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Curious what backpackers do in Sweden? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Day362

    Poppy reached 100 human equivalent years old today! We let her have a lie in before taking her for a sniff in the forest and giving her a special pouch of jellied dog food for breakfast. We are so happy she's been able to spend nearly a year with us on our travels!

    We'd booked a pitch at Gällivare Camping online a week ago with the hope of being close to a town for Midsummer festivities (Swedes celebrate on the Friday and Saturday after the solstice).

    Upon entering the Reception, Vicky asked the attendant 'Talar du Engelska?' (do you speak English) as she never likes to presume. 'What!?' Came the unamused and brusque reply. It was as if the question was an insult. Despite this poor start we booked in successfully and were directed to the allocated area on a detailed but easy to read map. We'd opted not to have electric hookup and were pleased to see we got a grassy area amongst mature pines overlooking the river, all to ourselves as a result. The dozen or so vans who were plugged in where further back and had gravel pitches.

    As with most places in Sweden, the site was quiet. There were several fire pits with benches and chopped wood provided. A play park kept children from the town of Gälivare amused and there were facilities for badminton, boules and mini golf. A few of the red painted wooden board cabins were being used, but considering it was a celebratory weekend, the site couldn't be described as busy.

    Unfortunately Vicky's lethargy had resurfaced so there was a limited amount we could do as far as exploring and celebrations were concerned.
    Will picked her some flowers and bendy branches with glossy green leaves. He then went to look around the local area while Vicky made the flora into a midsummer garland.

    Adjacent to the campsite was a 'Sami Camp', a collection of houses used by the indigenous Scandinavian people. Most of the window shutters were closed but there had been a recent large bonfire and a Maypole stood close by, covered in Birch cuttings, yellow Globeflowers, Red Campion and a few other wild blooms.

    We'd hoped to make use of the little Sauna rooms (men's and women's) that were inclusive in the price of the stay, but neither of us could figure out how to get them working. It was only as we were leaving and therefore too late, that Will discovered the secret of pouring water over the stones. We had seen less of the midsummer celebrations than we'd hoped but things don't always work out. We had a lovely peaceful stay at the site and by the time we left Vicky was beginning to get a lot better.
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  • Day361

    The E45 road has been undergoing resurfacing. The lack of alternative roads means it would be impractical to close it, so we've been driving over many kilometers of compacted gravel, where the surface has been removed. Where work such as tarmac laying is going on, traffic travels in convoy behind a lead vehicle that drives from one end of the works to the other, where it turns and leads traffic back in the opposite direction.

    As we crossed a huge hydroelectric dam we saw the large and mostly dry riverbed; a deeply eroded course of angled rock. We swung round and climbed, stopping at a rastplats that looked over the reservoir and power plant, to empty the toilet. We could have stayed here but chose to carry on for a few kms where we found a more rural rastplats to stay. On the way we saw that many places had two names, one in Swedish and one in the indigenous Sami. The land is becoming slightly more hilly and increasingly rocky as we move northwards andp away from the coast. The temperature has dropped to 5°C and we can see yet more snow on the distant mountains. The self seeded pines in the forests here are more spaced out than we are used to. We assume the extreme cold and lack of winter light restrict the speed at which biomass is broken down, because the terrain is very rugged with not much soil to provide nutrients or a foothold for roots. Trunks are spindly and where trees have fallen, their shallow roots have taken all the soil with them, exposing bare rock underneath.

    Leading to and from our overnight spot there was once again narrow trodden forest tracks that we are becoming increasingly convinced must be used by reindeer. Information boards here told us that the lichens hanging from tree branches were winter fodder for the herds. Mares Tails and other Spring greens that were shooting up from the floor provide them with much needed nutrition once the snows melt.

    Taking an evening walk along the long road that led eventually to the reservoir (we didn't get that far), we saw more snow on the mountain tops. The land around us was bog land and vigrin forest with a bloom of tiny flowers, more of which showed themselves the longer you stopped and looked. On our way back we found a large Northern Eggar moth warming itself on the tarmac and were even lucky enough to spot the huge form of an Osprey, flying high over the road and towards the water, no doubt in search of its tea!
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  • Day386

    Happy campers are already tucked up in bed, in our tent which is pitched upon some bouncy moss (great for bedding) growing on a little rocky patch (bad for tent pegs) in a forest edge, not far from a lake.

    We only travelled about 50km away from stockholm today after choosing to hide away from 2 rain storms under a very luckily placed bridge and then a bus stop. From experience we've found it better to stop and stay dry rather than getting soaked and not be able to get warm again or dry our kit. When the sun comes through its lovely, but in any shaded patches or when the wind blows it's like winter again!

