Adventures / Kayak Journeys

Kayak and Wild Camp Sweden's Saint Anna Archipelago - Self-guided

Be the explorer for a long weekend in Sweden's most stunning and untouched coastal landscape.

I'M UP FOR
Kayak Journeys
DURATION
3 Nights
DIFFICULTY
Active
COMFORT
Basic
LOCATION
Sweden
SEASON
June—September
NEAREST AIRPORT

The remote Saint Anna Archipelago on the Baltic coast is a paradise for kayakers and you’re in for an epic adventure!

Nowhere in Europe can you find 6000 islands so closely clustered together, creating a maze from the forested sheltered islands close to the mainland all the way out to the barren islets bordering on the open sea. You are free to paddle and wild camp wherever you like! This area boasts the highest number of sunny days is Sweden, with some of the warmest temperatures in the sea. There is an abundance of coastal birds and you may even spot seals. Always find an island completely your own to set up camp, cook a delicious meal and watch the sunset.

This epic, hassle-free adventure includes:

  • 3 nights of wild-camping on deserted islands
  • 4 days of kayaking and exploring the archipelago
  • Professional quality equipment - e.g. Hilleberg tents, NRS paddle jackets, mylar-lined cooler bags
  • Custom-made guide book
  • Survival and navigation kits
  • Phone for daily weather reports
  • Pre-purchasing service for food and drinks
  • Start and finish at different spots, no backtracking
  • Pick-up, drop-off and airport transfers

Perfect for

Independent-minded travellers looking for a true adventure. There are no tides, swells or currents to worry about in Saint Anna, and it’s perfect for beginners and experienced kayakers alike. Your expert local host will take care of all the logistics and equipment needed for cooking, navigating, sleeping and exploring this magical place. Then off on your own for an unforgettable wilderness experience!

Need To Know

The following are not included in the trip price:

  • Travel to/from Stockholm or Noorkoping
  • Cost of pre-purchased food and drinks
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance that covers sea kayaking

This is a private trip, so your group will be as big (or as small) as you want it to be. Minimum 18 years old (15 if accompanied by an adult).

Unfortunately you are not permitted to do this trip solo for safety reasons.

Wind direction has a lot to say in where you go, and your host will advise you on a general plan, but everything else is up to you. There are a few different pick-up points, so when it’s time to go home just call your host to let them know where and when you’ll be.

The islands are close to each other, completely pristine and unexploited. There are no ferries or large boats to disturb you. There are a couple of quaint old villages where you can buy smoked fish and ice-cream. Local points of interest include an old copper mine, a wood-fired sauna, lighthouses, lookouts and more. You will get plenty of solitude and wilderness on your adventure, but it’s also great to have a few places to visit on the way.

There’s plenty to do on each little island. You can go swimming and sunbathing, fish from the shore, cook, play games, hang out around the campfire, wander into the forest to pick berries and mushrooms. and much more. Your imagination really gets going when you feel so free!

You will order everything in advance from a very comprehensive food order form and pay cost price, same as in the supermarket. Food for a 3 night trip usually adds up to 40–60 Pounds (EUR 50–70) per person depending on how lavish you wish be. Alcohol is additional. The larger the group, the smaller the individual cost.

You will be provided with enough fresh water to last the first half of the trip, and shown a few places where you can fill up on the way.

Absolutely, just order the appropriate food off the list.

You do not have to be especially fit to go sea kayaking, nor do you need previous experience. Kayaking is quite easy, and the boats go surprisingly fast with little effort. You decide your own pace and how much distance you wish to cover.

Double kayaks are very stable and well suited for beginner and intermediate kayakers, while single kayaks require more skill since they can roll over. If you do roll, don’t worry—life jackets are provided, and you’re not attached to the kayak in any way, so just pop to the surface and get back in!

You’ll be given a cell phone with pre-programmed numbers. The whole area has reception, so if something happens you’re only a phone call away from help.You can be reached by boat in under 20 minutes.

Your host will teach you what you need to know. Navigation is pretty straightforward. You just have to be attentive and make sure the landmarks around you match what you see on the map.

Weather in the archipelago changes often and quickly. A given summer day can bring you 33°C and sunshine, or 17°C and rain, but mostly it stays around 20–28°C. Expect some calm, hot and sunny days, and a couple of overcast, windier ones. Sometimes it rains, but it usually passes pretty quickly. Your host will text you the weather report every morning so you’re prepared. You can check the forecast at smhi.se/en/Weather and search for “Soderkoping.”

