Haparanda was founded in 1821 across the river to compensate for the loss of Finnish Tornio, an important trading centre, to Russia in 1809. When both Sweden and Finland joined the EU, the two towns declared themselves a single Eurocity. Still, Sweden drew the short straw: Tornio got the art galleries and the vibrant nightlife, and what did Haparanda get? The world's northernmost IKEA. Not to worry though, it's easy enough to stroll across the border.
There's plenty here for outdoors enthusiasts, with islands out in the Haparanda Archipelago, activities such as fishing and rafting on the Torne River, and some excellent hiking and ski trails. This is the eastern extreme for Sweden, with the Torne River acting as the Sweden–Finland border from Haparanda all the way north as far as Pajala (175km).