Tag Archives: nature

Reindeer in Sarek

Must Visit in Sweden: Sarek National Park (Part 2 of 2)

part 1: About Sarek National Park, Getting there, Stay in Sarek
part 2: Hiking Trails, Other notes, Links


Hiking Trails in Sarek

There are plenty of trails available, however I only research small part (that I visited this summer). Kungsleden trail from Saltuokta to Kvikkjokk is well marked and can be followed easily. I divide area in Sarek into two categories: bottom area of the mountain, and the mountain side. In the bottom, it is full of trees. If you are walking Kungsleden, the mark will be on the tree. If you are not, it is still easy to see and follow the trails. On the mountain side, the trails get a bit tricky. It is mostly open with just stones, grass and small trees. Kungsleden is marked on the stones. But other trail will have no marks. Sometimes there are stack of stones as marks, but most of the times there are not. Bringing a compass and knowing which direction you should go is important.

As I mentioned before, Saltuokta and Kvikkjokk entrance requires you to take a boat to cross the trails if you are going towards Rapadalen. Make sure you know if the boat is available, as well as the cost and their schedule.

Badly drawn map (by me)

Badly drawn map (by me)

Steve and Ela from Indonesia, and Tuan from Vietnam

Steve and Ela from Indonesia, and Tuan from Vietnam

Laitaure river with Skierfe top as the background

Laitaure river with Skierfe top as the background

Kvikkjokk to Aktse cabin (STF cabin in Rapadalen) is almost 40km. Saltuokta to Aktse is also about the same distance. We came in through Sitoälvsbron and it is only 16km to Aktse. The foot of the mountain is mostly flat. Mountain side is a bit wavier. I think the difficulty of the trails are medium, due to the height of the mountain side. The famous top Skierfe is off Kungsleden 6 km away. Aktse cabin is 560 meters above sea level (masl) and Skierfe is 1179m tall, that could mean 3 hours of walking uphill non-stop. Even so, Skierfe is a must visit spot in Sarek. Grip yourself!

Other notes on hiking in Sarek

Last month we hike for 4 days with the near entrance (Sitoälvsbron), and walked about 52km in total. Most of other blog I read about trip to Sarek is more than 5 days. My point is, 4 days is the possible, and it is better if you can stay longer. I think it’s good to have spare days and more relaxed walk. Summer would be the perfect season, though mosquitos are on rampage at this time of the year.

As for the preparation, other than the usual camping gears, I would suggest dressing for colder temperature. In the mountain side, the temperature plus the wind can be bad combination. Warmer sleeping bag is good.

I also would like to remind everyone about rules of every national park in Sweden. That you can camp everywhere for free, but please keep things clean. Do not litter (especially on the water source), do not take anything from the park (not even stone or wood), and do not disturb wild life. Oh, speaking about wild life, you will be greeted by many reindeer in the mountain side. They are cute!

There will be bonus feature if you decide to rent a car. As our group experienced, we get to see cities on our way. And if we have time and the city is nice, we can stop to enjoy it for a bit. One city that we find really nice is Arvidsjaur.

Boat parking in Laitaure river

Boat parking in Laitaure river

A lake in Arvidsjaur

A lake in Arvidsjaur

Links

National park website: www.nationalparksofsweden.se/choose-park—list/sarek-national-park/
STF cabins website: www.svenskaturistforeningen.se
Resrobot (transportation finder) site: reseplanerare.resrobot.se/index.html

View of Rapadalen from Skierfe

Must Visit in Sweden: Sarek National Park (Part 1 of 2)

There are 29 national parks in Sweden. Though I want to go to every single one of them, I don’t think I can make it by the end of my study. I only been to 6 out of that 29. Not even close, I know. Each of those have their own specialty. Fulufjället has the third oldest tree in the world (Swede like to think it’s the oldest), Gotska Sandön has plenty of wild seals for us to see, and Skuleskogen is the most rapid land growth in the world (1cm rise every year). But I have to point at Sarek if people is asking me “Which one is the most beautiful?”

part 1: About Sarek National Park, Getting there, Stay in Sarek
part 2: Hiking Trails, Other notes, Links

About Sarek National Park

Speaking about national park in Stockholm, people usually mention Tyresta (as it is the closest, easiest access from the city) and Abisko (for being the northern and starting point of the most famous hiking trail in Sweden: Kungsleden). Sarek is a bit uncommon for those who doesn’t go out to nature often. Having visited some national parks in Sweden, I still don’t know about Sarek until last year when a friend mentioned about it on our discussion. Hearing the name, researching on the net, I quickly decide that I want to visit Sarek. I need to.

