Incredible Wildlife Encounters: The Swedish Big Five

Koster Islands, Sweden

The Swedish Big Five

The Swedish Big Five     Photo: Stephanie Pearson

In 2009, the Koster Islands, which sit near the border of Norway in the Skagerrak Sea, became the headquarters of Kosterhavet, Sweden's first-ever Marine National Park. Together with a conjoining Norwegian marine park, the protected area covers almost 500 square miles and is one of the last swaths of true wilderness left in Europe.

The marine life may not be massive, but the park still supports more than 6,000 species, including jellyfish, nudibranchs, sponges, oysters, countless fish, and brilliant corals. Additionally, there’s Sweden’s Big Five—lobster, oyster, mussel, prawns, and crayfish—all of which will likely end up on your plate during your stay.

On South Koster, the only way to explore the nearly 20-square-mile island is to hike, cycle, or swim. As for exploring underwater, the sprawling Sydkoster Hotel Ekenas can help to arrange dive tours and offers lobster and crayfish safaris that involves catching and eating your prey. Two-day lobster safari; $530 per person.

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