Sweden is a traveler’s paradise. With more than 96,000 lakes this Scandinavian country is nestling peacefully in Northern Europe and has been offering plenty options for summer recreation.
The large lakes in Sweden have occupied nearly 9% of its total area. Whether you want to go boating, swimming, fishing or simply relaxing, the majestic lakes with crystal clear water have bountiful surprises for you. Let’s explore it this summer.
I found myself with a lineup of beautiful lakes that were just too numerous for one single article unless you are ready to stick to the computer screen all day. Therefore, whittling down a list of the top pick was not an easy task but still here is what I could manage for you.
This is the largest lake in Sweden & the European Union encompassing 5,655 km2. Resulting from Quaternary glaciations which took place nearly 10,000 years ago, Vänern houses some rare and exquisite aquatic species.
Apart from its geological past, Vänern also boasts of its heritage. The famous epic, Beowulf, in Old English mentions a battle on the ice which was fought at Vänern. To add more twist in the story, a wreck of 20m long Viking ship was recovered from the bottom of the lake in 2009 now a subjected for further research by the marine archaeologists.
The breathtaking view of Lake Vänern enchants the tourists round the year. It offers plenty outdoor activities to both adventurous and the laid-back travelers. Connecting 14 municipalities and 3 provinces, Vänern offers the largest freshwater archipelago of Europe.
Grästorps, Grums, Gullspångs, Hammaro, and Åmål are some of the important municipalities where you can seek help and advice upon your visit. It lets you discover nearly 22,000 inlets and islands, sandy beaches and shallow bays all across. Other important recreational activities are canoeing, fishing, sailing, biking, and golf. If you like to paddle a sea kayak, Tösse’s mesmerizing archipelago is an obvious destination.
As I just mentioned fishing, let me tell you that you can spend peaceful mornings and lazy afternoons by the lake because you will need no major permissions for fishing. Amateur fishing is unregulated from the shore. I would recommend you to speak to the local officials to learn more about permissions before you decide fishing from the boats.
Famous for its placid water, Lake Vättern ranks the second largest lake in Sweden and is an ideal place for summer vacation. The total surface area covers 1,912 km2 excluding the drainage basin. It is situated in the south central Sweden known as Götaland.
It is drained by Motala ström. It is also associated with a local myth that there is a lake monster inhabiting. According to some people, the name has a connection with an archaic term, ‘vätter’ which means lake spirits while another group of people thinks that the name has been derived from ‘vatten’, a Swedish term for water.
It is widely popular for its crystal clear water. The water is pure and does not require treatment before drinking. Anyone can drink the lake water directly without fear. The scenic beauty of Vättern is well appreciated by the locals and international visitors. If you like visiting historical places, probably you can go see the castle of Läckö Slott.
Tourists are allowed to fish without permissions, provided they don’t use fishing nets. There is an array fish, pike, perch, salmon, grayling and brown trout are some common species. The massive lake can be explored for hours on a boat. If you want to go around, don’t miss the scenic island of Visingsö. Exploit the resources in a sunny afternoon or go on sailing. Swimming is another option to beat the heat.
Lake Mälaren ranks third on my list in terms of summer activity. It is also the third largest lake in Sweden. The ancient name of the lake was ‘Lǫgrinn’, meaning ‘The lake’ in Old Norse. It is believed that the current name Mälaren has been derived from the word ‘mælir’, an ancient term used in Norse referring to ‘gravel’.
The lake is spreading across horizontally from the west to east and drains at the Baltic Sea. If you are looking for private islands to spend your summer holidays away from the public, Lake Mälaren is absolutely perfect for you.
There are more than 1,200 islands which are thickly wooded along the shoreline. The major islands are Adelsö, Björkö, Kungsholmen and Lilla Essingen. The famous cities bordering the lake are Stockholm, Uppsala, Kungsängen, Västerås, and others.
If you are a passionate bird-watcher, Mälaren will not disappoint you. Several species of the gull, geese, and duck can be found at the lake. Black-headed gull, herring gull, common gull, lesser black-backed gull, barnacle goose, graylag goose, Canada goose, White-tailed eagle, tufted duck, sea hawk are some of the birds.
Birka and Hovgården, the ancient Viking settlements at Björkö and Adelsö, have been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993. The famous Drottningholm Palace is located on the neighboring island of Lovön.
If you are one of those who likes visiting historical places, Munsö island by the Lake Mälaren is ideal. A barrow of the legendary king Björn Ironside, who ruled Sweden sometime in the 9th Century, is situated in Munsö. The barrow is crowned with a stone that contains invaluable but fragmentary information of Runic Inscription 13 of Uppland.
You may take a stroll around the lake or ride a bike, grab a coffee as you take a seat at the adjacent restaurants, hop on boats and go on tours from Mälaren to Sigtuna, Drottingham Palace, and other picturesque islands.
It is fourth largest lake which should be in your list of lakes for relaxing in summer. The region is dominated by lime-rich clays and Archaean rocks. Hjälmaren is surrounded by Södermanland, Närke, and Västmanland. The surface area covers about 483 km².
Hjälmaren is located in the Central Swedish lowland, near Lake Mälaren. The temperature is pleasant in summer. From May to August you can expect a good weather with comfortable warmth. The lake is less crowded, which makes it ideal if you want to enjoy your vacation peacefully and away from the public.
The biggest fame is the Örebro Castle located in the town of Örebro. The exquisite Renaissance Örebro castle with its rounded towers gives a taste of the historic past. Ooze your nostalgia with Wadköping Open Air Museum. The traditional markets, local crafts shops or the scent of freshly baked bread, there is a lot to explore. The city of Örebro hosts various dance and music festivals too. Spend your holidays quietly and enjoy the sunset with your loved ones sitting at the bank of Hjälmaren.
The literary meaning of Storsjön is “The Great Lake”. It surrounds an area measuring 464 km2 and is drained by Gavleån. The lake is associated with a mythic lake monster Storsjöodjuret. According to legends, the Battle of Storsjön was fought near the icy lake in 1178.
Fishing is an optional recreational activity as there are varieties of fishes present in the lake. According to the reports, there are nearly 20 different species of fish in the lake. Bream, perch, ruffe, roach, salmon and brown trout are some common species found in the lake.
The lake has been divided into four fish conservation areas. It is an ideal place for fishing, boating, swimming, eating and chilling out in summer.