    Nature is breathing, birds, wind in the trees, unknown animal chatter. Its food for the soul and we need it after last night's restless sleep at a very over-priced campsite. After a night on a site with about every second vehicle being a VW camper, I can close my eyes and still hear the sound of their sliding doors, as statistical odds would say any one of the inhabitants was going for a night wee pretty much every ten minutes. 🙉

    For nearly 30 Euros (and with no soap dispensers in the toilets!) we didn't consider that to be money well spent, so tonight we're enjoying some solitude in a wildcamp, which is legal in Sweden! The best things in life are free!
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  • Day20

    Today was a travelling day, our first stop was at the Lillehammer Ski Jump which was used for the 1994 Olympics. Unfortunately we were held up at the shop so we could only take the chair lift up and back and not spend much time up the top. The views were great all the same and the highlight was seeing three ski jumpers training, these guys are amazing and we got a video of one of the jumps they did. I could have stayed and watched them for ages.

    The countryside has changed completely again, no longer are we in the mountains and the terrain is undulating with large forests and farm areas again. The weather today has also been perfect which has added to the great experience. We stopped for lunch at the Norwegian and Swedish border, our last taste of Norway.

    Today Andre our guide told us his life story, his time in the Soviet army and in particular what he had to do to seek political asylum from the old USSR. His tenacity, work ethic and courage was inspiring. He has worked hard since getting out of the USSR and made a great life for himself and his family. I could only think during his story of how many Andres are sitting in Manus Island right now or the other inhumane refugee prisons we have created. Just people wanting a new chance in life yet we decide to treat them deplorably, it's a disgrace.

    We are now in Sweden for the last leg of our Scandinavian tour. Tonight we are in Karlstad. It's another beautiful city that is easy to walk around. We walked for well over an hour this evening checking out the city. We are loving these cities that are so pedestrian and bicycle friendly. I wish our cities back home were similar, I believe it would create so any opportunities and improvements to our lifestyle and perspective on the world.

    Apparently all Scandinavians are celebrating the mid summer holiday this weekend which means many people have left the cities for the countryside so we pretty much had the place to ourselves tonight. Tea was enjoyed at a local Italian restaurant and I can say is Swedish Calzone's rival those that I have enjoyed back home.

    It's an early night tonight catching up on the sleep we didn't get last night.
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  • Day21

    Today we headed for Stockholm. On the way we stopped at a village called Mariefeld, it's quite idyllic. It started raining when we arrived but it didn't last long and the sun came back out which was fortunate as we dressed expecting warmer weather and it was a bit fresh for a while there. At Mariefeld we visited the Gripsholm Castle which dates back to the 1380's, walked around the parklands and into the Main Street. It was quite a relaxing little place and good break for the trip to Stockholm.

    Once in Stockholm we checked into our hotel which is opposite the Bromma Airport and then headed into the city. Stockholm is definitely one of the most beautiful cities I've visited. I loved walking around the old town which is one of the largest and best preserved medieval city centres in Europe. I think it may have the edge on Bergen for the mantle of most beautiful city in Scandinavia but it is hard to compared as they are so different.

    For tea tonight we dined at a restaurant called Kaffegillet in the old town. The food was quite good and of course we had to have Swedish meat balls however I especially enjoyed the onion soup, and we managed to eat way too much, again. I feel Iike I've doubled in size this holiday.

    Tomorrow we will explore some more of this beautiful city and also visit the Vasa Museum which we are looking forward to.
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  • Day41

    Midsommarafton ist heut. Also der Abend vor Mittsommer. Da finden in ganz Schweden die Feste mit Tanz und Gesang in Trachten und allem pi pa po statt. So zumindest wird es erzählt.
    Wir wollen heute Ystad erreichen, wo laut Veranstaltungskalender zwischen 13:30 Uhr und 16 Uhr die Party am Strand steigen soll. Nur 2,5 Stunden? Bestimmt ein Fehler - es wird sicher ausgelassen bis in die Nacht gefeiert.
    Trotzdem sputen wir uns und erreichen die Wallander- und Lykke Li-Stadt gegen 3. Eigentlich wären noch ein paar Sehenswürdigkeiten auf dem Weg gewesen - können wir uns aber auch noch morgen anschauen.

    Schnell eingecheckt, frisch gemacht und auf Richtung Strand. Es ist 15:30. Auf dem Weg kommen uns blumenbekränzte Schwedinnen entgegen. Es wird doch nicht etwa... Doch. Schon vorbei. Als wir ankommen, wird gerade abgebaut. Midsommer ist kein riesen Volksfest, wie es IKEA uns jedes Jahr erzählt, sondern wird vornehmlich im Kreise der Familie gefeiert. Ist ein wenig wie Heiligabend im Sommer.

