have appropriate equipment.

Whatever the time of year, the weather changes quickly, so keep up to date with the forecast, which is usually posted at stations and huts.

The summer season for mountain hiking is from about mid-June to mid-September.

Other famous music festivals include the Falun Folk Music Festival, the Sweden Rock Festival in Solvesborg, the Gotland Chamber Music Festival in

Visby, the Stockholm Jazz Festival and the Umea International Jazz Festival.

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