A SWEDISH LAPLAND STORY

Swedish Lapland's Guide to

Piteå

On a summery Friday afternoon in August, you get off the bus in Piteå. You have 48 hours to do something exciting in a place you’ve never visited before. The only thing you’ve done before arriving is book accommodation. But what will you do, now that you’re here?

Afternoon: From the bus stop down to your room at Pensionatet it’s no more than a ten minutes’ walk. You pass the newly renovated Stadshotellet and the church, then you’re in the cosy artisan neighbourhood at Malmgatan. This is where Pensionatet has grown organically, buying one house at the time. There’s a wonderful patio, a farm shop, and a restaurant here – you’ll be all right. You check in and leave your things in your room. Then you sit down in the garden to rinse that travel dust from your throat. The sun heats the town and the patio. This is, after all, the Riviera of the North.

1920 720, Centrum krog, Håkan

Restaurant experiences

The restaurant experiences in Piteå have gone from strength to strength in recent years. Takes at Hotel Kust, Ångbryggeriet and Pensionatet, as well as Johan Eriksson's Centrum Krog have greatly contributed to the development.

Evening: You’re lucky enough to get a table at Centrum Krog, or well, you’re eating at the bar. You make a mental note that this is something you should have booked beforehand, too. The summer evenings are popular in Piteå, and space is limited. You eat your way through the menu as far as you are able, then remain seated and finish the evening off with a glass of something. You’re wondering if you should have a final night cap on the roof terrace at Hotell Kust, or perhaps at Stadshotellet, but you think maybe tomorrow.

About Piteå

Piteå is located on the coast of Swedish Lapland, an area full of strong contrasts. Piteå is a small town with proximity to the archipelago and sea, rivers, forests and a lively countryside. At Pite Havsbad the country’s highest water temperatures are often measured – hard to believe for those who a few months before heard the blocks of ice roaring against the hull of an icebreaker.

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

Curious about living in Piteå?

Visit pitea.se

1920 720, pite havsbad

Early morning: This morning you wake up at the crack of dawn. You put on your trainers and slip out into the warm summer morning. It’s not hard to find nice roads for running or walking, and you follow the beach along the canal to the harbour with its renovated fishing cabin before turning back through town to Pensionatet. That was the perfect leg stretcher before breakfast, to be enjoyed outside in the garden.

Morning: During breakfast Google has kindly given you the timetable for a bus out to Pite Havsbad. Since the 1950s, this has been one of Sweden’s largest campsites and seaside resorts. In the beginning it was known for its kilometre-long beach and warm water, and later it became known as a full-service facility and party place.

1920 1080, piteå, håkan, this is how,
When the brewery This is How started the taco restaurant Taps and Tacos, they had no idea what a success it would become.
1920 1080, piteå, håkan, this is how,
This is How's craft beer and ingenious marketing communication have put Piteå on the map among the country's beer connoisseurs. From taco nights to the after-party at the Nobel dinner.

Lunch: You take a swim, relax, and have lunch at the outdoor restaurant at Havsbadet before heading back into town with sand between your toes.

Afternoon: The afternoon and evening begin as you take a taxi out to Taps and Tacos. It’s not that you need the tacos as such, more a locally produced beer in the summer heat. When the brewery This is How started Taps and Tacos, they had no idea it was going to reach this level of success. Swedes do love their tacos. You try some of their summer favourites before you take a taxi back to town and to Hotell Kust.

1920 1080, hotel kust, spa, håkan, bad
1920 1080, piteå, food, håkan
Hotel Kust has won numerous awards for its technical solution with a facade that functions as a city lung. But also for its SPA and for its hotel. The restaurant Tage also became central as soon as it opened.

Evening: First a pre-drink on the roof terrace of the hotel before you sit down to enjoy this evening’s dinner. To many Piteå residents, there is a before and after Hotell Kust. Somehow the town – through the owner family Skoogh – dared to be different. The hotel has won several awards: for its technical solutions, where the façade works as a lung for the town, for its spa, and for the hotel itself. The food at restaurant Tage also quickly became a talk of the town. Suddenly people from Luleå started to come to Piteå to eat out.

You choose a classic northern menu with vendace roe, reindeer, and cloudberries. You let the restaurant pair wine with the food, and you feel very content as you leave the hotel and step into the summer night. Before you walk back to Pensionatet you book an early spot at the spa, then you stop at the terrace of the newly renovated Stadshotellet. The night is always young under the midnight sun.

1920 1080, piteå, håkan, bad
Those bright summer nights when the sun never really sets create a special feeling. It's as if summer never really ends. The outdoor seating closes when the sun is already daylight.

Early morning: Breakfast in the garden is still a good idea. Especially as long as the weather stays like this. You pack your little rucksack and decide to take an earlier bus down to the fishing village Jävre just by the route E4.

Morning: In the small village Jävre there’s a Heidenstam lighthouse, a couple of cafés and the start of hiking route Solanderleden, which takes you to Luleå once you’ve walked all its 220 kilometres. But, instead, you opt for hiking the first five. It’s a practical option that brings you back to the village. Solander was the famous son of the area, a disciple of Linnaeus – some even claimed he was actually the son of Linnaeus. Solander is now a statue where he was born, in Öjebyn, rather than in Rådhusparken next to Bastard Burger, Odod sushi and Espresso House. That could perhaps have been another option for today instead of hiking and harbour cafés.

1920 720, ted, pite havsbad

Piteå

Just as much as Piteå is a city for the summer, the place retains its small-town charm in the winter as well.

Packing up: It’s time to continue the bus journey, after some coffee and a purchase of smoked fish at Bea’s Rökeri och Hamncafé. During the trip you think about other things you could do here. Piteå might be the perfect summer town, but it retains its small-town charm during winter as well: skiing, tour skating, ice breakers and other adventures.

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Piteå

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Travelling well

From saunas and ice baths, through forest therapy and locally grown menus, to award-winning SPA-hotels and blueberry-scented hand creams. You can take an exciting health journey through Swedish Lapland, keeping your feet firmly rooted on Arctic soil.

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?

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.

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.

Midsummer

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.

Muohta

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.

Breaking the ice

To go on a boat trip and take a swim while you’re at it is a pretty common activity around the world, in Swedish Lapland as well. But in Piteå, just a hundred kilometres south of the polar circle, the considerably less common twist is that the boat trip happens in minus 20 degrees Celsius with an icebreaker that weighs in at 400 metric tons.

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.

Christmas

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.

Hiking along the coast

Hike through dense forests, across vast fields, along old country roads and through the majestic river landscape. Experience local culture and take a break at one of the beautiful rest stops. The Solander trail allows you to experience the multifaceted natural and cultural landscape of the Swedish Lapland coast, up close.