Swedish Safari 300
189 Mi.(304 KM)
% Rideable (time)
Michael O’Dwyer is an Irish guy living in Stockholm, Sweden. After years of working too much he rediscovered his love for the bicycle after receiving an unexpected invite to go bikepacking in Mongolia. He went and was hooked. His love of travel found a new direction. When home in Sweden, Michael spends his time exploring the forests of his adopted country looking for its best trails. Follow Michael on Instagram @bikepackingsweden.
This 300km loop begins in the town of Södertälje just south of Stockholm city, Sweden. The start is accessible by suburban train that runs from Stockholm International Airport via Stockholm City Centre.
The trail follows bikeable singletrack sections of local hiking trails (Sörmlandsleden) and gravel roads, linking together some of the most interesting and rewarding parts of this deeply historic and beautiful part of Sweden. On this journey, you’ll lose count how many times you will stop to swim in the warm summer lakes. And with Allemansrätt, a Swedish law that allows everyone to roam and camp where you please, you will be spoilt for campsite choices. The route passes by cafes, stores, and water points, and even through the beautiful coastal village of Trosa, but still feels quite remote at times.
A solid mountain bike is advisable and although the route does not gain much altitude, the singletrack sections can be quite demanding. Some of these segments can be avoided but other sections are obligatory to link the route together. This is why the route is given 6 out of 10 for difficulty.
The idea behind this route was to create a five-day loop close to Stockholm city. This would encourage local riders to get out there and help grow our local bikepacking scene. Many of us have biked extensively in the region, so it was just a matter of connecting these known sections together. The trail uses the more bike-able sections of the Sörmansleden hiking trail along with gravel roads. With the amount of gravel roads in Sweden the trails could have taken many different shapes, but I decided that linking together points of interests, both manmade and natural, was an obvious choice.
- Singletrack through deep forests on the Sörmlandsleden.
- Exploring the historical mines of Sörmland.
- Crossing the bridges out to the islands of the Archipelago.
- Testing your riding balance on narrow walking planks.
- Looking out for the Swedish Royal family at the Kings Summer Palace, Tullgarn.
- Biking the endless gravel roads through Swedish forests.
- Spotting wildlife, including different breeds of deer, moose, wolves, different species of eagle and falcon.
- Swimming in the quiet and unspoilt forest lakes.
- Taking in the panoramic views at Uppsa Kulle Hill.
- Enjoying the Swedish tradition of fika (afternoon coffee and cake).
- Sörmlandsleden is primarily a hiking trail and so it can be very tough and technical to ride. This is mostly due to rocks and tree roots. We have carefully chosen the most rideable sections, but still be prepared for short sections of hike-a-bike, especially around lake shores.
- The route is bikeable from April to November. Expect cold nights until mid May and mosquitos from May until August. The ideal time would be middle August until late September.
- It is more likely that a store or restaurant won’t take cash rather than not taking a bankcard.
- English is understood by nearly 100% of the population and spoken by well over 90%.
- The main hunting season starts in August so bright colored clothing is advised for autumn riding.
- Sweden has three types of snakes with only one of being venomous. This Viper, huggorm, bites about 1300 people per year, of which 12% need hospitalisation. If you get bitten, seek medical treatment immediately. It takes some hours before the venom sets in. But you are most likely not going to come across any snakes on your visit.
- Stockholm International Airport, Arlanda, is on the main suburban train line, Pendaltåg, which goes to Stockholm city centre and on to Södertälje and the beginning of the trail. This ticket will cost $16.50 to either Stockholm City or on to Södertälje (includes airport gate fee). You are not allowed to wheel your bike through Stockholm Central Station or Arlanda Airport or have them on the national train network. But if you keep them in their travel boxes there should be no problems. Bicycles are all allowed on the Pendaltåg, just not through those two stations or during morning and evening rush hours.
- Stockholm region has a second airport just outside of the city of Nyköping.
- It would be possible to start the route from Skavsta airport as it is only 18km from the most southern section of the loop so could be a good option for those traveling from other European destinations.
- Allemansrätt is a law that is enshrined in Swedish culture which give you the right to roam throughout the countryside and camp wherever you like for one night. Some rules apply and camping in Stendörren nature reserve is forbidden. visitsweden.com/about-the-right-of-public-access/
- Trosa Camping: Here you can rent a simple wood cabin and be spoilt with an onsite restaurant as well as a perfect sandy beach and swimming spot. www.trosahavsbad.se/
- Also in Trosa is Stensunds Camping but this is a members only campsite.
