Halmstad to Jönköping: A Swedish Adventure

Ever thought of riding your bike in Sweden? This winter, we challenged four members of our cycling community to push their own boundaries and follow the Nissan River, steeped in Norse history, from Halmstad to the great lake Vättern.

The two-day tour on mixed terrain would see them set out from the shores of the Kattegat, surrounded by the three kingdoms of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, and travel inland towards the southern highlands of Småland.

It’s a passage the Vikings would have navigated in their sleek, longboats more than 1,000 years previous. Aandy Natarajan, one of our four adventurers, picks up the story…


I had always wanted to go to Sweden – it was high up on my list of places yet to visit. And the fact Vera, Sav, Vlad and myself had no prior knowledge of the route only added to the sense of adventure.

Our ride would start from Halmstad – more specifically its historic port which saw many Viking battles and is situated on the mouth of the Nissan River.

We’d be following the river inland, criss-crossing it at various points during the day. This was a Viking trade route and a migration route for salmon and trout. Our ride would basically replicate both journeys.

Once out of the city we were greeted by some stunning open countryside, smooth quiet roads and a little taste of some autumnal colour and weather. In late September, Sweden’s weather is maybe a month ahead of the UK – so it was like getting an early glimpse of autumn.


As the ride went on the landscape became more remote, there were amazing red barns with white picket fences, reminding me of picturesque scenes from 70s/80s American drama series Little House on the Prairie.

There were points where we felt we were the only people for miles around. The flat terrain meant we covered the 100km very quickly indeed, such a joy to ride on such smooth roads.

By the end of the day, we’d entered into the Småland region – and the terrain became a bit more undulating, passing through fields of corn in dappled evening light as our first day of riding drew to a close.


Day two of our adventure saw us track the river a little further before we headed further north towards our final destination of Lake Vättern.

We passed through a hydroelectric dam and learned that when the dam was built the migration of salmon and trout had stopped. In the 70s the dam was re-engineered with trout ladders to repair the ecosystems that had been lost.

Leaving the river behind, we entered lake territory and the terrain became much more varied and undulating. There were some amazing gravel roads through dense forests, while we stopped frequently to marvel at all the stunning mushrooms by the side of the road.

We took in the views across Lake Stengardshultsjon before stopping for lunch beside Lake Rasjön. It was so peaceful, not a soul in sight. Riding through this wilderness was such a pleasure and even a short rain shower couldn’t dampen the mood!


After lunch we headed towards Taberg, which would be our last climb and the highest point on our route (circa 350m above sea level). This would offer us magnificent views of the surrounding forests we had just cycled through and Lake Vättern where we were headed.

Vättern is the sixth largest lake in Europe and seeing it in the distance was breath-taking, the sheer vastness of it causing light to refract on the horizon was pretty magical. It was at this point where we could see the end of the adventure and had to say goodbye to the wilderness.

We headed back down Taberg and set off towards the lake into what felt like civilisation again. We stopped briefly for a minor mechanical and in next-to-no time we arrived at Vättern and the city of Jönköping.

The water was crystal clear, and Vlad couldn’t resist jumping in for a dip. It was such a fitting end to an amazing journey from coast to lake in Sweden. Following Vikings, salmon and trout along the way...