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Discover Swedish Lapland in summer

The vast Arctic wilderness of Swedish Lapland is a landscape of coniferous forests, rushing rivers and tranquil lakes, peppered with tiny villages. And it’s a magical region to explore in the summer months when the sun never sets. Here is our guide to Swedish Lapland under the midnight sun.

The vast Arctic wilderness of Swedish Lapland is a landscape of coniferous forests, rushing rivers and tranquil lakes, peppered with tiny villages. And it’s a magical region to explore in the summer months when the sun never sets. Here is our guide to Swedish Lapland under the midnight sun.


By Sian, Insight Guides

Above the Arctic Circle, extended, icy winters and long, dark polar nights are countered by 100 days in the summer when daylight reigns over the landscape 24 hours a day in a phenomenon known as the midnight sun. In Swedish Lapland, you can experience it from May to July, depending on exactly where you are. With a sun that never sets, opportunities for exploration and activities are endless. Read on for our pick of things to do with all those extra hours of sunlight.


Hiking

Sarek National Park in Swedish Lapland.

A huge expanse of Swedish Lapland is given over to national parks where nature thrives, and visitors can hike along trekking routes weaving through these wild, majestic landscapes. One clearly marked and well-maintained route is the Kungsleden (Kings Trail). Starting in the north in the village of Abisko, the full trail stretches for 440km to the south, finishing at Hemavan, and can be hiked by anyone who is moderately fit. Sections of the trail can be hiked in isolation with the northern section being the most popular. Self-catering mountain huts are located all along the stretch and offer cosy respite, with hikers coming together round campfires in the evening hours. Distances between huts range from 10–20km and even though beds cannot always be reserved in advance, there is usually space for everyone.

For more strenuous hiking, the highest mountain in Sweden, Kebnekaise is ideal for those keen to experience its breathtaking craggy Alpine landscapes and verdant valleys. The glaciated southern peak reaches a height of 2,097 metres and the rocky northern peak slightly less. Anyone attempting this hike should be well prepared with hiking boots and warm clothing. Various routes ascend the mountain and should be chosen based on the level of challenge desired – the eastern path is only suitable for experienced mountain climbers. The Swedish Tourist Association offers information on accommodation and further activities in the region.


Wildlife watching

Brown bear in the forest.

Swedish Lapland is a wonderful destination for wildlife enthusiasts. Immersion in the natural landscape, where there are no routes to follow, and no signs of civilisation, is the best way to spot elusive creatures and see others in hordes. Moose thrive in these areas; with room to roam and grow some of the largest specimens live here.

There is also endless potential for bird watchers with golden eagles, owls, hawks and osprey, as well as warblers, finches and swifts soaring through the sky.

The midnight sun offers ample opportunity to encounter bears in the wild. They come out to hunt, forage and feed during the usually darker hours of dawn and dusk, but with the sun still out at these times they can be much easier to spot. To the east of the village of Porjus, the wild untouched landscapes of Muddus National Park are home to bears, lynxes and wolverines. Travellers are free to visit but restrictions are in place in some of the more sensitive areas of the park during the breeding season, from mid-March to late July.


Photography

Swedish sunset over a lake.

Grassy plains, alight with wildflowers in the spring and turning golden in the late summer, give way to mountains where evergreen forests grow in the foothills and lakes gather in the crevices. The largely uninhabited swathes of Swedish Lapland create a magical canvas for photographers. Wildlife runs free in this open landscape and is accessible for any photographer to take advantage of. Moose and reindeer are abundant, but keen eyes also have the opportunity to capture golden eagles, bears, beavers and otters. Throughout the day, the light on every canvas changes, but here where the midnight sun shines, there are additional challenges, and opportunities, to capture that perfect shot.


Wild food in Swedish Lapland

Cloudberries.

Sourcing food from the wild is a way of life that has developed over generations in Swedish Lapland. And it is still very much used as a way to enjoy the wilderness whilst reaping the benefits of the region.

Thanks to the abundance of freshwater rivers and lakes, a variety of angling opportunities are available from fly fishing, to line and boat fishing. Salmon are the most commonly caught fish in rivers. The Byske River, which flows east from the lake north of the town of Arvidsjaur, boasts the highest density of salmon in Sweden. Trout, Arctic char and grayling can also be caught.

Lapland forests and meadows provide an abundance of berries that are free for everyone to pick and enjoy. While you are exploring the countryside, remember to keep an eye out for these delicious soft fruits. You can gather and sample plentiful blueberries, bright red lingonberries, and in marshy areas, tangy cloudberries to savour fresh from the bush or later in delicious juices.


Stay in Lapland

Midnight sun in Lapland.

Swedish Lapland is accessible to all with Outdoor Access Rights guaranteeing a freedom to roam. This means that after days experiencing the wilderness you can camp almost anywhere, staying out to enjoy the midnight sun. Campfires can be lit (with caution) and any food gathered, cooked and eaten.

If camping isn’t your style, there are other options to stay immersed in the wild throughout the night. The Treehotel near the village of Harads offers a range of tree houses perched around 5 metres up in pine trees. Accessible by walkways and rope ladders, the rooms have large windows and tiny peep holes allowing the surrounding forest to be incorporated into the otherwise stylish, modern accommodations. Local produce is served up in the hotel’s restaurant, while available activities include yoga, horse riding, kayaking, white water rafting, moose safaris, and bear watching under the midnight sun.


Ready to take a trip to Lapland?

Our local experts can help you organise and book wonderful tailor-made trips to Lapland. Simply get in touch letting us know your ideas for the trip and when you would like to travel. We will then prepare a tailor-made itinerary especially for you, which can be amended until you’re completely happy with every detail before booking.
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Wild moose in Lapland.

See more at: Insight Guides
  1. Swedish Lapland: snow, wilderness and the elusive Northern Lights
  2. Sunset over the Øresund Bridge
  3. Taking a South African safari

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Travel Magazine: Discover Swedish Lapland in summer
Discover Swedish Lapland in summer
The vast Arctic wilderness of Swedish Lapland is a landscape of coniferous forests, rushing rivers and tranquil lakes, peppered with tiny villages. And it’s a magical region to explore in the summer months when the sun never sets. Here is our guide to Swedish Lapland under the midnight sun.
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