From hiking, berry and mushroom picking, seasonal markets, spectacular colours and outdoor adventures, Autumn is surely the best time to be here in Sweden. The climate in my hometown of Sydney is very mild and there’s little sense of there being a fully distinct season in between summer and winter. I think that’s why I love Autumn in Värmland, where I’ve been living more or less since 2012. In the north of Europe, each season is very distinctive and there are certain events, holidays and activities that you can associate with them.
So when the leaves on the trees begin to change colour in August I am filled with anticipation and excitement. Autumn is spectacular throughout the country but I prefer to stay close to home and explore the local area during this time. There are so many delightful things to do here in Värmland that there’s really no reason to venture further afield!
Beautiful Photo Opportunities
Autumnal colours really do make the landscape come to life in spectacular bursts of orange, yellow and red. The best photo opportunities are in the mid to late afternoon when the light creates gorgeous patterns on the forest floor and accentuates the warm hues of the leaves.
Markets like this one at Alsters Herrgård just outside of Karlstad offer up fika delights, pumpkins, crafts and mushroom displays. Stalls sell local produce: cheese, meats, honey, smoked salmon, marmalade and freshly baked bread. You can wander the grounds while sipping a strong black coffee and try some free samples of all the food (that’s my favourite part!) The annual Smaka på Värmland (Taste Värmland) festival held at Mariebergsskogen also serves up delicious produce from all over the region, from grilled sausages to an Autumnal staple: the cinnamon bun.
Autumn is the last opportunity to make the most of being outdoors without looking like an eskimo in five layers of clothing, hat, scarf, gloves, boots and so on. It’s also still light enough to enjoy a full day out in the sunshine. Winters in Scandinavia can drop to godforsaken temperatures that require intense preparation before leaving the house. For those with motorcycles like my partner and I, it’s still possible to take them out for a spin until October, when it starts to get a bit chilly at those high speeds. And campers can also enjoy pitching a tent while it’s still warm enough to do so. Say hello to weekend mini-adventures all over the region!
I’ve made no secret of my love for Autumn walking in Värmland. There are so many trails to take in the region, from short walks spanning an hour or two, to longer and more challenging weekend or multi-day hikes. My favourite destination so far has been Glaskogen Nature Reserve (pictured above). The summer tourists have disappeared by September and if you’re brave enough you can even take a dip in one of the many lakes you’ll stumble upon. The fresh scent of pine trees and the feel of crunchy leaves beneath your hiking boots as you tramp through the forest is a magical experience.
Berries and Mushrooms
Spring may be the season when beautiful flowers start to bloom but Autumn offers up the delights of colourful bushes of lingon and blueberries and mushrooms of all sizes and varieties. Not all of them are edible, so make sure you know what you’re eating before you pop something in your mouth or you’ll be in for a nasty surprise!
Most tourist boards, travel blogs and Swedes themselves will tell you that the best time to visit Sweden is in the summer months. And it is indeed the warmest, sunniest, most pleasant time of the year. But Autumn in Värmland offers up a real treat. Don’t tell anyone though, because I’d like to keep the peace and quiet all to myself!