A truly magical winter experience
Skating on clear ice across a frozen lake is a unique way to enjoy the beauty of a Swedish winter. In the wintertime, Sweden's extensive network of lakes and archipelago waters make up a labyrinth of ice just waiting to be explored.
Ice Skating on Natural Ice is a 4-day trip-skating adventure under the expert guidance of local skating guides, who know the area intimately and will ensure that you find the locations with the best possible ice conditions for your tour.
Natural ice skating offers a unique way to travel through the winter landscape. Photo: J. Savelid.
Ice skating is an ideal way to experience the majesty and tranquility of the Swedish winter landscape. The sensation of gliding over clear lake ice is as wonderful as it sounds.
Flexible skating locations ensure access to the best ice conditions
Ice conditions change regularly - your guide will know where the ice is best on a particular day. From your base at local hostel accommodation, you will head out each day to the most suitable area for your trip skating tour.
Depending on the location of the best ice, you may be exploring networks of frozen lakes or even skating on the frozen archipelago waters of the Baltic sea!
Walking on water! Photo: J. Savelid.
Choose Standard or Experienced tours depending on your ability
At minimum some previous skating experience is required*, but if you have never skated on long-distance skates before, don't worry - you may be surprised how quickly you can learn to trip-skate calmly and safely.
As with most outdoor activities, especially if you are a less experienced skater, you should expect to fall over and get a few bumps and bruises on the way as you develop your technique and confidence. Please see under "What's included" for details of protective equipment that is provided as standard or available to borrow on request.
Both "Standard" and "Experienced" tour dates are offered. "Standard" tours are suitable for those with limited skating ability, but participants must have some previous experience of rink skating or roller blading, etc, and be able to stand up/move on skates without support. "Experienced" tours are suitable for those with more extensive skating experience who are comfortable with travelling longer distances.
A campfire on the shore provides the ideal opportunity to recharge between skating sessions. Photo: Julian Aldridge.
The speed and distance covered will be adapted as far as possible to the needs and wishes of the participants - you should find that it is relatively straightforward to cover distances of 25km a day or more. At the end of the day, you can soothe tired muscles with a sauna and reflect on your day's skating adventures. There may even be the chance for a moonlight skating tour beneath the stars!
Your guide will be skating ahead of you at all times, keeping close watch to ensure the ice conditions are suitable. Skates, shoes, pack and full safety equipment are included as standard.
Trip skating gives you a very special perspective on a Swedish winter - see you soon out on the ice!
Accommodation is hostel standard with self-catering facilities. All meals are included in the price, but the group will prepare meals together and everyone assists with cooking, washing up, etc. Depending on practical arrangements, the group may visit a supermarket together during the trip to choose provisions.
Trip skating goes by many different names: tour skating, long distance ice skating, Nordic skating or wild skating. Popular throughout the Nordic countries, trip skating is particularly popular in Sweden, where the thousands of lakes create an ideal skating environment. More recently, it has been combined with kiting to create a new hybrid sport known as kite skating or kite blading.
The skates used for tour skating are rather different from standard skates, with longer blades around 50cm in length. Tour skates consist of a circa 50cm long blade, attached with binding to special skating boots similar to those used for cross-country skiing.
There will be a pick-up from Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) airport at 10.30* (meeting point is in Terminal 3). Guests staying in Stockholm before the tour should travel to Rotebro station for pick-up from there at 10.00.
*Please be at the meeting point by 10.30 or as soon as possible after this. If you are planning to travel with SAS or British Airways flights from Heathrow, which arrive at Arlanda at 10.10/10.40, this will also be possible. Please make your way to the meeting point as soon as possible when your flight lands. Please note that it is not possible to plan for flight arrival later than 10.40 except by special prior arrangement. Guests arriving later will normally be requested to travel by public transport to a suitable pick-up point to meet the group, which will depend on the location of the weekend's skating.
It is also possible to fly to Stockholm Skavsta (NYO) airport, but in this case it is necessary to overnight at the airport both before and after the tour. Pick-up from Stockholm Skavsta will be at 08.30.
Skating on this day is not a standard part of the tour, but where possible and local conditions are suitable, the group will have the opportunity for some skating close to the airport before transfer to the overnight accommodation base for the main tour in the afternoon.