- Around Björnlunda there is the beautiful hostel in an old Farm Museum run by the national tourist association, STF. This is a perfect stopping point at 130km from Södertälje and is exactly on the trail and the beginning of the beautiful Erikgatan marked cycle route. swedishtouristassociation.com
- Water is no problem for most of the route, but along the stretch from Östermalma Slott to Nynäs Slott collection, sourcing water can be tricky. There is a tap in Stendörren at the museum but at the time of writing (the hot summer of 2018) this was turned off. That said, Swedish people are very friendly and accommodating, so in the worst case you can always call into a local house and ask.
- If you are going to drink the water out of the lakes we suggest filtering.
- Along the tour you will see many blue signs saying Källa. This is the Swedish word for “well.”
- There are plenty of stores along the route. Södertälje, Järna, Björnlunda, and Trosa all have well stocked local supermarkets.
- Some of our favourite cafes and eateries include Nynäs Slott, Tullgarns Slott, Paradise Beach Café, Skottvångs Grufva museum, and of course the beautiful castle and wildlife reserve of Öster Malma Slott with their ‘all you can eat’ lunchtime buffet.
- In Sweden you can only buy up to 3.5% alcohol in local supermarkets. All stronger alcohol can be bought in the state owned Systembolaget stores. These stores are well stocked but only open until 18:00 Monday ‘til Thursday, 19:00 on Friday and 14:00 on Saturdays. Closed on Sundays. There is one in Södertälje and Trosa.
Sticking to the GPX route will ensure that you stay on the rideable parts of the Sörmansleden hiking trail, skipping the harder hike-a-bike sections.
Day 1 Södertälje to Marviken
- The tour starts with a good introduction to Swedish forest singletrack of what is to come over the next couple of days.
- See the old hand worked mines which were started in the 1600’s and remained active until the 1940’s.
- Stop by the museum and restaurant at Sköttvångs Grufva before dropping down to the two wind shelters at the beautiful narrow lakes of Marviken.
Day 2 Marviken to Björnlunda
- Climb the Stenhuggarmon watchtower and take in its commanding views over the region.
- Visit Kalkbro and its interesting quarry where the famous Swedish kid’s movie “Ronia Rövardotter” was filmed.
- Test your mettle by biking the Sörmlandsleden’s longest walking planks.
- Crawl and climb to the top of Kammarstenen rock boulder.
- Swim in the beautiful lake of Ösjön.
- Take your picture on the natural Stonebridge of Bågberget.
- The last of the day brings you to the picture perfect un-maned old farmyard / youth hostel of Hembygdsgård, Björnlunda. Contact the STF beforehand to arrange a stay.
Day 3 Björnlunda to Stendörren
- Ride the old Kings Trail of Eriksgatan early in the morning to ensure the best chance of Swedish Safari. (Moose, 3 types of deer, wild boar and many different birds are usually spotted on this section)
- Eat all you can at Öster Malma castle lunch buffet.
- Feel part of history admiring the Viking stones at Aspa bridge and take in the view at the burial hill of Uppsa Kulle.
- Take the bridges and explore the islands of Stendörren Nature Reserve.
Day 4 Stendörren to Trosa
- Admire the wealth at the Castle of Nynäs. It’s a short day so take your time to explore the Demesne.
- The swimming lake of Gisesjön
- Enjoy the coastal village of Trosa. Find shops, restaurants and a Systembolaget can be found.
- Spoil yourself and rent a cheap cabin at Trosa havsbad for the night.
- Take in the views out to the islands of the Trosa Skärgård.
Day 5 Trosa to Södertälje
- Look out for the Swedish King at Tullgran Slott, one of his official summer castles.
- Grab some lunch in the restaurant at Skansen ferry crossing.
- Race the boats as they navigate the long shipping channel.
- Cruise down the last of the glorious gravel roads back into Södertälje.
- If you are interested in finding out more about the Sörmlandsleden you can become a trail club member here at sormlandsleden.se
- Stendörren Visitors Centre and Museum: www.naturumstendorren.se
- Nynäs Slott and its Youth Hostel: www.nynasslott.se
- For train times and information for the Stockholm Suburban Train, Pendaltåg, visit sl.se/en