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, Swedish Lapland by Train , Swedish Lapland by Train

Baltic Travel Blog

Swedish Lapland by Train

Posted on April 9th, 2020.

Stockholm – Gallivare – Jokkmokk – Sorsele – Slagnas – Arjeplog – Arvidsjaur 

Swedish Lapland is lesser known comparing to its Finnish neighbour but offers genuine, authentic and small-scale tourism experiences focusing on people and encounters. It is one of the only seven places in the world where you can experience the Arctic!

In summer, you can explore the Swedish Lapland onboard the Arctic Circle express train, also known as the Inlandsbanan. It is a sustainable way of travelling and the experience worthy in itself on this historical railway.

My journey starts in the Swedish capital Stockholm. It is summer in the city and main streets of the Old Town (Gamla Stan) are filled with locals and tourists alike enjoying cool drinks and warm sunshine. To escape the crowds, I walk few streets aside and it is completely deserted and picturesque.

Stockholm Old Town

Stockholm is known for its museums and has a whole island of them. The Vasa Museum is a must about a ship which sunk in the harbour on her maiden voyage. Historic, well preserved and impressive. If you are like the great outdoors, visit the open-air museum Skansen or, to sing your heart out, ABBA Museum is a place to be!

Stockholm Old Town bicycle

After few days exploring Stockholm, I’m boarding an overnight train to Swedish Lapland. It is surprisingly busy and after a quick sandwich for dinner and watching the world pass by, I turn in and wake up in Lapland. My stop is Gallivare, a small Arctic town 100 kilometres North of the Arctic Circle where, during the summer month, sun doesn’t set! I have arrived in the land of the midnight sun! I meet the guide and fellow travellers and we head off for a quick breakfast at a nearby hotel.

After a night on the train, I look forward to stretching my legs and we head for a guided wellness walk to Laponia, just outside Gallivare. Laponia is a large mountainous wildlife area with four national parks. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site and home to the native Sami people. Our walk takes us to mount Dundret and a local guide asks us to walk as slow as we can, feel every step touch the ground, movement in the body, etc. Seems easy but after over a decade in the buzz of London it is one of the most difficult things! After about an hour we reach the top of Dundret and can enjoy the views over the alpine mountains. We lay around in the sunshine and enjoy Swedish fika – coffee and pastry in a cabin by the fire. It is great being outdoors and slowing down!

Nature Walk in Swedish Lapland

In the evening we are heading for a dinner in the woods! Camp North has set up a lavvu – Sami tent and we are welcomed by lovely, young hosts and a husky dog. Reindeer burgers are on the menu, cooked by an open fire right in front of us. Evening is calm and our after-dinner entertainment is a boat ride along the Vassara River in the midnight sun.

Huskie at the Camp North

Lake Swedish Lapland

The next morning, we wait with anticipation for the historic Inlandsbanan train to take us to Jokkmokk. It is the most charming thing, only one carriage, very relaxed and everybody onboard seems happy to be there, including the staff!

Inlandsbanan

Jokkmokk is a small town, most well known for the Jokkmokk Winter Market. Every winter in early February the market brings together thousands of visitors and locals for handicrafts made by the indigenous Sami people. For some more in-depth information about the town and people, you can visit the Ajtte, the Swedish Mountain and Sami Museum.

Summer is a great time to experience the wonders of nature around Jokkmokk. You can experience the magnificent Sarek National Park with its snow-covered peaks and glaciers, Padjelanta (or Badjelannda) National Park with large beautiful lakes or the Stora Sjofallet / Stuor Muorkke National Park with marvellous mountains and primeval forests.

We visit the Jokkmokk’s Alpine Garden on the shores of Lake Talvatis. It is only open during the summer months and a little oasis for those interested in the flora of the Arctic region.

After a picnic lunch we have an appointment to see a local company c/o GERD, a nature cosmetic group of Swedish Lapland. It is a family run company specializing in producing and selling organic beauty products from herbs collected nearby in the nature of Swedish Lapland. It is a fascinating story from starting a small business to growing into modern factory facility providing jobs for locals and making use of local supplies and the purest water. Adjacent to the factory is a little shop where you can try and buy the local produce.

Gerd

For the night we are accommodated at the Hotel Akerlundin in central Jokkmokk. This charming and family-owned hotel has been welcoming guests since early 1900s. It offers comfortable and renovated rooms, cosy lobby and a restaurant serving delicious and authentic Swedish food.

Reindeer dinner

After breakfast we are on the road again and awaiting arrival of the Inlandsbanan to take us to Sorsele. The journey is as relaxing as the first one and we enjoy the scenery and random stops made by the driver to observe a reindeer herd, walk up to the Arctic Circle sign or walk across the bridge and board the train again on the other side of the river. The train has a set schedule but the random stops along the route are a great experience and makes the whole journey more enjoyable and memorable. Lunch is served in Moskosel and our train waits for us just outside the café window. We arrive in Sorsele in the afternoon.

