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.

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 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.

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 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.

© Alexander Hall

Spend time in nature on nature’s terms.

Enjoying nature also comes with responsibilities. Visiting nature is all abou 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

5 nice places for your canoe experience:

Remember to ask the rental agency about specific things to keep in mind while paddling in the area, as well as their best routes


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 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.

For beautiful paddling in both Lake Stråken and Tidan River, visit Kyrkekvarn Kanotcenter, a rental agency in the northern part of Småland. This area offers great paddling for both beginners and experienced canoers. There are several prepared camps along the routes. You can choose to start and finish at Kyrkekvarn or be transported by car to any other place along the lake, and then paddle up to the canoe center.

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