Måkläppen is a nature reserve located in Falsterbo in Vellinge Municipality, 20 or so kilometres south of Malmö. 

The nature reserve consists of large sand deposits, constantly changing in shape and size due to ocean currents and wind. It is Sweden’s oldest nature reserve and an important breeding area for shorebirds and seals.

When to go

The former island, now a spit of land, is open for the public during the winter months from 1 November - 31 January. The rest of the year it is prohibited to enter the reserve, and the prohibition also applies to the waters around Måkläppen.

History and finds

Aerial view over the Måkläppen peninsula.
Aerial view over the Måkläppen peninsula.

Being Sweden’s oldest nature reserve, Måkläppen was placed under protection in 1902. In the 1930s the area only had about 50x100 metres of exposed land. With the continuous shifting of sand, Måkläppen has since increased in size and attached itself to the mainland and is now moving northwards. 

Måkläppen is home to traces of the first hunter-gatherer societies that existed following the last ice age, including 8,000 year old stone tools from the Kongemose culture. There are shipwrecks from shipwrecks from as far back as the Viking Age and the Middle Ages, to the present day that sank trying to pass through the dangerous stone and sand reefs to the south-west of the Falsterbo Peninsula.

The previously rich birdlife at Måkläppen, with 20 or so nesting species of gulls, terns, ducks and waders, has changed substantially over the years and is currently at a low level. The protection of the water was lost when making contact with the shore, which opened up a popular larder for foxes and minks.

Mum and son walking and observing in Måkläppen
© Mickael Tannus
The highlight of Måkläppen is to watch seals and migratory birds
Mom and son walking on sand dunes
Walking on Måkläppen sand dunes
Mom and son scouts
Scouting at Måkläppen

How to get here

To get to Falsterbonäset and Måkläppen either drive, or take the Skånetrafiken bus number 100. Park either by Falsterbo Golf Club or Flommens Golf Club, and then walk west towards the sea. From Flommen Gold Club you have about an hour-long walk to reach the most southern tip. The walk is of a medium difficulty, but a large proportion of the route is on loose sand.

What to see and do

The highlight of Måkläppen is to watch the harbour seals and grey seals in their natural habitat. They are usually close by catching fish, playing with each other and relaxing and bathing in their bay. They seem to be just as curious about visitors as visitors are about them. If you bring a pair of binoculars, you can probably see right into the seal's eyes.  Another highlight is to see the migratory birds taking a break and experience the “Nordic light” in winter in a piece of genuine wilderness that nature has shaped.   

Some helpful tips for your excursion on Måkläppen:

Wear waterproof walking boots and warm clothes.

In case of rain, bring rainproof clothing. 

Expect the hike to take at least 2-3 hours. Add time for breaks along the way.

Bring a camera and binoculars if you can.

Bring something energizing to eat and a hot drink.

Do not disturb seals and other wildlife.

Dogs are not allowed.

Pushchairs or wheelchairs are not recommended since the ground consists of soft, wet sand.

Did you get helped by this article?

Others have also read

Women arriving at Alunbruket following Skåneleden

Hiking the Skåneleden Trail

The Skåneleden Trail is a marked long distance hiking trail, measuring more than 1000 kilometres through the countryside of Skåne. It consists of five separate subtrails comprising a total of 89 sections.
Read more
söderåsen nationalpark

Söderåsen National Park

Söderåsen National Park is the largest unbroken area of protected woodland in Northern Europe on a designated area of about 16 km2 (6.2 sq mi).

Read more