View of Rapadalen from the mountain side

View of Rapadalen from the mountain side

Four of us pose in Skierfe

Four of us pose in Skierfe

I mentioned Kungsleden above, as the most famous (and longest) hiking trail in Sweden. This trail goes down to Sarek as well. Though it’s only passes small part of Sarek, but I can say this part of Sarek is one of the most beautiful part. There is a high cliff overlooking a valley (called Rapadalen) with several rivers in the center of it. Since Sarek contains several tall mountain and located in northern Sweden, these mountains are covered in snow all season. A beautiful view of the green valley plus the white mountains in its background will impress you.

Information on the internet about Sarek and its detail (trail options, length, entrance, topography, etc) is not so clear, so I will add a bit about that in this article.

Getting to Sarek

Located in the north side of Sweden (Jokkmokk municipality), I can understand that Sarek is not a popular destination. It is a bit hard to reach the park. If you are flying to cut some distance, some of the closest big airports are Kiruna, Luleå (both are about 250km away from any entrance) and Skellefteå (380km). From these airports, you can take trains and buses (yes, “-es” because it will be more than one connection). Moreover, these connections can take long time as each train or bus usually only run twice a day. Oh, and they are not cheap (sorry, bus and trains). Like around SEK120 for one way before you change to next connection. My suggestion is to rent a car from the airports (or train station) and park in Sarek’s entrance.

Badly drawn map (by me)

Badly drawn map (by me)

Laitaure river. Photo by Steve Darmadi

Laitaure river. Photo by Steve Darmadi

From my small research, there are two common entrances: northeast entrance (Saltuokta) and southwest entrance (Kvikkjokk). Kungsleden passes these two spots as well therefore usually hiker enter from one entrance and exit from another. Then I found third entrance in the southeast (Sitoälvsbron). This third entrance is the closest to Rapadalen and don’t require any boat crossing like the other two entrances. Boat crossing is not free and schedule are not so often.

Stay in the national park

Like the usual hiking accommodation options, there are only 2 choices: cabins or tents. Along Saltuokta to Kvikkjokk, there are 4 STF (Swedish tourism association) mountain cabins. They are around SEK200 per person per night. The facility varies, but mostly dry toilet, beds (bring your own bedsheet), running water, small shops, and kitchen. If you bring your own tent and want to camp in the cabins area, it is also possible but you will be charged some fee as well (almost as much as stay in the cabin). It is free to stay anywhere in the national park (outside of the cabin area). There will be some river (as clean water source) if you decide to camp in the trail.

STF Aktse cabin

STF Aktse cabin

Camp with beautiful view

Camp with beautiful view

(Continue to part 2 – end)

Fulufjället Entrance

Finding Old Tjikko: World’s Third Oldest Tree

First of all, allow me to say happy birthday to our beloved Earth. Happy birthday, Earth! I don’t really know how old he is, but I am happy that we declare April 22nd as Earth Day. Now to celebrate it, I will write about the best tree I’ve ever met. His name is Old Tjikko. He lives in Fulufjället National Park, Dalarna, Sweden. He is 9550 years old. Continue reading

Exploring Sweden – Part 1.

Sweden is one of the largest countries in Europe, meaning that there are A LOT of places to explore!

Exploring Sweden has become my favorite extreme sport, not only because of Sweden offers a lot of beautiful landscapes but also urban exploration, you might wonder why do I call it an “extreme sport”? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, the word “extreme sport” is: a sport that is very dangerous and exciting. Off course exploring Sweden does not represent a threat whatsoever, but you know what? IT IS A VERY EXCITING THING TO DO!

Credits: Helena Wahlman/imagebank.sweden.se


This is the first post of many more to come about places in Sweden that are simply amazing, natural reserves, national parks, beautiful landscapes and occasionally some cities.

For me, the best way to explore a place is simply walk it, many will agree with me on this one. Hiking is the perfect combination of doing some exercise and admire the nature, it gives you time clear your mind and take pictures of the amazing places. Luckily my friends are also enthusiasts of hiking.

Credits: Anders Ekholm/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se

So this are some of the places where I have hiked in Sweden.


Abisko

Abisko is 1 of the 29 national parks in Sweden, being the northernmost one (along with Vadvetjåkka). I had the opportunity to travel to Lapland last winter, where I spent some days in STF Abisko Turiststation. This place is the definition of winter wonderland, everything was covered in snow and even though I was told that it was going to be dark during the winter, the light was not a problem to admire the landscapes that Abisko has to offer.


