A SWEDISH LAPLAND STORY

A ROAD TRIP IN SWEDISH LAPLAND

By car along Silvervägen

Are you planning a road trip in northern Sweden? The famous Silver Road (Highway 95) runs from Skellefteå up to the Arjeplog mountains and the border between Sweden and Norway. Here you’ll find maps and accommodation ideas, places to visit and lots of things to discover along the way.

From the sea in Skellefteå to the Arjeplog mountains and the Norwegian border, this is Highway 95 – the Silver Road. A journey along this road will take you from the coast and its cultural landscape through deep forests and up to the vast mountain scenery by the Norwegian border. Highway 95 is the only Swedish national road in the mountains above the tree limit, and at lake Guoletisjaure you reach the highest point of the road: 720 metres above sea level.

1. Skellefteå–Jörn

The first part of the Silver Road runs from Skellefteå to Jörn, a distance of 58 kilometres. The road is forest lined but features glimpses of a cultivated cultural landscape. Skellefteå is a real summer town, so make sure you spend a few days in the centre of town at the beginning of your trip. There are lots of places here where you can go for a quick swim, enjoy some great shopping, or try lovely outdoor terraces. Make sure you visit the cultural centre Sara and Wood Hotel, located in one of the world’s tallest wooden buildings that has won numerous awards for its ground-breaking architecture. Down by the river the newly renovated summer town is in full bloom, featuring beautiful walking paths. Skellefteå is rich in culture, from storytelling festivals to musical festivities, and the mix of restaurants is appealing. From Taps and Tacos via classic Bryggargatan to Miss Voon on top of Wood Hotel. Bonnstan, Skellefteå’s church town dating back to the 17th century, as well as nearby Kyrkholmen and Stiftsgården are oases during summer. From Skellefteå the Silver Road goes in the direction of Boliden, then turns northwest, towards the villages around Jörn.

Worth knowing

  • Silvervägen stretches from Skellefteå across the Arjeplog mountains all the way to Bodø at the edge of the Norwegian Sea.
  • Silvervägen is the only Swedish national road that crosses the mountains above the tree line.
  • Silvervägen is 506 km long and by lake Guoletisjaure it reaches its highest point: 720 metres above sea level.
  • Silvervägen translates into “The Silver Road” in english, referring to silver mine on Nasafjäll mountain, from where silver was transported to the coast for further, worldwide export.
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Today there are 16 preserved church towns in Swedish Lapland. Among them is Gammelstad in Luleå, a UNESCO’s World Heritage. Bonnstan in Skellefteå dates back to the 17th century and was mentioned as early as 1732 by Carl von Linnaeus: “By the Siällefte church, innumerable houses, like a proper town, with white chimneys, built along two streets plus side streets consisting of 350 to 400 houses. They told me that every farmer in the parish had a house, where they stayed during church weekends.”
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There are plenty of spots along the Silver Road where you can go for a swim, and Skellefteå is no exception. In central Skellefteå there's the newly built Bryggarbacken and just south of the centre is the popular Falkträsket. Not to mention Boviken, a place to swim in the sea with a lovely sandy beach a mere five minutes' drive from town.
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The Wood Hotel by Elite is located in one of the world's tallest wooden buildings, right in the centre of Skellefteå. The 20-storey building houses 205 modern hotel rooms of varying sizes, three restaurants and the cultural centre Sara. The building has won numerous awards for architecture and innovation.

2. Jörn–Arvidsjaur: 75 km

A stone’s throw from the beautiful railway station in Jörn (people still argue about whether Lenin once got off a train here or not), you’ll find the newly established Jörn Experience hotel. It features a spa with a pool, a bowling alley and a restaurant where the menu is inspired by the north. This place is worth a stop. If you take a small detour through the beautiful village Österjörn, you’ll find Lantliv Lodge with a lovely view across the lake Jörnsträsket.

Also read

The Woods

Just after Missenträsk, the home village of author Sara Lidman – yes, this is the Sara of the cultural centre Sara in Skellefteå – you arrive at Glommersträsk. There’s a convenience store here, as well as one fuel pump that is a museum, and one that provides petrol, and also Glommersträsk Hat and Toy Museum. When the Klockljung family from Stockholm bought the large log house in Glommersträsk they were told there were some old hats up in the attic. What they weren’t told was that the hat collection in the attic consisted of around 350 brand new ladies’ hats made between 1930 and 1960, and preserved by milliner Jenny Petrina Stenqvist: a woman with style who also knew all the reasons why a woman should wear a hat.

Arvidsjaur

The name Arvidsjaur comes from árviesjávrrie, derived from Ume Sami árvies (‘generous’, or ‘giving in abundance’) and jávrrie (‘lake’). The name is a reference to the fishing opportunities in the nearby lake. Today, approximately 4,500 people live here. Among other things, Arvidsjaur is known for being the location of the Norrland Dragoon Regiment K4. Here you’ll also find the campsite Camp Gielas and hotels Laponia, Skogen hotell and Lapland Lodge. Lappstaden is a must-see when visiting Arvidsjaur, but the local history museum Gamla Prästgården and the Rallarmuseet are also well worth a visit. There are cafés and restaurants in town, and even the Sibylla burger restaurant serves alcohol. If you want to stretch your legs, the mountain Vittjåkk very near town offers several easily accessible hiking trails for the whole family. Here you can marvel at the varied landscape and hike in mountainous forest, as well as on the mountain above the tree line. For a few weeks each summer there are steam locomotive trips from Arvidsjaur to Slagnäs, on Fridays and Saturdays, along the Inland Railway Line.

