Glide through picturesque agricultural landscapes, camp Robinson Crusoe style on uninhabited islands and paddle meandering rivers to explore deep virgin forests. Don’t forget your life vest.

A paradise for kayakers and canoers                         

Lined by coasts on three sides and scattered with lakes and meandering streams, it’s no wonder Skåne is a popular destination among kayakers. Go paddling in the north for a serene, magical experience of remote wilderness, or go urban, paddling in the canals of Malmö, the biggest city in Skåne.  Many of the lakes contain islands where you can bring your tent and spend the night. The coastlines offer dramatic cliffs and long wide sand beaches that just go on and on. All over Skåne there’s a wide range of accommodation. And being compact, everything is easily accessible and within reach of just an hour’s drive or two.

Canoeing at Ivösjön overview
© Planet Visible

Immeln - a lake with over 200 small islands

Immeln, the third biggest lake in Skåne, is a dream for canoers. Follow Skåne’s most popular canoe trail taking you to different lakes. 

In Immeln there are over 200 small islands where you can camp and cook that bass or bream you caught earlier during the day. Immeln is known for its rich and diverse flora and fauna and many of the islands are Special Protection Areas (SPA) for birds. 

Bring your binoculars and spot a few rarities, such as fish hawk and throated diver. Gliding through the waters along the forest-clad lakeshores you may spot the rare Red Waterlily. 

Immeln is a safe and accessible paddling area where you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life without being entirely disconnected, since you can still use your mobile phone in most of the area. You can rent everything from canoes and military tents to portable stoves and barbecues at the Canoe Centre.

Ivösjön - a fresh water archipelago

Canoeing in the lake of Ivösjön in north eastern Skåne starts and ends in the same place, the Wetlandi Canoe Center in Axeltorp, where you can rent your boat as well your gear. 

Why not rent a full camping package and spend the night Robinson Crusoe style in one of the well over 40 islands in the lake, many of which are uninhabited? 

There are plenty of peaceful places to set camp all around the lake and on the islands, and you will have no problem finding a private bay of your own where you can swim, barbecue and spend the night in serene seclusion. 

If you are looking to combine nature experiences with culture, you could set course for the beautiful Bäckaskog Castle. Before paddling here you can pre-book transport for your canoe back to the centre while you spend the night at the castle and join the ghost safari in the castle grounds if you dare.

Friends canoeing at Ivösjön
© Mickael Tannus
Canoes in the sunset at the campsite
Men taking a swim at Lake Ivösjön
© Mickael Tannus
Campsite at Lake Ivösjön
Paddling Ivösjön
Barbecue and small talk at the open fire.
Man canoeing at Lake Ivösjön
© Mickael Tannus


Rönne å river, through open meadows and jungle-like greenery

The meandering Rönne Å river is a popular canoeing destination that offers calm waters and more lively parts. 

The surroundings vary, from open agricultural landscapes to dense, lush greenery like the mangrove-swamps and the Amazon rainforest. The trail is one-way as you can only paddle downstream, but you can easily get back to where you started by bus or taxi. Rent your gear at Kanotcentralen and they will arrange transport back. Since you just follow the river it’s impossible to get lost here, making it a safe and family friendly paddling excursion. 

The canoe trail is divided into different sections , depending on if you want your trip to last for just one or for several days. Söderåsen’s hostel is a beautiful place to spend the night, or you can choose to rent a cabin, go camping or sleep in one of the fixed shelters that are available along the river. Be sure to book your canoe in advance and remember to bring cash since they do not accept credit cards.

Family gliding through the lush Rönne Å
© Mickael Tannus
Family paddling close to a tree at Rönne Å
© Mickael Tannus
Picnic vid Rönne å
Paddling Rönne å
Cows at Rönne Å
© Mickael Tannus
Family paddling through greens at Rönne Å
© Mickael Tannus


Watch this movie to get inspiration to paddle on Rönne å.

