The rock in the area consists of granite. Typical vegetation on the islands is pine forest, heather and reindeer lichen. Trees and scrub vegetation grow in cracks where soil has accumulated through the centuries.
The larger islands are covered with more fertile moraine and clay, so spruce, aspen and birch are more common. On some of the larger islands there is also grove vegetation with hazel, common toothwort, baneberry, coralroot and Alpine Enchanter’s nightshade. Some of the more fertile land has previously been used for pasture.
There is abundant birdlife with breeding species that include red-breasted merganser, common tern, osprey, red-throated loon and other seabirds.
Please be observant on the islands – if you see birds that seem agitated or that are pretending to be injured, this usually indicates there are eggs or chicks in the vicinity. Leave the area immediately! Dogs must be on leads all year round. There are many fish, mainly pike, perch and zander. In the past twenty years the numbers of signal crayfish has increased significantly. Fishing with handheld equipment is permitted.
The nature reserve can only be accessed by boat. There are service facilities (waste disposal and chemical toilets) on many of the islands, but please take your rubbish home with you. Camping is permitted on some of the islands, including Kungsholmen, Björkholmen and Stora Krokholmen. This is only in the designated areas, however, and for a maximum of two nights.
New facilities have been built on the island of Grönön to facilitate access by disabled people who can travel out to the archipelago, for example on a large passenger ferry. The best way to explore the unique archipelago environment is by kayak. When the noise of the boat engines has abated in September, it is still mild in the water. Gliding silently through the small islands is an unbeatable natural experience.
How to get there
There are harbours for small boats in Bastedalen, Grönebacke and Olshammar and in central Askersund.
In the nature reserve, you are not permitted to:
- Damage the ground or vegetation
- Pick flowers or brushwood
- Disturb animals
- Have dogs unleashed
- Light fires between 1 May–1 Octoberexcept where designated
- Go ashore on Skjortpilten in the period 15 April–15 July
- Camp, except on certain islands
For information about fish, fishing and fishing regulations, see the website of the Lake Vättern Society of Water Conservation (www.vattern.org).