The steam locomotive

It’s a rare pleasure, travelling by steam locomotive through Swedish Lapland.

Visit the Steam locomotive >>

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The name Silvervägen

Silvervägen translates into "The Silver Road" in english and the name reffers to the silver transports that would carry silver from Nasafjäll mountain to the ports by the Gulf of Bothnia. The total distance from Skellefteå to Bodø, by the Norwegian Sea, is 500 kilometres.

3. Arvidsjaur–Arjeplog: 86 km

In Arvidsjaur the Silver Road turns west and joins route E45 for a stretch before once again becoming Highway 95, heading towards Arjeplog, when the European route E45 turns south, towards Europe. Nature becomes more barren; the forest is lower and the marshland more extensive. The road follows river Byskeälven, up to its source streams in Allejaur.

Sjöstjärnans Camping is located on a peninsula by the Byske River. This campsite has been here for almost 50 years and used to be famous for its barn dances. People might still dance here, but these days Sjöstjärnan is most of all a scenic campsite. At Rádnagård in Rádnejaur there’s a flea market in summer and a shop that sells the farm’s own eggs as well as garden and home furnishings.

At the office

Join Emil Sundberg at Heli Arjeplog on day at the office.

Silvermuseet in Arjeplog. The museum exhibitions tell the story about ten thousand years of life in a mountain community, from prehistoric times to the present. There are stories about people who came here to hunt and catch their food and stories about the strenuous everyday life of the Sami and the homesteaders, but also stories about what nature meant to the population up here. The sparkling crowning glory is the world's largest collection of Sami silver.
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Experience Arjeplog offers a wide range of activities and adventures. This includes bikes, ‘fly and hike’, and fishing, to name a few.

Arjeplog

Some 3,000 people live in Arjeplog municipality, but in winter there are far more than that staying here. This is due to a large automotive testing industry that was founded back in the 1970s. These days many of the world’s most famous car brands gather here for testing operations in the Arctic environment. An event industry based on ice driving has grown alongside these activities, and it has attracted a lot of famous – and not-so-famous – guests from all over the world.
Arjeplog is also home to Silvermuseet. It houses several interesting exhibitions, but it’s the sparkling collection of Sami silver that will impress the most.

To outdoor enthusiasts, the Arjeplogsströmmarna is an obvious stop. Here you’ll find great fishing opportunities and some easier hiking. If you fancy an amazing view, you can actually get all the way up to the top of mountain Galtispuoda by car, even if the road has seen better days (but you could always walk the last bit). Silver Resorts run Kraja Camping, another scenic campsite on a peninsula, but this one by the deepest lake in Sweden: Hornavan, but also several hotels. If you’re looking for activities Experience Arjeplog offers a range of great options, and at the harbour Heli Arjeplog have their helipad. The very best fishing is just a helicopter ride away, but it’s not just fishermen looking for dinner who use this helicopter option, so do trail runners, mountain hikers and sightseers.

A special cup of coffee

How do you like your coffee? At Arjeplogs Vilt & Café it’s not uncommon to get both cheese and a piece of meat to add to your coffee cup.

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Kraja Camping is beautifully situated on a peninsula by Sweden's deepest lake: Hornavan. The lake is part of the Skellefteå River catchment area, and at its deepest spot it measures 221 metres from surface to bottom.
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Arjeplog is said to have the only mountain archipelago in Sweden. Large, deep lakes such as Hornavan, Uddjaur and Tjeggelvas share the area with almost 9,000 further bodies of waters, adorned with islands, islets, and outcrops. In Arjeplog there are also three river valleys, belonging to the rivers Skellefteälven, Piteälven and Laisälven. They all have their own character and charm.
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If you want to go fishing in Arjeplog, Arjeplogsströmmarna is a popular option located right next to the centre of town. This place is known mainly for the large trout you can find here. Then there's also the classic Miekak fishing camp.

4. Arjeplog–norska gränsen: 250 km

When you leave Arjeplog behind, the landscape opens up and offers magnificent mountain views. After 30 km you get to the turn-off towards Laisdalen, a fishing paradise and a place where the public road comes to an end in the middle of the mountain world. But if you stay on road 95, you’ll soon pass Jäkkvik, where Kungsleden (the King’s Trail) descends from the Pieljekaise national park – one of Sweden’s original parks from 1909 – before the hike continues north through the mountains. Jäkkvik was actually where Lars Levi Laestadius was born. He was a priest, personality and scholar, but mostly known as the founder of Laestadianism.

In the village Polcirkeln there’s a campsite right on top of the Arctic ‘circle’ for fishermen and campers. You could also opt for Vuoggatjålme if you’re looking for amazing food and hosting that’s been famous for almost 100 years. The history of this place mainly revolves around the Helamb family, who have welcomed travellers to Vuoggatjålme for an entire century. Along the way the mountain landscape has taken over completely, and when you pass Merkenäs you’re on the only national road in Sweden to cross the mountains above the tree line. At Guoledisjávrre, a mere 8 km from the Norwegian border, you’re at the highest point of the road: 740 metres above sea level. There’s a rest stop here: a great starting point if you’re out discovering the mountains. On the Norwegian side the road continues to Bodø.

Vuoggatjålme

In Vuoggatjålme, right on the Arctic Circle and known as the coldest spot in Sweden, the Helamb family has been giving visitors a warm welcome for 100 years.

Visit Vuoggatjålme >>

Road trips

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