Reindeer stand proud beneath snow-heavy trees, the night skies dance with iridescent shades of green and purple, and locals and visitors alike share stories over fika, the traditional Swedish coffee and pastry. Swedish Lapland is a magical place filled with natural wonder, folklore and a rich cultural heritage.
Despite being considered a ‘no man’s land’ back in the Middle Ages, the region was in fact home to the nomadic Sami people. As Swedish, Finnish and Norwegian settlers arrived, minorities like the Sami clung to their cultural identity. Many who followed the ways of shamanism as a religious way of life, converted to Lutheranism during the 18th and 19th centuries.
One of Sweden’s largest nature reserves, Vindelfjällen Nature Reserve, can be found in Swedish Lapland. The reserve is largely made up of mountains, valleys and waterways. It is believed that the area was populated by the ancestors of today’s Sami from about 9000 years ago. The reserve is popular with hikers in both summer and winter, with one of the most well-known routes being the Kungsleden trail. Visitors to the area can learn about Sami reindeer herding, hunting and fishing.
When to Go
If you want to make the most of the wintery weather in Swedish Lapland, aim to visit between December and March when you can head out on snowmobiles, reindeer and dog sleds and venture out onto frozen lakes for ice fishing. Summertime in Swedish Lapland runs from June to August and is the best time of year for hiking and exploring the mountain trails.
What to do
- Explore the forests and wetlands of Vindelfjällen Nature Reserve, home to a large number of birds and animals, such as the critically endangered arctic fox, moose and brown bears.
- Head to the village of Abisko, close to the Norwegian border. It is one of the best places to view the Northern Lights (Aurora borealis).
- Bask in the midnight sun above the Arctic Circle in the summer months. Extended daylight means more time for outdoor activities like hiking and fishing.