Deep within the Arctic Circle, Abisko National Park in Swedish Lapland is a classic patchwork of undisturbed landscapes: a carpet of moss-green boreal forest lorded over by snow-dusted mountains, while glassy lakes fed by gushing streams and waterfalls offer perfect reflections. Nature has flourished this far north, but its remoteness doesn’t mean it’s off limits. In fact, direct overnight trains from Stockholm make Abisko surprisingly easy to reach, yet so few still visit. Those who do come in hope of seeing the Northern Lights, such is the park’s reputation as one of the best places in the world to witness nature’s greatest lightshow. While the Aurora is the main attraction here during the winter season, the park is not a one trick pony. Husky sledding and snowmobiling offer alternative ways to explore the tundra during winter but in summer hiking is king. A number of walking routes encompass some of Abisko’s highlights, including Sweden’s clearest lake Trollsjön, while the country’s longest trail Kungsleden (King’s Trail) begins here. All of these eye-pleasing landscapes deserve to be caught on camera and Photowellness tours in the park aim to mix photography with relaxing activities such as Samí yoga, as well as bringing more of the landscapes around you into focus.
2. Store Mosse National Park
At first glance, the bare marshlands of Store Mosse National Park look more like a backdrop for a Nordic noir TV programme. But there is something enchanting about its barrenness, its mist-shrouded magic cloaked in empty silence. It’s the largest bog south of Swedish Lapland (Store Mosse translates as ‘Big Marsh’), yet lies only a two-hour drive from Gothenburg in the province of Småland. To begin with, this desolate expanse may seem bewildering but the informative Naturum visitor centre sheds light on the 40km network of trails, many of which are raised boardwalks directly over the bog, that thread this wilderness. Keep your eyes peeled for moose, roe deer and foxes as you wander but where Store Mosse really excels in the wildlife department is with its birdlife. Many different species can be spotted year-round, from whooper swans paddling Lake Kävsjön in spring as ospreys scan for fish overhead, while the Naturum centre supplements the diet of golden and white-tailed eagles during the tough winter months. If you want to escape the trails, guided snowshoe walks (even in summer) give you a closer glimpse of rich plantlife and 25 species of dragonfly, while a selection of cabins allow for overnight stays so you can explore further.