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Ten beautiful spots in Sweden you must visit this spring

While you may not want to ditch your cosy winter coat yet, you will be happy to notice the mercury climbing the thermometer over the next few weeks. To help you enjoy Sweden's allemansrätten this spring (the right for everyone to enjoy public and private land in the Swedish countryside) The Local has compiled ten spots of particular beauty to visit.

Ten beautiful spots in Sweden you must visit this spring
The High Coast is one of Sweden's must-see spots in the spring. Photo: Friluftsbyn Höga Kusten/imagebank.sweden.se

1. Bohuslän (Västra Götaland county)

Bohuslän in the county of Västra Götaland is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful areas of the west coast. It is an ideal spot for an array of solo and group activities such as hiking, camping, sailing and kayaking, around the island of Långeskär off the coast.

How to get there: Local trains (organized by Västtrafik) are available from Gothenburg, Uddevalla, Munkedal, Tanum and Strömstad, while buses connect with other destinations. By car, the E6 is the main road, and Bohuslän can even be reached from Oslo within three hours depending on traffic.


The tiny coastal town of Kämpersvik. Photo: Per Pixel Petersson/imagebank.sweden.se

2. Åre (Jämtland County)

Who said Åre was only about skiing? The breathtaking landscapes of this hilly part of the Jämtland municipality in northwest Sweden makes it a destination of choice during the warmer days. Through various activities such as hiking, biking or even paragliding, you can discover the stunning scenery of snowless Norrland. We are sure the meadows of Ullådalen or the Välliste fell will quickly win you over.

How to get there: SJ run trains daily from Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, while there are also daily domestic and occasional international flights to Åre Östersund airport. By car, the easily accessible E14 road connects with Åre.


Jämtland’s nature. Photo: Niclas Vestefjell/imagebank.sweden.se

3. Fårö (Gotland county)

The island of Gotland is undeniably a travel staple when the harsh winter days are gone. Attracting tourists from all over the world, the region offers countless landscapes and activities for its visitors, such as hiking, camping, sailing or simple leisure.

Take advantage of the quieter springtime days to visit Fårö, an island just of north the main island. Famous for its unique “rauks” (ancient rock formations known in English as stacks), Fårö’s beaches offer stunning sights for the coast enthusiasts out there. Everyone else, worry not! Gotland is among the most cycle friendly places in Sweden, if you’re more into sightseeing on two wheels.

How to get there: Gotland’s capital Visby is accessible by ferry from Oskarshamn in Kalmar county and Nynäshamn in Stockholm county. You can also travel by air from Stockholm (both Arlanda and Brömma airports), Gothenburg and Malmö. Fårö is then accessible by car or passenger ferry.


Fåro’s coast. Photo: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

4. Kristinehamn (Värmland county)

Travellers to Kristinehamn can not only enjoy outdoor activities on the beautiful shores of lake Vänern (Sweden and the EU’s largest lake) but also take a look into the past by visiting the Järsberg Runestone, which dates back to the 6th century.

How to get there: Regular trains link the city to Stockholm, Gothenburg and Oslo. Kristinehamn is also 40 minutes away from Karlstad Airport and Örebro Airport. Several main roads connect Värmland to the rest of Sweden and Scandinavia.


Camping in Kristinehamn. Photo: Clive Tompsett/imagebank.sweden.se

5. Kungsleden (Västerbotten county)

There may be less chance of seeing northern lights in the spring, but Kungsleden is definitely worth the journey. It is the longest hiking trail in the country, stretching over 440 km from Abisko to Hemavan, and therefore a staple for trek aficionados. The four sections of the trail each take around one week to cross, so be sure to clear your schedule.

If you do not wish to travel all the way to Lapland, try Ångermanland, its neighbouring southern historical province, which boasts the second longest hiking trail, the famous Höga Kusten Hike (High Coast Hike).

How to get there: To get to Kunglseden, Abisko is reachable by train from Stockholm and by train and bus from Kiruna. To get to Ångermanland, Örnsköldsvik Travel Center is reachable by bus or train, and is connected to the start of the hike by bus. Buses from Stockholm (Y-buss) are also available.


A view from the High Coast Hike. photo: Friluftsbyn Höga Kusten/imagebank.sweden.se

6. Naturbyn (Värmland county)

Lost between the spruces, the Naturbyn resort is an ideal place for couples and families visiting the Långserud area of Värmland county. In this microvillage which seeks to instill a tradition of ecotourism, guests live in simple huts and are in communion with nature. To discover the many wonders of Värmland, you can paddle through Lake Eldan by canoe or go for a hike. Naturby also offers group activities such as outdoor yoga or organized canoe trips.

How to get there: By car, Naturbyn is accessible through the E45 from Gothenburg, E18 from Stockholm and E6 from Malmö. SJ trains and local trains are also available.


Lake Eldan. Photo: Jacque de Villiers/imagebank.sweden.se

7. Mjällådalen (Västernorrland county)

Located in Västernorrland, this ecological wonder makes it worth a visit to the big north. Mjällåden is a group of stunning valleys and unique landscapes located on a geological hotspot. Signposted paths and a bridge across the river allow travellers to hike through the valleys and witness the diverse flora and fauna that Mjällåden is famous for. You can also fish and try smoking your catch in a traditional rökkåta (smoking hut)!

How to get there: Train lines link Timrå to several cities like Umeå. Sundsvall Timrå airport is located within the municipality and has daily flights to Stockholm, Gothenburg and Luleå. 

 

Mjällådalen, Timrå.

