Stockholm has a lot to offer when it comes to museums, restaurants, and shopping. But the city also offers fantastic opportunities to enjoy nature and even old-growth forests. You don’t have to go far outside the city limits to find nature reserves, hiking trails, and national parks where you can escape the crowds and stress, relax from the city’s noise, and enjoy nature’s serenity.
There is a lot to do in the capital of Sweden if you’re attracted to outdoor activities, depending on the season. Kayaking, cross-country skiing, and lovely swimming areas are just a few examples.
Here are our 10 best tips on places to visit if you want to enjoy nature in Stockholm and the city surroundings. A perfect guide if you want to experience the beautiful Swedish nature and feel the peace.
A lake in Tyresta National Park – Photo © Abdou A. A./Flickr
In Tyresta National Park just 2 km outside of Stockholm, you’ll find something as rare as real old-growth forest. For hundreds of years, the wood has grown and thrived without being affected by humans. Here you can enjoy ancient pine trees, lakes, and rocks that have been polished by the land-base ice. And a variety of animals like capercailzies and long-horned beetles.
An excellent way to start the wilderness adventure is by visiting Tyresta village in Haninge. Here you’ll find a visitor center: Naturum The National Parks’ house where you can buy maps. There are also a café, a bird tower, and adventure paths for children. From Tyresta village, there are several different hiking trails adapted to different needs and conditions. Along the hiking trails, there are cozy resting places with fireplaces where you can relax and grill your food.
If you’re a fan of history, it’s recommended to enter Tyresta National Park from the entrance in Nyfors in the northern part of the nature reserve. Here you can see the ruins of long-abandoned industries.
Svartbäckens by 361, Vendelsö
Flatens nature reserve – Photo © Holger Ellgaard/Wikimedia
Flaten is the largest nature reserve within the Stockholm area. It extends from Skrubba in the south to Orhem in the north. In the middle lies Stockholm’s cleanest lake: Flaten and the popular bathing place Flatenbadet with a large sand beach. The bathing place was founded as early as 1934 with the ambition to make outdoor life more accessible to all Stockholm residents. And it undoubtedly became a successful project as it’s effortless to get to the bathing place. There are buses to Orhem from Gullmarsplan and Skarpnäck.
Flatenbadet is an obvious summer classic in Stockholm, but there are plenty of things to do in the Flaten nature reserve, even when there’s no bathing weather. There are several walking paths and nature trails around the lake. Here you walk through ancient woods, past rocky grounds, and herbous groves and meadows. There are also caves and ravines. The area has large differences in altitude, which makes it popular among climbers. If climbing’s not your cup of tea, there are several vantage points with beautiful views of the lake.
During the summer, there are kiosks and cafes at Flatenbadet, in Orhem, and at Ekens’ allotment area.
Orhemsvägen 400, Sköndal
Nackareservatet & Hellasgården
Hellasgården is a popular recreation area – Photo © Esquilo/Wikimedia
Bathing places, outdoor activities, ancient oaks, and rare insects. In Stockholm’s most visited outdoor area, Nackareservatet, there’s something for everyone.
You have a lot of different choices to enter the reserve. From Hammarby Sjöstad, there are several park paths. Along the lake Sicklasjön, you are led into the cultural grounds at Lilla Sickla, an exciting farm environment that dates back to the 16th century. In conjunction with the farm is an old English park and traces of constructed ponds. Here, people have been relaxing and socializing for hundreds of years.
In Sickla park, the forest consists of mixed deciduous forests and beautiful oak and cobnut tree environments with centuries-old oaks where the very rare and urgently endangered Plagionotus detritus lives. There are also less rare birds such as wood-pigeons.
The heart of the Nacka reserve is the popular outdoor recreation center Hellasgården. Here there are illuminated trails for running, outdoor gym, ball fields, tennis courts, hiking trails, a football golf course and renting of kayaks, Canadian canoes, and SUP. It’s also possible to orientate, ski in the winter, or just go out into the woods to pick berries and mushrooms. The area is hilly and therefore excellent for mountain biking.
Hellasgården is located next to the lake Källtorpssjön that has bathing places with both cliffs and jetties. In the winter you can take a winter bath and a sauna, and if the winter is cold enough they plow an ice skating rink on the lake.
From Hellasgården, you can also hike on one of Sweden’s oldest hiking trails, the 10 km long trail from Hellas to Solsidan at northern Erstaviken. It has been a popular activity ever since the 1920s.
