Kayaking in Saint Anna
Saint Anna Archipelago comprises more than six thousand islands and you are free to paddle and camp wherever you like. You’ll be an explorer in this maze of islands and the path you choose will be one never travelled before. During the day you can pause on one of the numerous tiny flat skerries to swim, have a cold beer and enjoy the sun and in the evening you can always find an island completely your own to set up camp, cook a nice meal and watch the sunset.
There is no better way to get around in Saint Anna than sea kayaking. You are right there, on sea level, experiencing nature and wildlife up-close and so much of it. You can go wherever you like, through narrow passages and over shallow waters, or across deep straights and far out to sea. Paddling gives you an amazing sense of freedom and is a very easy way of getting around in the outdoors. You don't have to be very fit or minimize your packing as with hiking or cycling. Our kayaks fit a lot of gear so you can bring nice food, beers and a comfy air mattress for a wild and exhausting, but also luxurious and relaxing adventure.
Kayaking conditions in Saint Anna are relatively easy, similar to paddling on a large lake instead of the open sea. There are no tides, currents or big swells to worry about and the islands break up wind and waves. It can however get very windy and choppy at times, especially in July–August, so do not expect mirror-calm waters unless you come in September. Battling the elements can definitely be a fun part of your adventure. You mostly have islands close by and you always have the option to stay put while waiting for calmer weather. We give you a cell phone and send daily weather reports so you can plan your route accordingly.
We use stable double kayaks for all beginners and intermediates. They are almost impossible to roll over, but they are still fast to paddle. They are perfectly suited for covering vast distances, carrying a lot of gear and keeping to your course. We provide single kayaks strictly for experienced kayakers.
Finding Your Way
Navigation is a big part of paddling in Saint Anna. It can be a tricky but fun challenge to find your way among thousands of islands that pretty much all look the same from a distance. We will teach you and after a little bit of trial and error you will get the hang of it.
The last ice age has left remains all over northern Europe, but the most spectacular are surely the archipelagos breaking up most of Sweden's eastern coastline into tens of thousands of islands and little skerries.
Favourite Summer Landscape
The archipelagos mean something very special to Swedes. It's blue vistas and glittering water, sunbathing on flat warm rocks, sailing boats in the distance, birds chirping in the background, smells of salt and seaweed, red little cottages, fishermen and their catch. It's that blend of beautiful wilderness and historical settings, of activity and relaxation, of solitude and company, that makes it such a summer favourite for everyone.
A Treasure Among Treasures
Saint Anna is a true gem among the archipelagos of Sweden. This 70 km remote stretch of the Baltic coast is absolutely perfect for paddling and camping. The islands are close to each other and completely pristine and unexploited for setting p your camp. There are no ferries or large boats around and the culture is fantastic with many old houses, a couple of quaint old villages where you can buy smoked fish and ice-cream, an old copper mine, a wood-fired sauna, lighthouses and lookouts. You will get plenty of solitude and wilderness on your adventure, but it's also great to have a few places to visit on the way and really get immersed in the whole archipelago feel.
This is an outdoors holiday and you will feel it! You will quickly find yourself far away from civilisation completely surrounded by water and wilderness. You will have all your gear safely stowed away in your kayak, your mate paddling by your side and your whole day ahead of you. There are thousands of islands out there, almost all of them uninhibited. You just look for that perfect spot, set up camp and make the island your own for a night. You will find firewood in the forest, cook all your food on the fire or camping stove and experience the fun of just being together doing simple stuff in a magnificent setting.
Most of the summer boasts crazy long hours of daylight, especially June–July, which is great for camping. Every night you'll end up with a beautiful view of islands and skerries and if you’re lucky the whole sky will light up in orange, pink and purple.
Life on the Islands
There's plenty to do on your little island. You can go swimming and sunbathing, fish from the rocks, cook glorious meals, eat and drink and be merry, play games, hang out around the campfire, wander into the forest to pick flowers, berries and mushrooms and much much more. Your imagination really gets going when you feel so free!
The Privilege to Roam Free
"The right to public access" regulates wild camping in Sweden. It's a unique concept that gives everyone access to any forest, lake or shore no matter who owns the actual land. The privilige to camp and move so freely in the outdoors goes hand in hand with the obligation to respect and protect the wild. We give you lots of information on the rules and practises in regards to rubbish disposal, bird sanctuaries, open fires, protected plant and animal species etc. Saint Anna is incredibly clean and untouched – we will keep it that way!
Harstena is a must on your journey! The village really is as picturesque as they come and you get such a piece of history strolling around the island. There is a great restaurant right on the water that serves typical archipelago cuisine and nice cold Swedish Lagers. You can visit the old school/museum and seal processing factory, buy delicious cinnamon swirls at the bakery and smoked fish from the local fisherman. Establishments on Harstena are open Midsummer to mid-August.
Missjö Archipelago and Kupa Klint Lookout
Missjö archipelago is located in the outskirts of Saint Anna. It's a long band of hundreds of little islands and skerries and the area is the most finely-chiselled archipelago that exists in Sweden.
Inside the long outer band of islands is the large island Missjö and its parallell islands. This place is superb for camping with little nooks and crannies everywhere and plenty of protection from windy weather. There is a small pub located on Missjö. The place has very flexible hours and is run by local boat taxi man Mats.
Kupa Klint is the most well known navigation mark in Saint Anna. When you climb up to this great lookout point you will get a view that you’ll never forget as you see the hundreds of islands and skerries of the Missjö archipelago from above.
Håskö Wood-fired Sauna and Smoked Fish
Håskö is one of the region's last untouched archipelago homesteads. Locals still live off fishing, livestock and forestry. For a very small fee you can use the wood-fired sauna located right on the sea. They also have a great wood-fired outdoor jacuzzi for hire, a little on the pricey side but definitely worth it if there are a few of you.
The guys at Håskö have a small scale fishing operation and are renowned for their fresh perch and smoked and cured salmon. You can buy it all in the kiosk and Håskö is open all season.
Häradsskär is located far out in the outer archipelago and is famous for its lighthouse. The only sounds you can hear out here are bird calls and the rhythmic crashing of the sea against the smooth rocks. You are as far out as you're going to get and it's beautiful!
Häradsskär has been inhabited since the 1650s. People on the island lived off fishing as well as piloting other ships through the difficult waters. There has been some form of navigation mark on Häradsskär since the 1600s. The present lighthouse was built in 1863 and is the second oldest iron lighthouse in Sweden.
Fångö Copper Mine and Gubbön
Fångö is one of the largest islands in the area and was during the 1800s a prominent site for mining copper. The copper mines at Fångö were active for around 50 years (1820–1876). The ore was shipped or dragged across the ice to the mainland where the copper works were located. At its peak in the mid 1800s, 200 persons lived on Fångö. There are many remains from the copper mining era on the island, for example deep mining shafts, house foundations and massive piles of waste rock.
Opposite the Fångö copper mine is Gubbön. With its 25 metres above sea level the island is a great viewing spot.
Aspöja is another idyllic village with cultral significance to Saint Anna. 43 people live here year-round and hardly any of the houses have been sold to summer guests. On the east side there is a jetty where you can find a small café and buy smoked fish. On the northern tip of Aspöja is the Alnholm nature reserve. Here you can observe some unusual geological formations.
The Archipelago Museum
The Archipelago Museum is located on the mainland at Tyrislöt. The museum chronicles the life of archipelago dwellers in the past and present. The main theme is fishing and hunting and you get to see many types of boats as well as fishing and bird catching methods. There are also simple farming tools, a larder and kitchen on display. A boat-house has been built inside the museum and many photoes show everyday life in the archipelago.