Måkläppen is a nature reserve in Falsterbo in Vellinge municipality, 20 or so kilometres south of Malmö. The nature reserve is characterized by 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. 

History and finds

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

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 following the last ice age, including 8,000 year-old stone tools from the Kongemose culture. There are shipwrecks from 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. 

When to go to Måkläppen

Måkläppen is open for the public during the winter months 1 November–31 January. The rest of the year you cannot enter the reserve, or the waters around, due to the sensitive wildlife.

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 birds lost the protection of the water when the sand banks made contact with the shore, opening up a popular food store for foxes and mink.


Mom and son scouts for wildlife in Måkläppen
© Mickael Tannus
The highlight of Måkläppen is watching the harbour seals and grey seals in their natural habitat.
Mother and son looking at the sea view in Måkläppen
© Mickael Tannus
The former island Måkläppen is open for the public during the winter months, 1 November–31 January.
Mom and son walking on the sand dunes of Måkläppen
© Mickael Tannus
Måkläppen's sand dunes is a beautiful walk.

How to get here

To get to the Falsterbo peninsula and Måkläppen either drive or take the Skånetrafiken bus number 100. Park either by Falsterbo Strandbad or the Skanör harbour, and walk towards Flommen Golf Club (appx 30 mins. walk). From there you have about an hour-long walk to reach the southernmost tip. The walk is of a medium difficulty and a large proportion of the route is on loose sand.

What to see and do

The highlight of Måkläppen is watching 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 trip to 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.

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