Lappland is Europe’s last true wilderness. With a grand mountain range, endless forest and countless pristine lakes as your playground, it’s your chance to be a true explorer. Its great swathes of virgin land are dotted with reindeer – this is Sami country still, and your chance to delve into the reindeer herders’ centuries-old way of life.
Travelling in the far north of Sweden can draw you into an unusual rhythm. The long, lonely stretches between towns are often completely deserted apart from the ever-present reindeer, often found wandering down the roads. Extreme natural phenomena are at their strongest here – in summer you’ll be travelling under the perpetual light of the midnight sun; in winter, under the haunting wraiths that are the northern lights. During the colder months, Lappland is a different country: a white wilderness traversed by huskies and snowmobiles, and punctuated with colourful Sami winter markets.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Lappland.
Across the highway from the STF Turiststation, a chairlift takes you up Mt Nuolja (1164m), where you can enjoy epic views from the deck of the Panorama Café. In summer this is a prime spot from which to see the midnight sun – the lift is open 10pm to 1am three days per week in June & July. In winter, come to view the northern lights.
Kiruna owes its existence to the world’s largest iron-ore deposit, 2km into the ground, and the action happens as far as 1545m below the surface. A visit here consists of being bussed to a closed-off section of a mine tunnel, where you can hear mind-blowing stats and view truly giant mining equipment, such as the mills used to crush ore. Tours leave from the tourist office daily between June and August and with advance booking the rest of the year.
Consecrated in 1913, the Kiruna kyrka was built to look like a huge Sami kåta (hut) and is particularly pretty against a snowy backdrop. A town landmark, it is slated to survive the town's move to the east.