Swedish Lapland's Guide to


On a July afternoon, your train rolls in to Älvsbyn. This area is known for its entrepreneurial history. Some of Norrbotten’s strongest brands are found here. It’s also home to Storforsen rapids, one of Swedish Lapland’s most visited attractions. You have 24 hours at your disposal to do something exciting. So: what to do in Älvsbyn, now that you’re here?

Afternoon: You wash down the travel dust at Hotel Villa Sparta. Well, to make a long story short: The hotel was called Villa Sparta in the beginning and has always been called Sparta by the locals, but a new owner renamed the hotel Polar Hotel, perhaps as a nod to the famous bakery in town. But now it’s back to Villa Sparta. You check in, but before taking care of that travel dust on the outdoor terrace, you decide to stretch your legs and walk through town.

The pedestrian or main street features all the shops you’d expect in a small town like this. You can see several pizza places, so you know you won’t starve. But you also notice Centrum konditori – a pastry shop – and Osushi next to the hardware store Gårdings – a place that seems to offer more than your usual hardware store would. Then there’s Handplockat with most things a garden or a house need: furnishings, design, vintage, and confectionery. The last treat is something you take back with you to the hotel.

storforsen, road trip, ted, 1920 1080
storforsen, road trip, ted, 1920 1080
Storforsen is Europe's largest unregulated rapid with its 82 meter drop over five kilometers and one of Swedish Lapland's most visited nature reserves.

Evening: You have dinner at Sparta. A classic toast Skagen for starter and sirloin steak for main course. You don’t like to complicate things, and neither does the kitchen. It’s simple, classic and it’s good. You sit down and make plans for the following day. You’ll be donning your walking shoes again. Unless you decide on staying an extra day to be able to go on an excursion to Norrbotten’s perhaps most visited nature reserve: Storforsen.

Optional day: There is a bus to Storforsen in Vidsel that departs from Resecentrum in Älvsbyn. It makes it easy. Along the Pite River, which is one of Sweden’s four untouched national rivers, featuring one of Sweden’s finest salmon pools at Fällfors downstream from Vidsel. Storforsen rapids are Europe’s largest unregulated rapids with a total drop of 82 metres over five kilometres.

As a memory of the log driving days along the Pite River, an exciting area called The Dead Fall has been created and it’s excellent for sunbathers. The area around the rapids themselves is also a nature reserve and there are lots of beautiful trails to explore, including a well-developed area that can be navigated by those with reduced mobility. If you’re staying at the hotel, you can rent a mountain bike and take on the bike-trail system: nearly 10 kilometres of trails that start from Hotel Storforsen.

Before the bus takes you back to Älvsbyn you take a seat on the hotel’s outdoor terrace and savour a cold one, accompanied by the roar from the impressive rapids.

About Älvsbyn

Softly nestled between forested mountains next to the river, Älvsbyn is, not without reason, called Norrbotten’s gem; this originated in an analogy between Älvsbyn’s top-down view and a gemstone, with the glittering azure strip on one edge encased by high and steep mountains. It’s also home to Storforsen. With an average flow of 250 m3/s, the rapids are one of the biggest in Europe. The rapids stretch over a distance of 5 km in which it drops 82 meters 60 of which are a single waterfall.

Have a chat with the local tourist information for more insights: visitalvsbyn.se

Curious about living in Älvsbyn?

Contact the Move-in-advisor.

There are plenty of nice cycle paths in the forests around Älvsbyn.

Morning: You wake up early to the warm light of summer. You tie your shoes and bring an extra sweater, just in case, before you head out on a morning walk. There is a trail called Hälsans Stig (the Health Trail) in Älvsbyn, and you choose it this morning just to wake up your legs. You’re about to embark on much bigger hardships, so you’re happy this is quite flat and easy going. Breakfast out on the hotel terrace is a tasty reward.

Älvsbyn also offers trails for both running and hiking with magnificent views.

Daytime: There’s a lot to do during a day in Älvsbyn, even if you choose not to aim for the famous Storforsen rapids. If you cross to the other side of the Pite River, you get an exciting view from the climbing crag Hundberget, part of Top of Älvsbyn and the path through Rackberget nature reserve. Where the path up on Hundberget begins, there’s a sign informing you that this was one of the locations in a famous Swedish film called Jägarna (The Hunters). Älsbyn is a popular ‘location’ for the Swedish film industry. In town there’s the church town by the church. In Älvsbyn, just like in other towns, church visits were mandatory and farmers from villages in the surrounding area built overnight cottages near the church. Nowadays these 32 cottages form a cultural environment of national interest. On the other side of the road there’s also the Bakery Museum, which tells the story of how the bread called Tioöreskaka (one-penny-bread) in the 1920s became the classic Polarkaka of today. A century-old bakery tradition.

