Overnight Camping

Swedish Nature – Hiking the Kungsleden

The Kungsleden trail is a 440km hiking trail that crosses Lapland (a region in the north of Sweden) from north to south. It is often ranked in the top 10 of the most beautiful hikes in the world, and there is a reason for this: It is spectacular! This summer I decided to go there and see for myself… And it was AMAZING!

One of the coolest laws in Sweden is the Allemansrätten, which basically allows you to camp ANYWHERE you want (even in private property) for a night (except within 100m of a house), as well as to pick berries and mushrooms to your discretion! In addition, in Sweden it is legal to do fires wherever you feel like, so you can have a nice camp fire and some barbecue with your friends without asking for permission, as long as you are careful. Of course, I took advantage of this law during the hike:

Enjoying the Allemansratten

Basically, during the Kungsleden hike you will go through vast amounts of uninhabited territory, walking through emptiness, waterfalls, valleys, rivers, lakes… Getting lost in your own thoughts and admiring the wonderful arts that nature has crafted. And you will even go past Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise (2,106m), which you can climb (like I did in the picture below):

DSCF3636

 

During this hike you will also see plenty of reindeers roaming in freedom. The Sami people (the indigenous community living in the north of Sweden and partly Norway/Finland) has traditionally herded these beautiful animals, and once a year in summer they gather them to mark them and mark the new-born. I got really lucky and managed to see a large group from very close:

Reindeers running wild

You don’t have to worry too much about food, since there are some stations along the way where you can replenish your stock, but since these are quite expensive, it might be a clever idea to bring most of the food with you from the start. Also, there are plenty of cabins along the way where you can sleep in case the weather gets bad… But these are also quite expensive (about 300-500SEK per night), so consider bringing your own tent, so that you can camp in awesome places and have a swim after a long day of walking:

IMG_0521

You will go through plenty of valleys, mountains and rivers, and you have the choice to take many diverging smaller paths, so that you can go exactly wherever you feel like going. If you are like me and travel without maps, you can just follow the main trail and don’t worry about getting lost. A great thing about hiking through such pure nature is that you can drink the water from rivers directly, without any need to use iodine tablets. And hey, having a great view is just an extra plus:

Beautiful Landscape in the Kunsgleden

From time to time you will need to cross lakes or large rivers, and the STF (Swedish tourist association) has placed some rowing boats that you can use for free for crossing those… And I also used them for getting some sun tan 😛

Crossing a lake Rowing

If you like hiking and nature, look no further. Just buy your train tickets using the Swedish Train system to Abisko, and start your hike! You won’t regret it! Oh, and also bring some mosquito-repellent spray! And perhaps the best part…. You’ll have an awesome adventure picture to show to all your friends and family:

Jesus hiking the Kungsleden

PS: I didn’t manage to do the whole hike because of time-constraints, but I’ll finish it one day! 😀

Jesus

Jesús avatar

29 Comments

  • Nannet • 26 Oct 2016 at 2.48 pm Reply

    Hej! I want to do the Kungsleden next summer from Abisko to Kvikkjokk (or maybe the other way around). And I was wondering, is it possible to do the trail northbound? Thanks a lot! And an amazing piece you wrote! It really is inspiring! 🙂

    • Jesús
      Jesús • 26 Oct 2016 at 3.14 pm Reply

      Hej! Thank you!! 🙂 of course it’s possible! Perhaps even easier since you will always find a boat on your side of the river/lake, because most people go towards the South. Hope you have fun!! Send me some updates!

  • Jonas • 5 Oct 2016 at 9.40 pm Reply

    Hi, thanks for a nice report! Could I ask you how many people did you meet during a day on average?

