NOTE! This site uses cookies and similar technologies. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies from this website.
I understand
More Info

Ben Love, author of Wild Guide to Scandinavia gives his Top 10 best flat water canoe and kayak adventures in Norway, Sweden & Denmark

toft credit james venimore

1. Henningsvær, NORWAY Lofoten

The fishing village of Henningsvær is spread over several small islands. Hire kayaks and launch into the large harbour in the centre of Henningsvær, with open sea at one end and a causeway you can go through at the other. Paddle round the islands, perhaps stopping for lunch on one of the outlying skerries. By the time you return you may well find you’re being followed by an inquisitive seal!

The trip: Book kayak hire from XXLofoten in Svolvær: Johan E. Paulsens gate 12, 8300 Svolvær, +47 916 55500.

Henningsvaer_CREDIT_Kristin_Folsland_Olsen.jpg Credit: Kristin Folsland Olsen


2. Reine, NORWAY Lofoten

Hire kayaks in the beautiful village of Reine on Moskenes and explore the sheltered Reinefjord. Around midsummer you can paddle at night under the midnight sun. Fish as you go and stop on a remote beach to cook and camp. From here you can also paddle (with a little walking) to Horseid beach.

The trip: Reineadventure, Reine, 8390 Reine, +47 932 14596.


Credit: Kristin Folsland Olsen


3. Ottsjön, SWEDEN Åre Fjällen

Explore Öttsjön lake by canoe or kayak. Stop to cook lunch or set up camp on one of the many secluded beaches. Boats and equipment can be hired from the Fjäll Kajak Center. From their base it’s a short paddle along the last stretch of the Vålån river and into the lake. Guided tours are also available.

The trip: ATI Mountain Experience, Östra Vålådalen 118, 830 12 Vålådalen, +46 647 35253. 


Credit: Darren Hamlin


4. Flatholmen, SWEDEN Tjörn

During the golden age of herring fishing this island had over 100 permanent residents. Now only a few people live there, and only during the summer months, and there is no mains electricity. The main island is 0.5km² and there are also numerous outlying skerries to explore, with plenty of opportunities to wild camp – mainly on smooth granite. You can find many of the herbs that were once used for spicing the herring – for example swallowwort, wild parsley, wormwood, viper’s bugloss and creeping bellflower.

The trip: Paddle out to Flatholmen from Stockevik


Credit: James Venimore


5. Toftö, SWEDEN

Interesting island of 0.35km² lying just off Tjorn, north west of Skärhamn. The three deep bays on the west side of the island naturally collect flotsam and jetsam, and in hard times the islanders were said to deliberately lure ships onto the rocks here with false lights. When a storm was brewing many of the poor would pray to God to bless the shore with a wreck, which could provide very lucrative loot. See if you can find the spot where coastal fires were once lit – the traces of fire are still visible.

The trip: Catch the ferry service to Toftö from Skärhamn.

Toftö__CREDIT_James_Venimore.jpg Credit: James Venimore


6. South Funen Archipelago, DENMARK

Explore some of the 55 low-lying and tranquil islands that comprise the South Funen Archipelago. Novice kayakers can hug the coast in the shallow water and those with more experience can cross between islands. Kayaks and equipment can be hired from Nicus Nature, who will also give safety instruction and help you to plan a route appropriate to the conditions and your skill level. For a multi-day trip you can stop overnight along the network of architect designed coastal shelters ( 

The trip: Nicus Nature are based near the harbour in the town of Svendborg. Kullinggade 2, 5700 Svendborg, +45 40 418982. 


Credit: LUMO Architects


7. Tømmerrennene – Røros, NORWAY

The mountain town of Røros is 600 metres above sea level and lies close to the border with Sweden. Now an idyllic and peaceful place, for 330 years it was a busy centre of copper mining. Once known as Bergstaden (the Mountain City), the town is almost unchanged since the 18th century and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  With mining operations around the town needing timber for pit props or turned into charcoal for the smelter, the immediate area quickly became deforested. Wood had to be brought in from further afield so a series of lakes, canals and chutes were built in the 18th century to float timber from Femund Lake to the Feragen (62.56171, 11.85974) closer to Røros. You can walk, cycle or canoe the route.

The trip: For a guided summer canoe trip contact: 

Tømmerrennene_CREDIT_Destinasjon_Røros.jpg Credit: Destinasjon Røros


8. Fejan, SWEDEN Stockholm Archipelago

The Stockholm Archipelago comprises over 30,000 islands, islets and rocks – from Arholma in the north to Landsort in the south. Some of the islands are inhabited all year round, many have summerhouses but more still are uninhabited and waiting to be explored. The island of Fejan was once used as a quarantine station when cholera swept across Europe at the end of the 19th century. The buildings were used in 1944 as a transit camp when 30,000 Estonians fled Soviet occupation and crossed the Baltic in small boats. Hire a kayak for a self-guided seal safari or to camp on one of the islets.

The trip: Get to the island on a ferry operated by the state-owned Waxholmsbolaget, which runs a regular service from central Stockholm. They offer a five-day island-hopping pass that allows you unlimited travel from the time of first use - see 


Credit: James Venimore


9. Härpikön – Dala-Floda, SWEDEN

Paddle from the Dala-Floda bathing area over Lake Flosjön to the island of Harpikön. This big island has a few summerhouses on its southern tip, but the rest is largely very wild with several small, secluded beaches and great places to pitch a tent. Pack everything you need in a kayak and spend a night wild camping by the water – perhaps take a skinny dip in the midnight twilight and dry off by a campfire.

The trip: Kayaks and all equipment can be hired from Kajaktiv, who can also advise on other paddle trips in the area - see 


Credit: Inka Trollsås


10. Vistas – Kiruna Lapland, SWEDEN

Paddle upstream on the glacial Vistas river from Nikkaluokta as far as you are able, taking time to explore the numerous oxbow lakes. As the river meanders along the valley you will have plenty of opportunities for spotting wildlife on the banks, and there are numerous sandy beaches and several promontories where you can set up camp. When you want to head home, just let yourself drift slowly and silently back downstream. 

Access and egress at the road bridge on route 870 at Nikkaluokta (signed from the E10 just south of Kiruna). 

The trip: Contact Paddlelapland for guiding and canoe or kayak rental - see 

Vistas_CREDIT_James_Venimore.jpg Credit: James Venimore


WG_Scandinavia_3D_cover.jpgAbout the author

Ben Love is the author of Wild Guide Scandinavia charting the best wild adventures in Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Denmark (£16.99 Wild Things Publishing and also available as an app). Receive 30% discount (plus P&P) by adding the coupon ACTIVE at the checkout.

Share on