Swedish Lapland's Guide to


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.

Wood hotel, Sven Burman, 1920 1080
Wood Hotel. In the 20-storey wooden building there are 205 modern hotel rooms of varying sizes. Everything from double rooms to family rooms and suites. Here, the feeling of wood is constantly present and in the minibar you will find local products. Photo: Sven Burman.
Wood hotel, Sven Burman, 1920 1080
On the ground floor is Elite's own Italian concept cafe and restaurant, Paolo's. On the fourth floor is Restaurant Mandel with an à la carte menu based on local flavors and ingredients. Here is also the hotel breakfast. On the 19th floor you will find the Asian concept restaurant Miss Voon. Photo: Sven Burman.
Wood hotel, Sven Burman, 1920 1080
On the top floor is Vana Spa. An outdoor pool, sauna and beneficial treatments are offered here for a peaceful moment in a first-class spa environment with a spectacular panoramic view of Skellefteå. Photo: Sven Burman.

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.

About Skellefteå

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.

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

Curious about living in Skellefteå?

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1920 1080, skellefteå, stad, ted
1920 1080, skellefteå, stad, ted
Bryggarbacken in Skellefteå in an obvious meeting place on a summer evening.

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

Ta dig ut i Skellefteås skärgård

Don’t have your own boat but want to experience the archipelago? No problem – book a seat on one of the tour boats.

Nordisk Sjötaxi >>
Kinnbäcks skärgårdsturism >>

1920 1080 bonnstan, ted
Bonnstan in Skellefteå is the old church town dating back to the 17th century. This was where people spent the night when the journey to and from the service was too long.
The lighthouse on the island of Gåsören outside Skelleftehamn has guided seafarers since 1881. The lighthouse was designed by lighthouse engineer Nils Gustaf von Heidenstam and today you can take a tour boat out to the picturesque island.

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.

Bryggargatan, the restaurant that Jón Óskar Arnason started ten years ago and which in many ways has shown the way for Skellefteå's renewal.
Bryggargatan opened the doors to the restaurant for the first time in June 2004. A lot has happened since then, but the passion for good food, pleasant experiences and the joy of all exciting meetings remains.

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.

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.

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  • Mentions


The eagle’s nest

In the village Kalvträsk outside Skellefteå, wildlife photographer Conny Lundström has constructed a number of hides where photographers can experience a photo session with golden eagles up close. British photographer Dani Connor came here for that very reason: to capture golden eagles with her camera. But when she returned home, her memory cards were filled with pictures of squirrels.

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?

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.

Go hiking

Getting just the right amount of physical activity will do you good. This is common knowledge. It's also said that nature is a healer for both body and soul. Maybe more so than ever in late summer when the colours begin to change, from sharply green to fiery red and orange. The air becomes wonderfully crisp and fresh, filling your lungs and your mind with energy.

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?

Wild salmon rivers

There are five rivers in Skellefteå, three of which are classified as wild salmon rivers. Such a concentration of salmon waters cannot be found anywhere else in Sweden – and the crown jewel is Byske River, without a doubt. However, you need to earn your Byske salmon.

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.

Catch a Baltic

How to catch a Baltic salmon in Swedish Lapland? That’s the 100-dollar question for many salmon fly fishers. But there’s some good news. It’s getting easier. A lot easier. During the last years, salmon runs in the wild Swedish Baltic rivers have been heading in the right direction.

Frozen sea

The ice age is always present along the coast of Swedish Lapland. From the constant land elevation to the barren, windswept frozen sea.


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.

Some of the best cheeses in Sweden

On the slope leading down to the lake, 37 cows are grazing. Some are drinking water on the shore. The grass is green and if you are standing out in the yard, the view of Lake Storkågeträsket is second to none. No, the rural romanticism cannot be ignored. Then again, this is where the life of one of Sweden’s most well-renowned cheeses begins.

Winter swimming

February means time for the Scandinavian Winter Swimming Championship in Skellefteå. The championship is also part of the Winter Swimming World Cup as well as an appreciated festival for the entire city – all founded on a declaration of love for the cold and dark.

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.

A wildlife photographer

Imagine what it would be like for a few days to leave all the stress and all the noise behind you, breathing in the forest scent and meeting its four-legged or winged residents face to face and assuming the role of a real nature photographer.

Winter swim with Christof Wandratsch

When extreme swimmer Christof Wandratsch became the first person to cross lake Boden and broke the world record across the English channel, he found himself looking for new challenges. He found winter swimming and the rest, as they say, is history.