For those more interested in motoring, or just interested in history lightly scented with motor oil, the Petrol Museum in Älsvbyn is worth every detour. It wasn’t all better in the old days, but the petrol stations were nicer. There’s memorabilia here from classic brands such as Esso, Gulf, Caltex, BP and Shell. For lunch, you choose between the well-known Älvåkragrillen, pizza, sushi or traditional fare in town, but opt for Sommarcaféet in Lomtjärnsparken, near the camping site. It’s gloriously warm. You contemplate a swim, perhaps at Selholmen, or possibly a visit to the newly built public bath (to be completed in 2022) before the evening train returns and it’s time to continue on your travels.

Did you know that Älvsbyn is a popular location in the Swedish film industry?

Packing up: You find a seat on the train and know you could have stayed longer. That’s what it’s always like. Richard Öhman’s Udda Äventyr has offered amazing horseback riding in Älvsbyn for decades. A new summer adventure that sounds pretty unique is cattle driving: western riding for real. If you haven’t chosen to stay at a ranch with western horses, Skatauddens Lantgård offers farm stays – Bo på Lantgård. It’s a working farm that offers accommodation as well as a farm shop.

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Railway travel

Take the train! The call becomes all the more familiar. We choose train travel for many reasons; for the environment, of course, but also for the sake of the person within us. On the train we get the chance to sit for a while and do nothing more than admire the view falling away outside the window like a long row of beautiful new dominoes. As summer is here, it’s time for you to embark on your own journey in northern Sweden.

In sauna veritas

Sauna, or bastu in Swedish, is something as natural to people in the north as the midnight sun and the northern lights. It used to be something of a prerequisite for life in the Arctic, and now it is a rich part of the culture itself. Sauna is the essence of life up here.

When to see the northern lights in Swedish Lapland

Shimmery and magical. The dance of the northern lights is a spectacular sight that we frequently enjoy in Swedish Lapland. Viewing the Aurora Borealis is both a jaw-dropping and mystical experience. But when is the best time to see the northern lights in Swedish Lapland?

The Arctic light

You might think that in the Arctic, we have darkness or daylight. In the winter, the sun never rises above the horizon, and in the summer, the sun never sets. But in fact, we have light all year round. Just different kinds of light. Some darker, some brighter, and some very colourful.

Photograph the northern lights

So you've gone to Swedish Lapland, Sweden's Arctic destination, to experience the magical northern lights. Here are seven tips on how to get some good pictures of the beautiful light phenomenon to take back home.


When the sun never sets, and the kids are on summer holiday. When holidays are waiting around the corner and meadows explode with wood cranesbill. That's when long lines of cars queue up to get out of the cities. It's time to go find tranquillity with friends and family in summer houses and holidays homes, away from the hustle and bustle. It's time to celebrate the most important holiday of the summer. It's midsummer.

The not-so-big five

Scouting out the 'Big Five' on the African savannah is the big dream of many. They include leopard, lion, elephant, rhino and African buffalo and is a group of large, majestic and fairly dangerous animals. Here in the Arctic part of Sweden, we don't have animals the size of an elephant or with the speed of a leopard, but we have a fair few animals that are pretty cool in their own way. Below we have listed five animals that are both unique and fascinating, definitely worth putting on a list of must-see animals.

The midnight light

If it's your first time visiting Swedish Lapland during the summer, you'll notice that it never gets dark. You have entered the world of the midnight sun, and if you're not used to it, it's an extraordinary experience. But beware, it might affect your sleep quality.

The forest is yours

Is it really true that anyone can walk around the forests and beaches of Swedish Lapland? Pick berries and pitch a tent anywhere? Yup, that's exactly what it's like in the democratic forest.

Outdoor fika

That Swedes have their fika (coffee and a snack), and that they drink lots of coffee, are well-known facts. But what's the thing about having it outdoors? What's the deal with coffee boiled over an open fire?

The taste of
Swedish Lapland

When you visit Swedish Lapland, you will notice that our food culture is closely intertwined with our lifestyle. There is a strong tradition that testifies to how we have lived from what nature has generously provided us with for many millennia. Join us on a guided tour of our natural resources, taking the shortest possible route to the plate.

The way we eat

When in Swedish Lapland, exploring the nature of the Arctic, chasing the northern lights or just soaking up the sun 24/7, make sure you don’t miss out on the food. Some of the food we eat might sound a bit strange, but we highly recommend you try and get a taste of Swedish Lapland.


Snow is something more than frozen water to the Sámi people. It's a way of expressing the foundation of their existence – the migration of the reindeer. To a skier, snow is also more than snow. It's the way you experience life.

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.


It is December and the landscape is covered in a white blanket; trees are heavy with snow and the roads are white. The dense mid-winter darkness creates a blue light during a few hours, and windows are lit up by advent stars and candlesticks. Christmas is here.