Swedish Lapland's Guide to


On a beautiful and summery Friday afternoon in August you get off the train and onto the platform in Luleå. You have 48 hours to do something exciting in a place you’ve never visited before. The only thing you’ve done in advance is reserve accommodation. But what to do, while you’re here?

Afternoon: You check in to Hotel Savoy, three hundred metres from the railway station. (Perhaps this goes without saying, but it’s still worth pointing out that there are many more hotels in the city. The chains Elite, Clarion, Scandic are all here, as well as private actors where charming Amber is also near the railway station).

Once you’ve checked in and put comfortable shoes on, you head out onto the streets. Savoy is located on the pedestrian road that runs through the centre. Here you’ll find plenty of restaurants and cafés, as well as the shops you need if you’ve forgotten something or just fancy some shopping. You have an afternoon coffee at Börje Olssons Café. BO’s, as it’s known, has served pastries to the inhabitants of Luleå since 1958. Three years earlier, nearby Shopping was inaugurated – the first indoor shopping centre in the world, designed by Ralph Erskine.

Dinner: Luleå is located by the water, where the Lule River meets the Bothnian Bay. There’s a rich archipelago life here, and even if you don’t have your own boat, you can visit these islands using the many tour boats available – MS Laponia offers several routes, for example. On the Friday afternoon, at 4:15 pm, you board the boat to take an archipelago tour around the entire Luleå archipelago – all the way to the islands furthest out, like Brändöskär where artist Ola Taube has a studio. The trip takes five hours.

You read about Luleå, enjoy the archipelago air, drink white wine, and eat a cosy, slow dinner onboard. If you don’t want to travel the entire way around the archipelago you can jump off at Klubbviken and jump on again when the boat returns. If you would like some more sand between your toes and another kind of restaurant, that is.

About Luleå

Luleå is the largest city in Swedish Lapland. Here you will find shopping, entertainment, nightlife, and a wide array of White Guide listed restaurants located close to the world’s largest brackish water archipelago with 1,312 islands, rivers and vast forestland. Experience our seasonal contrasts – from snow, cold temperatures and a frozen sea in winter – to sunshine, warmth and midnight sunlight in summer. From September to March, you can spot the fabled northern lights, Aurora Borealis, when the sky is clear.

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

Curious about living in Luleå?

Check out flyttatilllulea.se


1920 1080, Håkan, Laponia, Luleå

Nightlife: The boat trip in the archipelago comes back to the south harbour ‘Södra Hamn’ and a five-minute walk takes you through the city to the north harbour ‘Norra hamn’. In summer, and if the weather is as nice as it normally is in Luleå, Norra hamn is the place to go. Bryggan, Bistron and Hemmagastronomi have popular terraces. Another popular spot is the terrace at Elite Stadshotell. If you don’t feel like being surrounded by crowds, the cocktail bar at Clarion Sense offers a lovely alternative with its cosy roof terrace.

Early morning: You wake up early and put on your trainers. Either you take the route around Skurholmsfjärden, or you can opt for a walk/run along the water on the peninsula that Luleå is. Both options are easy to find once you’ve asked for instructions at reception.  You’re back in good time to enjoy a nice and quiet breakfast.

gammelstad kyrkstad, kyrka, ted logart, 1920 x 1080
gammelstad, kyrkstugor, 1920 x 1080, ted logart
gammelstad, ted logart, 1920 x 1080

Morning: You head over to Shopping, where else – the architect-designed shopping centre is a must. Then you continue walking through the city. Your plan is to take a look at the exhibition at the County Museum, Norrbottens Museum, just past the County Governor’s house.

On your way back you walk by the water in the north harbour, enter the House of Culture and take a look at the summer’s photo exhibition in the entrance. You ask for some ideas at the Tourist Office and decide that a bus trip to Gammelstad Church Town, a UNESCO World Heritage, will be your excursion for the afternoon.