Helge å - a Unesco Bisphere reserve                           

Kristianstad Vattenrike Wetlands are in north-eastern Skåne around the city of Kristianstad. This is a large area containing several nature reserves, designated a Biosphere Reserve by Unesco. Biosphere Reserves are areas designed to promote and demonstrate a balanced relationship between people and nature. 

Paddling on the river of Helge å is a great way to explore the vast variety of species and landscapes here, and the Naturum Visitor Centre, on the banks of Helge å in central Kristianstad is a great place to start when you plan your trip. There are several trails to follow when you paddle. Within the reserve you will find around 20 different and interesting visitor sites, including the hidden birdwatching tower at the Karpalund ponds, the Stork Center where you can look for the majestic white stork and the Sånnarna Outdoor museum where you can experience a living cultural landscape, with recreations of how the land was once cultivated here using traditional means such as crop rotation. Few places present a nature experience as rich and varied as Kristianstad Vattenrike and Helge å.

Kullaberg - a coastline of dramatic cliffs                     

Paddling in the nature reserve of Kullaberg in north western Skåne offers plenty of opportunities for unforgettable nature experiences. Follow the rocky coastline and admire the dramatic cliffs as they plunge into the sea, keeping your eyes peeled for everything from sea seals and porpoises to a multitude of bird species. Rent single and double boats and book guided tours of different skill levels at Kullakajak. The popular guided night tours offer an exciting and unique way of experiencing the magical coastline.

Sea kayaking at Kullaberg
© Planetvisible
Follow the rocky coastline and admire the dramatic cliffs of Kullaberg.
Sunset by Kullaberg´s lighthouse
© Mickael Tannus
Admire magic sunsets and golden lights at Kullaberg.
View over a man canoeing at Kullaberg
© Planet Visible


Paddling in and around the city of Malmö                 

Why not rent a canoe in Malmö, the biggest city of Skåne, for some rural adventures on water? Follow the canals around town to explore the city from a unique perspective, and experience the contrasts of the changing cityscape with its beautiful parks, bustling centre and calm residential areas. 

Bring a picnic basket or stop for an ice cream along the way. If you bring your own canoe, the coasts around Malmö offer splendid paddling opportunities. Paddling at sunset on a tranquil summer evening accompanied by white swans and with Turning Torso and the Öresund bridge as your backdrop is one of the more memorable ways you can experience Malmö.

Kayaking in Malmö Canal
© Werner Nystrand
Kayaking in Malmö Canal.

All in all, Skåne is exceptionally well suited for paddling. With its combination of lakes, streams, rivers and coastal landscapes, you can paddle for years in a row without having to repeat the same route in Skåne. The region offers the opportunity to combine many types of paddling experiences in one vacation, and the infrastructure for moving around and for renting gear is well developed. So start packing, and don’t forget your lifejacket.

Paddling and The Right of Public Access

When you move about in the Swedish nature, generally The right of Public Access (Allemansrätten in Swedish) applies. This law is unique to Sweden and protects  every person’s right to move freely and enjoy nature. It allows you to walk on privately owned land, swim in privately owned waters and pick wild flowers, mushrooms and berries. This makes Sweden a very attractive paddling destination. Nevertheless, there are some rules to be aware of and to follow; you are not allowed to harm land or property, you are not allowed to pick protected flowers and plants and you are not always allowed to light a fire or let your dog run free. For more detailed information on what you can and can not do, follow the link:


Map of Skåne

Did this article help you?

Others have also read

Women arriving at Alunbruket following Skåneleden

Hike the Skåneleden trails

The Skåneleden trail is a marked long distance hiking trail, measuring more than 1000 kilometres through the countryside of Skåne.
Read more

Beaches in Skåne

White sandy beaches, the sound of seagulls and the smell of pine trees. Skåne’s beaches offer everything you can get on the Riviera but without the people.
Read more