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Photo: C. Swanson

Self-guided Sea Kayaking in St Anna and Gryt (Sweden)

A flexible archipelago kayak adventure in one of Sweden's top paddling areas with choice of wild camping or cabin accommodation

  • Self-guided (min 2 adults)
  • Easy-Med
  • From £/person
  • May-Sep, 3 or more days
  • Adults, Families (min age 7), Groups

Highlights:

  • One of Sweden's top kayaking areas
  • Wild camping, tree tent or cabin accommodation
  • Extend any option with extra nights
  • Flexible tour for novice or experienced paddlers
  • Single or double kayaks
  • Camping equipment included

Description »

A sea kayaking holiday in your own way, at your own pace

Discover the beauty of the St Anna and Gryt archipelago on this self-guided sea kayaking holiday on the east coast of Sweden.

Whether you are a novice or more experienced paddler and whether you love the freedom of wild camping or a soft bed and roof over your head at night, there are options to suit you as you explore the island landscape of St Anna and Gryt, deservedly one of Sweden's most famous kayaking areas.

Choose a tour based either on wild camping in standard tents/tree tents or use mainland or island cabin accommodation as a base, or combine nights in cabin with nights under canvas!

Wild camping in St Anna and Gryt Archipelago

Choose camping for all nights of your tour, or choose the mainland or island cabin options and extend with extra nights' wild camping in the archipelago. Photo: C Swanson.

The Gryt archipelago is part of the larger St Anna island network and is one of Sweden's premier kayaking areas, known for the beauty of its natural landscape and ideal for exploring by sea kayak.

Camp wild or stay in a mainland or island cabin (or both!)

There are several options to choose from to create your own kayak adventure in the St Anna and Gryt archipelago. Any of the options can be extended with extra night(s) in the same accommodation type. If choosing the cabin options, you can also add an expedition component to the trip with extra night(s) wild camping.

You are free to plan your days as you wish, taking to the water to explore as much or as little of the archipelago as your time, energy and level of experience permits.

  • Option 1 - Wild Camping in Standard Tents (min. age 15): Starting/ending your tour from the kayak centre on the mainland, this option gives great flexibility to vary route, distance covered and level of challenge depending on your experience, weather conditions and time available. Dome tent, sleeping bag/mat, cooking stove with fuel and camping plates are included for this option.
  • Option 2 - Wild Camping in Tree Tents (min. age 15): Also starting/ending at the kayak centre, this is a unique camping experience in your own "tree tent" suspended in mid-air! The tents, which can sleep 2-3 persons, are straightforward to erect. Instructions for using the tent and advice on suitable island/location to pitch your tent for your first overnight will be advised at the start depending on weather/wind conditions. We recommend that you use the tent as a fixed base camp for day tours from same location, but if you wish you are welcome also to move overnight location during the trip. Tree tent, sleeping bag (sleeping mat is not required), cooking stove with fuel and camping plates are included for this option.
  • Option 3 - Simple or Upgraded Cabin on the Island of Harstena (min. age 15): For this option, you paddle between the mainland and the island where the cabins are located (min. paddle time around 4 hours). If adding extra night(s) camping, you can choose to break your journey between the mainland and Harstena by camping en route on the outward and/or return legs (recommended). This option requires previous kayaking experience and greater confidence on the water.
  • Option 4 - Simple or Upgraded Cabin on the Mainland (min. age 7): A choice of two cosy, atmospheric cabins to be your base on the mainland, giving you ultimate flexibility to explore as much or as little of the archipelago as you wish on beautiful day tours. You can also include an expedition component by adding wild camping nights before or after your cabin stay.
Tree tents in St Anna and Gryt Archipelago

Tree tents are an exciting and unusual option for accommodation during your tour! Photo: C Swanson.

The flexibility to offer an adventure for all abilities

Self-guided Sea Kayaking in St Anna and Gryt offers a great deal of flexibility in terms of level of challenge, distance covered and duration, and is therefore suitable for a wide range of participants, including active families:

  • Novice or less experienced paddlers: Options 1 and 2 are an accessible introduction to the activity of sea kayaking, with possibilities to spend as much time on (or off!) the water as you wish. Option 4 (Cabin on the Mainland) is suitable for any level of challenge, as there is no minimum requirement - you can kayak close to shore and cover just short distances, or explore much further afield. Option 4 is therefore also suitable for families with younger children (min. age 7). Option 3 (Cabin on the Island of Harstena), requires additional experience - see under "Good to Know" for details.
  • More experienced kayakers: All tour options offer the opportunity to explore further afield and increase the level of challenge, with the choice to camp on all nights or combine cabin accommodation with extra nights' wild camping to add an expedition component. Option 3 (Cabin on the Island of Harstena) is ideal for those with the experience to kayak out to the island and who also appreciate a roof over their heads at night - the ideal combination of adventure and simple comfort (and you can of course spend some extra nights camping too if you wish!).

