Are you thinking of trying winter kayaking in Stockholm? You should totally go for it!
Winter kayaking is very different from kayaking in the summer and requires a lot more preparation and additional safety precautions, but don’t let that put you off! Kayaking in winter, breaking through ice, and paddling past frozen scenery is an adventure worth the extra effort.
During my trip to Stockholm, I had the opportunity to try winter kayaking for the first time. It quickly became my favourite activity of the entire trip.
If you’re looking to add a little adventure to your city break then I definitely think you should give winter kayaking in Stockholm a go.
❄️ I did this winter kayaking tour, just outside of Stockholm in Vaxholm. The scenery was stunning and I even got to paddle past a small frozen waterfall.
🏨 Where to stay in Stockholm: I loved Generator Hostel! They have a mix of dorms and private hotel-style rooms
📌 Best Stockholm tour: Taking a boat tour of the Stockholm archipelago is a must-do!
🚣♀️ Best day trip from Stockholm: Visit nearby Vaxholm for an incredible kayaking experience
🤑Save money: The Stockholm pass can save you money on many of the most popular sights and activities in Stockholm
💸 Get insured for your trip to Stockholm with Ekta Travel insurance
Hi, I’m JJ!
I’m a travel blogger with a passion for unique travel destinations, discovering hidden gems, and adventurous solo travel.
Winter kayaking was the best thing that I did in Stockholm. I highly recommend giving it a go.
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Winter Kayaking Stockholm: Can You Kayak In The Winter?
Many people wonder if it’s possible to kayak in the winter, especially in a place like Stockholm where temperatures can drop below freezing. The answer is yes! While it may seem daunting at first, with proper preparation and precautions, kayaking in the winter can be a thrilling and unique experience.
If you’re an experienced kayaker, you may have to adjust your techniques slightly. I’m used to kayaking in much warmer climates, so I have to admit I was a little nervous about getting out onto the icy water.
I shouldn’t have worried though, as I soon got the hang of using my oar to crack through the ice and make my way through the frozen waterways.
Best Winter Kayaking In Stockholm
I took this winter kayaking tour and had a blast. I think that kayaking is one of the best things to do in Stockholm in winter.
The guide was super friendly and did a great job keeping everyone safe. She also told us lots of interesting facts about the surrounding landscape and took photos for us.
At the end of the kayaking session, we all got to warm up with a Swedish fika experience. Then some of us took a quick dip in the icy water before enjoying a traditional Swedish sauna that overlooked the water. It was the perfect way to end the tour!
How To Get To Vaxholm From Stockholm
The tour starts from the kayaking center in Vaxholm. Getting to Vaxholm from Stockholm is easy.
You’ll be happy to know that there is a direct local bus (#670) that departs from the Tekniska Högskolan (Royal Institute of Technology) bus stop in Stockholm several times an hour, all year round. The journey typically takes around 40 minutes. You can check bus times here.
I caught this bus and had no problems. The ticket costs 54 SEK (~£4 GBP/$5 USD) and you can buy the ticket from the driver on the bus.
You will need to get off the bus at the Engarn stop, which is 15 stops from where you get on the bus. This bus stop is right next to the meeting point for the kayak center.
What To Wear For Winter Kayaking Stockholm
The biggest difference between kayaking in ice and kayaking in warm climates is the amount of clothes that you need to wear.
Usually, when I’m kayaking I just throw a life vest on over my swimsuit and I’m good to go. Obviously, that wasn’t going to cut it here!
When kayaking in winter conditions you need to not only think about how to keep warm whilst paddling but also consider how to prevent hypothermia if you fall in. Warm layers, a drysuit, and waterproofs are all essential for keeping safe whilst winter kayaking.
The winter kayaking Stockholm tour includes all the necessary safety gear such as dry suits, waterproof boots, waterproof gloves, life vests etc. but it is important to wear multiple warm layers underneath your dry suit.
Here’s what you need to bring to make sure you are prepared for the cold:
You’ll need to wear all of this underneath the provided dry suit and waterproofs.
My Experience Of Winter Kayaking Stockholm Archipelago
As we set out on the tour, I couldn’t help but feel a flurry of nerves. The icy waterways stretched out before me, and the thought of navigating through them was a little overwhelming.
Even as an experienced kayaker, I was scared of rolling my kayak in the icy water. Realistically though, there was very little chance of that happening as the water was mostly very calm and still. The guide did a great job of reassuring me that no one on any of her tours had ever capsized.
After a very thorough safety debrief, we were ready to get out onto the water. My nerves disappeared straight away and were replaced with excitement.
The Stockholm Archipelago is an enchanting blend of natural beauty and charming architecture. We paddled around the archipelago for three hours, past many little islands covered in snowy trees and dotted with quintessential Swedish cabins.
At some points, the water was completely frozen over and we had to use our oars to smash our way through. It almost felt like we were explorers, charting a path through untraveled terrain.
