Sweden’s National Parks

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This Summer I took some time to explore some of the Swedish National Parks. Sweden has 29 National Parks, and around 4000 Nature Reserves.

Sweden has some of the oldest parks in Europe, and puts quite some effort in creating new areas, once in a while. Some of the parks are currently being renovated (new/improved infrastructures and accesses), and it’s a pleasure for me to know how well the tax money is applied.

Swedes naturally enjoy outdoors, and even in the coldest days, they will go outside to embrace the nature.

Some friends ask me if I don’t get bored in Sweden. Well, to be honest, you cannot get bored if you love outdoors. Kayaking, skiing, hiking, camping… Sweden has it all! Now, if you are a person that fancies shopping malls and crowded festivals, than you’d better not move to Sweden!

The National Parks differ quite a bit, whether in landscape (coastal, forest or mountain) or accessibility, meaning that some are easily reachable by public transportation, and some are so inaccessible to the point where there are no bridges, and you have to cross small streams.

On the website and at the entrance of each park, there is always information about what you can find in the park, and what you are allowed to do, or not. It’s impportant to always check this information before, to prevent unpleasant surprises/problems.

Besides that, there are already some phone applications available, with information on the different nature areas, for some regions.

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The Swedish Summer

Even though Southern European people think it’s a myth, they are wrong. But of course in the Northern part of the globe, we do not get 50 ºC temperatures – luckily – or we would die (since the sun never sets in the Summer, it would be extremely tiring). Not to mention the forest fires! More than half of the land in Sweden is covered by forest. There are already enough warnings about forest fires, since it can get incredibly dry.

The Summer in the Arctic is something between 20-28 ºC, with sunny, and never-ending days, and believe me when I say it: 28 ºC here feels a lot more than in the Mediterranean!

The most interesting fact about the Swedish Summer is not the weather itself, but what happens when it starts (or better saying, what does not happen!).

Every Swede takes around 6 weeks of holidays in the Summer. With a long and cold Winter, it’s easy to understand why. I’d rather not put all the eggs in the same basket, and split, the holidays in portions. It’s healthier, and in case the weather is bad, I still get a second chance!

The funny thing about this is that nothing happens in Sweden during these 2 months (road construction, medical appointments, passport applications, car maintenance…). If you have something you need to do during the Summer, you have to do it before, or after. Unless you get shot, or fall from a 12th floor, no one will be there to attend you! Even the airport is only working 50%! Yes, you have to see it to believe it! =P

In Southern Europe, there is the common belief that nothing can be left to do for the following week or month – people are even disrupted during the holidays to do something that “cannot wait”! Though it can be frustrating when one wants/needs to have somehting done during this period, everyone is entitled to have holidays in the best part of the year. And if that does not happen, you have to be compensated for that. Right?

It is weird, and sometimes it will drive you nuts (specially if you are working during the Summer, like me), but after some time, you get used to it, and learn how to plan everything carefully (even getting sick!) =)