How to enjoy your vacation in Swedish Lapland

The Lapland region in the north of Sweden is best known for its wonderful winter landscape. It stretches from the Swedish province of Västerbotten to the northern tip of Sweden. Lapland alone covers about a quarter of the entire area of the Scandinavian country.

With such a huge region, I was of course able to pursue numerous outdoor activities to my heart's content. In particular, the northern lights, the forests of Lapland and the midnight sun in summer are some of my personal highlights that I enjoy on every holiday in Lapland. During the cold season, on the other hand, I have the opportunity to do various winter sports. Cross-country skiing, horse riding with reindeer and ice fishing are popular winter activities in Swedish Lapland.

As you can probably guess, I fell madly in love with the Swedish part of Lapland. I've had so many great experiences that I can hardly put them into words.

Gammelstad

In my opinion, the small village of Gammelstad is one of the most beautiful places in Lapland. It only takes a few minutes by car from Luleå to reach this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the past, this was the border between Sweden and Russia. However, that was about a hundred years ago. But the village, which is characterized by red and white houses, has still not lost any of its charm. 

The Storforsen waterfall

One of the most impressive natural wonders that I discovered in the Swedish part of Lapland is the Storforsen waterfall. It is one of the largest waterfalls I have ever seen in Europe. The water masses plunge into the abyss over a height of about five kilometers.

Especially in winter, the sight is a real spectacle. Then the waterfall partially freezes. The result is an epic natural spectacle that I can hardly put into words. But I can promise you that to this day I can't get this dreamy experience out of my head.

But of course a visit to the waterfall is also worthwhile in summer. I am particularly enthusiastic about the festivals that take place at the top of the waterfall. In particular, the musical performances that take place in the rock auditorium are among my personal highlights.

The northern lights

During a holiday in Lapland, between the end of August and April, you have the best chance to see the Northern Lights with your own eyes. This natural spectacle, also known as aurora borealis, takes place particularly often during this time. A unique opportunity that you definitely shouldn't miss.

Nevertheless, you have to hope a little that the weather will play along. Because you will only see the northern lights when the sky is clear.

You can also choose where you want to observe this wonderful natural phenomenon. I recommend the best way to go into the wilderness with the help of a snowmobile. Otherwise you can also unpack your snowshoes and go on a hike to one of the many viewpoints in Lapland. There are also various luxurious igloo-shaped suites in Lapland that are made entirely of glass. Then you can watch the northern lights from your bed.

The midnight sun

In winter it is continuously dark in Lapland. On the other hand, the complete opposite is the case in summer. Then the impressive natural spectacle of the midnight sun takes place.

In the far north of Lapland, the sun does not set for 70 days in a row. You can enjoy the brightest sunshine even at the time when darkness falls elsewhere in the world.

If you are a little further south of Lapland, you can still watch the sunset. Despite this, the sky remains bright in this region and is illuminated by the sun.

Your holiday in Lapland will be especially beautiful if you are near a mountain. These are the extensive forest areas that occur in the far north. Thanks to the fact that the sun does not set, you can go on a hike to one of the hills even at a late hour and enjoy a breathtaking view of the dense forest below you.

Cross-country skiing

If you combine winter sports with skiing on high slopes, then a holiday in Lapland will convince you that you can also use the ski boards in a completely different way. Cross-country skiing is particularly popular here in the far north of Sweden.

Especially in the period between October and April, the landscape is covered by a thick blanket of snow. A real paradise for everyone who wants to combine admiration of the wonderful winter landscape with some sporting activity.

Cross-country skiing even has a long tradition in Lapland. It has been the most efficient way to move from one place to another for a long time. Today it is of course even faster and easier with snowmobiles.

One night in the ICEHOTEL

With such a unique landscape as you can find in Swedish Lapland, an overnight stay in an extraordinary hotel is of course a must for me. For this I chose the ICEHOTEL, which was the first of its kind in the whole world.

Wonderfully furnished rooms made of ice await you here at any time of the year. In addition, some artists ensure that the hotel rooms are constantly changing. Even if I stay in the same room again after a while, I have a completely new experience. The hand-made sculptures, which give the hotel an indescribable ambience, are particularly impressive.

You don't have to worry about the temperature at all. Some rooms are cooled down to temperatures in the minus range. But there are also rooms that are cozy and warm.

Best of all, you don't even have to be a hotel guest to admire the wonderful works of art. Because the rooms are all open to the public from 10:00 a.m.

In addition to simple overnight stays, the ICEHOTEL also offers some interesting excursions. In winter you can take a snowmobile through the winter landscape, in summer you can take part in a boat tour. Both tours allowed me to see some of the most beautiful sights along the Torne River with my own eyes.

