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Backpacking in Sweden and Finland

  1. Feb 24, 2014 #1
    Hi everyone,

    I am sorry, I posted another thread a few days ago but I have come up with another idea for my post graduation summer. I am graduating with my math degree and I am wanting to take a trip this summer to see Sweden and Finland. I want to do a backpacking trip where I hike and sleep outside in a tent most days, or in a cabin/hostel. I have found two really interesting trails, one is the King's Trail http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kungsleden , but the only drawback is that this one is only in Sweden, and I would like to see some of Finland too. So the other option is the Nordkalotteden which runs through the northern parts of Sweden, Finland, and Norway. I think I like this option better. Does anyone on here have any experience with these trails?

    I am planning to stay in scandanavia about 5 weeks total, and my budget is ~4000 USD. I'd like to spend about 4 weeks hiking and maybe a week in one of the big cities like stockholm or helsinki.

    Any advice would be appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 24, 2014 #2


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    I don't have any experience with that kind of trip (closest was a bicycle camping trip through southern Finland more than 30 years ago), but I can recommend a book that I read a long time ago:

    https://www.amazon.com/The-Hard-Way-Haparanda-Lister/dp/B000NXCDL8 (R. P. Lister)

    His trip covered parts of both Sweden and Finland. It was published in 1965, so a lot of details are surely out of date, but I remember it as a fun read, written in a drily witty style. Unfortunately I lent it to someone and never got it back. Maybe I'll pick up a used copy now that I'm thinking of it.

    Lister is still alive at the age of 99. There's a Wikipedia page about him. Looks like an interesting chap.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Feb 25, 2014 #3


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    Hi Hercuflea, I'm from Sweden but I have sadly no personal experience of those trails (I live in the southernmost part of Sweden), but I know Kungsleden is very famous. It seems you are interested in Finland too, but I must say that Norway is a very beautiful country too - e.g. the fjords are stunning. But it is pretty expensive in Norway.

    EDIT: Stockholm is a good visit, IMO, a nice city. I also like Uppsala (with a famous university), 70 km north of Stockholm. It's a cosy and quite beautiful city. I like Oslo too. I've been to Helsinki, but it was just a brief visit so I don't remember very much about it.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  5. Feb 25, 2014 #4
    Yes, I originally wanted to do Norway, but I decided I could get more bang for my buck and see two countries Sweden and Finland, and still have money left over to see a big city at the end too.
  6. Feb 25, 2014 #5


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    I went to Finland and Sweden last summer, it is beautiful. I love the forests there. Keep in mind that during the summer if you are backpacking, it's going to be light most of the time, especially if you are in the lapland. If you want to save serious money, I used couchsurfing and stayed with people for free. Everything is more expensive in Finland and Sweden (compared to the US), but I was able to stay in Europe (Finland/France/Germany/Sweden) for 4 weeks for ~2000 USD. I think with 4000 you will be fine. If you are taking the train, get a Eurail pass.

    We took the cruise ship from Helsinki --> Stockholm for cheap. I think Stockholm has a lot more architecture than Helsinki, but both are well worth the visit. I am biased though, I am a true Finnophile!!
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  7. Feb 26, 2014 #6


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    Definitely consider including one of the Baltic ferries in your itinerary. Helsinki - Stockholm is always overnight, but on Turku - Stockholm you have a choice of day or night sailings. The latter is probably more scenic (more islands instead of open sea). When I did this 30+ years ago one could sleep overnight in reclining chairs in a lounge instead of in a stateroom, to save money.
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