 ...

Itinerary »

Arrival

For guests arriving by public transport, transfer from the bus stop at Fyrudden Hamn (approx. 4km) is included. Please let us know your bus arrival time in advance.

Options 1 and 2 - Standard Tents or Tree Tents:

Possible start times 09.00-17.00 by arrangement.

Meet at the kayak centre for information and equipment. You will be advised on a suitable location to paddle to for first overnight depending on wind/weather conditions and time available. Closest suitable point approx. 30 mins' paddle from the kayak centre. Plan start time accordingly to allow ample time to reach the island in daylight, especially if travelling towards the end of the season when daylight hours are shorter.

Option 3 - Cabin on Harstena:

Possible start times 09.00-17.00 by arrangement.

  • Meet at the kayak centre for information/equipment. NB: Note that paddle time to Harstena is minimum around 4 hours non-stop, though we recommend taking additional time to enjoy the landscape. If choosing this option you must therefore allow ample time to reach Harstena in daylight and so should plan your start time accordingly, especially if travelling towards the end of the season when hours of daylight are shorter. Alternatively, if adding extra days camping to your tour, you could choose to take two days to reach Harstena, camping on the way, and have your cabin nights later in your tour. Please specify your cabin dates on booking.

You will begin your experience from the kayak camp. The route to Harstena is around 8km (extensions optional) and takes you through a network of islands with many possibilities to stop. Explore the sandy beach of Sandö and the lovely lagoon of Långholmen before paddling out towards Gubbökupa, a fine spot for lunch 30m above the water and with a 360 degree view of the surrounding archipelago. Continue via Klubben and on to the island of Harstena, where your cabin accommodation is located. On Harstena you will check in to your cabin.

Kayaking to/from Harstena requires crossing some areas of open water and is recommended only if you have previous experience of kayaking and are comfortable paddling independently in a marine environment.

Option 4 - Cabin on the Mainland:

Check-in time at the accommodation is from 14.00, but you are welcome to arrive earlier (from 09.00 by arrangement) and make use of the kayak equipment for the full day.

You will be issued with your kayak equipment and given an introduction to possibilities for day tours in the surrounding archipelago.

Following Days

Self-guided kayak tours in the surrounding archipelago. A wide choice of options for exploring the beautiful island landscape is available. Distance covered and level of challenge is entirely flexible depending on factors such as your level of experience/fitness and wind/weather conditions. For novices or families, there is accessible paddling close to shore, while more experienced paddlers can choose to explore further afield.

Depending on the tour option chosen, you may be combining cabin accommodation with additional night(s) camping, giving the flexibility to spend some nights under canvas, camping wild beneath the stars.

Departure

For guests departing by public transport, transfer to the bus stop at Fyrudden Hamn (approx. 4km) is included. Please let us know your bus departure time in advance.

  • Options 1 and 2 - Standard Tents or Tree Tents: Pack up your tent and paddle back to the kayak centre for departure (distance/time depending on where you have camped the night before).
  • Option 3 - Cabin on Harstena: Kayak back to the kayak centre (min. paddle time 4 hours non-stop) for departure. You may of course have chosen to spend extra night(s) camping and be able to break your journey back to the mainland with a camping night.
  • Option 4 - Cabin on the Mainland: Please check out of your cabin by 12.00. You are welcome to use your kayak equipment for the full day (until 17.00).

Dates & Prices»

Dates 2024

Start/end any day by arrangement between 09.00 and 17.00 from 10th May to 15th September (last start 15th September).

Minimum duration 3 days/2 nights, extra days optional.

Note if paddling early/late in the season that you should be prepared for cooler conditions.

Prices 2024

Both single (K1) and double kayaks (K2) are available. Please specify your requirements on booking.

NB: Bedding and towels must be added to all Option 3 prices but may be optional for Option 4 and for extra nights in mainland cabin - see * below for details.

