Gotska Sandön has 60 km of marked hiking trails. The trails make it easy to reach the island’s natural and cultural experiences.
About the activity
Most trails are easy to walk forest trails, but in the sand dunes and on beaches, where there is soft sand, it is more difficult to walk. Most of the trails start at Lägerplatsen (the camping ground in the northen part of Gotska Sandön).
Lighthouse, an ever-changing shoreline, dunes and seabirds.
Bredsandsslingan takes you to the northwest part of the island – a place that is being constantly shaped and reshaped by wind and wave. If you take the trail in an anti-clockwork direction, you will come to Fyrbyn and the lighthouse which gives you a view over the whole island. The Bredsandsudde headland has sand dunes, sea birds and is right next to the sea. The shorter circular route goes straight back to Fyrbyn. To get to the northwest tip of the island, walk along the shore. You will soon see signposts for the trail again on the west side. You will return safely to Lägerplatsen (the camping ground) via Dynkärret. This is a relatively easy walking trail. Walking over the sand dunes is a little more difficult.
Grassland, history and forested dunes.
If you want to discover the area surrounding Lägerplatsen, go on a hike to Kapellslingan. By taking the trail clockwise you will come to Kapellänget first. Kapellet (the chapel) is situated in open grassland. There are large, ancient oaks here and you can see the largest boulder on the island, the Elephant. Walk across the meadow and you will come to Gottbergs lada (a sheep shelter). The route across the sand dunes that are bordered by yew trees and pines will bring you back to Lägerplatsen. This is an easy walking trail. It’s a little more hilly crossing the sand dunes.
Pine forest and seals.
The trail to Säludden goes via Kapellänget through pine forest. At Las Palmas you can choose to either follow the shore or continue along the trail through the forest. Awaiting you at Säludden is an enjoyable encounter with wildlife thanks to the seal hide which allows visitors to come close to the seals. This is an easy walk through the pine forest, while the walk along the shore is a bit more difficult.
Pine forest and Schipkapasset.
The trail takes you the whole way down to Tärnudden on the southern part of the island. After Kapellänget you will come to a large expanse of pine forest. Once you reach Schipkapasset (the Schipka pass) after a few kilometers, the trail continues over the tallest sand dune on the island – Höga Åsen. From here you can make a detour up to the highest point on the island before continuing towards Tärnudden. This is an easy walking trail.
Pine forest and Gamla Gården.
The trail to Hamnudden goes via Kapellänget through the pine forest. Along the way you will pass the mighty Höga Åsen sand dune. At Gamla Gården the landscape opens up. This was the central settlement on the island from the 1740s to the 1860s when the lighthouse station was built. The grassland and buildings are a record of that time. Just before you arrive at Hamnudden you will pass one of the cemeteries on the island. This is an easy walking trail.
The tallest sand dune among the tops of pines and ancient forest.
If you go anti-clockwise, go along the West Side first and then up on the western slope of Höga Åsen. Follow the Höga Åsen ridge at tree-top level towards Las Palmas. Along the way you will experience the immense size of the sand dunes and see ancient pines. Keep a lookout for the emergence holes made by beetle larvae in the bark of dead pines. After Schipkapasset you will come to the highest point on the island. Take the opportunity to enjoy a dip at Las Palmas before hiking to Lägerplatsen via the pine forest or along the shore. The trail is easy to walk along initially, while the walk on Höga Åsen can be demanding given the loose sand and steep gradients.
Gamla Gården – Säludden
Across the island.
The trail connects Gamla Gården with Säludden and passes through the ancient pine forest. A connecting trail (green) will bring you up on Höga Åsen. This is an easy walking trail.
The author’s cabin and a majestic view.
The trail connects Hamnudden and Tärnudden. On leaving Hamnudden you walk along the shore past Bourgström’s cabin where Albert Engström wrote his book on Gotska Sandön in the 1920s. At Sankt Anna udde the trail goes up on to the high seabank at Högaland. The path here provides a magnifi cent view in three directions. The trail then curves down among the sand dunes at Vinbukten before you reach Tärnudden. This is mostly an easy walking trail. There are some steep stretches and open areas of sand that make walking a little more difficult.
Tärnudden – Säludden
Russian cannons and long stretches of sandy beaches.
If you want to experience glorious seclusion, this is where to go. You can choose which way to go yourself. Between Tärnudden and Kyrkudden lies one of the best sandy beaches on the island: Franska bukten. Here you will find two Russian cannons that came to rest after one of most dramatic shipwrecks on this island. Just west of Kyrkudden, a new shifting sand dune has been created and is on the move into the forest. From Kyrkkudden the trail turns o‑ to the northwest and leads up to Säludden. NOTE that the trail mostly follows the shoreline, where it is not signposted. Walking in the loose sand can be a little more difficult.
Explore the Elephant, lions and wreckers!
For those of you who are a bit younger – go on an adventure round Kapellänget. Go and visit the Elephant and look for antlions. Check out the birds and insects and climb up to the highest point in Kapellänget. A very easy walk.
The whole year