  • D • 10 Sep 2016 at 9.28 pm Reply

    Hey!
    I’m hoping to do the nothern part of the trek in August next year. I’ve read that it’s more crowded, but I figure since it’s Sweden, I figured “more crowded” might not actually mean very crowded at all. How many people did you on average meet per day?
    Thank you for your blog post, it’s very inspirering! 🙂

    • Jesús
      Jesús • 10 Sep 2016 at 11.52 pm Reply

      Hello, that’s an awesome idea! Haha I like your humor! 🙂 well depends on how fast you walk and stuff but I met maybe about 50-70 people per day… Except the climb to Kebnekaise where I think I met about 150-200 people. Hope this gives you an idea! 🙂

  • Prerana • 14 Jun 2016 at 6.26 am Reply

    Hi Jesus… We are a group of 7 people traveling from India specifically to do the Kungsleden trail from Abisko to Nikkaluokta in July. And I have a few questions 🙂
    1) Are there any charges to stay around the huts/cabins if we are using our own tents to stay (and not going to utilize the facilities at these cabins)?
    2) Are there any vegetarian food options available at the cabins? Also what kind of food items are typically available?
    3) How often and how hard does it rain there? We are carrying protective covers but some idea would help…
    Thanks

    • Jesús
      Jesús • 15 Jun 2016 at 4.36 pm Reply

      Awesome! 1) sleeping in the huts is usually about 400SEK per night. If you camp on your tent but want to use the kitchen, toilet etc in the huts, then you just pay 50SEK

      2) Yes, but there aren’t that many cabins and the choice is very limited. Eg Oats, noodles, raisins…

      3) It really depends… You can get rain every day for a few hours or no rain at all so be well equipped!

      Good luck!

  • Katherine • 10 Jun 2016 at 8.42 pm Reply

    Hi Jesus! We are planning to do a section of it due to time constraints as well. What section did you hike?

    • Jesús
      Jesús • 15 Jun 2016 at 4.40 pm Reply

      I’ve done all except the southernmost part. The more North you go, the more hikers and the easier the path is to follow (I didn’t even have a map), and the more cabins and places to buy food. The more South you go the wider it is, and you have to cross lakes on rowing boats provided for free at the crossing point. So depends what you like! 🙂

  • Laurence • 9 Jun 2016 at 5.14 pm Reply

    Hey Jesus! I don’t know where you are from, but I am in Canada and it’s super hard to find info in English about this trail. I’d love to hike it from Abisco to Nikkaluokta, and I would camp in my tent, not using the huts. Do you think you could help me find more information? Do I need to book something? Do I need a permit? Thanks a lot 🙂 Also, if you would answer me by e-mail, it would be perfect.

    • Jesús
      Jesús • 15 Jun 2016 at 4.46 pm Reply

      Hello! 1) Just write “Kungsleden English” on Google and you’ll get some good results (eg. The Wikipedia site). The official site about it is from the stf.SE and they have the option to display the content in English. And you can also use Google translate for whole websites.
      2) you don’t need to book anything! But you might want to book the train early as the tickets get more expensive with time.
      3) you don’t need any permit, as long as you don’t go fishing 🙂

  • Ed • 3 Jun 2016 at 10.11 pm Reply

    Hey Jesus,

    Thanks for all your replies to this, super helpful! I’m heading up here in July, and wondering about temperatures. How cold did get at night do you think?

    Cheers,

    Ed

    • Jesús
      Jesús • 6 Jun 2016 at 12.40 am Reply

      Hey Ed! Thanks! Well… There’s actually no night in July… There will always be sun or light, especially at the beginning of July… Depending on how high up you are and how close you are to water, vegetation, weather etc the temperatures will vary but I’d say that the coldest it will probably be is about 10 deg C. Check out on weather websites! Just write eg: “Abisko weather forecast July” and you’ll see 🙂 Good luck and tell us how it goes!

  • James MJ • 16 May 2016 at 4.22 pm Reply

    Hi Jesus,

    Very nice post, really got me motivated on doing this trek. I’m planning to do kungsleden solo as well. Would like to know if it is doable in October. And how to get to the starting point from Stockholm. Will it be expensive? I try to do it at the lowest budget as much as possible.

    • Jesús
      Jesús • 18 May 2016 at 9.27 am Reply

      Hello James! There is an awesome overnight train from Stockholm C that drops you off exactly at the start of the trek in Abisko, if you buy the train tickets in advance (www.sj.SE) they can be very cheap!

      In October it is definitely doable but much colder (depends on the year) and darker than in summer… So to enjoy it fully I wouldn’t do it after early September. Hope this helps and let me know how it goes!

  • Mads • 12 Mar 2016 at 10.57 am Reply

    Hey Jesús!
    Is it posible to rely on water from streaming waters and lakes only? Im planning on going from Abisko to Nikkaluokta in july. I have means to cleanse the water (lifestraw kinda device). I want to be as light as possible and only carrying dehydrated foods.

