Explore the curious world of Sweden’s High Coast
By Emma Rodin
Featuring an archipelago of peaks and islands, the world’s highest coastline offers amazing views, untouched nature, and exciting outdoor activities. Indeed, a visit is set to provide memorable experiences for the whole family – and is within easy reach for both national and international visitors.
The land along the High Coast has risen around 300 metres since the last Ice Age. That makes it the world’s highest coastline and, today, it is part of the High Coast/Kvarken Archipelago World Heritage Site.
“It’s a fantastic destination for outdoor activities,” says travel trade manager Andreas Olsson. “Only around 120,000 people live in this region, which is about the same size as half of the Netherlands. That’s a lot of nature for each person and plenty of space for visitors to explore.”
Out of this world
The High Coast was recently listed in New York Times’ 52 Places for a Changed World, in which journalist Ingrid K. Williams highlights green destinations that allow travellers to become part of a sustainable solution. “With more than 100 nature reserves, a national park and hundreds of miles of trails, this wilderness refuge is a draw for hikers, cross-country skiers and mountaineers seeking less-trodden paths, stunning vistas and uncrowded campsites,” Williams writes about the High Coast.
“The geology here is unique. You have dramatic cliffs dropping into the sea, the archipelago with its picturesque islands, as well as the beautiful inland,” says Olsson. “All seasons have their own allure, from the lush spring months and the long days in summer, to the rich colours in autumn – which is the perfect time for hiking – and the crisp winter with snow, ice fishing, cross-country skiing and much more.”
Speaking of skiing, the region is popular with Sweden’s national team in cross country skiing who come here to prep for the season ahead. That speaks for itself to relay the high quality of the tracks available. Those who fancy downhill skiing won’t be disappointed either. The High Coast is home to several ski resorts such as Hallsta and Solbergsbacken, which is ideal for families, offering a spa and restaurant, plus fully equipped cabins to rent.
Skiing aside, ice fishing is a popular activity and there’s lots of choice thanks to the area’s rich collection of lakes. “People love the thrill of catching fish from beneath the ice,” says Olsson. “As long as you take precautions and show respect for the ice, it makes for a wonderful day out”.
A lot to discover
Olsson recommends exploring the whole region, including the coast and archipelago as well as the inland. Why not, for instance, pay a visit to Skuleberget, 286 metres above sea level? Moreover, of course, there’s the Ulvön islands, the High Coast archipelago’s biggest tourist attraction with a fantastic cultural heritage. Here you will find charming fishing villages with small boatsheds and traditional wooden frames for drying fish nets. In fact, Ulvön was once northern Sweden’s largest fishing community and is often referred to as ‘the gem of the Baltic Sea’.
Finally, we cannot forget about the 130-kilometre-long High Coast Trail which is one of Sweden’s 12 Signature Trails, stretching through the entire World Heritage Site. The scenery shifts between deep forests, mountain tops, sandy beaches, steep cliffs and green meadows. At times, you will find yourself up to 250 metres above sea level. Nowhere else in Sweden can you hike at these heights so close to the sea.
Food and drink
High Coast visitors won’t go hungry either. The region showcases a wide selection of cuisines and flavours such as wild salmon, moose fillet with lingonberries, and chanterelle mushrooms sautéed in butter. There are also plenty of charming farm shops dotted around, filled with local delicacies like homemade marmalades, vegetables, fish and meats.
On top of this, you’ll find world-class restaurants, first-class cheeses, Sweden’s largest flatbread bakery and even award-winning distilleries such as High Coast Whiskey – makers of single malt whiskey with a unique style and taste created by the northern climate in which it is distilled.
A bright future
Still, there is more to come with several notable launches happening in the next few years. “Hernö Gin Hotel is currently being built in Härnösand and will open in 2025. It’ll be a mix of a classic hotel with great experiences weaved in,” explains Olsson. “We’re really excited to see the finished thing and even more excited to see what guests will make of it”.
Another newcomer to the region will be Huttopia. This global camping brand is partnering with Härnösand municipality to launch its popular offering on the High Coast. “The Huttopia team are experts in building comfortable camping solutions with sustainability as a top priority. I think Huttopia will be a great boost for an already popular destination, and I can’t wait to have them as part of the High Coast family,” concludes Olsson.
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