Imagine kayaking in a vast inland sea, passing near sandy beaches and exploring isolated islands rich on wildlife in total peace. Around you see only blue sky that meets crystal clear water so clean that you can practically reach from your kayak and drink it. This is how sea kayaking in lake Vänern, Sweden looks like!
There are so many destinations for paddling in Sweden, raging from Bohuslän archipelago in south-west to the High Coast in north-east. But today we will tell you about one of our favorites – lake Vänern. It offers pristine landscape, less crowds and practically endless different possibilities to plan your kayak trip. Maybe you don’t know much about Sweden’s largest lake. This summary may help:
General facts about lake Vänern
Area: 5 655 km2
Number of islands: around 22 000
Coastline: 4 800 km
Average dept: 27 m
Water transparency: 4 – 6 m
What makes Vänern an amazing destination for kayaking?
Sights and landscape
While paddling in Vänern you will see very diverse landscape. Covering such huge area Vänern’s coast line can offer anything from lush green forests and rocky islands without any sign of civilization, to vast fields with planted crops and typical Swedish red houses. But almost everywhere you go you can enjoy ocean-like sights, crystal clear water and typical Swedish nature.
It really is impossible to represent with words how beautiful Vänern is. So to truly feel its unique atmosphere, take a look at this amazing video from Facing Waves paddlesports TV-series:
Nature and wildlife
Not surprisingly, the Vänern is amazingly rich on animal and plant species. There are 35 natural reserves, 27 Natura 2000 sites and 1 National park in the area. In the lake itself you can find 36 out of 53 fresh later fish species in Sweden. Near its coastline you can see beavers, muskrats, polecats, deer and (of course) the iconic Swedish moose. Last but not least, Vänern is a paradise for birds, some of which you can spot while kayaking. Sea eagles, ospreys, cormorants, arctic terns and even black-throated divers are just few of the bird found in some of the 791 bird habitats around the lake.
Curious facts about lake Vänern
1. – In Vänern area there are at least 171 species that are nationally red-listed as vulnerable (VU), endangered (EN) or critically endangered (CR), making it a perfect choice for wildlife safaris and bird watching.
2. – Vänern north coast is one of the sunniest places in Sweden. With 1801 sun hours yearly Karlstad, which has chosen “sun” as official municipality’s symbol, receives more sunshine yearly than Paris (1662), London (1633), Berlin (1625), Amsterdam (1662) and Copenhagen (1539)
3. – Great idea for kayaking destination is the so called Animal Island (Djurö) – one of the most isolated places in Vänern reachable by private or rental boats. The last year-round resident of the island left the island in 1969 and today it is a national park. As you can see there are plenty of small islands in the area, making it perfect for kayaking.
1 brilliant way to do sea kayaking in Vänern
In the video of Facing Waves you saw how guided kayak tour feels like. But there is also one other way of exploring Vänern that can make your vacation even more exciting and memorable – an organized 3 to 5 days Sailing & Kayaking adventure.
Basically you become part of the bot crew for several days, you sail to nice spots in Vänern, take out the kayaks from the boat and paddle in peaceful hard to reach spots. Plus you get to socialize with the rest of the crew – all outdoor enthusiasts (just like you 😉 ) and then spend the night in the comfort of your own cabin. Since the trip lasts several days you get to see a lot of the diverse landscape in Vänern, including the isolated island Drujö we mentioned earlier.
This spring we met the people from a local company that organizes such trip – Vänern Outdoor – and plan to do it as team building (just a fancy word for having a good time together) for Nordic Adventours. If so, later this year you may expect another article about kayaking in Vänern with pictures and tips from our experience.
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A former stock broker on the financial markets, Yordan managed to escape his suffocating “big city life” and moved to Sweden in 2016 to start a more peaceful chapter of his being – one in which nature and outdoor activities play a crucial role. Exploring the beauty of the Scandinavia’s outdoors is his true passion.