Björnö Naturreservat – Hiking, Camping, and exploring nature.
Yesterday we went hiking in Björnö Naturreservat. This is a nice spot to start exploring if you’re limited on time and just want to make a quick day trip out somewhere, or stay overnight. I thought I’d do a quick overview of our Björnö camping experience.
It took us around 2.5 hours to get around the long side of the trail at a slowish pace, and only about an hour to take the main road through back to the bus stop.
A Swedish lesson – Don’t fear the bears
There are a couple ironic things about the naming of Björnö, which if you translate the Swedish to English literally means:
- Björn – bear
- Ö – island
There aren’t bears there, (at least none that I saw) which I was skeptical about when my girlfriend first brought it up. Why would they name a place bear island if there aren’t any bears?! Maybe it’s kind of shaped like a bear if you squint really hard, but i digress.
Second, it’s not actually an island, but more of a very fat, round, peninsula with a thin connection to the mainland. There are plenty of islands around however, and it’s a great spot to get some amazing views of the archipelago. If you’re into boating it’s even better, as evidenced by the massive number of sailboats, paddle-boarders, and canoes roaming from island to island off the coast.
Hiking for the non hiker
The trails on Björnö are fairly easy to manage. This is excellent for me as I’m super new to hiking and backpacking, but am trying my best as it’s one of the best ways to get out of the house and continue to explore nature in Sweden.
Rather than heading straight for one of the several campsites, we took a roundabout route around the south side of the “island”. You’ll head through some picturesque little cottages and a field of sheep who couldn’t care less about you.
Obligatory Swedish lesson
At the southern end, there is a lookout tower with a spectacular view over the archipelago and back out over the forest. In keeping with my theme of trying to teach some Swedish on this blog, I’ll break down the sign you’ll see on the way to this tower.
- Ut – Out
- Sikt – Sikt in an interesting one to translate. You can use it in phrases like “kort sikt” (short term), “lång sikt” (long term, long run), it can be very close to “sight” or “visibility”, and “insikt” is almost exactly analogous to “insight”. In this case “utsikt” or “out sight” means “view” as in, “what a great view!”
- Torn – Tower
So we have our English to Swedish translation from “Utsiktstorn” to “View Tower”. There we go, keeping things educational! I’ll include a short table of hiking and camping related words with this post to give some additional Swedish learning goodness. Now for the views themselves:
Campsite and sunrise
Finally to the campsite! It’s fairly easily accessible from the main road if you want to quickly head in and set up camp instead of hiking in from the other side, There are outhouses, shelter structures, and water pumps available. This is the ideal location if you want some beautiful views, moderate hiking exercise, want to explore nature, but you don’t want to leave all of civilization behind just yet.
To sum it up, this is a great little spot less than an hour away from Stockholm by bus, where you can sneak away for a day hike or a quick overnight camp. Our Tyresta trip was a little more wild wilderness, but sometimes it’s nice to just escape the city noise for a little bit.
Detailed Björnö Nature Reserve information
- Cell phone signal: yes
- Terrain: stroller accessible path -to- steep rocks
- Beach: Sandy
- Travel there:
- 1. Subway to Slussen from Stockholm C.
- 2. Bus 429X or 428X från Slussen to Björnö naturreservat.
- 3. Walk 10 minutes North East to the main entrance to the national park. Total travel time: approx 45 min -to- 1h and 10 min.
- Water in Björnö (not regulated so quality varies):
- 1. Ramsviken
- 2. Norrviken
- 3. Näset
- Tents: Only specified spots as this is a national park (see map):
- 1. Ramsviken
- 2. Norrviken
- 3. Näset
- 4. Småängsuddarna
- 5. Bryggan
- Tents may be set up for a maximum of 48 hours in one place.