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Canoeing, hiking and lots of beautiful nature experiences. Once again we are headed to beautiful Sweden in collaboration with Visit Sweden. This time to a particularly scenic corner of Skåne – namely the northeastern part that borders Småland. There are not many cities here, but plenty of nature, animals, forests and lakes. In other words, the perfect holiday for anyone keen on a quiet and active holiday close to nature.
Accommodations in the middle of nature
We are staying in the middle of nature. The first two nights at Skåne’s largest lake, Ivösjön. We will be canoeing and camping on our own little island, which I am very much looking forward to after last year’s experience in Småland. I’m so excited to see if we will get such a magical morning again and how we will make it once we get there.
The second night we will be staying at Bäckaskog Castle just by the lakeshore. On the third night we will move a little further west to Finjasjön, where we will hike in the Hovdala nature area and spend the night in, what we first thought would be a just an ordinary shelter, but turned out to be even better!
The great thing about the region Skåne is, that it is incredibly close to Copenhagen. And still, it’s something completely different. More nature, more space and more peace. You can already feel it when you cross the bridge. The air is full of birds of prey. In Skåne, you can hardly look up at the sky without seeing red kites everywhere.
Canoe trip in Ivösjön – Skåne’s largest lake
We arrive at Ivösjön, which is both Skåne’s largest and deepest lake. The trip starts at Wetlandi canoe rental and before the canoe trip we are equipped with life jackets, firewood, a water tank, mosquito repellent – and a shovel, the purpose of which I will return to later!
We have brought our own cooking gear, tent and sleeping bags, but you can actually rent all the camping equipment at Wetlandi (apart from sleeping bags).
We have brought food from the nearby Sotnosen Korvcafe in two small insulated bags. Before that we also had lunch at the lovely cafe, where you can get traditional Swedish food served in a fresh and unpretentious style, all made from local ingredients.
Searching for our own little island
With the canoe full of equipment, we set off on our Robinson Crusoe adventure. It is actually possible to spend the night in a hostel if you paddle up the river Holjeåen, but otherwise the idea is to find your own island to spend the night on. Some of the islands have designated camp spots with tables and shelters. But you can also set up the tent anywhere, as long as you follow some simple rules.
We are searching for our own little island, preferably a small one where there is only room for us. I have had some bad experiences on canoe trips in Denmark, when a giant group of kids suddenly arrives at the camp site just when I had planned some quiet time in nature. But that’s one of the many things I love about Sweden. There is enough space for everyone and it never feels crowded.
We paddle off and pause on a large cliff at the water’s edge. Near the island Slättön I spot a collection of small islands. One is inhabited by a nesting osprey that we definitely don’t want to disturb. But next to it I can see another small island that looks perfect. There is even a small natural “quay” where we can leave the canoe and go ashore.
As we jump ashore we can see that it is absolutely perfect. There is just enough space for our little tent between the dense trees. We’ve found our own island – our own little oasis – exactly the kind I have been dreaming about!
A bit about wilderness camping and the freedom to roam
I have actually never tried camping in the wild before, but this will surely not be the last time!
Allemansrätten in Sweden means that you are allowed to put your tent up almost anywhere in the Swedish nature. This freedom to roam means that you can really experience the tranquility and enjoy nature for yourselves, without having to share it with hordes of other people.
This also means that there are no facilities of any kind on our little island – no toilets and no running water, so be sure to bring enough water for the entire trip (and to bring your garbage back). Toilet visits are simply accomplished by digging a hole in the ground with a shovel and covering it up afterwards.
Food from Sotnosen Korvcafe, sunset swimming and bonfire coziness
Even though we are staying quite primitively, it feels so luxurious at the same time. It’s simply so beautiful here. We sit on the shore in front of our tent overlooking the lake. The dinner that we picked up at Sotnosen Korvcafe is also a luxurious kind of wilderness food.
Before the sun goes down we take a dip in the lake. Afterwards, we boil water for tea and enjoy sitting by the fire. We expected to be chased by mosquitoes, but we are in luck. There are simply none!
Morning on our little island
At 5.00 I am wide awake. I simply have to go out and paddle around in the sunrise. This time is not quite as spectacular as I have previously experienced, but it is still unmistakably beautiful. Back on the shore I can enjoy a few more hours’ sleep before it’s time to leave our little island. We pack our stuff back into the canoe and paddle back to Wetlandi.
Rent canoes at Wetlandi
I know that there are countless opportunities for canoe trips in both Skåne and the rest of Sweden, but I really think that Ivösjön will fulfill most people’s dreams and wishes. There are so many islands and you can spend several days here paddling around. If you want a long trip you can paddle up the river Holjeåen. Or you can settle for a short trip. Our little island was only a few hours away from Wetlandi.
You can find a map of the entire Ivösjön and all the camp sites here.
Staying at Bäckaskog Castle by Ivösjön
In fact we could have continued our canoe trip across Ivösjön to our next accommodation, but we save the energy and drive around to the other side of the lake by car. Our next accommodation is something completely different. We are staying at Bäckaskog Castle, which is beautifully situated with water on both sides between Ivösjön and Opmannasjön. We should have visited Kjugekul on the way – a nature area with large boulders which is a favorite climbing place. But with heavy rain and thunder we end up exploring the castle’s beautiful garden instead.
After a day in the wilderness, it is fantastic to be pampered a bit with good food and a big soft bed. The next day we are back in the wilderness again – this time in the Hovdala nature area which you can read more about right here.