One of my favourite moments from the tour was when we paddled past a tiny island, home to a single, solitary cabin. The smoke curling up from its chimney against the backdrop of the grey winter sky looked like a scene from a Christmas card.
I couldn’t help but imagine how cozy it must be inside, with a crackling fire and a hot cup of coffee! It was moments like these that made the winter kayaking experience in Stockholm truly unforgettable.
Swedish Fika Experience
Once we were back on dry land our guide quickly produced some flasks of hot coffee, a selection of Swedish cookies, and a freshly prepared homemade cake so that we could all experience a traditional Swedish fika.
As we warmed up and chatted, I couldn’t help but feel grateful for the unique experience that winter kayaking in Stockholm offered. It was a chance to not only explore the stunning winter scenery but also to immerse myself in Swedish culture.
Cold Water Swimming And Swedish Sauna
The kayak center also has a traditional Swedish sauna on site. You can book this as an extra add-on to your tour.
I highly recommend upgrading your tour to include the sauna, as it was the perfect way to end the day and a great way to warm up after being outside for so long. The sauna has a large window and directly overlooks the water. Sitting in the hot sauna, looking out at the wintery landscape view over the water, was pure heaven.
After a quick stint in the sauna, I decided to be brave and go for a dip in the icy water.
Cold water swimming has a ton of health benefits and is a great way to connect with nature. I’ve been cold water swimming in the UK but I was keen to try it in the freezing waters of Sweden.
The water temp on this day was 1°C (34°F), so I could only safely stay in for up to 1 minute. I managed around 30 seconds before hauling my butt out and running back to the sauna!
💁🏻♀️JJ’S TOP TIP: Wear a swimsuit underneath all your warm layers so that you can easily strip off after kayaking, as there aren’t any changing facilities.
Stockholm Winter City Kayak Tour
I highly recommend taking the tour I went on, but if you don’t have the time to get out to Vaxholm during your trip then there are also some kayaking options right in the centre of Stockholm.
Check out this Stockholm kayak tour that takes you around the city’s waterways in winter. I think I will give it a try next time I am in Stockholm!
Kayak Rental Stockholm Archipelago
If you don’t want to take a tour there are also plenty of places to rent kayaks in Stockholm should you prefer to do your own exploring. There are three highly-rated kayak rental companies in the centre of Stockholm:
Remember, safety is key when kayaking in winter. If you are new to kayaking, it is best to take a guided group tour or a private tour so that you can learn the necessary skills and stay safe on the water.
However, if you are experienced and well-prepared, exploring Stockholm’s stunning winter landscape by kayak is an incredible adventure that I highly recommend!
6 Tips For Staying Warm While Kayaking In Winter
- Check the weather forecast and plan accordingly.
- Make sure to dress appropriately for the conditions – layers and waterproof clothing are key.
- If you’re not used to kayaking in cold temperatures, start with a shorter tour to see how your body responds. You can always book a longer tour for your next visit!
- It’s important to stay hydrated, even in colder temperatures. Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks with you.
- Pay attention to the safety briefing and follow all instructions from your guide.
- Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the unique experience of winter kayaking in Stockholm!
Other Stockholm Winter Activities
There are lots of awesome things to do in Stockholm during winter. Kayaking was my favourite winter activity but here are a few other adventure tours in Stockholm that I also recommend…
Winter Hiking Stockholm
While kayaking is a great way to see Stockholm’s winter landscape from the water, hiking offers a different perspective.
There are many beautiful trails throughout the city and surrounding areas, such as Tyresta National Park or Djurgården. Just make sure to dress warmly and be mindful of any ice or snow on the trails.
❄️This Guided Winter Hike With Campfire Lunch is the perfect Stockholm winter day trip for those looking to escape the city and delve into the serene wilderness just on its outskirts.
Snowshoeing Near Stockholm
When the snow is really thick you may need to swap your hiking boots for snowshoes. Snowshoes allow you to walk on top of the snow without sinking, making it easier to navigate through nature.
❄️I recommend booking a guided snowshoe tour to get the most out of this experience.
Ice Skating Stockholm
Ice skating is a perfect Stockholm winter activity. There are a few outdoor ice rinks dotted around the city, the best one is in Kungsträdgården. The ice rink is free to use and if you don’t have your own skates you can rent a pair for 70 SEK (~£5.22 GBP/$6.34 USD).
❄️I love the look of this full-day ice skating tour and will probably give it a try next time I am in Stockholm
For a truly authentic Swedish experience, head to one of the many saunas in Stockholm for a relaxing and rejuvenating session.
The cold winter weather makes it the perfect time to enjoy this traditional practice. I loved the spa at Centralbadet, but there are many others to choose from as well.
Nordic Skiing Near Stockholm
Nordic skiing is a popular winter activity in Sweden, and there are many places near Stockholm where you can give it a try.
