Swedish Lapland travel guide
Wild and mysterious, the far north of Sweden shivers through months of almost complete darkness only to burst into life during summertime, when the days seem practically never-ending. For clean air, dazzling frozen landscapes and sheer otherworldliness, there are few places better in Europe.
This is a part of the world where you can summit snowy peaks (including Kebnekaise, Sweden’s highest), ski beneath the midnight sun or camp out beneath psychedelic northern lights – all without the slightest trace of noise or crowds.
While initially a summer destination, global interest in aurora spotting and the success of a few man-made projects, including the famous Icehotel, has seen the bulk of tourist activity around the Arctic Circle shift to wintertime. Today the tourist trade provides a viable alternative to working in the region’s iron-rich mines and – for the young, especially – a reason to stay put in what can be a brutally cold part of the world.
Even predominantly industrial cities such as Gällivare and Kiruna have begun catering to international visitors. Emerging Swedish tech hubs like Luleå and Skellefteå are also worth a visit for their vibrant arts scenes and close proximity to nature. Most package trips to the far north of Sweden involve a night or two at the Icehotel, a dogsled ride, and some kind of organised trip to see the northern lights, often in Abisko.
But this is a region that really rewards a slower kind of travel, ideally with good cold-weather clothing and a car of your own – though this being Sweden, public transport is generally good too.