A post shared by Eva Lenander (@lotuslinnea) on Jul 31, 2016 at 11:10pm PDT

8. Stockholm archipelago (Stockholm county)

While Stockholm is no hidden gem for travellers in Sweden, its archipelago is often overshadowed by the mainland. Venturing through the multitude of small islands will make you forget you’re so close to the big city. If you live in east central Sweden and have not visited them yet, it is the ideal way to enjoy the sunnier days without the burden of travelling too far.

How to get there: Waxholmsbolaget is the marine public transport system daily travelling to hundreds of destinations in the Stockholm archipelago. The many bridges and rich infrastructure makes it possible to reach several of the islands by car or public transport.


A red cabin in the Stockholm archipelago. Photo: Henrik Trygg/imagebank.sweden.se

9. Karlskrona (Blekinge county)

Fancy a weekend down south? The capital and largest town of the Blekinge archipelago made it on a list of prettiest town in 2016. Karlskrona can offer warmer temperatures than the rest of the country due to its southern position, but also has a beautiful port and cultural activities around the maritime identity of the city. Several camping spots border the coastal area, but you can also choose to stay in old fishermen’s cabins for the full maritime experience.

How to get there: Ronneby Airport in Kallinge is reachable by shuttle bus. Karlskrona can also be reached by train from Malmö, Kristianstad, Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Emmaboda to name a few.


Karlskrona’s port. Photo: Per Pixel Petersson/imagebank.sweden.se

10. The Scandes

Mountain enthusiasts should definitely consider paying a visit to the Scandinavian Mountains (or Scandes for short). This mountain range stretches across Norway, Sweden and Finland is an international destination for hiking and climbing. The gentler temperature in spring allows travellers to witness the particularly rich flora and fauna of the range. Note however that the journey is easier when travelling by car than when relying on public transport.

How to get there: A train line from Stockholm runs all the way to Narvik in Norway, stopping by Kiruna and Abisko. Local trains offer several other connections.


Landscape from the Swedish Scandes. Photo: Anders Ekholm/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se

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How a rental car shortage in Europe could scupper summer holiday plans

After long months of lockdowns and curfews Europeans are looking forward to jetting off for a bit of sun and sand -- only to find that their long awaited holiday plans go awry due to a shortage of rental cars.

How a rental car shortage in Europe could scupper summer holiday plans
Tourists wait outside of rental car agencies in Corsica. Photo: PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP

In many areas popular with tourists cars are simply not available or subcompacts are going for a stiff €500 euros.

Car rental comparison websites show just how expensive renting a vehicle has become for tourists this summer.

According to Carigami, renting a car for a week this summer will set tourists back an average of 364 euros compared to 277 euros two years ago.

For Italy, the figure is 407 euros this summer compared to 250 euros in 2019. In Spain, the average cost has jumped to 263 euros from 185 euros.

According to another website, Liligo, daily rental costs have nearly doubled on the French island of Corsica. At the resort city of Palma on the Spanish island of Mallorca, rental prices have nearly tripled.

Today’s problem is a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Faced with near absence of clients, selling off vehicles to raise cash made a lot of sense for car rental firms struggling to survive.

“Everyone drastically reduced their fleet,” said the head of Europcar, Caroline Parot.

Until the spring, most companies still had fleets roughly a third smaller than in 2019, she said.

Car rental firms are used to regularly selling their vehicles and replacing them, so rebuilding their inventory should not have been a problem.

Except the pandemic sent demand for consumer electronics surging, creating a shortage of semiconductors, or chips, that are used not only in computers but increasingly in cars.

“A key contributor to the challenge right now is the global chip shortage, which has impacted new vehicle availability across the industry at a time when demand is already high,” said a spokesman for Enterprise.

It said it was working to acquire new vehicles but that in the mean time it is shifting cars around in order to better meet demand.

No cars, try a van

“We’ve begun to warn people: if you want to come to Italy, which is finally reopening, plan and reserve ahead,” said the head of the association of Italian car rental firms, Massimiliano Archiapatti.

He said they were working hard to meet the surge in demand at vacation spots.

“But we’ve got two big islands that are major international tourism destinations,” he said, which makes it difficult to move cars around,
especially as the trip to Sardinia takes half a day.

“The ferries are already full with people bringing their cars,” he added.

“Given the law of supply and demand, there is a risk it will impact on prices,” Archiapatti said.

The increase in demand is also being seen for rentals between individuals.

GetAround, a web platform that organises such rentals, said it has seen “a sharp increases in searches and rentals” in European markets.

Since May more than 90 percent of cars available on the platform have been rented on weekends, and many have already been booked for much of the summer.

GetAround has used the surge in demand to expand the number of cities it serves.

For some, their arrival can’t come fast enough.

Bruno Riondet, a 51-year-old aeronautics technician, rents cars to attend matches of his favourite British football club, Brighton.

“Before, to rent a car I was paying between 25 and 30 euros per day. Today, it’s more than 90 euros, that’s three times more expensive,” he said.

In the United States, where prices shot higher during the spring, tourists visiting Hawaii turned to renting vans.

In France, there are still cars, according to Jean-Philippe Doyen, who handles shared mobility at the National Council of Automobile Professionals.

“Clients have a tendency to reserve at the last minute, even more so in the still somewhat uncertain situation,” he said.

They will often wait until just a few days before their trip, which means car rental firms don’t have a complete overview of upcoming demand, he added.

He said business is recovering but that revenue has yet to reach pre-pandemic levels as travel is not yet completely unfettered.

SEE ALSO: British drivers will no longer need an insurance ‘green card’ to visit Europe, EU rules

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