Biking -- Much of Sweden is flat, which makes it ideal for cycling tours. Bicycles can be rented all over the country, and country hotels sometimes make them available free of charge. A typical rental is 125SEK ($25/£13) per day. For more detailed information, contact the local tourist board.
Fishing -- In Stockholm, within view of the king's palace, you can cast a line for what are some of the finest salmon in the world. Ever since Queen Christina issued a decree in 1636, Swedes have had the right to fish in waters adjoining the palace. Throughout the country, fishing is an everyday affair; it's estimated that one of every three Swedes is an angler.
If you'd like to fish elsewhere in Sweden, you'll need a license; the cost varies from region to region. Local tourist offices in any district can give you information about this. Pike, pikeperch, eel, and perch are found in the heartland and the southern parts of the country.
Golfing -- With about 400 rarely crowded courses, Sweden may have more golf enthusiasts than any other country in Europe after Scotland. Visitors are often granted local membership cards, and greens fees vary, depending on the club. Many golfers fly from Stockholm to Boden in the far north in the summer months to play by the light of the midnight sun at the Björkliden Arctic Golf Course, which opened in 1989 some 240km (149 miles) north of the Arctic Circle. It's not only the world's northernmost golf course -- it's one of the most panoramic, set against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks, green valleys, and crystal lakes. The narrow fairways and small greens of this 9-hole, par-36 course offer multiple challenges. For details, contact the Björkliden Arctic Golf Club, Kvarnbacksvägen 28, Bromma S-168 74 (tel. 08/564-88-840; www.bjorklidengolfklubb.se). For general information on courses in Sweden, contact the Svenska Golffoürbundet, P.O. Box 84, Daneered S-182 11 (tel. 08/622-15-00; www.golf.se).
Hiking -- Sarek, in the far north, is one of Europe's last real wilderness areas; Swedes come here to hike in the mountains, pick mushrooms, gather berries, and fish. The Svenska Turistfoürening (Swedish Touring Club), P.O. Box 25, Amiralitetshuset 1, Flaggmansvägen 8, S101 20 Stockholm (tel. 08/463-21-00; www.stfturist.se), provides accommodations in the area in mountain huts with 10 to 30 beds. The staff knows the northern part of Sweden well and can advise you about marked tracks, rowboats, the best excursions, the problems you're likely to encounter, communications, and transportation. The company also sells trail and mountain maps.
Horseback Riding -- Many opportunities for overnight horseback pack trips exist in such wilderness areas as the forests of Värmland or Norrbotten, where reindeer, musk oxen, and other creatures roam. The most popular overnight horseback trips start just north of the city of Karlstad in Värmland. A typical horseback trip begins in the lakeside village of Torsby and follows a forested trail up a mountain. An average of 4 hours a day is spent on the horse, with meals cooked over an open fire.
In northern Sweden, two popular starting points are Funäsdalen, close to the Norwegian border, and Ammarnäs, not far from the Arctic Circle and the midnight sun. These trips begin in June. Local tourist offices can provide further information.
Sweden also has many riding stables and riding schools. Ask about them at local tourist offices. One of the most popular excursions is a pony trek through the region surrounding Sweden's highest mountain, Kebnekaise.
If you're in Stockholm, you might try a ride or two around the rinks at nearby Djurgärdens ridskola, Kaknäs, Djurgården (tel. 08/660-21-11), or a bit farther afield at Boügs Gård AB, in Sollentuna (tel. 08/96-79-71), which maintains Icelandic ponies, as they thrive throughout the region's frigid winters. Both sites can help arrange overnight treks through the surrounding fields and forests, even though most of their business derives from rink-riding and equestrian lessons.
One more unusual choice is exploring the Orsa (outback) by horse and covered wagon. In the province of Dalarna, you can rent a horse and wagon with space for up to five people. The outback is an almost unpopulated area of wild beauty, and the route goes past beautiful summer pastures, small lakes in the midst of forests, and panoramic views. Rides are available June through August. Clients cover about 16km (10 miles) a day, sleeping in or beside the covered wagon, following a preselected itinerary, and usually overnighting beside lakes or rivers. For more information, contact Häst och Vagn, Torsmo 1646, S-794 91 Orsa (tel. 0481/531-00).
If you prefer to make your horseback riding arrangements before you depart the United States, perhaps as part of an organized bus, rail, or self-drive tour, Passage Tours of Scandinavia, 235 Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308 (tel. 800/548-5960 or 954/776-7070; www.passagetours.com), can custom-design a suitable tour for you, usually configured with visits to Sweden's cultural, architectural, or historical highlights en route.
Rafting -- White-water rafting and river rafting are both popular here. Visitors have the option to take either short or weeklong trips. In Värmland, contact Branäs Sport AB, Branäs Fritidsanläggin, Gondolvägem 1, S-680 60 Sysslebäck (tel. 054/13-26-00; www.branas.se). River rafting is the tamer option because it involves rafting a slow-moving river, versus white-water rafting on rapids. For information about the best river rafting in Sweden, contact Kukkolaforsen-Turist & Konferens, P.O. Box 184, S-953 91 Haparanda (tel. 922/310-00; www.kukkolaforsen.se).
If you want to try log rafting, we recommend a lazy trip down the Klarälven River, winding through beautiful and unspoiled valleys between high mountains, with sandy beaches where you can swim, if temperatures and river conditions allow. There also is excellent fishing for pike and grayling. You will travel through northern Värmland at a speed of 2kmph (1 1/4 mph) from the mouth of the Vinguümngssjoün Lake in the north to Ekshärad in the south, a distance of 110km (68 miles) in 6 days. Overnight accommodations are arranged either on the moored raft or ashore. Each raft can accommodate between two and five people, and the trips are available from May to August. Participants supply their own food and fishing equipment. Contact Branäs Sverigeflotten, Klara Strand 66, S-680 63 Likenäs (tel. 564/402-27; www.sverigeflotten.com).
Sailing & Canoeing -- Canoes and sailing boats can be rented all over the country; you can obtain information about this from the local tourist office. Often hotels situated near watersports areas have canoes for rent.
Swimming -- If you don't mind swimming in cool water, Sweden has one of the world's longest coastlines -- plus some 100,000 lakes -- in which you can take the plunge. The best bathing beaches are on the west coast. The islands of both Oüland and Gotland have popular summer seaside resorts. Beaches in Sweden are generally open to the public, and nude bathing is allowed on certain designated beaches. Topless bathing for women is prevalent everywhere. If a Swedish lake is suitable for swimming, it's always signposted.
Walking & Jogging -- Local tourist offices can provide details and sometimes even supply you with free maps of the best trails or jogging paths. In Stockholm, hotel reception desks often can tell you the best places to go jogging nearby.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.