Nordic skating, also known as tour skating, wild skating and long-distance skating (and in Swedish långfärdsskridskor), was born in Sweden. It is essentially long-distance skating on frozen lakes and rivers, using skates with blades longer than traditional ice skates. Nordic skating blades are about 50 cm (20 inches) long and are attached with bindings to special boots that are similar to cross country boots, usually at the front. Here, we take a look at the top 10 spots in Sweden to enjoy Nordic skating.
This is a sport in which it’s important to remember some basic safety rules. You’ll often be going long distances in remote areas, so always bring a partner and let people know where your route will be taking you. People have been known to get stuck on broken-off pieces of ice, particularly during late winter and early spring, and you don’t want to be floating on a piece of ice alone in the wilderness. You need to bear in mind that this is a ‘skate at your own risk’ activity.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Unsurprisingly, the skating season starts in the north, where the cold hits first. Bohuslän, up on the far northwest, has ideal conditions. There are hundreds of lakes of all sizes, both saltwater and fresh, in the wild region, with the larger lakes Vänern (Sweden’s largest lake) and Vättern considered two of the finest skating spots.
This lake runs through parts of Stockholm and is the third-largest freshwater lake in Sweden. Spanning 120 kilometres (75 miles) from east to west, it’s ideal for city-dwellers who want to get out into nature during the winter. When it freezes it looks like a mirror, and often, if there’s snow on top of it, paths will be swept open for skaters. Be warned, though: ice cutters come through to make way for boats, and some sections don’t always freeze, so check safety conditions before you set out.
This lake in Dalarna is found northeast of the village of Dola-Floda. It’s one of a number of excellent spots for Nordic skating in the Dalarna region, and the route runs along the western shore towards Leksand, with glorious forests dotting the shoreline, as well as the ubiquitous red summer cottages so beloved by Swedes.
Another Dalarna gem, Öje is a small village about 17 kilometres (11 miles) north of Malung. The lake of the same name is often described as, ‘the lake with as many islands as there are days of the year’. Prepared tracks dot the lake, with several rest stops offering outside toilets and wood barbecues, perfect if you’re making a day of it.
The Nordic skating season in Dalarna is long, and the locals are passionate practitioners, hence the third Dalarna entry on our list. Lake Runn, which joins the towns of Falun and Borlänge, offers some of Sweden’s finest Nordic skating experiences, with more than 60 kilometres (37 miles) of open ice, 50 kilometres (31 miles) of prepared track and over 80 islands to explore.
This open-air recreational area just an hour north of Stockholm is a fantastic place to visit year-round, with lakes, forests and steep wooded hilltops. In winter, tracks are ploughed on Trehörningen Lake, and this might be one area where you don’t need to worry about getting lost or being alone: it’s a very popular spot to practice your Nordic skating technique, skates are available for rental and courses are available for beginners.
It’s said that long-distance skating is the easiest way to get around this area, with perfect conditions and long, wide open spaces that seem to go on forever. With 63.5 square kilometres (26 square miles) of clean, clear open water, Svegssjön Lake in Jämtland province offers some of the best Nordic skating conditions in the country, with open spaces as well as bridges to skate under and woods to stop in. The local village, Sveg, is charming and worth exploring once you’ve had enough exercise.
This lake in Järfalla can freeze over as early as October, and the local skating club is a great place to pick up some tips, as well as offering a beginner’s course in long-distance skating. The 11-kilometre (7-mile) track between Bruks Nature Area and Ängsjö is ideal for shorter journeys, and the world’s longest ploughed track is also found here.
One of the most exciting – and dangerous – places to skate, Kiristinehamn offers lakes of varying sizes and depths, which means they all freeze at different periods and for unknown lengths of time. You can more or less count on usable ice between December and March, but it’s best to check locally, as it really can’t be predicted, and the largest lakes are, well, large, meaning you could get way out and suddenly find yourself on thin ice.
Tracks on Bergslagskanalen are prepared from January through March, so it’s a fairly short season. The canal extends from Filipstad in the north to Karlskoga in the south, and when the winters are cold and dry, skating conditions on the canal are ideal. The paths are prepared in order to boost safety, although it can’t be repeated too often that you should never go out alone. The surrounding area has a number of villages and towns where you can grab a meal or drink once you’re done.
There are those who distrust saltwater ice, seeing it as soft, mushy and unreliable. The Baltic, though, has one third of the salt content of ocean water, meaning it freezes fast and hard, and there is no tide to break up the ice. The result is excellent conditions for skating, and you can skate a lot further out into the sea than you’d think. A great place to try it out is the Stockholm archipelago, and guides are available.
Use this map to find Sweden’s top ten places to Nordic skate, and remember: safety first!
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.