Sweden


Hiking the Skane Gourmet Trail

Leaving a mark in Sweden

Sweden, indeed the whole of Scandinavia, is a paradise for the outdoors. It is not for those seeking the exotic in distant lands, or high altitude peaks and passes, or the romance of bags being transported by mule, camel or fellow human beings. It is, however, for those seeking the definite article itself: real nature, back to a wilderness and ancestry long left behind. A place where quality of landscape, peace and tranquility still reign, yet at the same time in Skane - and the Bjare Peninsula, in particular - you are able to find the comforts of the 21st century alongside days gone by.

A number of long distance trails have been opened over the past couple of decades in Scandinavia ranging from the Arctic Trail in the far north, which passes through Norway, Finland and Sweden, to the better known Kungsleden or Kings Trail, which takes backpackers through the spectacular scenery of the Arctic national parks. In the south of Sweden, quietly wending its way from coast to coast through prehistoric forests, undulating hills and slumbering dales where the Danes previously sought unsuccessfully to subdue the rebellious Swedes, is the Skaneleden, or the Skane Trail.

The Skaneleden links together four main footpaths: Ridge-to-Ridge, North-to-South, Coast-to-Coast and Osterlen, which form a trail system over 930 km long. The entire trail system is divided into about 70 one-day walking stages. With the exception of certain stretches of the Osterlen trail, each stage normally boasts a night shelter with a toilet, water for washing and drinking, and firewood. A walk for the hardy, the backpacker and the seeker of cooking over open fires, to be sure, but for those who no longer take pleasure in the ‘all day and all night outdoors’ adventure, here in Bjare a loop of the trail passes through where even the Swedes are now beginning to come. Using the walk of around 60 km to link up art, culture, history, the ocean and the organic nature of its food and drink, the Skane Gourmet Trail is coming into being.

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 Full name: Kingdom of Sweden

 Population: 9.1 million (CIA, 2012)

 Capital: Stockholm

 Largest city: Stockholm

 Area: 450,295 sq.km. (173,860 sq. mi.)

 Major languages: Swedish

 Major religions: Lutheran, Other Christian

 Monetary unit: Swedish Kroner

 GDP per capita: US $40,600

 Internet domain: .se

 International dialling code: +46

 Source: CIA World Factbook