The Scandinavian countries are home to an outstanding natural beauty, with dramatic waterfalls, mellow hills, crystal clear fjords, majestic mountains, and tundra landscapes.
Here is a list of 7 National Parks that are Scandinavia’s greatest adventure playgrounds, there is for sure a park out there for you.
1. Thy National Park, Denmark
Sandy grasslands, crystal-clear lakes, pine forest, moors, and dunes cover an area of 244 square kilometers protected by the Thy National Park, the first and largest national park in Denmark. Located on the tip of Jutland, the untraveled Thy National Park is a place which still holds true to Scandinavia’s reputation for wild landscapes and untouched natural beauty. Here, hiking is one of the main activities and visitors can make use of countless kilometers of maintained trails. After an active hiking day, head to the lovely beach resort Nørre Vorupør, which is a perfect spot for swimming, relaxing and watching colorful fishing boats.
2. Skjoldungernes Land National Park, Denmark
The Skjoldungernes – located just a 30-minute train ride from Copenhagen – is a fascinating and beautiful area that was created to preserve the rich natural areas that border Roskilde Fjord, in the very heart of Zealand. By foot, it is easy to explore the trails that crisscross the area’s green hills, peaceful forests, stunning fjord landscapes, and marshlands.
The Skjoldungernes Land National Park is famed for its Viking burial mounds, which bubble up unexpectedly from the rolling meadows and grassy hills; the most famous of these ancient sepulchers can be found around the village of Lejre. Viking enthusiast should not miss the town Roskilde. Here you can visit the world-famous Viking Ship Museum that contains five ships excavated from the surrounding fjord.
3. Hardangervidda National Park, Norway
The largest national park of Norway, Hardangervidda, is a popular tourist destination. The name Hardangervidda comes from the combination of the name of the district “Hardanger” and the Norwegian word “vidde” which means, “wide plain mountain plateau”. This park is the home of herds of wild reindeer and the Arctic fox that live in a landscape of lakes and rocks amid moss-like vegetation.
Hikers can explore a comprehensive network of huts and Ancient trails across Hardangervidda that allow discovering the park for more days sleeping comfortably in cabins. Hardangervidda is also a stunning place to visit in winter when it is covered with sifting white snow. Exchange your hiking boots for cross-country skis, hop from cabin to cabin, and let yourself be amazed by the magnificent views.
4. Sarek National Park, Sweden
Sarek National Park is probably Sweden’s most spectacular national park. Here you will find mountain chains, a glacial landscape but also deep, narrow valleys.
Sarek is a high mountain area where Sámis (the indigenous people) have lived for a long-standing time. The valleys and the mountain slopes of Sarek are home to the unusually large moose, thousands of reindeer, red- and arctic foxes, and of course also predators like the brown bear.
A hiking journey through the Sarek mountains gives a unique insight into an amazing area of northern Sweden. The challenge of the untamed Sarek National Park is that there are no marked paths to guide you through its mountains and valleys. Be aware that this is one of the wildest areas in Sweden and therefore it lacks accommodations. If it’s your first time in Sarek, be sure to be well informed and equipped before you head out on a hike.
5. Abisko National Park, Sweden
Is it also your dream to see once in your life the northern lights? Then you must visit the Abisko National Park. This 7.700-hectares large park is located in Swedish Lapland (North of the Arctic Circle), in the municipality of Kiruna. Even though the park is situated far up north in Sweden, it is very accessible, the night train from Stockholm brings you straight to Abisko. The park is popular with hikers as it is the starting point for the famous ‘King’s Trail’, but you’ll find several other trails and paths traverse the Abisko. The park comprises a low-lying valley (Abisko Valley) with flowering meadows and cascading waters, surrounded by majestic mountains.
In the summer, you can see the almost surreal beauty of the midnight sun with the moose and reindeer that may accompany you. In the winter this is the best place in the world to see the spectacular northern lights spreading across the polar night.
6. Jotunheimen National Park, Norway
Jotunheimen means “The Home of Giants” in Norwegian, and gets is name from the 300 peaks of more than 2000 meters high that stand proudly within this area. The park features steep cliffs, glaciers, waterfalls and last but not least Scandinavia’s highest mountain, the Galdhoeppigen, reaching 2,469 meters. It is no surprise that Jotunheimen is one of Norway’s most famous national parks, so besides of numerous natural wonders and magnificent mountains, you may not be alone here. But don’t let you hinder by the summer crowds, Jotunheimen is breathtaking.
If you come here to hike for multiple days, you can go from cabin to cabin. They are either unmanned (where you help yourself) or manned cabins, which are run like inns. If there is no private room available, there’s always space for one in the dormitory.
7. Ängsö National Park, Sweden
Ängsö National Park – located in the Stockholm archipelago – is a 19th-century farmland dotted with quaint farmhouses and wooden fences. It is the ideal place for a relaxing hike over well-marked paths. Explore an idyllic piece of Sweden, have a picnic in the middle of the flowering hayfields and spend the afternoon kayaking (to be rented from a nearby island) and paddling around Ängsö.