The Scandinavian region is known for its great open landscapes and is a mecca for hikers and backpackers. Waymarked footpaths are found in scenically outstanding areas.
The Danish countryside offers the most gentle introduction to walkers, with an appealing patchwork of dense forests, coastal dunes, marshes and meticulously manicured farmland. In every type of landscape there are paths or trails that stretch for miles, and a labyrinth of winding country roads.
The greatest proportion of Sweden is virgin country. You can stroll for miles along tracks without seeing another human being. Throughout Sweden there’s an excellent network of waymarked footpaths. Close to Stockholm is Södermansleden (Söderland trail), with over 1.000km (620 miles) of pathways, starting at Björkhagen underground station.
Carefully laid out, the trail offers hikers constantly changing vistas of deep forest, historic sites, lookout points and lakes. It passes several camps where you can eat, rest and buy supplies, with shelters at regular intervals.
Sörmlandsleden is an easy hike, but it offers plenty of excitement, with deer, elk, capercaillie, hawks and grouse along the way. For the most exotic views, head for the Kungsleden trail which runs for 450km (280 miles) between Abisko and Hemavan.
Norwegians are quite at home in their wild, unspoilt country, and have a great feeling for its mountains. In Norway, the bulk of the trails and lodges are conveniently in the middle of the triangle bounded by the cities of Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim.
A central point is Finse, situated above the timber line at 1.200 meters (4.000ft). Finse’s main street is the station platform; there are no cars, because there are no roads.
Hitting the Walking Trails in Scandinavia, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top) Lysefjord, Norway
Freedom to Roam in Scandinavia