Björnö island just outside Stockholm. Photo: Maddy Savage/The Local
1. Tyresta National Park
Designated a national park in 1993, Tyresta encompasses a magnificent swathe of primeval, pine-scented forest and pristine lakes just 20km south of Stockholm city centre. A massive forest fire raged through its central parts in 1999, leaving behind an eerie yet dramatic landscape. A number of trails traverse the park with overnight shelters and fireplaces making camping possible at several scenic spots. Look out for woodpeckers, beavers, and mating toads in the spring.
How to get there: Take bus 834 from Haninge train station to Tyrestaby, or alternatively take bus 807 or 809 from Gullmarsplan to Svartbäcken which lies a couple of kilometres west of the park.
This nature reserve lies off the beaten track to the north of the city near Åkersberga and contains a string of attractive small lakes amidst a dense forest of birch and spruce. It makes a perfect getaway for a night of camping with two overnight shelters. Go for a swim in one of the lakes which warm up surprisingly quickly in early summer.
How to get there: Take bus 621 from Danderyds Sjukhus to Skeppdals Vägskäl from where it is a three-kilometre walk to the reserve.
3. Björnö Nature Reserve
Located almost as far east of Stockholm as it is possible to get without taking a ferry, Björnö is a small peninsula jutting out into the Baltic Sea. A hiking trail skirts round the reserve – or alternatively take to the water in a canoe or kayak to explore the shoreline. The reserve is also home to one of Stockholm’s finest beaches, which is popular with bathers in summer. Look out for sea eagles and ospreys which soar high above in the sky.
How to get there: Take bus 428 or 429 from Slussen and get off at the stop Björnö naturreservat.
As its name suggests, this rocky slice of paradise lies to the south of the city in the municipality of Huddinge. Tornberget, at a height of 111m, is the highest point in Stockholm County. Lose yourself in the forest and you can imagine that you are in a remote wilderness. Look out for roaming moose and, in late summer and autumn, delicious Karl Johan mushrooms. There is also one overnight shelter in the reserve.
How to get there:Take bus 709 from Huddinge station to Bruket.
A beautiful fjord that juts into the northern end of the city, a 12km trail completes a circuit around Brunnsviken. Along the way stop off at the delightful Café Sjöstugan for a coffee and bulle as well as enjoy historical buildings and parks amidst stately oaks. Two highlights are the Bergianska Botanical Gardens and the popular Hagaparken. Look out for wild strawberries known as smultron too. Brunnsviken forms part of the Royal City National Park – the world’s first national urban park.
How to get there: There are numerous starting points to get to Brunnsviken. One is to take the commuter train to Ulriksdal or you could get on the subway to Bergshamra or Universitetet followed by a short walk.
6. Norra Järvafältet
Comprising four nature reserves, Norra Järvafältet is a large natural area to the north of Stockholm and straddles three municipalities. It offers a varied landscape with agricultural land, dense forests, and lakes. There are also numerous fire places over which you can sizzle some sausages. Look out for the remains of prehistoric graves, Viking rune stones, and the ancient hazel and oak forest of Hansta – with some specimens attaining a huge six metres in girth.
How to get there: It’s easy to walk to the area from the train (pendeltåg) stations at Häggvik, Jakobsberg, or the subway station at Akalla.
Situated to the south west of Stockholm, the Sörmlandsleden is a hiking trail which is some 1000km long and is divided into nearly a hundred stages allowing for numerous day hikes. Well sign-posted, the trail passes through a large variety of scenery – ranging from open landscapes to cultural sites and areas of near-wilderness. One of the best sections is from Ösmö to Paradiset with fantastic overnight camping options along the way.
How to get there
: Consult the trail's dedicated website
for more information on the many starting-points of the trail and travel options for getting there.
8. Nacka Nature Reserve
Located just a stone’s throw away from the city centre, Nacka nature reserve is a favourite haunt for Stockholmers looking for a quick getaway from the city for a few hours. Numerous trails go through the reserve including a section of the Sörmlandsleden. The lakes in the reserve are good for bathing and their shores home to numerous bird species. Look out too for adders that emerge in spring after a long winter of hibernation. After your hike, take a sauna in the recreation centre of Hellasgården.
How to get there: Take bus 401 from Slussen to Hellasgården. Alternatively, take the subway to Björkhagen, Kärrtorp, or Bagarmossen.
Eldgarnsö is a nature reserve located in Ekerö municipality on the shores of Lake Mälaren to the northwest of Stockholm. A 6km trail completes a circuit of the reserve. In addition to stunning views of Mälaren, the reserve boasts extensive stands of oak with the forest floor in spring carpeted in wood anemone, celandine and yellow star of Bethlehem. Couples too can look out for mistletoe.
How to get there: Take bus 317 from Brommaplan to Karlskär from where it is a 2km walk to the reserve.
All article photos: Alec Forss