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Seven amazing autumn walks in southern Sweden

Seven amazing autumn walks in southern Sweden
Autumn is a superb time to hike in southern Sweden. Photo: Alexander Hall/Visit Sweden
The leaves are just starting to turn, transforming huge tracts of the beech and oak forests of southern Sweden into a bewitching blaze of red and gold. Here are some of the best autumn walks.

Söderåsen National Park 

A 45-minute drive north of Malmö, and an hour by train and bus if you get the right connections, Söderåsen National Park claims to be “one of the largest uninterrupted expanses of deciduous forest in northern Europe”, meaning it is perhaps the best place in Sweden to experience the autumn colours to the full. 

The landscape is unusually hilly for the southern region of Skåne, with steep slopes and ravines, flowing streams, high cliffs and panoramic views. 

More intrepid walkers could attempt the 18-kilometre hike from Röstånga to Klåveröd, which takes you through Skäralid, which offers some of the park’s best views, as well as past the viewpoints of Hjortsprånget and Kopparhatten. There is also a deep ravine which claims the title of “Skåne’s grand canyon”. 

If you intend to stay overnight, there is an open public shelter (vindskydd) at Lierna, about halfway between Röstånga and Klåveröd, and another one about four kilometres before Klåveröd. There are also hostels in both Klåveröd and Röstånga. 

For those who aren’t the type to bring hot sausages in thermoses, Skäralid, roughly halfway, has a decent restaurant which serves wild boar and other country fare, although it is only open on the weekends in September. 

Söderåsen is one of the best places in Sweden to see the autumn colours. Photo: Sweden’s National Parks

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Häckebergasjön and Häckeberga Slott

Häckeberga Slott, a 19th century castle or mansion, built on an islet in Lake Häckeberga, is the starting point for a great round walk through the surrounding beech forests. There’s a car park near the building, or you can take the bus 172 from Malmö station to Genarp and walk the 3.6 kilometres to the mansion.

Once there, it’s possible to take a short walk around the lake. The more intrepid can do the 25 kilometres Häckeberga Runt marked Skåneleden trail. Skåneleden recommends you start this at the common (allmänningen), east of Genarp.

The walk takes you through estate land, well populated with deer, through the hilly Degebergahus Nature Reserve, with its beech forests, the Husarahagen forest, and the more open Dörröds Fälad nature reserve with groves of hazel trees.

If you want to stay the night, there’s a lovely thatched cottage, called Kullatorpet, which costs 450 kronor a night for a group of five. You need to bring your own sleeping bags. Ring Leif Stenquist, one of the volunteers on 070-600 23 14 for details. It’s a slight detour from the marked trail.

Those with deeper pockets could both eat and sleep in the castle itself.

Häckeberga Slott is a 19th century mansion. Photo: Creative Commons/Skåne.com

Rövarekulan

Rövarekulan nature reserve, near the town of Höör, follows the 20 metre high ravine made by the Bråån river, and takes you through old beech and oak forests, and out past pastures, with a good chance of seeing woodpeckers, herons and nightingales. Rövarekulan means ‘Thieves’ Hideout’, a name that goes back to the 1600s when the King’s Highway passed through.

There’s a walk around the reserve, crossing over the river using a rickety wooden bridge and then back over the stone bridge near the carpark.


The old stone bridge at Rövarekulan, from which bandits would spring on 17th century travellers. Photo: Maria Sandell/Länsstyrelsen Skåne

If you want a bit more exercise, you can walk the nine kilometre Rövarekulan-Höghult section of the Skåneleden trail. The Rövarekulan shelter, which sits in a majestic beech wood, is one of the best places to sleep out on the Skåneleden. You can also camp out at another shelter in Höghult. 


The Bråån travelling through Rövarekulan. Photo: OllieHenry/WIkimedia Commons 

Bokskogen in Torup

The closest patch of beech forest to Malmö, easily accessible by bus (number 148) and bike, is a great place for an autumnal weekend afternoon, with nice cafés near the castle where you can relax over coffee, cake and soup afterwards.


The Torup beech wood. Photo: Anteger11/Wikimedia Commons

There are five short sign-posted walks of 1.7-3 kilometres, which are perfect for families with small children (there’s also a very good adventure playground), signposted jogging tracks of between 2-10 kilometres, two of which are illuminated for night jogging.

Hikers can use Torup as the starting point for four different Skåneleden trails (five including the rather urban one back to Malmö), Torup to Ekholmssjön, Torup to Glamberga, Torup to Svedala, and Torup to Sturup.

The castle itself is worth a visit, its well-tended garden dotted with sculptures, and several rooms open to visitors.


Torups Slott is a popular getaway for Malmöites. Photo: Jorchr/Wikimedia Commons

Alnarp Park

More of an arboretum, the collection of trees from all over the world at Alnarp Park, outside Malmö, is another good place to spend an autumn weekend afternoon, particularly if you want to see the deep red hues of maple trees. The castle now houses the southern campus of Swedish Agricultural University. The 133 bus from Malmö Central Station takes just 24 minutes to get there. 

A tree (sycamore?) at Alnarp turning red and yellow in autumn. Photo: Susanne Nilsson/Flickr

Hövdala Hiking Centre

The castle at Hövdala, near Hässleholm in northern Skåne, is the starting point for several excellent long hikes, from the 20 kilometre Finjasjöleden which takes you around the Finjasjö lake, with much of the path on raised wooden walkways over marsh filled with alder trees, which turn a brilliant yellow in autumn. It’s a fabulous walk for birdwatchers, with populations of Eurasian curlew, common snipe, redshank and peewit.


One of the walkways that takes you around the Finjasjön lake. Photo: Jakob Andersson/Flickr

There’s also the 22 kilometre Höjdarnas höjdarled, which takes you from Hövdala Slott up into the hills beside the lake. When you reach the top, with fantastic views, you can stay the night in new architect-designed shelters, called Birk, Birka and Ronja, after Astrid Lindgren characters. The intercity trains will take you from Malmö to Hässleholm in 45 minutes, after which it’s a short 15 minute bus ride to Hövdala Slott.

Drakamöllan Nature Reserve in the Brösarp hills

The Brösarp hills in the tourist district of Österlen boast another autumn treat: the thick heather which covers the moors of the Drakamöllan Nature Reserve, which bursts into tiny flowers in late August and early September. The reserve lies one kilometre south of Maglehem, near the road 19 between Ystad and Kristianstad.

The moors are surrounded by forests and pastureland, and from the top, there are fantastic views down over the Baltic coast. As you walk across the moors, you rustle up hares, which then shoot off into the distance.

If you want to stay the night, there’s the Drakamöllans Gårdshotell, which has 12 rooms in a beautiful traditional Skånelänga farmhouse.


The heather in bloom in Drakamöllan Nature Reserve. Photo: Anna-Mi Wendel/Flickr


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