Inlandsbanan historic railway

Sorsele boasts an idyllic location by the river which allows fishing as well as romantic boat trips. Some cattle are roaming free and undisturbed on the riverbanks opposite Sorsele River Hotel. Sorsele was founded in the 17th century when the church was built.

Sorsele

Upon arrival in Sorsele we are welcomed for some Swedish fika at a cozy café and souvenir shop in the old railway station followed by a guided tour of the Inlandsbanan Museum.

In the evening we head out for a dinner in a wilderness camp. The hike to Gimegoults is scenic, 30 minutes long and moderately challenging. At the camp we are entertained with some wood carving while Sami artisan food maker Ingrid Pilto prepares a delicious food over an open fire.

Hike in Swedish Lapland

Reindeer burger

The next day we wake up to a beautiful sunshine and are up for more outdoor adventures! We split in twos and few people get assigned fatbikes and others are paired up in canoes for a journey down the Vindel River. It is my first time on a fatbike and the location and weather couldn’t have been better. We have a great time cycling through the forest paths until we reach the meeting / swapping point. Before we start rowing back, our guide starts the fire in a designated area by the river and makes the most delicious cheese and ham toasties over an open fire. Suitably fed, we are ready to row our boat. The river is calm, sun is out, and we take our time journeying back.

Summer in Sweden with fatbikes

Toasties by the fire in Sweden

It’s been a great day, and, in the afternoon, we re-join the Inlandsbanan from Sorsele to Slagnas.

Upon arrival in Slagnas station we are picked up and transferred to Arjeplog. Journey takes about 45 minutes.

Arjeplog is a wild, welcoming and wonderful place for relaxing or active holiday alike. Located in western Swedish Lapland, with mountain ranges, a border to Norway and the Arctic Circle cutting straight through the region. The water of the three rivers and 8,727 lakes is clean and pure enough for you to drink. The spectacular view from the peak of the Galtispouda Mountain can be reached by car in just a few minutes.

Arjeplog in Midnight Sun

In the evening we take a raft from the hotel to a sandy beach few kilometres away. Upon arrival, we walk along a trail in the forest, followed by fishing in the lake and outdoor dinner under the midnight sun on the beach.

Outdoor dining in Sweden

After breakfast at the Silver Resorts we start the day with a guided mountain bike tour. The weather is again spectacular, cycle paths wide and comfortable and it’s a joy to explore the area on two wheels. We stop mid-way for some sausage roasting over an open fire and indulge in some great hotdogs.

Mountain biking in Sweden

We drop off our bicycles and continue to the Silver Museum housing the world’s largest collection of Sami Silver. Afterwards we explore the beautiful pink church and enjoy a coffee at the nearby Viltbutiken Café. It is recommended to try the specialty Kaffetåren (Arctic fika), traditional boiled coffee accompanied with all the trimmings: coffee cheese, coffee meat, dried reindeer meat and reindeer tongue. Might not be everyone’s cup of tea…

In the afternoon we continue by bus to Arvidsjaur. The journey takes about an hour and we check-in at the Laponia Hotel where we meet our guide Maria for a nature bath! We head out to the countryside, walk the meadows picking up the plants and herbs that we later mix with oils for some home-made beauty treatments. By the dinner time we feel relaxed and beautified and enjoy a delicious homemade food.

Swedish Coutryside

On our last day, we still have a bit of time and head of to visit the Sami village “Lappstaden”, one of Arvidsjaur’s great landmarks. Our guide is a young Sami girl dressed in a traditional costume. She’s knowledgeable about the history and explains that the village was built in 17th century when the northern lands got their first churches. The Sami needed a place to stay when attending compulsory church services and locals built a number of Forest Sami huts to house those who lived nomadically. The huts in Lappstaden are privately owned and our guide’s parents have one, so we get to go inside and hear stories of her family, current life and also some joiks – Sami songs.

Sami Village Lappstaden

The summer week in Sweden has been full of adventure, unexpectedly great weather, delicious outdoor food, warm welcomes and tranquil nature. You can experience the Swedish Lapland by train or have a hire car and travel at your own pace, it’s worth it!

Midnight sun on a river

Midnight Sun a lake

Sweden has a lot to offer, for inspiration, have a look at holiday ideas on our website under Sweden holidays or contact us for tailor-made holidays in Sweden.

By Daina Kontrima
Baltic Travel Company (all rights reserved)


Join our newsletter

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We never allow third parties to use your data and we do not keep financial information. We protect your data as if it was our own, because we're people too!


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