Swedish Lapland's Guide to


On a warm Saturday evening in summer, you turn off road 99 at Luppioberget mountain in Övertorneå. You’ve given yourself 24 hours to do something exciting in a place you’ve never visited. The only preparation beforehand was to book accommodation. But what to do in Övertorneå, now that you’re here?

Evening: Luppioberget has always been a special place for travellers along route 99, the so-called Northern Light Road in the Torne Valley. It used to be a magnificent café and a place to stop along the way. Nowadays it’s also accommodation that in itself is a destination, worth the trip to Lapland View Lodge. You check in and decide when to be back for dinner. You have room 24, almost at the top of the mountain.

The view from your very own cabin is nothing short of glorious. The entire Torne Valley at your feet through the panoramic window. You’re thinking that perhaps you shouldn’t sleep tonight, just stay up and enjoy the midnight sun.

Morning: Before breakfast you head up to the top, to enjoy the 360-degree view. What an exhilarating place. At breakfast, you google options for the day. Driving to Övertorneå itself takes five minutes by car, and that’s how you’ll explore the area today. In town there’s accommodation as well, at Norrsken Lodge and Tornedalen Bed and Breakfast. But you’re thinking to yourself that nothing could be better than this. Then you decide that since you’re in the Torne Valley, why not take the opportunity to visit Finland. The river isn’t seen as a border here, but rather as something that unites. Sweden and Finland are connected. The Torne Valley is two countries, but one place, with its own language and culture. This is where the cultures of Sweden, Finland, the Sami, and the Torne Valley meet.

This is indeed a unique place.

You turn in to OK/Q8 to buy a tall caffe latte from the Starbucks machine, then you drive across the bridge to Finnish Övertorneå, towards the lookout mountain Aavasaksa. The mountain in Övertorneå on the Finnish side is one of the measuring points of Struve’s Meridian Arch, a UNESCO World Heritage. Already back in 1736 the French Academy visited, and Pierre de Maupertuis attempted to establish the curvature of the Earth. Aavasaksa was one of de Maupertuis’ nine measurement sites. On top of Aavasaksa there’s also an exciting building, Keisinmaja, or the Tsar’s hunting lodge, even if the tsar never set foot here as he died before the house was finished. Apart from memorials for the tsar, Struve and Maupertuis there’s also a statue of Annikki Kariniemi here, known as “Finnish Lapland’s first female writer”. An exciting mountain, to say the least.

About Övertorneå

Jump across the Arctic Circle, marvel at the majestic Torne River that runs on the border between Sweden and Finland, and pluck sun ripe berries in the lush forest. Övertorneå is filled with nature experiences and abundant wildlife. Atop Luppioberget you have a vast view of Torne River, Finland, and the woodlands, and if you are lucky, you might spot the king of the forest — the moose.

Have a chat with the local tourist information for more insights heartoflapland.com

Curious about living in Övertorneå?

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1920 1080, huuva hideaway, håkan

Afternoon: You go back across the border, stopping at the old customs house where Forest Jewel is located these days. You can try your hand at making your own wooden drinking cup here. But since you don’t have a lot of time you settle for buying a wooden cup, then drive to the centre of Övertorneå. Café Arctic Garden serves tasty coffee from their espresso machine, among all the flowers in the shop, and you also take the opportunity to have a light, but late, lunch here.

A dominant building in town, perhaps not because of its size but rather because of its history, is Röda Kvarn (the Red Mill). It was named after its Parisian namesake and this red mill in the Torne Valley has played an important part in celebrations and cultural life around here. It was built using leftover material from the construction of the railway station and the house got its very own style. During the years of military readiness 1936–45 films were screened here from 10 am to 2 am, employing as many as 20 people. Today Röda Kvarn is something you rent for a party, or something to use as backdrop for a selfie.

Another historical building you can see during a stop here is the church from the 18th century. The church organ was sculpted by Mårten Redtmer – who was also involved in the decorations on the warship Vasa. The open-air museum Aunesgården is also a piece of history, and just outside town is the restored church Särkilax. The original church was swept away by an unusually powerful spring flood 400 years ago. Near Särkilax there are a couple of bird towers if you prefer birdsong to preaching, and in town itself you’ll find the Isovaara nature reserve, protected for its natural values and the outdoor recreation it offers. You choose to take a walk along the Art Path today. A number of installations have been made along the embankment of the disused railway. Among other things there’s a neon sign made by Sami artist Carola Grahn that says Kämpa (Fight). You find it as you arrive at Ruskola.

In the village of Vitsaniemi, on the banks of the Torneälven River, you'll find one of Swedish Lapland's most exciting hotel projects - Arthotel Tornedalen.
All of Arthotel's houses are named after the people who once lived here.
Of course, there is also a sauna here.

Packing up: You were thinking of leaving but decide to stay for another night. You’ve booked a time slot for the sauna at Luppio. You’re in the Torne Valley after all, a place where sauna is culture and lifeblood. On the other side of the river (in Finland), the sauna culture is considered a World Heritage. The sauna at Luppio has a glass window overlooking a 60-metre-high precipice. It’s an unparalleled sauna experience.

In the evening, the weather is magical. You’re still warm after the sauna and sit out on the terrace having dinner. While having breakfast the next morning, and before you continue your journey, you google what other things you could have done here in Övertorneå. Accommodation and Sami dining experiences in Liehittäjä at Huvva Hideaway sounds exciting. There’s also Arthotel in the village Vitsaniemi to consider. Arthotel, a kind of albergo diffuso in an Arctic context. If you travel north, you just have to stop at the Arctic Circle. You can jump across the abstract line right by the Arctic Circle Monument in the village Juoksengi. In the neighbouring village Svanstein you’ll see Svanstein Lodge and here you can also climb up one of the points of the World Heritage Struve’s Meridian Arch, or perhaps opt for a climb up to the Hollywood-inspired letters above the pink village church. If you’re in the mood for salmon fishing, one of the world’s best salmon rivers runs through this village.

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The promised land

Tornedalen, the borderland between Sweden and Finland, is in many ways unique. The Torne River has never really been a border. Instead, it has tied the two countries together; never dividing, only uniting, to the benefit of sweethearts, smugglers, spies and sauna-bathing travellers. This summer take a road-trip through the promised land of the sauna.

Arthotel Tornedalen

In the village of Vitsaniemi, on the banks of the Torne River, you will find one of Swedish Lapland's most exciting hotel projects. They are also building an art gallery for the world here – a kind of Louisiana in the heart of the Torne Valley.

The edible country

The freedom to roam is an essential part of life in the Nordic countries. In the Arctic region, it is a large part of our culture and our well-being. To be able to access and live off the land is a privilege for campers and foragers, but it also comes with responsibility. This is the edible as well as the drinkable country.

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?

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.

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.

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.

The midnight sun

The midnight sun. The feeling of never having to face tomorrow, just keep having fun and enjoy the never-ending day, is absolutely wonderful. But. Those who depend on their beauty sleep will face certain challenges.

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?

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.

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.