This is a region where nature dominates and reindeer and elk thrive – vast open spaces, dense coniferous forests, swiftly flowing rivers and lakes, and the mountain peaks of Kebenekaise. It is the land of the Lapps or Sámi, Scandinavia’s oldest indigenous people.
The Bothnian Coast, stretching to the border with Finland in the north is dominated by historic towns and villages. The town of Luleå is one such town and through history has been the centre for development and commerce in the region.
Surrounding Luleå an archipelago of 800 islands waits to be discovered. Renowned for its picturesque fishing communities, forest covered islets and wealth of birds, wildlife and flora the archipelago is a delight for any nature lover and, it waters play host to a wealth of excursions all year round – boat, canoe, hovercraft and snowmobile tours.
The 15th century church village of Gammelstad, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is located on the outskirts of Luleå. At the heart of the village is a beautiful stone church, the largest medieval church in Northern Sweden, surrounded by 424 traditional wooden cottages. Centuries old traditions are very much alive here, and residents of Luleå still travel to the village to celebrate church festivals and markets.
During the winter months, the wilderness environs and archipelago of Luleå transform into a snow-covered landscape and the Bay of Bothnia freezes. For many this is the most exciting time to visit, offering the chance to participate in a range of winter activities, drive on the miles of ice roads and witness the towering pack ice. Near Pitea, to the south of Lulea, and Haparanda - on the Finnish border, pack ice boat excursions are on offer as well as a choice of excellent gastronomic and spa experiences.
Following the Lule River and Rane River inland, you reach the district of Boden home to the Treehotel, Arctic Bath, Loggers Lodge and the Arctic Retreat. The scene is of dense forests, fast flowing rivers and rapids and small, welcoming villages. In our opinion, this is THE region in Swedish Lapland that offers the most authentic guests experience. It is a region where locally-owned, small entrepreneurs thrive and which has invested in a high-quality, low volume, tourism product. A stay here will always leave you wanting more.
The imaginery line of the Arctic Circle runs around the earth at a latitude of 66°33'39". Almost on the line itself is the community of Jokkmokk, renowned as the Gateway to the Sarek National Park and as the heart of Sami Culture.
At 200km north of the Arctic Circle, sits the town of Kiruna. As the northernmost town in Sweden, Kiruna is the place to experience the natural phenomenon of the Midnight Sun from the end of May to mid July, while winter visitors may find the location ideal for viewing the Aurora Borealis as well as for experiencing snowmobile, dog-sled and reindeer tours.
The ICEHOTEL is located 17km from Kiruna in Jukkasjärvi and a visit to this world-famous site should not be missed. Established in 1990, the Jukkasjärvi ICEHOTEL was the first hotel entirely constructed of ice, and continues to be erected each year. It is a artistic installation that cannot fail but to impress and mesmerise visitors and guests. Today, you can experience a night on ice no matter the time of year at the ICEHOTEL 365. There is no other place in the world where you can experience the Midnight Sun and winter on the same holiday.
Within a short drive of Kiruna is the Abisko National Park, famed for its natural beauty and Nordic wildlife; moose, mountain fox, polar hare, wolverine and lynx reside here. With virtually no light pollution and frequently cloudless skies, this mountain wilderness is considered one of the best places in the world to observe the Aurora Borealis. Visit in the autumn and enjoy the golden hues of the season, quiet hiking trails and the northern lights (visible from September).