Ruska

The Laplanders use Ruska to refer to a certain period of two weeks from mid-September. At this time the forests are particularly beautiful to look at. Because although Lapland is mainly characterized by conifers, there are always a few deciduous trees hidden in between.

As soon as autumn comes, the leaves of these trees turn in different hues. Then the orange-red and brown leaves of the deciduous trees contrast with the still green needles of the pines and firs in the fells.

It is precisely at this time that a holiday in Lapland is most worthwhile. On a hike through the woods, you are guaranteed to be amazed at the great works of art Mother Nature can create.

Go to a sauna

I tend to associate saunas with Finland. But even in Sweden you can be called brooding in one of these  Cubicles to spend your time.  A stay in a sauna is a real treat, especially in the rather cold Lapland! In fact, I don't know of any other way to warm up better than in a hot log cabin with infusion.

I particularly fondly remember a visit to a sauna by the lake in Sandsjogarden. I especially liked the intense smell of the warm wood. But also the feeling of how all physical strains are melted away by the steam, makes a visit to a Swedish sauna an indescribable experience.

After visiting the sauna, of course, you have to cool down first. Since the lake was not far away, I could jump into it immediately. In autumn and winter, however, it can get quite fresh. Then it is enough if you just stand in the open air.

Ice fishing

If you fancy a relaxing and meditative activity at the same time, then the best thing to do in Lapland is to go ice fishing. Because, as with normal fishing, nothing happens for a long time. But the beautiful setting makes all the difference. 

Above all, the view of the picturesque forests and the frozen lake manage to make you think. Believe me when I tell you that I've never had so many different things on my mind. Ice fishing is indeed one of the best ways to encounter yourself.

However, ice fishing is only possible in winter. Only during this time does an approximately 5 cm thick layer of ice form. Of course, before you can get started, you first have to punch a hole in the ice to get to the liquid water underneath. You throw your bait into it and wait for one of the fish to bite after a while.

Go sledding with a reindeer or huskies

Hardly any other animal is representative of Lapland like the reindeer. On a pure feeling, I would say that in this region in the far north of Sweden I probably discovered more of these deer-like animals than people.

In Lapland, reindeer are mainly used as livestock and work animals. But they are also useful for visitors. In almost every city, various operators offer trips with a reindeer sleigh. You will also learn a lot about how important the reindeer are for the Sami and everyone else in Lapland.

Another animal that you will often come across in Lapland is the husky. This breed of dog has adapted perfectly to the polar climate here. In the large ski areas in particular, you have the opportunity to take part in a dog sled ride.

On most dog sledding trips you will of course be accompanied by an experienced "musher". These are knowledgeable men who know how to keep a whole pack of huskies under control and how to properly steer the sled.

However, you can also take a course and become a musher yourself. After participating, you can drive your own dog sled on your own. So you can explore the beautiful landscape of Lapland on your own.

Hiking through the Swedish Lapland countryside

If you are traveling to Lapland in summer, then the numerous hiking trails are particularly good to explore. At this time the temperatures are pleasantly mild and there is sunshine for a long time.

The national parks in particular are worth visiting. If you want to spend the night near these, you will also find numerous huts on their outskirts.  You will also get a lot of information there about which animals and plants are native to Lapland and how you should behave so as not to harm them.

Get to know the typical food of the seeds

As for the dishes and typical dishes in Swedish Lapland, the seeds in particular have left a strong mark. All ingredients used for the dishes come exclusively from the region.

Reindeer and elk meat are particularly popular ingredients that the seeds use. Both are significant sources of protein that are highly relevant to the diet of the indigenous people of Lapland. 

In addition to meat, fish is also part of the seed menu. Arctic char and whitefish in particular are among the fish species that are native to the arctic part of Sweden. One of the most delicious specialties from this region is the Kalix vendace roe. This name is even a protected designation of origin and may only be called that if the vendace roe also comes from Kalix.

Furthermore, the inhabitants of Swedish Lapland also eat a lot of cheese. Usually these come from small dairies. There are many of these dairies, especially in Svedjan East.

There is also a lot of cheese in Swedish Lapland, most of which is made in small dairies like Svedjan Ost.

Lapland in the far north of Sweden surprised me in a very special way. Be it the beautiful snowy landscape in winter or the colorful forests in autumn, you are guaranteed to be a real feast for the eyes.

There is hardly an ideal travel time for Lapland. Or rather, there is no wrong time. In winter you have the best chance of observing the northern lights with your own eyes. In summer, on the other hand, you can observe the phenomenon of the midnight sun, when the sun itself illuminates the sky all night.

There are also many different activities that you can do on your holiday in Lapland. Even after several visits to the far north, it is guaranteed not to be boring!

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