On the beach along the Gulf of Bothnia, roughly where the Pite River flows into the sea, you’ll find Pite Havsbad. Sweden’s largest camping and conference facility. A place also known as the Riviera of the North. You kind of want to know why.

– I’m not sure where the name comes from. There’s an old quote we normally refer to that says we get more hours of sunshine here than on Mallorca. Which is still true, says Julia Johansson at Pite Havsbad. I’ve phoned her to see if she can shed some light on the subject.

There’s an old quote we normally refer to that says we get more hours of sunshine here than on Mallorca.

There’s definitely plenty of sunshine along the Bothnian Bay coast. Quickly checking the statistics on smhi.se I see that Piteå has an average of 22 hours of sunshine per day during summer. While I’m there I compare it with Mallorca (and the French Riviera to make sure) and yes, Pite Havsbad is way ahead of these classic holiday destinations. There’s 10-11 additional hours of sunshine – per day!

– It’s also because the water is so warm, says Julia. The beach is a kilometre long, and walking along the water’s edge on a warm summer evening gives you a feeling of being abroad.

Sun and fun at the beach all day long.

Perhaps this was what the electrician Elof Söderberg from Jävre had realised when he decided to buy some acres of land on Piteholmsheden in the 1940s and build a dance pavilion on the beach. Elof understood that this was the perfect place for summer entertainment. Dancing, music, meeting up and walking hand in hand along the warm beach in the bright summer night. Who wouldn’t want that?

Today it’s more than 70 years since Elof brought some basic cabins and opened a kiosk serving food next to the dance pavilion. Little did he know that he was laying the foundations for Northern Europe’s largest tourism facility, and that one day there would be hotels, cabins, campsites, water parks, a theme park, indoor and outdoor pools, restaurants, entertainment venues, shops, adventure golf, go carting and much more. And more is on its way.

– This summer we’re opening a new theme park with new rides, a bouncy-castle land, a new Viking ship, a roller coaster, self-powered boats, lotteries and chocolate wheels.
– The ice-cream booth will get even tastier ice-creams this summer, Julia says enthusiastically.

Wow, it’s going to be like Gröna Lund, I say excitedly.

– Yes, indeed! In summer we’re like a world of our own and we try to provide everything under one roof for our guests. We want to offer something for everyone.

Tilda Lidström, who usually comes to Pite Havsbad in summer with her partner and two children, agrees. Especially the part about it being like abroad, just a whole lot nearer. But the wide range of activities also attracts.

What’s good about Pite Havsbad is that it’s got everything.

– What’s good about Pite Havsbad is that it’s got everything. We usually rent a cabin. It’s so easy that way, you just open the door and let the kids out. And there’s a veranda where grown ups can sit in peace and quiet in the evenings. We make breakfast and lunch in the cabin, and when it’s time for dinner we go for a meal in one of the restaurants. And if we run out of milk, there’s a shop on site.

But what do you do if the weather isn’t great?

– If the weather is bad and you can’t take a swim in the sea you go swimming indoors, or visit the Playland. The kids love Nimby’s Playland.
– Or you go shopping in Piteå. It’s a very pretty summer city, an idyllic little town with many activities, events and performances, Tilda tells us.

An easy life in summer is what parents of young children prefer. The shallow water and the warm sand make the beach an excellent playground for the little ones, and there’s a wide range of adventures on offer for all ages. If you’re not tempted by the water park or sports you can get a map at reception showing all the various exercise tracks available on the pine heaths nearby.

It's like traveling abroad, but much closer, says Tilda.

Learn more
Go to pitehavsbad.se to find more information about Pite havsbad. If you want to know more about events in Piteå, go to Piteå tourist centre.

It’s not just families that come here. Many arrive with their caravan or camper and choose among the sea-view pitches. Many of them stay for the summer. The entertainment on offer often appeals to groups of friends and this year Pite Havsbad will invest a bit extra and bring artists who attract a younger audience. Perfect for those with grumpy teens at home who refuse to go on a family holiday – tempt them with pretty pop boys or after-beach activities by the water.

Any other exciting news this year?

– This year we’re opening a Skybar at the top of the Glass Hotel. The place to go for a glass of wine in a relaxed environment. Our Skybar will have a view of the sea, be near the beach and offer relaxing luxury.

– And our spa will be moved to the lighthouse on the beach. We’ll offer more and more things like that, as we aim to become the largest seaside spa in the North of Sweden, Julia at Pite Havsbad continues.

All these novelties are probably a result of Pite Havsbad getting new owners at the end of last year. Trying to offer something for everyone is a high ambition. I can’t help wondering to myself if it’s even possible? I mean, is there really something for EVERYONE? So I put Julia to the test:

But imagine you’re a life-weary old lady from Kiruna, not at all interested in water parks or musical artists…

– But that’s when you go and sit down in the Skybar and have a cocktail or a glass of wine, enjoying the view, book a treatment in the spa, visit the restaurants. Sunbathe on the beach, just relax, Julia tells me with convincing enthusiasm.

Again I think of Elof and him investing in the dance pavilion. It was a good thing he was an electrician since there was no electricity there at the time. He ran the whole thing using generators he’d built himself. Something that would definitely not be possible these days, considering the extensive range of fun for adults and children available. I wonder what he would say if he could see the number of people finding his perfect spot for summer entertainment?

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