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Sweden's Butterflies & Dragonflies

Tour Code: SWE05

A 6-day tour of central Sweden in search of a superb selection of butterflies and dragonflies with other wildlife in a peaceful and relaxing rural environment.

6 days from £1895(inc flights) Land Only Price: £1725 SRS: £170

During the high summer months, Sweden is home to a fascinating mix of Scandinavian and Eastern European butterfly species. This holiday is based in the area around Svartadalen, north-east of Stockholm and we will make daily excursions in search of species such as Purple-edged Copper and Northern Wall Brown; nearby forests are home to a variety of fritillaries, skippers and blues as well as some interesting dragonflies. We’ll look for the iconic (and recently recorded) Large Blue on an island in Lake Malaren; on another day we’ll visit a site known as ‘Butterfly Road’ on the Baltic coast where Silvery Argus and Large Grizzled Skipper will be among our target species. On our final day we’ll head to pine forests to look for Sweden’s rarest butterfly, Assmann’s Fritillary, plus Bog and Cranberry Fritillaries, and Northern Grizzled Skipper among other species, as well as birds including Black Grouse and Crested Tit.

  • Possibility of new discoveries to butterfly fauna still!
  • Mix of Scandinavian & Eastern European butterfly species
  • Up to 11 species of blue possible
  • Black-veined White & Clouded Apollo, Poplar Admiral & Scarce Copper
  • Scarce Fritillary, Cranberry Blue & Northern Chequered Skipper just south of Svartadalen
  • Large & Green-underside Blues plus Queen of Spain Fritillary, islands in Lake Malaren
  • Common Goldenring, Bog Hawker, Small Pincertail & Common Clubtail among dragonflies
  • Day-flying moths such as Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth
  • We will (weather permitting) run a moth-trap near our guesthouse
  • Capercaillie, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Crake & Black Tern among special birdlife
  • Led by expert naturalist


All included in the price.


Comfortable guesthouses. All rooms have private facilities.

Poplar Admiral (Daniel Green)

Poplar Admiral (Daniel Green)

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Stockholm; transfer Oregrund.

Day 2 Transfer Svartådalen.

Day 3/5 Daily butterfly excursions from Svartådalen.

Day 6 Fly London

During the high summer months, central Sweden is home to a fascinating mix of Scandinavian and Eastern European butterfly species. Several of these are found here at the southernmost limits of their ranges and in this part of Scandinavia, where north meets south, there might even be a few new discoveries to make, for only recently have populations of Large Blue, Chequered Blue and Duke of Burgundy been discovered. The peaceful patchwork of wetlands, mixed woodlands and flower-filled water-meadows that we will explore are home to a wonderful diversity of butterflies and dragonflies, and amongst the well established species, highlights should include such charismatic butterflies as Clouded Apollo, Poplar Admiral and Scarce Copper. We also hope to see an abundance of blues — up to 11 species are possible! As this is also such a fantastic area for birds, we will be sure to take time to enjoy morning and late afternoon birding excursions around Lake Fläcksjön in search of such species as Black Tern, Spotted Crake, White-tailed Eagle, Thrush Nightingale and Common Rosefinch.

We begin our holiday with a direct flight to Stockholm, and a drive north to the picturesque town of Öregrund on the Baltic Coast, where we will spend the first night of our tour. Here we will search for the rare Clouded Apollo which has a stronghold in a nearby protected area, and then take the ferry out to the island of Gräsö, where we have a good chance of finding Glanville Fritillary, Geranium and Northern Brown Argus and Purple-edged Coppers, and, depending on the season, Butterfly Orchids and Lady’s Slipper Orchids.

The next morning, we will travel a little further north along the coast, to pay a visit to a site Swedish lepidopterists call the ‘Butterfly Road’ — an unassuming gravel track through a seemingly ordinary patch of pine forest. Here, not only do an interesting variety of orchids grow on the rich chalk soils but, as its name suggests, this is a great spot for butterflies such as Black-veined White, Silvery Argus and Large Grizzled Skipper, plus a variety of day-flying moths including Broad-bordered and Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moths. If time permits, we may also head to the coast to look for Caspian Terns, Little Gulls, and perhaps some of the first waders returning from the north, such as Spotted Redshank, Ruff and Wood Sandpiper. After a full day on the coast we will journey inland to Svartådalen in the county of Västmanland, where we will be based for the remainder of the holiday.

A little to the north of our new base is an area where vast pine forests, lakes and mires dominate the landscape. This is the home of the rare Baltic Grayling, although, since this species has only one generation every couple of years, it’s not a butterfly we will see on every tour! We will spend the day exploring this area, as other species to look out for include Bog and Cranberry Fritillaries, Moorland Clouded Yellow, Northern Grizzled Skipper and, if fortunate, perhaps the striking Assmann’s Fritillary, Sweden’s rarest butterfly, and the tiny Sedgling (I>Nehelennia speciosa/I>), one of the smallest and most localised damselflies in Europe!

On another day, we will visit a canal which has been allowed to develop into a natural habitat very rich in dragonflies. Here we will enjoy a morning boat trip, during which we will be looking especially for Lilypad Whiteface along with Yellow-spotted Whiteface, Scarce Chaser and perhaps even Eurasian Baskettail, which is seen here annually, though would still be a very rare find indeed.

We will also explore a little further to the south of Svartådalen, in search of the beautiful Poplar Admiral. At this time of year these butterflies are likely to be newly emerged and in pristine condition, and we hope to watch them descending from the canopy to take salts from wayside puddles. Common Swallowtail, Purple-edged Copper, Amanda’s Blue and, possibly, Northern Wall Brown can also be seen here. Later in the day we will visit a forest lake where Black-throated Divers are known to breed, and around which we can look for Scarce Fritillary, Cranberry Blue, Northern Chequered Skipper and dragonflies such as Common Goldenring and Common Clubtail. After lunch, we will explore the island and nature reserve of Ängsö, where Heath Fritillary, Queen of Spain, High Brown, and Dark Green Fritillary are all possible.

We should have time on our final morning to further explore the meadows, mires and forests around Svartådalen before returning to Stockholm in time to catch our flight home.

Scarce Copper (Thomas Mills)Apollo (Daniel Green)Eyed Hawk-moth (Daniel Green)Cranberry Fritillary (Daniel Green)Marsh Fritillary (Daniel Green)Poplar Admiral (Daniel Green)Clouded Apollo (Daniel Green)Small Purple-barred Moth (Daniel Green)Traditional Swedish Farmhouse (Thomas Mills)Bedstraw Hawkmoth Caterpillar (Thomas Mills)Moorland Clouded Yellow (Daniel Green)Silver-studded Blues (Daniel Green)Sätra Brunn (Daniel Green)Lake Stävre (Daniel Green)Burnet Moth (Daniel Green)Heath Fritillary (Daniel Green)Trosa (Daniel Green)Large Blue (Daniel Green)Sunset (Daniel Green)Picnic site (Daniel Green)Scanning (Daniel Green)Group (Daniel Green)Lesser Marbled Fritillary (Daniel Green)Large Skipper (Daniel Green)Lesser Marbled Fritillary (Daniel Green)Pearly Heath (Daniel Green)Purple-edged Copper (Daniel Green)Amanda's Blue (Daniel Green)Common Blue (Daniel Green)Geranium Argus (Daniel Green)

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Sun 23rd June 2019 - Fri 28th June 2019



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Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £1725 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Sweden

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Kerrie Porteous
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01962 733051

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