Paddling in Småland, water, sun
Paddling in Småland. © Alexander Hall

Paddling through Småland’s watery wilderness

Småland’s untouched wilderness, lakes, seas and waterways are perhaps best experienced from a canoe or kayak. Spectacular water routes permeate the area allowing you to quietly navigate your serene surroundings. Whether you’re on a relaxing day trip or an action-packed weeklong expedition, Småland’s wild and wonderful waters will satisfy the adventurer in you.

Become one with nature

Gliding through water in a canoe is almost soundless. It allows you to experience the wildlife up close - a truly wonderful experience that will stay with you afterwards. The lakes and streams of Småland offer exceptional routes for canoeing and kayaking, and the mix of calm open water and narrow passages makes it ideal for both beginners and experienced canoeists. Enjoy being as close to nature as you can get and set up camp on an uninhabited island where you can sit by a fire and watch the sun set over the glistening waters. This is Småland at its best.

Paddle in lakes
Paddle in lakes. © Alexander Hall

Plan your route

Småland's lakes and streams offer excellent waters for canoeing and kayaking, whether you're going to be away for a few days or just a few hours. Some canoe rentals offer open waters in large or small lakes, others let you paddle along streams and rivers, and in some places you will find both. No matter where you choose to go, you will enjoy being as close to nature as you can get.

Easy to rent

Paddling is for everyone, and you don't really need to bring any special equipment. The streams, rivers and lakes in Småland offer paddling for beginners and experts. Rent a canoe and a life jacket, and perhaps even a tent for the ultimate experience. The rental agencies found in Småland are usually very accommodating in helping you out, and you can ask them for maps and tips on routes.

Kayaking on the sea
Kayaking on the sea. © David Wall Denhef Digital

Kayaking or canoeing?

If you would rather propel your way through the water using a double-bladed paddle, Småland also offers great opportunities for kayaking. There are plenty of places where you can rent a kayak and since it's quite easy to learn, you don't need any prior knowledge. Most rental agencies offer introductions to kayaking before you head out on your trip. Kayaking can be done in the same waters the canoeists favour, but sea kayaking is also popular.

Kayaking in Västervik
Kayaking in Västervik. © David Wall Denhef Digital

Kayaking in the archipelago

Discover Småland’s archipelagos and spend the night on your own little island: there are plenty of islands but very few people. Tjust archipelago in Västervik is a beautiful place to explore by kayak. If you are lucky, you might even spot some sea eagles or seals among the island and skerries. Some islands have restaurants, accommodation and activities such as kayak and cycle hire. Misterhult's archipelago is another beautiful place to experience from the waterside. Set off from charming Klintemåla to quickly arrive at this dense and initing group of islands where your paradise awaits.

Kyrkekvarn, canoeing, pladdle
Kyrkekvarn. © Day Fotografi, Sara Landstedt


Kyrkekvarn Kanotcenter is situated directly at the river Tidan northwest of Jönköping. The river passes through a great number of culture historical mill-ponds. The trails are sailable from may to september. The nature along the canoetrails are varied and beautiful. A trip along Tidan north of Kyrkekvarn contains several places, to pass the mill-ponds, where you have to carry the canoe. A canoe-carriage is therefore necessary. The transports on land are always marked with signs.

Canoeing in Åsnen
Canoeing in Åsnen. © Hans Runesson

Canoeing and kayaking in Åsnen

Canoeing or kayaking across the waters of Åsnen may be the most scenic way to experience the lake. Suddenly, you will reach a different world, in many ways hidden from the mainland. The sound of human activity is rare and the number of buildings negligible. There are several companies to rent your canoe or kayak from.

More places for your canoe experience:

Småland’s coastal strip is a dynamic and ever-changing seascape just perfect for kayaking. In the northern parts you are met by a living archipelago of 5,000 islands, islets and skerries. Further down the coast lies Kalmar, a city built on islands with a seafront location and canals tailormade for paddling. Paddle out to sea or in the historic city centre with Kalmar Castle.

Kayaking by Kalmar Castle
Kayaking by Kalmar Castle. © Robin Visser

Helge å (Helge river) flows into the lake Möckeln in several places. It forms a waterway perfect for canoeing both in the open lakes and calm rivers. There are also 10 or so nice resting spots in the area. If you want to try your luck at fishing you will need a fishing license which is valid for all the waters you pass in this area.

Korrö. © Alexander Hall

Korrö is a perfect starting point for a day of paddling in Ronnebyån. You can find all the equipment you need there, as well as picnic baskets. Ronnebyån winds from Lake Rottnen in the north, to Ronneby in the south. This route is equally suitable if you want to experience a few days of hiking, or if you want to settle for a few hours.

Nissan River by Gislaved is an 86 km long waterway from north to south, which has been popular among canoeists for years. The river is mostly calm, with some stretches with more currents. It runs through a beautiful landscape dominated by pine forests. Picnic spots and places for overnight stays can be found along the river.

The Emån Canoe Trail starts in the largest tributary, the Solgenån, at Värne and continues in the main channel all the way to the coast. In the area of Vetlanda, the trail passes the villages Skede, Holsbybrunn, Alseda, Ädelfors and Kvillsfors. You will see plenty of forest along this trail. Rent a cannon in north of Emån here or rent a cannon in the south of Emån here

Paddle on Hummeln
Paddle on Hummeln. © Alexander Hall

Kristdala Kanot offers paddling experiences where you can enjoy nature together with the family on the meteorite lake Hummeln. To experience the meteorite lake in the best way, Hummeln offers several paddling experiences that you can choose from during an excursion.

Enjoy the nature
Enjoy the nature. © Alexander Hall

Spend time in nature on nature’s terms

Enjoying nature also comes with responsibilities. Visiting nature is all about showing respect to the animals, the environment, other visitors and landowners. Leave the places you visit in the same state as when you arrived. Also remember that fires are not permitted everywhere - so use prepared fireplaces instead. This way, we can keep Småland’s wonderful nature healthy and rubbish-free so we can all enjoy canoeing through the wilderness for many years to come.

The Swedish Right to Roam

More adventures in or on water