Härliga Vänern

Outdoor expert Jessica shares her personal favorites

Jessica is continually looking for new outdoor experiences. She paddles kayak, sails and organizes skating trips on the lake. Hiking and spending the night in an outdoor shelter is also an appreciated activity. Jessica has just been certified as a lifeguard. We asked her for her best outdoors activities, and this is what she recommended:

1. Island of Alvön – south tip

My number one outdoors experience is to visit the very south tip of Alvön. You feel as though you’re in the middle of a huge sea, not an inland lake. This is where you get the perfect view of the horizon. There’s a barbeque spot on the other side of the island and that is where the boat will let you off (summertime only). You can also paddle to the island and skate to it in wintertime. Read more about Alvön.

2. Paddle from island to island with a kayak

You can paddle a kayak almost all year round. If there’s no wind I recommend a trip around the islands. It’s a tough challenge but on a still day it’s absolutely possible. Follow the kayak route. Start off at Kapurja and paddle south, along the east side of Vålön and continue along Kalvön and Sibberön. Turn around the southern side of Sibberön and paddle west towards Alvön and Långön. Paddle south of these islands and then turn back towards Kapurja. See details on the map.

If you want to spend the night there’s a simple hut at Sibberön. Outdoor toilets and barbeque spots can be found on most of the islands. If it’s too windy or you want a shorter and easier trip you can paddle along the inlet or in the bay of Varnumsviken and Vålösundet.

3. Hike the Iron Trail

I really want to recommend hiking on the Iron Trail. It’s a quality marked Värmland trail which is 30 km long and runs between Kristinehamn and Nässundet. You don’t have to hike the whole trail but if you choose a shorter hike I recommend the northern part between Nässundet and Niklasdamm. The small lake of Ljustjärnen is beautiful and has a shelter if you want to spend the night outdoors. You can take the bus to a starting point and also catch a bus to get back to the city. If you are interested in birds the trail passes by the bird sanctuary of Varnumsviken.

4. Nordic skating on Lake Vänern

Jessica organizes skating trips together with the organisation Friluftsfrämjandet – when the ice is thick enough to skate. To fly over the flat ice, hearing it sing under you, is hard to describe. I usually start at Ölmeviken or Klingtorpsviken. If the ice is thick enough you can also start from Marieberg and skate along the inlet of Vålösundet. Go west at the little canal opposite Kapurja and skate along Hjälmarsnäs.

5. Lake Tysktjärnen 

The wilderness around the pond of Tysktjärnen is wonderful. The soil has very little oxygen which makes the pines grow very slowly and even though they are old they are quite small. It’s interesting to see how the soil affects the vegetation. Wintertime you can skate on the pond and there are also some hiking trails around it. I will explore this place more in the future!

6. Hiking on the islands

On the three islands of Vålön, Kalvön and Sibberön there is a 4 km long hiking trail. The islands are connected with footbridges and have sandy beaches and smooth rocks. The island of Sibberön is a nature preserve with untouched areas and forests. The southern tip of this island is a wonderful place with a beautiful view. The tour boat Stöten takes you from Vålösundsbryggan (a boat stop close to the Picasso sculpture) to Vålön. On the beach of Sandvikarna on Vålön there’s a shelter and space for your tent, if you want to spend the night. A barbeque area, drinking water and outdoor toilet is also available. Read more about Stöten and see the timetable.

7. Eagles

If you are interested in birds you have a good chance of seeing eagles around Ölme, Kungens rastplats, Inre Kilsviken and Hult. 

8. Sailing in the archipelago

The archipelago in Kristinehamn is a wonderful place for sailing if you are used to being on the sea. The islands are beautiful and the boat lanes are well marked. If you’re lucky you can find a spot all for yourself. You can rent sailboats from Elvina Marin.

9. Cycle round lake Skagern 

One thing Jessica hasn’t done yet is to cycle round the lake Skagern. The round trip is 100 km long and there are shelters and barbeque areas along the trail if you want to spend the night. Jessica is convinced that this is a lovely experience in beautiful and varied countryside. Read more about the biking trail around lake Skagern here.

Photo credit: Härlig Vänerutsikt