Ältavägen 101, Nacka (Hellasgården)
An old cairn in Paradiset Hanveden – Photo © Holger Ellgaard/Wikimedia
Stone Age settlements, ponds, and old-growth forests are just a selection of everything you can experience in the nature reserve Paradiset, located in Huddinge. Paradiset is truly a paradise for anyone who likes to get moving. Several hiking trails start from the old homestead Paradiset. Along the trails, there are windshields and rest areas.
The wood consists mainly of pine trees, but there’s also fir trees, deciduous forest, and bog soil. It has remained untouched for more than 100 years and is thus classified as primeval forest. Here in the old-growth forest, the capercailzie thrives. Exactly where they live is a little secret since it’s disturbed by too many people. But if you’re lucky, you may see one.
Paradiset has been a popular area for people for thousands of years. We know this because there are hundreds of Stone Age settlements. The remainings are between 7,000 and 10,000 years old and are marked with signs where you can learn more about the seal hunter and all the others who lived here in the Stone Age.
Vandrarstigen 3, Huddinge
Järvafältet’s nature reserve – Photo © Kjellesarts/Wikimedia
Järvafältet’s nature reserve is divided into the West and the East and is located in northern Stockholm. The reserve contains both meadows and forest areas, as well as the stream Igelbäcken. There are also several big lakes, historic farms, and ancient monuments, and the field is ideal for hiking and bicycle riding. For the bird lover, there is the lake Säbysjön where ducks, waders, black-headed gulls, and around 170 other bird species can be observed.
Large parts of Järvafältet consist of an old agriculture landscape that is kept open partly by traditional methods. There are also two farms that you can visit; Bög’s farm and Väsby farm. Bög’s farm dates back to the younger Iron Age and is located next to a graveyard from this time. Today, traditional farming is done here where special breeds such as mountain cows, Roslag sheep, and Highland Cattle live. There is also a café.
At Väsby Farm nearby, a nature school is run. The aim is to spread knowledge about nature and sustainable development.
The reserve has great walking paths and exercise trails with built barbecue sites and resting areas. You can swim in the lake Översjön and in the winter there are ski trails.
Sollentuna (West Järvafältet)
Jakobsberg (East Järvafältet)
The canal in Royal Djurgården
You don’t even have to leave the city center to experience nature in Stockholm. Kungliga nationalstadsparken (Royal National City Park) is Stockholm’s big green oasis. The park extends from Ulriksdal and Sörentorp in the north to Djurgården and Fjäderholmarna in the south. In the national city park, there are several palaces, a large number of museums, lots of forest, and several bathing places to discover. The park also has a rich plant and animal life, including Northern Europe’s largest collection of ancient oaks.
The foundation of the Royal National City Park is the Djurgården land, which has belonged to the king since the Middle Ages. Here are Karl the XI’s fishing cabin and the fancy castles in Haga and Ulriksdal with their beautiful parks. Since the 18th century, the land is also available to us ordinary non-royal people. Well worth a visit no matter the time of year.
In North Djurgården is also the outdoor area Stora Skuggan (‘The Big Shadow’). You get here by taking the subway to the Universitetet station and then walking for about ten minutes. Bus 40 also stops here, and there are parking spaces if you should come here by car.
In Ekoparken, there’s a cozy café, Skafferiet, which is open all year round and offers many different things to eat and drink. But the highlight, especially for families with children, is Stora Skuggan’s 4H farm. A charming farm in the middle of the park, where the children (and grownups) can meet horses, sheep, goats, chickens, cows, and rabbits. The farm is open to visitors on weekends, and then pony rides are also arranged. It’s like being in the country, but only ten minutes from the city center.
Kungliga Djurgården (Royal Djurgården)
No Stockholm visit is complete without a trip to the island of Djurgården. Here you can walk along the water, visit Skansen, the Vasa Museum, or one of the many other museums that are located here. It’s easy to understand that Djurgården is called Stockholm’s green living room. Here are several beautiful walking paths among the deciduous trees, and lots of other things to do for children and adults. A must for everyone is Crown Princess Viktoria and Prince Daniel’s love path, which was inaugurated in 2012.
Another must is to visit beautiful Rosendals Trädgård (Rosendal’s Garden) with a mandatory coffee break at the garden café. Rosendals Garden is a foundation that works to both conduct and spread knowledge about biodynamic cultivation. Here everything is part of a cycle. What you get on your plate has been grown in the gardens, and the remains are taken care of. And whether you have green fingers or not, the garden will inspire you to start your own growing projects.