Water temperature depends on the weeks leading up to summer. Typical ranges are 14–19°C in early and late summer, and 19–24°C in mid-summer.

Your host provides top-of-the-line equipment, including everything you’ll need for a weekend of kayaking and camping in the wilds. A full list will be sent to you after booking, but here’s a rough list of what to expect:

  • Kayak, paddle, spraydeck and life jacket
  • Tent, sleeping mat and sleeping bag
  • Compass, maps, guide book and cell phone
  • Dry bags
  • Rainproof jacket
  • Camp stove, cooking utensils and eating utensils

The water here is the warmest in Sweden, and warm enough for long swims in the summer. It’s always hard to predict water temperatures. How early you can comfortably swim depends completely on the weeks leading up to the summer. All it takes is a couple of weeks of warm weather to heat the water nicely (Nordic style, we’re not in the Mediterranean). In general it may look something like this:

Early June: 14–19°C
Late June – mid August: 19–24°C
Late August – early September: 19–22°C
Late September: 14–19°C

All equipment is provided, but you’ll need to supply your own personal clothing, toiletries, etc. We recommend you bring:

  • A small rucksack for exploring the islands
  • Several warm layers of clothing (thermal top and bottom, warm jacket or sweater)
  • Light-weight, breathable, quick-drying tops and bottoms
  • Swimsuit and towel
  • Shoes that can get wet (not flip-flops)
  • Light hiking shoes for camp and exploring
  • Sun protection
  • Hat and light gloves for nights at camp
  • Personal toiletries and medications

There are no tides whatsoever in Saint Anna. The sea level stays the same, which means no time tables to consider and no transporting kayak and gear from the waterline. Also, there are no big swells since all the islands break up waves into choppy water.

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.

Got a question not covered here? Contact the host.

Location

View map

Thousands of years ago, the thick ice sheet of the last ice age melted away, revealing a majestic glacier landscape of smooth islands and unusual rock formations in the Baltic sea.

Saint Anna truly is a treasure among treasures. This seventy kilometre remote stretch of the Baltic coast is beautifully untouched with six thousand islands, islets and skerries in a maze. It’s been a hidden gem for kayakers for decades. They’ll praise Saint Anna as the very best spot for sea paddling - not only is the area absolutely stunning, the islands are closely clustered together offering lots of shelter and an incredibly varied landscape.

This archipelago stretches wide - twenty kilometres from the mainland to the open sea. The inner islands are large and forested, separated by narrow passages or smaller straits. The middle parts are clusters of islands and islets with knotted wind-pined trees. This zone is more exposed to wind, but finding sheltered routes is easy. The outer archipelago is a myriad of barren tiny skerries close to the open sea. No less than thirty-five coastal bird species breed out here and sighting Grey seals is common.

Saint Anna boasts one of Sweden’s highest number of sunny days with some of the warmest temperatures in the sea. The sea is fantastic for long swims! The water is brackish and the marine life is completely harmless (no stinging jellyfish or crabs!).

Almost all the islands are uninhabited, but the area also has a rich history of people living their whole lives out here. It’s completely your choice what to explore – visit cultural points of interest, do all wilderness, or more likely, a blend of both!

Start point

Stockholm Skavsta Airport at 12:30 or Norrköping at 13:30

Arrive in the morning to Stockholm Skavsta and your host will pick you up right from the airport. Alternatively, there are a number of other options to fly in and make your way to the pick up point in Norrköping, the major hub of the area.

  • Stockholm Arlanda (all major airlines), 2 hour direct train to Norrköping
  • Linköping City Airport (KLM), 30 min train to Norrköping
  • Norrköping Airport (BMI), 10 min taxi ride to Norrköping

Your host will be in touch after you book to confirm your travel plans and meeting point.

Finish point

Norrköping at 18:00 or Stockholm Skavsta Airport at 19:00

Your host will drop you back off either in Norrköping, an hour drive, or Stockholm Skavsta Airport, 2 hours from the archipelago.

What to Expect

Day 1 - Into the Maze

Your host will meet you at the airport and drive the windy country-side roads out to the coast and beautiful Saint Anna (2 hours).

Your pre-ordered food and drinks are waiting for you. Review a rough plan for the weekend, then go over navigation, safety and the area with your host. Using the absolute top quality equipment provided is a real treat! It’s hard to justify purchasing gear of that caliber on your own.