Standard Prices (per person) 
Option 1: Wild Camping in Standard Tents 
3 days/2 nightsGBP
Extra night with kayak and camping/kitchen equipmentGBP
  
Option 2: Wild Camping in Tree Tents 
3 days/2 nightsGBP
Extra night with kayak and camping/kitchen equipmentGBP
  
Option 3: Cabin on Harstena (simple or upgraded cabin) 
Bedding and towels/stay (must be added for all island cabin options)GBP
Simple cabin, 3 days/2 nightsGBP
Simple cabin extra night with kayakGBP
Upgraded cabin, 3 days/2 nights (if 2 persons)GBP
Upgraded cabin, extra night with kayak (if 2 persons)GBP
Upgraded cabin, 3 days/2 nights (if 4 persons)GBP
Upgraded cabin, extra night with kayak (if 4 persons)GBP
Camping before and/or after cabin stay/night (inc. kayak and camping/kitchen equipment)GBP
  
Option 4: Cabin on the Mainland (simple or upgraded cabin) 
Bedding and towels/stay (optional - see * below)GBP
Simple cabin, 3 days/2 nights (if 2 persons)GBP
Simple cabin extra night with kayak (if 2 persons)GBP
Simple cabin, 3 days/2 nights (if 4 persons)GBP
Simple cabin extra night with kayak (if 4 persons)GBP
Upgraded cabin, 3 days/2 nights (if 2 persons)GBP
Upgraded cabin, 3 days/2 nights (if 4 persons)GBP
Upgraded cabin, extra night with kayak (if 2 or 4 persons)GBP
Camping before and/or after cabin stay/night (inc. kayak and camping/kitchen equipment)GBP
Optional Extras (per person, see description below) 
For Options 1, 2, 3 or 4: 
Night in simple cabin on mainland before or after tour (if 2 persons)GBP
Night in simple cabin on mainland before or after tour (if 4 persons)GBP
Night in upgraded cabin on mainland before or after tour (if 2 persons)GBP
Night in upgraded cabin on mainland before or after tour (if 4 persons)GBP
Bedding and towels for extra night/stay (optional - see * below)GBP
  • Extra night in simple or upgraded cabin on the mainland: Can be added to any of the options. Does not include kayak equipment. For Upgraded cabin, breakfast is included, but use of bicycles is not included (as it is when choosing the Option 4 package) but can be hired locally for 100 SEK/day (approx. £10), payable locally.
  • *Bedding and towels for mainland cabins: If choosing Option 4, or staying extra night at one of the mainland cabins before or after the tour, bedding and towels will normally be required. However, if your tour has included camping, you are welcome to use the sleeping bag provided with the camping package if you prefer for your stay at the mainland cabins (please bring own towels in this case). Please specify your requirements on booking.

What's Included »

Included

Equipment:

  • All tours:
    • Sea kayak, paddles, buoyancy aids, splash skirt, night cover, safety equipment, bilge pump and waterproof bags.
    • Stable two-person (K2) kayaks (recommended for novices and families and also suitable for two adults + smaller child) and single (K1) kayaks are available, in PE plastic or fibreglass. Tahe Marine, Everest and EPIC kayaks are used. Some of the kayaks have rudders and skegs while others have Smart Track rudder control system. Please specify when booking whether you would prefer K1 or K2 kayaks.
    • Sea map. Information and suggestions on route options will be given at the start of the tour.
    • Toilet spade.
    • Water container.
  • Option 1 (Standard Tents) only: Sleeping bag with foam mat and liner, kitchen equipment (cooking stove, pans, fuel, plates, mug, washing up liquid). Please bring own cutlery.
  • Option 2 (Tree Tents) only: Sleeping bag with liner, kitchen equipment (cooking stove, pans, fuel, plates, mug, washing up liquid). Please bring own cutlery (sleeping mat is not required in the tree tents).

Accommodation:

Bedding and towels are a required extra for the cabins on Harstena (Option 3). Guests planning to camp for additional night(s) before or after their cabin stay should bring own towels for camping nights.

For cabins on the mainland (Option 4), please bring your own bed linen (or sleeping bags) and towels. If adding extra camping nights for your tour, you are welcome to use the sleeping bags including with camping equipment for nights in the cabins.

Option 1: Wild Camping in Standard Tents

Simple, free-standing dome tents suitable for 2-3 persons.

Standard Tents for Self-guided Sea Kayaking in St Anna and Gryt

Standard Tent option. Photos: C. Swanson

Option 2: Wild Camping in Tree Tents

Tree tents suitable for 2-3 persons. We recommend you use the tree tents as a fixed base for day tours, but it is also possible to move with the tents to different locations if you prefer.

Tree Tents for Self-guided Sea Kayaking in St Anna and Gryt

Tree Tent option. Photos: C. Swanson

Option 3: Cabin on the Island of Harstena

Two nights in self-catering cabin accommodation on Harstena. NB: End cleaning is not included. Please clean your cabin before departure.