    Ein wenig entäuscht laufen wir wieder in die Innenstadt um unseren Hunger zu stillen. Ist nur blöd, wenn Midsommar ist, denn alles ist geschlossen. Selbst die Fastfoodbuden. Ist schon ein skurrilles Bild, wie ein paar Touristen auf der Suche nach dem ultimativen Midsommar-Erlebnis oder etwas zu Essen durch die menschenleere Altstadt irren. Wir finden dann zum Glück noch einen echt schwedischen Chinesen, der offenbar lieber andere Feste feiert.
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  • Day385

    Etwas durch den Wind stiegen wir heute aus der Fähre. Uns empfing eine mustergütige Infrastruktur. Angefangen beim perfekt ausgebauten Fährterminal bot Stockholm ein Netz von Fahrradwegen, das nichts zu wünschen übrig lässt, oft zweispurig und mit baulicher Trennung zur Straße. Die Stadt zeigt sich in sehr hübschem Gewand, kein Müll, sehr freundliche Menschen, die sofort Englisch sprechen, wenn sie bemerken, dass sie einen Ausländer vor sich haben. Leider ist das Klima hier keine wirkliche Verbesserung zum Baltikum. Die Landschaft scheint viel versprechend. Wir sind zwar erst wenige Kilometer gefahren, aber das Auf und Ab und die vielen Gewässer lassen keine lange Weile aufkommen.Read more

  • Day39

    Es ist fast ein wenig zu warm, als wir aufbrechen. "Kein Problem, unsere Sehenswürdigkeiten sind alle auf der Straße zu erreichen".
    Auf den Sträßchen, die keine Nummer haben, fährt es sich doch am besten. Sie führen durch kleine Ortschaften mit ihren gepflegten Gärten und Höfen. Die Kehrseite ist allerdings, dass sie gern mal zu endlos langen Schotterstraßen werden, deren Kurven besonders fies sind. 10 Kilometer bis zur nächsten Asphaltstrecke sind keine Seltenheit. Meine Fireblade meistert die Strecken aber ebenso, wie die BMW. Nach unserer Rückkehr werde ich einen "Adventure"-Aufkleber auf El Diablo pappen.

    Nun soll es eine Schlucht zu sehen geben. Ist schon was Besonderes hier im Hügelland. Vom Parkplatz 600 Meter zu Fuß. "Kein Problem, behalten wir die Motorradklamotten gleich an". Böser Fehler.
    Wenn man 600 Meter klettern muss, wäre leichte Wanderkleidung eher angebracht. Am Beginn des Weges steht auch noch ein "Fahrradfahren verboten"-Schild. Die haben hier echt Sinn für Humor. In der Schlucht stehend, entscheiden wir uns dann dafür, den kompletten Rundweg zu gehen also nochmal 800 Meter klettern.

    Was macht der Schwede eigentlich, wenn er nicht Rasen mäht oder Elche jagt? Er fährt seinen Ami-Schlitten spazieren. Vorzugsweise aus den 50er und 60er Jahren. Genau ein solcher sorgt auch für den ersten Stau seit St. Petersburg, als er auf der Öland-Brücke den Geist aufgibt.

    Wir mieten uns ein kleines Hüttchen für zwei Tage, denn hier auf Öland gibt es so einiges zu sehen. Allerdings erst morgen, denn nach 400 Kilometern sind wir ziemlich k.o.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Kingdom of Sweden, Schweden, Sweden, Swede, ስዊድን, Suecia, Swēoland, السويد, ܣܘܝܕ, İsveç, Schwedn, Швецыя, Швеция, Suwɛdi, সুইডেন, ཧྲུའི་ཏན།, Sveden, Švedska, Suècia, Svezia, Švédsko, Szwedzkô, Швеци, Sverige, སུའི་ཌན, Sweden nutome, Σουηδία, Svedio, Rootsi, Suedia, سوئد, Suweed, Ruotsi, Svøríki, Suède, An tSualainn, સ્વીડન, Suwedan, שוודיה, स्वीडन, Šwedska, Syèd, Svédország, Շվեդիա, Svedia, Swedia, Suesia, Svíþjóð, スウェーデン王国, შვეცია, Uswidi, ស៊ុយអែដ, ಸ್ವೀಡನ್, 스웨덴, سوید, Swedherwyk, Swideni, Zwede, Swédɛ, ສະວິເດັນ, Švedija, Suwedi, Zviedrija, Soedy, Шведска, സ്വീഡന്‍, Żvezja, ဆွီဒင်, Widen, स्विडेन, Zweden, Ruoččii, ସ୍ୱେଡେନ୍, Szwecja, Svessia, سویډن, Suécia, Suwidsuyu, Isvetzia, Svezzia, Swaden, Ruoŧŧa, Suêde, ස්වීඩනය, Iswidhan, Suedi, ஸ்வீடன், స్వీడన్, Шветсия, สวีเดน, Suwesya, Suēteni, Suwidan, Швеція, سویڈن, Svèsia, Thụy Điển, Svedän, שוועדן, Orílẹ́ède Swidini, 瑞典, i-Sweden

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