Low Cost Adventure Holidays in Sweden

Low Cost Adventure Holidays in Sweden. Photo: Matt Womersley.

If you’re thinking that the words “Sweden” and “low cost” don’t go together, think again! Read on, and you’ll be surprised at how affordable a responsible outdoor adventure can be, whether you’re travelling as a family, an adult couple or group of friends.

When it comes to low cost holidays in Sweden, there’s one word you need know: canoeing!

We started Nature Travels in 2006 on the premise that an “ecotourism” holiday should not have to come with an exclusive price tag, and that responsible adventures should be within reach of anyone with a normal holiday budget.

Canoe Tours on Svartälven. Photo: Tom Hosking.
Canoe Tours on Svartälven. Photo: Tom Hosking.

With a self-guided canoe tour in Sweden, you can not only keep costs to a minimum, but discover one of the most enjoyable outdoor activities this beautiful country has to offer.

Three Reasons Why a Canoeing Holiday in Sweden a Great Option for a Budget Adventure:

1. Canoe Tours in Sweden are Cheaper than in the UK

Prices will of course vary depending on location and provider, but from our research, the typical rate for multi-day hire of a 2-person canoe in the UK is between £37/canoe/day (the lowest we found) and £55/canoe/day (more typical).

For a 4-day/3-night tour, that gives a total price for hire of basic canoe equipment of £148-£220 per two persons. For an 8-day/7-night tour, it would be £296-£440.

So how does that compare with our canoe tours in Sweden? Well:

Discover Wilderness Canoeing in Rogen, a popular option for a challenging canoe tour in the north-west of Sweden, would be £276 for 2 persons for 8 days/7 nights AND includes transfer to/from the start/end points of the tour.

Wild camping in Sweden.
The freedom and privilege of wild camping is just one factor which makes a canoeing holiday so affordable. Photo: Nature Travels.

Canoe Tours on Röjdån, a lovely rural tour in the west of Sweden ideal for families or adults, would be £212 for 2 adults for 4 days/3 nights or, as children under 16 receive a 50% discount, just £318 for a family of 4 (using two canoes) AND includes full kitchen equipment as standard.

Canoeing in Dalsland’s Lake District, a very flexible option in the west of Sweden, would be £402 as two adults AND includes full camping equipment and kitchen equipment (cooking stove with fuel, tent, sleeping bags and sleeping mats) as well as lock tickets to assist with the land transports and the camping card necessary to use the network of camping spots in the area.

Canoeing with children in Sweden.
Canoeing is a great budget option for adults or families. Photo: Harry Bardgett.

2. Public Transport in Sweden is Cheaper than in the UK

As an example, let’s compare the train journey from Stockholm Central station to Torsby (to where you would travel for the Röjdån mentioned above) with a train journey of similar distance in the UK.

Canoe Tours in Bergslagen. Photo: Jonathan Perry.
Canoe Tours in Bergslagen. Photo: Jonathan Perry.

Let’s check for a family of four, 2 adults and 2 children aged 14 and 13, booking their tickets about 12 weeks ahead (when the most affordable train tickets for travel in both the UK and Sweden are released).

At the time of writing (late June 2019), the total fare for 2 adults and 2 children from Stockholm Central to Torsby, a 6-hour journey of a little over 400km, is 990 SEK one-way (about £85) for travel dates in mid-September. The cost for a one-way ticket is not proportionally more than a return, so it makes no different price-wise if you buy single or return tickets. This fare applied to a couple of trains on each of the travel dates we checked and was the same for both the outward and return journeys, with fares if travelling at other times of day only marginally higher.

Canoeing and camping in Sweden.
Canoeing and camping – a perfect combination! Photo: Matt Womersley.

By comparion, checking London Paddington to Durham (a journey of approximately the same distance) for travel during the same period, the lowest total one-way fare we found for 2 adults and 2 children under 16 was £96, but this applied only to one train time, in one direction and on one date during the period we checked, and already had limited availability. The typical cost for most other train times and dates was £221/one-way.

But What About the Cost of Travelling to Sweden?

This is of course a factor to add to the total cost of your trip, as it would be for any holiday overseas.

Public transport within Sweden is very affordable and generally excellent and something which can and should form a central component of any trip once you have arrived in the country.

Canoeing in western Sweden.
A self-guided canoe tour allows you to enjoy the outdoors at your own pace. Photo: Euan Turner.

To get to Sweden initially, for those with the extra time available to make the journey by ferry/rail, it’s also very possible to travel from the UK without flying (we recommend the excellent Seat 61 as a planning resource). However, for the budget-conscious, at the moment flying is still unfortunately the most cost-effective way to access Sweden from the UK. With the increased demand for no-fly alternatives, we hope this may change in the future.

There are so many variables in flight pricing that it’s difficult to give more than a very general indication of fares, but in general, fares Gatwick-Stockholm with Norwegian (www.norwegian.com) can often be under £100 return or from Heathrow-Stockholm with SAS (www.flysas.com) around £130 return if booked well in advance, making Sweden a very competitively-priced destination in terms of flight costs.

Nature Travels a wide range of tours of varying duration and level of challenge, from family-friendly trips suitable for even very young children, to challenging wilderness expeditions for which considerable outdoor experience is required.

For an overview, please see Choosing a Canoe Tour and also our article on When To Go Canoeing. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions to help you decide on the best canoe tour for you!