Gammelstad Church Town

In 1996, UNESCO included Gammelstad Church Town on the list of world heritage sites. The area is thus, with its unique environment, invaluable to humanity – and must be preserved for future generations.

Visit Gammelstad >>

kalix löjrom, håkan stenlund, 1920 x 1080, food, taste

Lunch: You might think that a visit to north Sweden is all about eating Kalix Löjrom (vendace roe), Arctic charr, ptarmigan and reindeer and that Arctic cuisine is just smoked, cured, or barbecued. Not many people know that Luleå could be said to be Sweden’s hamburger centre. The Bergfors family from Gällivare moved here and founded MAX. This is also where Bastard Burgers first opened and in the beginning of 2022 they opened their first restaurant in the US, in the East Village on Manhattan. This means you can eat your New York burger in Luleå, and your Luleå burger in New York. A bit like that quote in Havana, supposedly by Hemingway, for those who remember such things. “My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita.”

Afternoon: The bus to Gammelstad leaves from Smedjegatan (the centre) and doesn’t take more than 20 minutes. You get some information in the Visitor Centre by the square and think that a guided tour would have been exciting, but then you realise the weather is so nice and decide to just have some ice-cream and amble around this idyllic summer spot for an hour or so before getting the bus back to the city. That Hemingway quote stayed with you, so you go for a cocktail at the Clarion roof terrace before returning to your hotel to get changed.

kalix löjrom, håkan stenlund, 1920 x 1080, food, taste

Dinner: Luleå has a number of restaurants and cafés on the Swedish White Guide list. Hemmagastronomi, that we mentioned earlier, also has awards from White Guide Nordic. But instead of heading to the north harbour like you did yesterday, you choose to go to the south harbour and the restaurant Arkipelag, by the boats. You have a snack plate and a starter before you walk through the city to work up an appetite and find a table at restaurant Gusto’s patio to finish your summer dinner with something barbequed. Before the evening has come to an end, you’ll probably end up having a drink in the north harbour anyway. Or at Hotel Savoy, where the music is said to continue until early morning.

Morning: The sun is still shining, so after breakfast you take the first boat out to Klubbviken. The tour boat M/S Stella Marina leaves several times per day. The first tour is at 9 am, and it’s a good idea to book it before 8 pm the day before. Klubbviken offers several fun options if you want to do something other than just sunbathe – perhaps rent a fatbike or a SUP board. Or take a walk along the gravel roads on Sandön. It’s Sunday anyway, and you take it easy in the sun until it’s time for lunch at the archipelago restaurant.

Packing up: As the afternoon approaches, you jump on the boat back to Luleå. It’s time to think about going home. As you approach the city, you wonder what it’s like here in winter. They say there’s a nice ice road around town. Perhaps a skating adventure next time?

Part of theme:


  • Mentions


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.

The gold of the Bothnian Bay

Kalix Löjrom, Kalix vendace roe, became Sweden's first food product to receive a protected designation of origin ten years ago. We tag along on a vendace roe safari to learn how this delicacy becomes one of the best dining experiences Swedish restaurants have to offer. We also get the opportunity to make our own roe. But first: a visit to the pub.

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.

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.

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.

Shooting autumn colours

Many think autumn is the most beautiful time of year in Swedish Lapland. It's as if Earth itself grants a generous firework display of colour before the winter sleep settles over the Arctic landscape. And it's easy to capture the show with a camera on standby. These are five simple tips for capturing autumn in a photo.


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.

Archipelago days

What happens when a father and son decide to spend a couple of days in the Gulf of Bothnia archipelago? Well, first, you have to promise that there will be mobile phone coverage and then keep your fingers crossed that you’re right. Then you can safely assume there’ll be no trace of the kid during the entire trip.

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 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.

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?

Beach life in the Arctic

Perhaps summer and swimming aren't what first springs to mind when you think of Swedish Lapland. But, in fact, there are plenty of cool beaches and places to go for a swim – thanks to the inland ice.

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.

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.


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.