As one of the largest countries in Europe, Sweden has a lot of places of interest and is covered with forests, mountains and lakes. It is one of the least densely populated countries, too, which means that the roads are empty and are therefore great for cycling holidays in Sweden. The country is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Sweden has great hiking trails, wonderfully quiet fishing lakes, fast rivers for kayaking and rafting,…
In April and May 2013 I spent almost exactly a month on a bicycle, crossing Sweden from south (Helsingborg) to north (Haparanda). The journey was quite frustrating at certain times, but overall I can only be happy with my experiences.
Cycling Holidays in Sweden: On Two Wheels
The bike path network in and around the cities and towns is generally good. What you should be looking for, however, are the long-distance cycle routes. They are excellent. While the road signs aren’t always as you want them to be on regular roads, the long-distance routes are well-marked. If you want to do some exploring on a bike, you should always head to a visitor information centre first. They always have maps and detailed information on the roads in the area. For cheap and basic maps you could also check the gas stations. A good map is essential though. If you are travelling with a family and children, make sure they wear a helmet. Not only for their own safety, but also because it is the law.
Long-distance cyclists are in heaven in Sweden. Different types of cycle routes are marked with different colours. Local routes are marked in blue; regional routes have black signs; and green signs mark the longer national routes. Touring cycling in Sweden might just be the perfect way to get to know the country. There are youth hostels everywhere, which offer cheap and comfortable accommodation in Sweden. They are mostly run by families and are usually quiet. They’re the opposite of party hostels. Not only foreign travellers use the youth hostels, but a lot of Swedes do so as well. Campgrounds can also be found throughout the country and the coastline is dotted with cottages and fisherman’s cottages that you can rent. The one thing that makes cycle touring adventurous, though, is camping. Definitely make sure to bring your own tent. The Every Man’s Right (or Right of Public Access) in Scandinavia is just fabulous. It basically allows travellers and adventurers to walk, kayak, canoe, camp,… wherever they want. They only ask that you don’t take anything with you and don’t leave anything behind.
I made my way north along the old E4 highway, which roughly follows the eastern coastline. I would absolutely suggest avoiding the larger cities though. As I said, the road signs can be confusing and cause frustration. Staying in more rural areas will allow you to see the beautiful parts of the country. It doesn’t really matter where you go though. There is wildlife everywhere; the villages are picturesque and wilderness is never far away.
The best time to go on your cycling holidays in Sweden is – obviously – summer. Winters tend to be cold and long, and days are dark. Summers have by far the best weather. The window for cycling in Sweden is from April to October.