    Best regards Mads

    • Jesús
      Jesús • 11 Apr 2016 at 10.58 pm Reply

      Hello Mads! 😀 Sounds like you are going to have a blast!

      Yest, it is definitely enough as water is super abundant everywhere. I didn’t even purify it as I don’t feel there is the need in most small streams 🙂 Have fun and share with us how it goes!!

  • Sam • 15 Feb 2016 at 11.54 pm Reply

    Hi there! I’m planning to do this hike this september so I can see the northern lights. I was considering a self-guided tour with macs adventure but costs about $900 canadian… and not really sure it’s worth it (seems like you did it on your own?)

    We would be staying in the huts (not camping).

    Couple of questions:
    1. Did you buy all your food in Kiruna/Abisko and bring it with you for the duration of the trip?
    2. How much was the food if we were to replenish every 2 days? ALso what kind of food is it? (I know its not fresh food)
    3. What size bag would you reccomend bringing? Carrying a sleeping bag, couple of clothes and 2 days worth of food likely.

    • Jesús
      Jesús • 16 Feb 2016 at 1.18 am Reply

      Hello Sam! Awesome initiative, you are going to love it! 😀 I have both some great news and bad ones…
      BAD NEWS: September is probably too early to see the northern lights, as the sky will still be too light. Additionally, it will be much colder than when I was there… So I would recommend you to either go in summer and not see the northern lights, or go in winter! But if you still want to go… read this:
      GOOD NEWS
      0 You don’t need a guide at all, I didn’t even have a map… It’s that well marked, at least on the first 2 steps on the hike, and you’ll likely bump into a few more people! So skip the 900 bucks unless you want to get detailed info on everything that you go through. If you do it for not getting lost, you are wasting your money…
      1 I didn’t carry much food with me, but I should have taken some more… So I’d recommend you to buy quite a few things before the trip
      2 It depends on what you buy. You will not starve as there are all the basics. Bringing a cooker could be a good idea if you are on the budget. There’s some tins bread and raisins.
      3 It’s totally up to you but if you want to bring tent, sleeping back, mattress, warm clothes and food then you are looking at a 65-75l backpack.
      4 Have an awesome one!!! 🙂 And let me know how it goes!

    • Laurence • 9 Jun 2016 at 5.12 pm Reply

      Hey Sam, I am in Canada too and was looking at the same booking with macs adventure, but I am also planning to do it on my own, and I want to camp. Did you end up booking the trip? Let me know!!!

  • Justine • 21 Dec 2015 at 4.57 pm Reply

    Hey, What time of year did you go cause the weather looks amazing in your photos!

    • Jesús
      Jesús • 21 Dec 2015 at 11.44 pm Reply

      In late summer!! June-Aug is totally ideal

  • Kathryn Bland • 19 Dec 2015 at 2.25 pm Reply

    This looks so awesome, i know where im going to hike soon! 🙂 Thanks

    • Jesús
      Jesús • 19 Dec 2015 at 2.56 pm Reply

      Enjoy it, the landscapes are incredible! 😀 some people do it even in winter on skis!!

  • hamad • 23 Jul 2015 at 2.33 pm Reply

    Like it

  • Charlie • 2 Mar 2015 at 8.58 pm Reply

    Hi Jesús, I was just wandering… Did you this hike alone or did someone go with you? Thanks 😀

    • Jesús
      Jesús Alvarez Sarro • 2 Mar 2015 at 9.55 pm Reply

      Hey Charlie! I did it alone most of the time, but only because I love to hike alone and because I was doing an average of 50km/day! 🙂 However, you can find some really nice people along the way to walk with, if you want some company!

  • Mark • 29 Jan 2015 at 8.47 pm Reply

    I am plannig to walk the kings trail coming summer and I was wandering if you come across any villages where you can buy food cheaper than in the huts.

    • Jesús
      Jesús Alvarez Sarro • 27 Feb 2015 at 12.58 pm Reply

      Hey Mark! Not unless you bring A LOT of food with you… There just isn’t any towns on the way 🙂 But the essentials such as oats and bread are always pretty cheap.

Reply or comment