Wild trip to Sweden – Part One – the journey

During our break we travelled to Sweden. Western Europe is such that generally large predators only exist on its peripheral. We have travelled to this periphery in the South East and West, but were yet to experience any wildlife in Northern Europe so this was our chance to correct this.

It is hard to pack light enough for a commercial flight yet have enough items to camp so we drove. While this was a fascinating drive, there is little en route in way of wildlife interest. The one exception was that on the way back as we often do we killed a few spare hours at Dunkirk zoo (Parc Zoologique de Fort-Mardyck). If you have a ferry leaving from Dunkirk it is worth a visit.

Image – Tim Welby

It is relatively small, but also far cheaper than a normal zoo. It doesn’t take long to walk round, but what was of particular interest to me were its predators. Being a small zoo you wouldn’t expect it to have many, and it doesn’t, but sensibly the large predators were all European (as were many of the other species). The highlight of this zoo is a pair of European bears, giving a more controlled sighting than you will get with wild bears. They also have 4 European lynx. These roam free in Europe too, indeed in France, and are fascinating. They are roughly the size of a Labrador though slimmer, and the zoo enclosure is well designed,  requiring their agility and athleticism to get to the whole enclosure.

We travelled to Sweden through Denmark and across two bridges, one that connects mainland Denmark with the Copenhagen island, and one that connects that island with Sweden. Our time in Sweden itself was spent in the area to the West of Västerås and South of  Borlänge, and is described in the next post. 

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