Illustration by Dawn Cooper


1. Arctic fox, Vindelfjällen Nature Reserve

Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus / Alopex lagopus) on the tundra in summer , Lapland, Sweden

Arctic fox © Arterra / Getty

Though the Arctic fox is at the southern edge of its range in Sweden, you still have a good chance of seeing this handsome, iconic polar mammal in this 562,800ha ‘Lapland’ reserve.

2. Brown bear, Bollnäs, Hälsingland


Brown bear © Sven Zacek / Getty

Watching brown bears from rustic hides in which you spend the night has become a very popular activity in Sweden in recent years. The hides are usually well-adapted for photography. Go during the long summer nights in June or July to increase your chances of a daylight sighting.

3. White-tailed eagle, St Anna & Gryt Archipelagos


White-tailed eagle © Arterra / Getty

With an estimated 350 pairs and another 900 non-breeding birds, white-tailed eagles can be spotted in many parts of Sweden. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can explore the archipelagos by sea kayak.

4. Common crane, Lake Hornborga


Common crane © Vittorio Ricci / Getty

Every spring 10,000 cranes drop in at Lake Hornborga to refuel en route from their winter quarters in Spain to their breeding grounds in northern Sweden and Finland. Trandansen, situated at the south-western end of the lake, is a popular place to watch their courtship dance. The birds also stop here in August during their return journey south.

5. Beaver, River Klarälven, Värmland

Eurasian beaver / European beaver (Castor fiber) in pond nibbling on willow leaves

Beaver © Arterra / Getty

There are roughly 200,000 beavers in Sweden today – to find one, just look for trees and fresh water. April to September are the best months to spot these architects of the riverbank, which are most active at dusk. The Klarälven River is rich beaver territory – canoeing or rafting is a fun way to encounter this unique European rodent.

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6. Elk, Bergslagen


Elk © Andy Broomé / Getty


Spend a night in this area of lakes and conifer woodland in central Sweden and sightings of this imposing yet timid animal are guaranteed. There’s also a chance of hearing wolves howling, though lupine encounters are rare, and lynx roam these forests too.