A Sami man in
Land of the Midnight Sun
Travel to northern Sweden is an
adventurous, exotic experience. The landscape is wild and vast.
Mountains, valleys, lakes, and streams come together with Mother Nature
to make this place a destination like no other. It is, after all, the
last wilderness of Europe.
In the area above the Arctic Circle,
the sun never sets from May until mid-July--all the more time to play!
Winter, in contrast, brings the stunning display of northern lights
across the night sky. All types of skiing and snow activities abound in
this region during the winter months. It is here that the Sami (Lapp)
people work to keep their culture alive, herding reindeer for a living.
and Sarek National Parks
parks offer visitors some of the wildest and most entrancing
wilderness in Europe.
Abisko, which encompasses 18,500 acres and has 2,703 miles
of hiking and skiing trails, is particularly favored by hikers
of all fitness and skill levels for its diverse offerings.
Its tourist station includes a small complex of chalets, plus
a modest hotel, restaurant, and provisions store. From here,
visitors can ride a gondola to the magnificent prospect of
Njulla Mountain, do a simple
day's excursion along one of the many
trails that encircle Lapporten mountain, or embark upon a week-long
trek along the King's Trail, a
well-marked trail that follows the birch-clad banks of the Abiskojokk
River southward for 300 miles.
Sarek National Park is more rugged,
having no roads, marked trails, or tourist stations. With 100 glaciers
and six peaks above 2,000 meters, it is and ideal region for die-hard
backpackers and mountain trekkers. The varied landscape also includes
some major rivers, and game such as bears, lynx, wolverines, and Arctic
Sweden's highest mountain, 6,936 feet above sea level.
of the world's largest igloo, the Jukkasjärvi Ice Hotel. Each
fall, as the Arctic temperatures plummet, the Laplanders rebuild this
celebrated igloo from 1,000 tons of ice and 2,000 tons of snow. Inside,
it houses a church, hotel, gallery, golf room, cinema, and a bar--named,
appropriately enough, the "Absolut Ice." Guests sleep in warm
sleeping bags on mattresses of spruce boughs and reindeer skins.
Temperatures average 25 ºF. In addition to the novel accommodations,
there is hearty, delicious fare to be had and plenty of things to
do--including dog-sledding, skiing, helicopter rides, snowmobiling, and
overnight wilderness camping. If you prefer warmer accommodations, there
are also plenty of "regular hotels" nearby too, though you'll
miss out on the certificate of survival the hotel hands out the next
Riksgränsen & Björkliden
Situated in the Kiruna mountains of Lapland. From mid-May to early June,
the weather is warm enough that you can ski in your ski trunks, and the
Midnight Sun makes for great night skiing. Sweden's northernmost golf
course is located here.
A Lapp (Sami) center and a popular tourist destination, along with
Lapstaden, a 300-year old Lapp village. The Sami people's own tourism
organization, Sita Sameland, organizes a wide array of activities and
excursions. Cycle-trolley riding on obsolete railway tracks and
whitewater rafting are among the activities awaiting the adventurous.
In Jokkmokk you are within easy reach of four magnificent national
parks. A unique exhibition in Vuollerim takes you back 6,000 years. And
don't miss the fascinating power station museum at Porjus or the
opportunity to purchase Lapp handicrafts. The Great Sami Winter Fair is
held here in February.
Jämtland & Härjedalen
This area is a true paradise for skiers and snow-boarders in the winter.
Many ski resorts are located in this area, such as the Åre Mountain Ski
Resorts with Åreskutan (4,200 ft. high and a vertical drop of 3,000
ft.), as well as 89 other groomed slopes for all types of skiing. In the
summer, the mountains offer all kinds of outdoor activities, including
fishing, hiking, mountain biking and climbing, to mention just a few.
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