At the airport, you will be issued with your equipment (backbacks, drybag, boots and skates, etc). Pack your spare clothes in the drybag and then into the backpack. It is helpful if you can already have packed your spare clothes into a plastic bag before you travel and are dressed for skating when you arrive. If you are not suitably dressed for skating, it will be necessary to change clothes in the airport restroom.
When ready, you will travel to a nearby lake (normally at Sigtuna approx. 20 minutes from Arlanda airport) and take to the ice for around 3-4 hours' skating with stop for light lunch. The guide will bring simple snack of cheese sandwich, tea and coffee.
You will typically end your skating back at the transport vehicle around 16.00 and then drive to your accommodation. This is typically around 1-2.5 hours' drive depending on the location of the best ice conditions for your tour.
With your travel as well as some hours of skating, today will normally be a long day. The group will probably shop together for provisions at a supermarket (which allows any dietary requirements to be more easily accommodated) and will need to prepare dinner together in the evening, so it can be a late dinner this night. If it is getting very late and does not seem appropriate to cook together this night, inexpensive dinner (such as pizza) at a local restaurant will be included. If other restaurant options are chosen, guests will pay the additional costs of dinner above 100 SEK/person individually.
The location of the best ice skating conditions and therefore the location of accommodation during the tours will vary throughout the winter season - your guide knows the area intimately and will ensure that you are skating in a region with the best ice conditions at the time of your visit. You will check in at your accommodation and (if this has not taken place earlier in the day or if there has not been an opportunity for skating) have a safety and instruction briefing with your guide and be given your equipment for the tour. You can then relax to prepare and enjoy your first evening dinner together.
During breakfast you will prepare lunch packages for your days out on the ice. Based on the latest weather and ice forecast information, you will head out to the best possible skating area for the day. Once at the lake, you will begin by examining the ice before readying your equipment. You will skate in a line, led by your guide, who will be checking the ice and ensure that you avoid any potential weak spots. The speed and distance covered during the day will be tailored to the level of the group and ice conditions.
Skating on natural ice is a unique experience, and you will have regular opportunities to take breaks to admire the beauty of the winter landscape, chat about your technique or just relax and soak up the atmosphere. At the end of your day's skating, you will return to the minibus for transfer back to your accommodation.
A sauna before dinner is a wonderful way to soothe tired muscles and the perfect environment in which to reflect on the day's adventures with your fellow skaters. If conditions allow, there may even be the chance for a moonlight skating trip later in the evening!
After breakfast you will head out for another day on the ice, skating as long as possible depending on scheduled departure times for the participants. On your way back to the airport, you will have time to stop for a shower and change of clothes and perhaps something to eat, before your guide transfers you to the airport for departure.
Transfers will meet flights departing Stockholm Arlanda airport earliest 18.00 or later (you will be at the airport earliest 16.30, or possibly later if travel arrangements for all guests in the group allow). Guests wishing to depart from Stockholm Skavsta will normally need to plan to overnight at Skavsta airport - transfer will reach Skavsta around earliest 18.30.
Dates & Prices»
- 25.01-28.01.24 (two groups): Standard and Experienced
- 01.02-04.02.24 (two groups): Standard and Experienced
- 08.02-11.02.24 (two groups): Standard and Experienced
- 15.02-18.02.24 (two groups): Standard and Experienced
- 22.02-25.02.24 (two groups): Standard and Experienced
- 29.02-03.03.24 (two groups): Standard and Experienced
NB: It may also be possible to join tours on other weekend dates between mid-January and mid-March - please let us know your preferred dates and we will be happy to check possibilities for you.
- Start/end times and pick-up/drop-off location are by arrangement.
- For groups of 2-8 persons, private tours on other dates (normally between just before Christmas and late March depending on ice conditions) are possible by arrangement (standard prices based on 8 persons, smaller groups possible for supplement). Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
|Standard Prices (per person)|
|Tour 25.01-28.01.24 (based on 2 persons sharing)||GBP|
|All other dates (based on 2 persons sharing)||GBP|
|Bed linen and towels/person (optional)||GBP|
Bed linen and towels: Guests are requested to bring own sleeping bag liner/sleeping sheet and towel for use at the overnight accommodation. However, these can also be hired as optional extra if required.
