On a summery warm Friday afternoon in June, you step off the airport bus in Skellefteå. 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 booked accommodation. But what do you do, now that you’re here?
Afternoon: The check-in process at Wood Hotel by Elite is smooth, and the receptionist reminds you about your gym booking for the next day. You’ve been sat still on a flight and just finished your working week, so you ask about the gym. The receptionist replies that it’s on the 16th floor. You hit the gym first, then look for somewhere to get rid of any travel dust still lodged in your throat. It turns out Wood is filled with cosy spots and offers various choices in this regard. Both Restaurant Mandel and Paolo’s in the hotel lobby feel like good options.
Evening: You sneak out in the early evening, heading for your table at Bryggargatan. Jón Óskar Arnason opened this restaurant ten years ago and has influenced Skellefteå’s renewal to a large extent. There’s a lot of people in here, so it was a good idea to book a table. The staff help you order a glass of bubbly on the terrace.
The neighbouring restaurant Rustique is also very busy. Some people are playing beach volleyball between the restaurants and the river and others are running with light strides along the quayside. You can tell summer is welcome. The summer menu at Bryggargatan measures up, and it’s late when you walk back to your hotel in the light of the midnight sun.
Skellefteå is the southern entry into Swedish Lapland. Half the population inhabits the countryside – next door to wild salmon rivers, hundreds of lakes, dense forests and miles and miles of coastline. The other half dwell in a modern city, a seamless transition from urban to rural defining the good life in the subarctic – stretching from fine dining to cooling winter swims.
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Early morning: It’s very early when you put on your trainers and start the challenge called ‘around the bridges’. When you get to the bridge Lejonströmsbron you take a little detour out on Rovön, with great paths, then turn back and run through the beautiful Bonnstan before you return to the breakfast table.
Morning: You pack a rucksack with the most important things: a blanket, sunglasses, sunscreen, swimming trunks and something to drink. You walk past Espresso House and buy a sandwich to go. The local bus takes you to Skelleftehamn and your pre-booked boat taxi that takes you out to the lighthouse on Gåsören. Skellefteå does offer a lot more than just island sunshine to enjoy – it’s a small town filled with cosy cafés, outdoor terraces, and excursion spots. You can find everything you need to know at the Tourist Office or at visitskelleftea.se
Afternoon: You enjoy some hours in peace and quiet before its time to return and experience further tranquillity in the spa on the 20th floor. On the way back, the bus passes the huge Northvolt factory. This battery factory plays a large part in the green transition we’re all talking about, when it comes to northernmost Sweden. Your spa experience is certainly heightened by the fact that you have an entire summer town at your feet.
Evening: You make a head start on the evening by visiting Taps and Tacos in the middle of town. You skip the tacos, because there’s dinner coming up, but you’re happy with the tasting glasses of various summer beers that the microbrewery has on tap. Then you change your clothes and take a seat at your table at Miss Voon. This is Asian cuisine with a Scandinavian touch: northern fusion kitchen doesn’t get better than this. You enjoy a pre-drink before you’re served seven different dishes with seven different kinds of sake – perhaps not very north Sweden, but still special. You stay there until late evening, then it’s bedtime. It was a good day.
Morning: You have breakfast and feel awake and happy. You’ve rented a mountain bike at … and pick it up to go for a spin in Skellefteå’s bike park. Since you haven’t been on a bike for some time, you take it very easy. But you can’t help enjoying the effect of gravity on the bike. You bike downtown and have a light lunch. It might be time to think about finishing up.
48 hours in Skellefteå
On a hot summer Friday afternoon in June, you get off the airport bus in Skellefteå. You have 48 hours to do something exciting, in a place you’ve never visited before.
Packing up: Skellefteå, just like all other places, has so much more to offer. Relaxing for a weekend isn’t much more than just relaxation. You like the combination of the sea and the recreational area Vitberget – that gravity can make you lie down and read one day and make your mountain bike roll the next. Then there’s the good life in between. At the café (Isrummet) you imagine Vitberget with good cross-country skiing instead of mountain biking, and a river that’s frozen but allegedly features an ice swim every year in February.