I recommend heading to Hellasgården for some cross-country skiing through the beautiful forests and frozen lakes.
❄️ If you’re new to Nordic skiing then you can book a guided tour to help you get started and take you to the best trails!
Winter Boat Tour Stockholm
If kayaking in the winter sounds too cold for you, then a winter boat tour is a great alternative. You can still get the full archipelago experience and see the city from a different perspective.
❄️ I had an amazing time on this winter boat tour and highly recommend it. The scenery was stunning and they served lots of tasty hot drinks on board to keep you warm.
FAQs: Winter Kayaking Stockholm
Is it possible to go kayaking in the winter in Stockholm?
Yes, it is absolutely possible to go kayaking in the winter in Stockholm Sweden. There are guided tours as well as kayak rental options available.
Is it safe to kayak in winter in Stockholm?
As with any outdoor activity, safety is important when kayaking in the winter. It is recommended to take a guided tour if you are new to kayaking or not used to colder temperatures. Make sure to dress appropriately and follow all instructions from your guide.
How do you kayak in the winter?
Kayaking in the winter requires proper gear and winter kayaking clothing, such as a drysuit to keep you warm, as well as appropriate clothing and many warm layers. It’s also important to stay hydrated and follow safety precautions.
What is the coldest temperature to kayak in?
The coldest temperature to kayak in will vary based on personal comfort levels and experience. Always check the weather forecast before heading out.
Can I rent a kayak in Stockholm during winter?
Yes, there are several rental options for kayaks in Stockholm during winter. However, it is important to have the necessary skills and experience before renting a kayak. It may be safer to take a guided tour if you are new to kayaking or not used to colder temperatures.
What do kayakers wear in the winter?
Kayakers in the winter typically wear a drysuit to keep them warm and dry, as well as layers of warm clothing. It’s also important to have appropriate waterproof footwear and gloves. Always check with your tour company or rental provider for their recommended gear list. Overall, it is important to dress in waterproof and breathable materials that will help you stay warm while on the water
How should I dress for cold water kayaking?
When kayaking in cold water, it is important to wear layers of warm and waterproof clothing. This includes a drysuit, insulated base layers, thermal underwear, fleece or wool mid-layers, and waterproof outer layers such as a paddling jacket. It’s also important to have appropriate footwear and gloves. Always check with your tour company or rental provider for their recommended gear list.
Do you have to wear a wetsuit to kayak?
No, it is not necessary to wear a wetsuit when kayaking. In fact, in cold water conditions, it is recommended to wear a drysuit for better insulation and protection against the elements. Wetsuits are typically used in warmer water temperatures or for activities like surfing or paddle boarding.
Is kayaking a good exercise?
Yes, kayaking is a great form of exercise as it works your upper body, core, and legs. It can also improve cardiovascular health and help with balance and coordination. Additionally, being out in nature while kayaking can have mental health benefits as well. Overall, it is a fun and low-impact way to stay active during the winter months.
How do you prevent hypothermia when kayaking?
To prevent hypothermia when kayaking, it is important to dress appropriately with a drysuit, and layers of warm and waterproof clothing. It’s also recommended to have a change of clothes in case you get wet or need extra insulation. Staying hydrated and well-fed can also help keep your body temperature regulated. Make sure to take breaks and warm up if needed, and always follow safety guidelines.
Will I get wet during kayaking?
It is possible to get wet while kayaking, especially in winter conditions. However, with proper gear and technique, it is possible to stay dry and comfortable on the water. Always follow safety guidelines and listen to your guide’s instructions for a safe and enjoyable experience.
How do you keep warm while kayaking?
To keep warm while kayaking, it is important to have proper gear such as a drysuit, layers of warm and waterproof clothing, and appropriate footwear and gloves. Additionally, staying hydrated and well-fed can help regulate body temperature. It’s also helpful to take breaks if needed and stay active on the water.
How do you keep your feet warm in winter kayaking?
To keep your feet warm while winter kayaking, it is recommended to wear waterproof and insulated footwear such as neoprene boots or socks. You can also use hand or foot warmers inside your shoes for extra warmth. It’s important to choose footwear that will not only keep you warm but also provide good traction on slippery surfaces.
Final Thoughts: Winter Kayaking Stockholm
Winter kayaking in Stockholm is an activity that should be on everyone’s bucket list. The peacefulness of gliding through the serene winter landscape is an experience like no other. And with the right preparation and safety measures, it can be a safe and enjoyable adventure for all.
So bundle up and embrace the cold with a unique Stockholm winter kayaking tour!
If you need more tips for planning a winter trip to Stockholm or are wondering what to do in Stockholm in winter then check out my ultimate guide to Stockholm in winter.
And if you are looking for another adventure check out my guide to seeing the Northern lights in Sweden.
Keep exploring, keep adventuring, and happy kayaking in Sweden!
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