If adding extra night(s) with camping before and/or after your cabin stay, camping and kitchen equipment will be included as per Option 1 above.

  • Simple Cabin: The cabins vary in size and specifications depending on availability, but are typically simple but cosy and comfortable camping cabins sleeping 2-4 persons (bunk beds) with small kitchen for self-catering. WC/shower in separate building.
Simple Island Cabins for Self-guided Sea Kayaking in St Anna and Gryt

Typical cabins for the "Simple Island Cabin" option.

  • Upgraded Cabin: Comfortable cabins approx. 40-45m2 with lovely views of the sea. Cabins are approx. 150m from the water, where there are bathing rocks and pebble beach. Fully-equipped kitchen for self-catering with cooker, fridge/freezer and dishwasher. 1 x 2-person bedroom with double/twin, one bed + extra bed in open landing area. Bathroom with toilet and shower. Shared outside barbecue area.
Upgraded Island Cabins for Self-guided Sea Kayaking in St Anna and Gryt

Typical cabins for the "Upgraded Island Cabin" option. Photos: OK

Option 4: Cabin on the Mainland

Two nights in self-catering cabin accommodation on the mainland. NB: End cleaning is not included. Please clean your cabin before departure.

If adding extra night(s) with camping before and/or after your cabin stay, camping and kitchen equipment will be included as per Option 1 above and you may, if you wish, use the sleeping bags included with the camping package as an alternative to hiring bed linen package for your cabin stay (please bring own towels in this case).

  • Simple Cabin: Located at the kayak centre, 200m from the water. Total area approx. 26m2. Sleeps up to 4 persons in 1 x bedroom with bunk beds (for 2 persons) + bed sofa (for 2 persons) in living area. Small kitchen for self-catering.
Simple Mainland Cabin for Self-guided Sea Kayaking in St Anna and Gryt

"Simple Mainland Cabin" option. Photos: OK

  • Upgraded Cabin: Located 6km from the kayak centre, approx. 30 mins by bicycle (use of bikes is included for your stay). You can choose either to have your kayaks at the kayak centre and start/end your daily tours from there, or have the kayaks on the beach 300m from the cabin. Please specify on booking which you prefer - both offer equally good opportunities for day a variety of day tours. Total area approx. 50m2. Sleeps up to 4 persons in two rooms, one double/twin and one with bunk beds. Small kitchen with fridge and microwave.
  • For the Upgraded cabin option, the following are also included:
    • Provisions for breakfast.
    • Use of bicycles (locks and helmets are provided) for general use, or for cycling the 6km between the cabin and the kayak centre, if you choose to have the kayaks there. Child sizes are available.
    • Transfer between bus stop at Fyrudden and cabin in connection with arrival/departure is included, as for other options.
Upgraded Mainland Cabin for Self-guided Sea Kayaking in St Anna and Gryt

"Upgraded Mainland Cabin" option. Photos: OK

Not Included

  • Travel: We do not arrange flights or domestic travel, but are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey. See under "Getting There" for general travel information.
  • Food:
    • Options 1 and 2 (Standard Tents and Tree Tents): Please purchase all provisions before beginning your tour. Depending on the dates of your tour, there may be small stores open to purchase provisions in the area, but these should not be relied upon.
    • Option 3 (Cabin on Harstena): There is a small restaurant and bakery on Harstena open during high season (normally from Midsummer to mid-August). Note that, especially if travelling outside high season, there may be no facilities open on Harstena for provisions and we recommend purchasing all essential provisions for your tour before leaving the mainland.
    • Option 4 (Cabin on the Mainland): We recommend you purchase essential provisions before arrival. For the Simple cabin option, there is a very small store at the kayak centre and a restaurant open at certain times during high season. For the Upgraded cabin option, there are small stores and restaurants within cycling distance (4-8km). Local stores and facilities may have limited opening hours, especially outside the main summer season, and should not be relied upon for essential provisions.
  • End cleaning: For Option 3 (Cabin on Harstena) and Option 4 (Cabin on the Mainland), please clean your cabin accommodation before departure.

Good To Know »

Required

Health requirements/experience:

The level of challenge and experience required for this tour will depend on the tour option chosen. Please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions regarding your suitability for the experience.

