Road trips

A road trip is simply a perfect way of discovering things you've never seen before. They give you a chance to meet things you've never come across before – meetings that might change your life.

In the past, you could get arrested for loitering. Moving through the world with no apparent purpose was considered very suspicious behaviour. Today, things have improved and spending your day doing nothing is rather viewed as something that's good for you. 

You’ll love days like these, just getting in the car and driving. A road trip is something everyone should do at some point. The destination Swedish Lapland covers 25% of Sweden and has the highest mountains, the deepest lakes and the largest forests. From the Arctic Alpine landscape of the mountains to the more urban Arctic settings along the coast, you’ll find an exciting destination the size of Austria but with a mere 300,000 inhabitants. Rich in nature, and with little in the way of crowds. Driving through the destination is not a bad idea at all. See how the landscape transforms. Meet the shifting seasons. Find your inner driver, somewhere in there under the midnight sun or the northern lights.

The windscreen is large

Someone wise is said to have come up with: “The windscreen is large, the rear-view mirror is small”. You’re supposed to long for what’s in front of you, behind the next bend or crest along the road. There are places you’ll only get to because it makes sense when you’re driving. Blattnicksele near Sorsele, Moskosel near Arvidsjaur, Övre Svartlå near Boden, Junosuando near Pajala and Österjörn near Skellefteå are no metropolises, yet so beautiful. Somewhere along the way you’ll wonder what it would be like to live right there. But that’s not why you’re on the road. The reason for going is wanting to see something new. Not settling for settling down. To make a road trip a road trip, you mustn’t have a goal in mind. Going from a to b is just transport. Then you might as well take a plane, bus, train or just beam yourself there. Driving a car, because you have an urge to drive, means you can think about things you never have time for otherwise.

The Soundtrack

Behind the wheel, music is more important than ever. Do you need music for your road trip? Check out Swedish Lapland's playlists on Spotify.

To Spotify

The music is important

Verdi and Vivaldi always work well when driving. La donna è mobile is summer and has always been. Every time you listen to it, your car turns into Inspector Morse’s red Jaguar and the landscape suddenly becomes the welcoming English countryside. Vivaldi has four seasons. One of them will suit. If not, there’s La Traviata. Peter Lemarc and Bo Kaspers, sure. Abba? Of course! Also: Bruce Springsteen, Merle Haggard and Amos Lee. Not to mention Fleetwood Mac and Avicii. There are local musicians and artists to listen to as well, of course. Remember to ask the local tourist office about local artists to download. You’ll definitely be able to create an exciting playlist featuring the likes of Willy Clay Band from Kiruna, Johan Airijoki from Gällivare, Maxida Märak from Jokkmokk and Sofia Jannok from Rävudden. In the Torne Valley there’s also Ray Ray Band, and both Movits and Zacke are rapping in Luleå while Peter Mattei, a son of Piteå, now sings Don Giovanni on the world’s opera stages. As for Skellefteå – what would the town be without The Wannadies and their song My Hometown?

Stories along the way
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    Taste

    A road trip for the hungry

    A road trip is simply a way of discovering things you've never seen before. If you give yourself the chance, you might also come across flavours you've never experienced before.

    Håkan Stenlund
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    Nature

    The woods

    A breath of fresh air never hurts. That has always been our roundabout way of trying to explain what it is that makes nature good for us human beings. But the results of more and more research in recent years have shown just how beneficial spending time in the great outdoors is for human health and wellbeing. Science confirms a piece of time-honoured folk wisdom. It’s time for a walk in the woods.

    Håkan Stenlund
  • 9
    Design

    Architectural dreams

    There is this one hotel room that looks like a bird's nest, and another resembles a UFO. Then there is the hotel where a ruin from an old train workshop runs straight through the kitchen, and the wine cellar is an old grease pit. There is also the hotel in the middle of town that cleans the air to the same extent an entire forest would. We travel between excellent accommodation options in Swedish Lapland.

    Håkan Stenlund
  • Ski in Swedish Lapland

    Skiing is as much part of the Arctic lifestyle as northern lights, thermal underwear, and coarsely-ground coffee. The oldest ever pair of skis were found in a marsh in Kalvträsk. In Swedish Lapland people have skied since long before pyramids were built in Egypt. This is the story of two planks and a passion.

    Håkan Stenlund

Get to know Swedish Lapland

The destination Swedish Lapland includes the entire county of Norrbotten plus the municipal areas Skellefteå and Sorsele. It’s an area larger than Austria and this means there are plenty of things to explore and discover. But never mind the distances! A kilometre here isn’t the same as in more densely populated areas. You can get far in just an hour. You never have to be in a hurry. Besides, if you drive in summer, there’s daylight at nighttime. Summer here isn’t only more intense, it’s also a lot longer without nights. Dare to turn left where others take a right. There’s something there worth seeing, for sure. Perhaps something no one else has ever seen. Because you do remember what Robert Frost wrote, in The Road Not Taken?

”Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— 
I took the one less travelled by, 
And that has made all the difference”. 

AN ARCTIC ROAD TRIP

Three devoted outdoor enthusiasts give their view on summer in the Arctic and road tripping in Swedish Lapland.

Watch video

CAMP LIKE A NORTHENER

People up north, both young and old, have a thing for sandy beaches, sunshine and compact living at campsites. At least for some weeks every summer. Want to camp like a northerner? This is where to do it.

Get tips
Discover the landscape
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    Nature
    Panoramic view over Rapadalen from summit of Skierfe, Sarek National Park, Lapland, Sweden.

    The national parks

    National parks are areas featuring a certain type of landscape, protected to preserve their natural condition. It's about creating opportunities to experience nature. Swedish Lapland has the most, the oldest and the largest national parks in Sweden.

    Håkan Stenlund
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    Nature

    The labyrinths
    on the islands

    When you visit the islands of Swedish Lapland, you might stumble upon stones laid out in a formation. Maybe it's actually an old labyrinth that you’ve found? The phenomena are tens of thousands years old, and the pattern can be found in different places across Europe.

    Göran Wallin
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    Places

    The secret stone valley

    In Sámi it's called Geargevággi, which translates to Stone Valley in English. But in real life, it might as well be a fairytale.

    Håkan Stenlund
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    Culture

    Stories told with names

    Many towns, mountains, rivers in Swedish Lapland bear the names given to them by the Sámi people, usually describing their characteristics. When reading a map of Swedish Lapland, knowing the meaning of some Sámi words adds another, fascinating dimension to the landscape.

    Göran Wallin

THE TOWNS

Swedish Lapland is not entirely about the great wide open. You can rest a sure that the towns of Swedish Lapland are modern and vibrant, offering great services and beautiful city vibes.

The towns
Places to stay
  • 9
    Design

    Treehotel — a design favourite

    What started with a film featuring a small wooden hut in the forest has become a cool hotel. These days Treehotel in Harads is considered one of the world's foremost travel destinations. But Treehotel is more than just a design favourite among the treetops. It’s the childhood fantasy we’ve all dreamed of – just in a more luxurious package.

    Håkan Stenlund
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    Design

    A frozen icon

    In the village of Jukkasjärvi, outside Kiruna, lies the original ICEHOTEL. Every year, since 1989, it has been reincarnated in a new rendition and there’s always more to come. From the beginning this was kind of a crazy idea in the winter, nowadays it’s as crazy all year round.

    Emma Forsberg
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    Places

    A stay in history

    Once upon a time, Haparanda was where the East met West, a hangout for spies, robbers and war profiteers. If the walls of Stadshotellet – the city hotel – could speak, we would be more than excited to listen to what went on in what once was the middle of the world.

    Håkan Stenlund

THE EIGHT SEASONS

In Swedish Lapland, nature plays an intrinsic role in our life and work, and the people here are highly sensitive to the small details of the changing seasons. Therefore, it seems only natural that the Sámi people describe eight seasons instead of four. Read story

THE MIDNIGHT LIGHT

Imagine having a lot more summer. That you never are in a hurry and always have one more hour to play. The midnight light in Swedish Lapland basically gives daylight for a couple of months, giving you all the time you need to slow down and see the world.

Watch video
Don't miss this
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    Culture

    A place to preserve

    Just outside Luleå, you'll find the church village Gammelstad. This used to be where Luleå city centre was located right up to the 17th century, with red log cabins in a kind of organised chaos around one of Sweden's most beautiful churches. It's a unique place and something to preserve for future generations.

    Håkan Stenlund
  • 18
    Culture

    Anything but wilderness

    On a headland called Viedásnjárgga in Stora Sjöfallet National Park lies Naturum Laponia. It's a place that tells a story of mountains on the other side of the lake and how reindeer find their way here year after year. It tells part of the story why this place was awarded the title World Heritage.

    Emma Forsberg
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    Places

    The summer coast

    Not only is the Bay of Bothnia Sweden’s sunniest summer getaway, it is also an exciting destination where the brackish sea water meets lively coastal towns.

    Håkan Stenlund
Also read
  • 18
    Culture

    A place to preserve

    Just outside Luleå, you'll find the church village Gammelstad. This used to be where Luleå city centre was located right up to the 17th century, with red log cabins in a kind of organised chaos around one of Sweden's most beautiful churches. It's a unique place and something to preserve for future generations.

    Håkan Stenlund
  • 9
    Design

    Architectural dreams

    There is this one hotel room that looks like a bird's nest, and another resembles a UFO. Then there is the hotel where a ruin from an old train workshop runs straight through the kitchen, and the wine cellar is an old grease pit. There is also the hotel in the middle of town that cleans the air to the same extent an entire forest would. We travel between excellent accommodation options in Swedish Lapland.

    Håkan Stenlund
  • 16
    Taste

    The food story

    Eating well is part of every journey. Well, it could be the whole reason for the trip. This is the food story.

    Håkan Stenlund