The launch is situated in a sheltered bay – soon you’re surrounded by water and wilderness. Kayak through narrow passages and clusters of forested islands, or venture far out to sea to the many barren skerries of the outer archipelago.

Your route northeast zigzags through a beautiful part of the archipelago with a myriad of islands and islets. Several species of ducks, swans and Grey herons breed around these parts, and White-tailed eagles are a common sight. In the late afternoon, you’ll find that perfect island with a stunning sunset view and set up camp. The solitude and sense of freedom out here is hard to put into words, it simply has to be experienced!

Day 2 - A band of islets against the horizon

Your following day traverses bird sanctuaries with lots of birdlife, if you choose you can paddle towards Äspskär. This crescent-shaped smooth islet is surrounded by shallow waters, and is superb for swimming and even snorkelling!

Another route goes through a massive cluster of hundreds of barren islets close to the open sea. This is the most finely-chiselled archipelago that exists in Sweden, and the paddle is stunningly beautiful with blue horizon as far as the eye can see. It’s paradise for wildlife out here. Spot Razorbills, Black guillemots, Arctic skuas, Ospreys and Grey seals!

Head to one of the most famous spots in Saint Anna – Kupa Klint. This old navigation mark has been used by seafarers for centuries. It’s a lookout with a spectacular view of the surrounding archipelago.

Inside the outer band of skerries you’ll find the large island Missjö and its parallel islands. It’s a beautiful sheltered area with little nooks and crannies everywhere. For a genuine archipelago experience, pay a visit to the rustic pub on Missjö. Sea dog Mats serves up cold beers and delicious dishes made from fish and coastal birds hunted nearby. Mats is often there to host and tell stories, and it’s a very fun time!

Day 3 - The village that time forgot

Your expedition continues south towards Harstena Village, which is a must-see on your journey. As you paddle the small inlet you’re met by an idyllic view of the village. Harstena is famous far and wide for its picturesque and historic beauty. Take a stroll to the museum at the old school, wander around the village and maybe treat yourself to a delicious lunch at the water-side restaurant. Be sure to pick up some heavenly cinnamon swirls from the bakery and smoked fish from the smokehouse.

A short distance west of Harstena is Torrön. This large wild island is surrounded by a mosaic of hundreds of little islets. It’s a very sheltered area with shallow waters, smooth rocks and calm creeks – fantastic for swimming and sunbathing. Look down as you glide across the rocky bottoms to view large forests of bladder wrack. You’ll find some of the best sunset views of the whole area around here!

Day 4 - Land Ahoy!

Your last day in this island wonderland! Enjoy a leisurely morning and hop in the water for a final dip. Cook up a hearty breakfast to prepare for a somewhat strenuous paddle ahead.

Aim north across some pretty exposed waters until you reach the beautiful long narrow passage between Missjö and its inner parallel island. A quick paddle westward takes you to the bustling mainland hub Tyrislöt.

Give yourself some extra time here to visit the Archipelago Museum and stroll the nature trail. Enjoy a couple of cold lagers among the cherry trees in the garden of the countryside pub. A perfect way to end your long weekend of wilderness and archipelago culture!

Your host will pick you up and drive you back to the airport with plenty of time to catch your flight home. We bet you’ll be looking at photos the whole plane ride home, and like so many other guests, start planning when you may return. This combo of natural beauty and freedom is very hard to come by!

Accommodation

You are free to set up camp on any island and make it your home for the night. Top quality Hilleberg tents, Haglöfs sleeping bags, sleeping mats and cooking equipment are provided.

“The right of public access” in Sweden means you can camp wherever you want as long as you are respectful to the land, animals and people. You’ll be given information on the rules and practices in regards to rubbish disposal, bird sanctuaries, open fires, protected plant and animal species etc. Saint Anna is incredibly clean and untouched—we’ll keep it that way!

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Dates & Prices

Prices include

Accommodation · Airport Transfers · Equipment · Local Transport · Meals As Described · Routes & Maps · Happiness Guaranteed · 100% Financial Protection

Please note: Flights are NOT included and must be purchased separately.

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Optional Extras

Make your life easy. Once you have reserved your space, your host can help you arrange the extras you’ll need. Here are some guide prices which can be confirmed with you during booking.

Additional Night in Norrkoping Payable Before Departure
Single Room · · · Per Night
Double Room · · · Per Night
3-Bed Room · · · Per Night
4-Bed Room · · · Per Night