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The Skåneleden Trail. Sweden’s beautiful south

The Skåneleden Trail

For many people travelling to Sweden, there are often only three points on the compass. North for the Aurora, east for Stockholm’s archipelago and west for the beauty of Bohuslän. However, the south is a sublime part of the country overlooked by many visitors, perhaps because they think that, if you head south, you just hit Denmark. Indeed, the Skåne region, on Sweden’s southernmost tip, was once Danish. It still maintains a dual heritage culture for many people, including its own language, Scanian, now recognised by UNESCO as endangered. Skåne’s network of walking paths is equally precious, known collectively as the Skåneleden Trail, which covers a mammoth 1,300km and makes for the most beautiful south. 

How many routes are there on the Skåneleden Trail?

It’s like a Swedish flatpack with many parts but without any of the hassle. There are, in fact, six main trails (SL1-6) and 113 sub-sections on the Skåneleden Trail, and there is clear guidance throughout, with orange markers and signs to lead the way. You can also complete it alone, with Skåneleden perfect for solo travellers. It covers a merry mix of rocky shores, remote peninsulas, white sandy beaches and mature beech forests. We have chosen two northern sections and one eastern one to host self-guided walking holidays, with plenty of local accommodation along the way and luggage transfers from one to the next. 

The Kullaleden and Bjäre Peninsulas

You get to dip into two sections of the Skåneleden Trail on an eight day holiday on the Kullaleden and Bjäre Peninsulas. The Kullaleden Trail is one of the prettiest of peninsular prizes, starting in Helsinborg and heading north along the Kullahalvön Peninsula as part of SL5 Öresund Trail to Utvälinge. Walk along cliff trails, through traditional coastal villages such as Mölle, bathe in the beauty of its birch and oak forests or literally bathe at the long sandy beach at Farhult. At the tiny hamlet of Utvälinge, you then join the SL1 Coast to Coast section, which takes you around the Bjäre Peninsula, a seascape of dunes, marine meadows and juniper groves, pine forests and bird-filled heathland. The European nightjar’s trill is the soundtrack of many tranquil treks along this stretch. 

Skåneleden trail
The Kullaleden Trail, part of the larger Skåneleden Trail, is packed with peninsular prettiness.

The Österlen Way 

This is the SL4 section of the Skåneleden Trail, a circular route on the eastern side of Skåne starting and ending in Ystad. For the most part, it clings to the Baltic coast, taking you through fishing villages, alongside white beaches and dunes such as Sandhammaren, with seafood restaurants at the likes of Simrishamn village and other cultural gems along the way. Our walking holiday on the Österlen Way follows the coast between Ystad and Alunbruket, with a few detours to inland oak and beech forests, the marigold meadows that cover the Hammar hills or up Stenshuvud Mountain, to take in views across Hönö Bay.

How to get to the Skåneleden Trail

The Skåneleden Trail is so close to Denmark that we recommend flying into Copenhagen airport and taking the train to Helsingborg (1h 30mins) at the northern end of the trail, from where you head into the heart of the Skåneleden Trail on foot. Your last day is in Båstad, where there is also a train station. For more information and timetables, visit DSB and SJ national rail companies. You could also spend time in Denmark first, then take a ferry from Helsingör in Denmark to Knutpunkten in Helsingborg run by Scandlines.

When is the best time to go to the Skåneleden Trail?

Skåne is one of the warmest regions in Sweden, and the best time to visit it is between June and the end of August, if you want to make the most of their highest temperatures, which average 22C during those months. Being close to the city of Malmö, however, it also gets high visitor numbers in summer, which is why we run holidays between the beginning of March and the end of November on the Österlen Way, and between the beginning of April and end of October on the Kullaleden and Bjäre Peninsula

Hang out in Helsingborg 

As well as Malmö, Skäne’s largest city, it’s really worth adding on some time in Helsingborg, the starting point on our Kullaleden Trail holiday, and very easy to access by train from Båstad where the walking holiday ends. Historically a shipping city, it’s now a slick and sustainable city, with a medieval heart. Stroll around the old town to see remains of the 14th century Helsingborg Castle at Kärnan Tower, built to guard the Øresund Strait, with views of this seascape from the top. As well as being gateway to the Kullaleden Trail, it is also the start of the Kattegat cycling trail, which takes you all the way to Gothenburg, one of our most popular Swedish cycling tours. So you could consider combining the two trips, for an epic journey through Sweden. 

Skåneleden trail
Hang out in Helsingborg for a perfect beginning or end to a walking holiday on the Skåneleden Trail.

We have plenty of other areas of Sweden to explore on our self-guided walking and cycling holidays, and, with Denmark being so close, you could also combine the Skåneleden Trail with a Danish treat