The notorious Scandinavian winters are an adventure-lover’s dream. The Swedish are so obsessed with skiing that schools shut every February for a “sports vacation” when half the country heads into the hills. The long route north leads you to Lapland and the Arctic Circle. Here you can take husky safaris, scooting across the snow in search of elk, scan the skies for the northern lights or scour the picture-postcard villages for Father Christmas. But snow carpets the entire country so you don’t have to go far to try something new. Head to the local frozen lake to try kitewinging or ice-yachting or try the mountains and climb a frozen waterfall.
With over 3200 kilometres of coastline and plenty of wind, it is little wonder that the Swedes have always been great sailors. The Oresund strait and Malmö city beach are pilgrimage sites for windsurfers and kitesurfers, whilst the networks of peninsulas and islands across the country make for brilliant boating. Even the cities are waterways – the canals of Stockholm are great for kayaking and canoeing. And as if that wasn’t enough, the Swedish seas boast almost 10,000 shipwrecks, if they can brave the freezing waters divers can explore ships swallowed up and preserved by the Baltic.
With mountains touching the sky at 2,111 metres, Sweden offers plenty for the mountaineer too. Glaciers, waterfalls, cliff-faces and great mountain bike routes are a blank canvas for adventurers. But for those who would rather fling themselves off mountains than climb them there is a strong paragliding and parachuting scene. For a more sedate flight try hot-air ballooning in Stockholm, Gothenburg or Malmo.