  • All tour options:
    • Minimum 2 adults (18+) required.
    • Swimming ability required for all adult and child participants. You should be in good health, have a normal level of fitness and enjoy the outdoors.
    • We recommend that novices and families choose double kayaks, which are the most stable option. Please specify your requirements for single/double kayaks on booking.
    • While strong winds are rare, weather conditions can of course vary and you should be comfortable on the water in different conditions and bear in mind that this is a self-guided tour. There are no currents/tides in the archipelago.
    • Note that water can be very cold if paddling early/late in the season and we recommend you have additional experience for tours at this time.
  • Options 1 and 2 (Standard Tents and Tree Tents) and Option 4 (Cabin on the Mainland): Previous experience of sea kayaking is not essential for these options. Distance covered and level of challenge is flexible depending on experience/ability. For Option 4 (Cabin on the Mainland), the level of challenge can be very accessible if needed, keeping close to land, etc. Options 1 and 2 have min. age 15. Option 4 has min. age 7 if sharing kayak with an adult or 13 (with previous kayak experience) to use single kayak.
  • Option 3 (Cabin on Harstena): Min. age 15. Requires paddle time of min. 4 hours (not including breaks) between the mainland and Harstena. You should have some previous kayaking experience and be comfortable travelling independently in a marine environment and crossing areas of open water to choose this option. We recommend if possible that you plan extra night(s) camping to allow you to break the journey from the mainland to Harstena into two days, at least on the outward journey.

What makes this "Easy-Medium"?

The different options available allow for a varied level of challenge. For Options 1 and 2 (Standard Tents and Tree Tents), level of challenge will depend on the route chosen and distance taken. For Option 3 (Cabin on Harstena), challenge level is higher as you must paddle at minimum between the mainland and the island, crossing large stretches of open water.

NB: Perception of difficulty is very subjective. What is hard to one person may be easy for another and vice versa, depending on factors including level of fitness, age and previous experience. Weather conditions/temperatures can also dramatically affect the actual level of challenge encountered.

Ticks and TBE:

Note: Ticks occur mostly in grassy areas.

As in the UK and other areas, there are ticks in the Nordic forests which can carry diseases such as Borrelia. You should check for ticks at the end of a day in the outdoors. If you find a tick, remove it as soon as possible by pulling the tick out straight, carefully and slowly, with the tweezers as close to the skin as possible. Ensure that you do not leave any of the insect's mouth parts attached to your skin. Wash the bite area with soap and water. In the unlikely event that you feel unwell or notice anything unusual around the area of the bite in the coming days, consult your doctor.

As in large areas of mainland Europe, in some localised areas of the Nordic countries, the ticks are known to carry TBE, or Tick-borne encephalitis, and locals spending extended periods in affected areas often choose to vaccinate themselves. For current advice on TBE and inoculations for the area you are visiting, please consult your doctor or see Travel Health Pro.

Equipment/clothes needed:

For information on any equipment and/or clothing included as standard for this experience, please see under "What's Included".

A detailed recommended packing list for personal items to bring will be sent with your booking documentation.

NB: We advise you not to buy equipment or clothes for your trip or to incur other non-refundable expenses such as flights until you have received confirmation of your booking from us in writing. Note of course that the most appropriate clothing to use as well as the level of challenge experienced during any outdoor activity may vary significantly depending on factors such as the time of year and the particular weather/temperature conditions during your trip.

Preparing for your trip:

For further reading, we also have a number of general information articles to get you ready for your trip, covering a wide variety of topics from what to do on a city break before/after your tour, advice on packing, eyewear for winter and considerations for female travellers.

Combine This With

This experience makes a good combination with the following:

Groups

This experience is also suitable for groups. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

Eco Info

This provider has a written environmental policy.

Harstena:

The island of Harstena, where cabin accommodation for Option 3 is located, lies in the northern part of the Gryt archipelago and is a lovely area with well-preserved archipelago natural and cultural heritage. Harstena is an ideal base for exploring this region.

Getting There »

Getting There

See below for a summary of travel options. To learn more about how to travel to this experience, please get in touch!

Detailed information on travel will be provided in response to your enquiry. We are happy to advise on suitable connections and assist you with any aspect of planning your journey.

NB: Please ensure that you make a booking with us first and wait for confirmation that your spaces are reserved before making any travel arrangements.

Travel Summary:

By Air:

Fly to Stockholm. Travel by coach or train + bus to Valdemarsvik (approx. 2.5-3 hours) for local bus to Gryt (20 mins). Transfer between Gryt and the kayak centre (4km) is available as an optional extra.

Without Flying:

Ferry Dover-Dunkirk or Newcastle-Amsterdam for onward train + bus connections to Valdemarsvik.

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