Royal National City Park
Biking through the National City Park
Biking is the perfect way to enjoy the Royal National City Park – Photo © Linus Mimietz/Unsplash
Sure it is nice to walk, but if you want to see more of Stockholm’s green areas in one day, riding a bike is recommended. There is a 3.6 km long biking route through the Royal National City Park. It extends from Ulriksdal in the north to Blockhusudden in South Djurgården. When riding a bike, you can discover many of the park’s different parts in one day.
A lovely bicycle round that is easy to ride is the Brunnsviken round, where you cycle in the very heart of the National City Park, through North Djurgården’s former hunting grounds with both open sceneries, lakes, lush oak hills, and forests.
If castle parks are more your thing, then there are the fantastic park environments at Haga, Ulriksdal, Rosendal, and Waldermarsudde to enjoy during the various bike rounds.
Bikes are available for rent in several places. Among other things, at the café Sjöcaféet next to the bridge Djurgårdsbron. There are also other private bike rentals scattered throughout the town.
Royal National City Park
Sörmlandsleden – Photo © Sören T Eriksson/Wikimedia
In the mood for a relaxing Sunday walk or a multi-day forest adventure? The 100 km long hiking trail Sörmlandsleden runs through historic cultural places, open meadows, and deep magical forests, and is divided into approximately 100 parts of varying difficulty. You can do everything from taking a leisurely walk for a couple of hours to several days of tough hiking with overnight stays at one of the many resting places with protecting windshields along the trail.
Sörmlandsleden is one of Sweden’s oldest hiking trails and is still one of the longest. And practically, you can take the subway to the starting point in Björkhagen.
In addition to scenic places, the trail also passes cities such as Södertälje, Katrineholm, and Nyköping. Other sightseeing attractions along the way are the castles Nynäs and Tullgarn.
Roslagsleden at Vira bruk – Photo © LittleGun/Wikimedia
Do you like both nature and cultural heritage? Then you should walk the nature trail Roslagsleden in the Vikings’ footsteps. The 19 km long hiking trail north of Stockholm is divided into several shorter sections. The start is at Danderyd’s church, where you can get by bus, and then goes past Norrtälje and up against the Väddö canal to finally reach Grisslehamn in Roslagen.
Along the way, you follow nature trails and dirt roads through cultural landscapes and different kinds of forest. Relaxing stretches in nature are mixed with parts that go through smaller factory towns and villages. Here you’ll find outdoor courtyards, guesthouses, cafes, and campsites. You also pass many swimming lakes along the way, and you are right by the sea at the end of the trail.
The first part is a must for bird lovers. It passes through the nature reserve of Angarnsjöängen where there is a bird lake with about 25 different breeding species and, of course, a bird-watching tower.
Along the entire trail, there are historical elements, such as the more than three meters long rock carving in Örsta and Wira Bruk, a preserved old forge in red cottages. Wiraspelen, an outdoor theater performance about the 18th century Wira Bruk and its villagers, is also played here every year.
You’ll never run out of beautiful spots to discover in the Stockholm archipelago – Photo © Hakan Tas/Unsplash
If you want to experience the archipelago feeling without going that far, Fjäderholmarna is only a half-hour boat ride away from Stockholm city. Here are lovely swimming places with cliffs and some good restaurants. But make sure not to miss the ferry that takes you back home, as there is no accommodation available here.
About three hours by boat from Stockholm is Utö. The island has been a popular seaside resort for several hundred years, and Swedish celebrities such as Greta Garbo, August Strindberg, and Evert Taube have visited the island.
Here you’ll find hotels, hostels, cottages, and camping. In the middle of the island is an old mining village that tells Utö’s history as a place for iron ore production rather than holiday celebrations. Hiking trails around the village lead to sandy beaches, beautiful cliffs, and other attractions. It’s also popular to ride a bike on the island.
Now we are talking about the real archipelago. Very far out. Huvudskär is a unique nature reserve with two hundred islets and island rocks and one of the few places in the outermost archipelago that you can reach without having your own boat. The most visited island is Ålandsskär, with its red fishing cabins placed among the cliffs. Here, you can see seals sunbathing on the rocks or, if you’re lucky, spot a sea eagle circulating over the island.
Of course, the Stockholm archipelago is an obvious summer favorite. It’s easy to access with any of the archipelago boats departing from Stockholm. During the low seasons, you can use the Stockholm public transport (SL) card on the ferries (Waxholmsbåtarna), which makes the rest of the year an excellent opportunity to discover new favorite islands.
Enjoy the nature of Stockholm
There you have our guide to experiencing nature in Stockholm. We hope you find something that suits you – whether you want to go on a lovely day trip with your family, take a bike ride in scenic surroundings, or go on long hikes. We wish you many wonderful nature experiences!
Find the nature areas on the map