For private tours, please contact us to discuss your requirements. Per person price will vary depending on group size.
What's Included »
- Scheduled tours: Shared 2-person rooms in hostel accommodation. Please bring own sleeping bag liner/sleeping sheet, pillow case and towel (these items are also available to hire as optional extras if required). Please note that end cleaning is not included.
- Private tours: Hotel standard accommodation is available as an alternative. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
NB: Accommodation used depends on the location of the best ice skating conditions at the time of your tour. Where possible, accommodation with sauna facilities will be chosen, though note that this cannot always be guaranteed.
- Scheduled tours: All meals from dinner on Day 1 to lunch on Day 4. Meals are prepared together as a group at the hostel - everyone assists with food preparation, washing up, etc. Please let us know in advance if you have any particular dietary requirements.
- Private tours: Choice of accommodation standard and board options are available.
- Trip skates and skating boots (please advise shoe sizes in advance). Brands used are normally Zandstra and Alpina.
- Daypack (including thermos, water bottle and lunch box)
- Safety equipment
Trip skates (shows skating blades in use and detached from the boots). Photos: NG
Please specify on booking if you wish to borrow any of the protective equipment below if not provided as standard for your tour.
- Knee protectors: Provided for all participants and should be worn.
- Elbow protectors: Provided for all participants on Standard level tours. For Experienced level tours, four sets will be available for the group; additional sets can be made available if requested in advance.
- Wrist protectors: Four sets will be available for the group on all tours; additional sets can be made available if requested in advance.
- Helmets: Not provided unless requested in advance (please provide helmet size). Helmets are not commonly worn when skating, as the backpack will normally provide protection if falling backwards, but you are of course welcome to use a helmet and/or pads during the tour if you wish. You are of course welcome to bring your own helmet if you wish (any type of helmet such a cycle or ski helmets would be suitable).
Experienced and knowledgeable local guide.
- Local minibus transfers to/from Stockholm Arlanda or Stockholm Skavsta airport and the accommodation for the tour.
- Local minibus transfers between accommodation and daily skating areas.
- 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.
- Alcoholic drinks.
- Bed linen and towels (guests are normally requested to bring own, but also available as optional extra).
- End cleaning of hostel accommodation (if you do not wish to do end cleaning of your room yourself, this can normally be arranged on site, price typically 150-200 SEK, about £15-£20, per room).
Good To Know »
You should have a general good level of health and fitness, be able to swim and enjoy the outdoors.
For "Standard" tours, some previous skating experience (e.g. rink skating or rollerblades) is required and you must be able to stand up/move on skates without needing to hold onto something for support.
NB: The technique of tour skating and the type of skates used are quite different from rink skating. Participants with previous rollerblading experience may find the transition to tour skating easier than those with experience of rink skating only.
For "Experienced" tours, you should have more extensive skating experience and be comfortable travelling longer distances.
For private groups, the tour can be adapted to accommodate different requirements/abilities.
Recommended minimum age 16 for scheduled public tours. Younger children may be possible by arrangement - please contact us to discuss your requirements.
What makes this "Medium"?
The tour is offered at two different levels and daily distances can be flexible to a certain extent depending on the level of experience/fitness of participants. However, proficiency of your skating technique can significantly influence the actual level of challenge encountered during the tour.
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.
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.
No minimum - tours are guaranteed to run from the first booking.
Normally max. 8 participants per guide. Dates with both Standard and Experienced groups will have max. 16 participants with two guides and the groups will have transfers/accommodation together but skate separately. To be able to offer the greatest flexibility to accommodate different levels, guests who are judged to be most suitable in a different level group may have the option to move, in which case one group may then contain more than 8 participants.
This experience is ideal as a private tour for groups of 4-8 or more persons and duration of tour is then flexible by arrangement. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.
This provider has received prestigious Swedish Ecotourism certification for its commitment to high standards to cultural and environmental sensitivity.
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.
Fly to Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) airport, where you will be met for transfer to the skating area. It is also possible to fly to Stockholm Skavsta (NYO).
Ferry Dover-Dunkirk or Newcastle-Amsterdam for onward train connections to Nyköping, from where transfer can also be arranged.