Sandsjöbacka Naturreservat / Sisjön

Lake Sisjön and the Sandsjöbacka area are part of a big natural reserve in the south of Gothenburg, the place is a complex of hundreds of different trials to walk. Since the area is near Gothenburg it is possible to reach it by bus. Sisjön is just a small lake in the region, but there are several more that I can’t either remember the name or spell it (Swedish is a bit tricky to pronounce). I must say that this hike was probably the most exhausting one, since parts of the terrain were a bit muddy, but at the same time it is one of my favorite places around Gothenburg to visit, if you don’t believe me just take a look.


Delsjön

The Delsjön area is a place that combines lakes, woodland, and hiking trails (lots of trails for hiking or mountain cycling). One of the things I like of Sweden is the facility to visit nature places without traveling a lot. Delsjön is the perfect example, just outside of Gothenburg. People often go to Delsjön to run or cycle most of the times, during the summer the place is perfect for taking a swim and having a BBQ.


Lake Vättern

Vättern is the 2nd largest lake in Sweden and the 6th in Europe, I had the opportunity to visit this place on a trip with my fellow digital ambassadors, we went to Jönköping, Gränna and Omberg; which are places around the lake. The whole region is simply amazing, mixing forest with the amazing views of the lake. During our meetup in Omberg we did a small hike around the place and near the lake.


There are MILLIONS of places to explore, so you can expect a few more posts of incredible places to hike in Sweden.


#AndresInGöteborg

Forest in Sweden

How Forest Changed Me

I was born and raised in the big city of Jakarta, a city with population more than 10 million. You see building everywhere. Cars, roads, skyscraper, you name it. It does not really sleep even during the midnight. I thought Jakarta has almost everything a city should have. Until I move to Sweden. One of the very easy thing to spot: it does not have forests. Today is Forest Day so let’s talk about it! Continue reading

My first months in Sweden: how lucky am I?

So, what’s about Sweden? How is it? What are you studying exactly? And how is your life there? Is it really cold, right?”

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And so on. These are only few of the questions that my friends have made in these last days, as I temporary returned back to Italy, due to Christmas holidays. I’ve tried to answer them, but then I thought: why do not share it here on the blog? As I may sum up, I’d say that this post is a sort of recap of my first four months in my new country: Sweden. (Do you remember why have I chosen Sweden?)

To be fair, the exact place where I’ve been living (maybe some of you already know that), is the nice and welcoming city of Gothenburg. A city that I loved from the very first gaze, from the first steps I took while getting off the bus coming from the airport in a sunny afternoon last August. The first approach with the city and its inhabitants: my landlady, people around the streets in the city centre or working in supermarkets, or in some university offices. The sound of the Swedish language, the Welcome Days for the international students in a big cinema and then in my department; the beginning of a new academic adventure and the chance to get to know new classmates from all around the world.

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First day at the Welcome Days for international students in Draken, a nice cinema in Gothenburg

Yes, I’m lucky to be there, to live and study in Gothenburg. And I’m pretty sure about that every time I can shape an answer to the question: “Do you like staying there?”. You know, I come from Italy, specifically from the South. I’d say that my region is one of the most beautiful places in the world and many friend of mine told me: “You’re leaving behind this wonderful sea, the taste of our food and coffee… and up there it must be truly cold”, and so on. But you know what? I feel that a country such as Sweden fits perfectly the way how I am and how I perceive the reality and the world around me. So, have I already mentioned before? I’m really lucky to live in Sweden.

Being in Sweden means also that I had the chance to become a Digital Ambassador – and if I’m writing this blog post right now, it’s also because I’m glad to have been chosen to represent Sweden, my home country (Italy)  and my university. I’m glad to have the chance to express myself, to talk about my experience and to help international students yearning for knowing more about the Swedish lifestyle as well as the academic world. Last but not least, since the beginning of this ‘adventure within the adventure’, I cannot not mention the fact that I’ve met wonderful people being ambassador such as me.

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Probably, the fact that I’ve travelled and lived abroad before helped me in coping with these first months in another, different country. However, if you’re reading this post and you’re going to take a decision regarding your personal studies abroad, and you haven’t lived outside your home country before, I’d say that Sweden may be a good choice.

No matter how cold it may be… you can always dress properly, right? And as far as I was told, Swedish summer is very nice and full of things to do in environments which share a ‘common denominator’: Nature!

Hopefully we’ll meet here in Sweden… in the meantime, I wish you all happy holidays!