Staying overnight in the archipelago

Photo: Andy Anderson

Text: Editor

Walk through old-growth forest illuminated by the midnight sun. Listen to the sound of the seabirds, the wind and the waves. Cut wood, feel the warmth from the stove and cook over the open fire. Have a sauna and a bath in brackish, clear water under the light blue evening sky. Stay overnight in a cottage and experience this vast, unique archipelago for real.

The Bothnian Bay archipelago is a world of its own. Some thousands of shifting islands, shaped by weather and wind, midwinter cold and the magical summertime midnight sun.

– I would describe it as a comfortable adventure suitable for everyone. It depends on what you are looking for, says Lars Mandahl at the Luleå Tourist Centre.
– In a cottage in the archipelago, you will have a comfortable stay, and the experience is simple and genuine. You are close to the sea, the weather and the untouched natural environment. You don’t need to hurry back to the city.
– I would say that a stay of two to four nights is perfect for giving yourself time to wind down, see the islands and really experience the archipelago. As cell coverage is poor, you might as well try turning your phone off, says Lars.

skärgård, andy anderson, strandliv, 1920 x 1080

Luleå archipelago

Only in Luleå archipelago, there are 1,312 islands. Archipelago cottages are available for hire at Kluntarna, Brändöskär, Junkön and Småskär. Islands with their own feel, character and history.

At Brändöskär you find yourself in the outer rim of the archipelago. Here, the boatsheds and the fisher cabins lie close to your cottage. Step inside the island’s unique fisher’s chapel from the 18th century. Look out over the open sea, stretching towards the horizon. Brändöskär brings a feeling of freedom.

At Småskär a natural, barren archipelagic environment mingles with old-growth forest. Take a walk to the western side and have the island all to yourself. The lagoon between Småskär and Finnskär is something quite out of the ordinary.

M/S Symfoni departs daily from June to August, an easy way to get to the islands. Photo: Ted Logart

Kluntarna is a favourite amongst families with children. The archipelago cottage lies in the middle of the cosy fishing camp with small red cottages, but the uninhabited parts of the island are close by. Walking paths will take you through shifting natural environments and across rugged terrain. Having fine, natural sandy beaches to yourself is a true luxury. Discover one of the peculiar stone labyrinths on the island, built in the 14th century. If you would like to get even closer to nature, you can go ‘wild camping’.

At Stora Junkön, you can enjoy more comfortable accommodation and running water. The cottages are beautifully situated by the harbour inlet. Walk across picturesque footbridges and visit the windmill, several centuries old.

Learn more

During the season, there are hosts on many of the islands. Near the cottages, you will find firewood, campfire sites and propane refrigerators. We recommend bringing blankets, sheets, a lighter, toilet paper, drinking water and food, as well as a flashlight if you’re staying here in late summer. For more information, visit lulea.se.

10 islands to visit

Did you know that just the archipelago outside Luleå is made up of 1,312 islands? We've listed 10 islands to visit in Swedish Lapland in the summer. Many of them can be reached by scheduled boat tours. Read more.

Piteå archipelago

In Piteå archipelago you will find about 500 islands, and you can easily get to several of them with the tour boat M/B Renön, which works both as a tour and taxi boat. For example, take the boat from Södra Hamn or Pite Havsbad and to the popular island Stenskär – this idyllic archipelago island attracts many visitors every summer. The quiet lagoon in the northwest end of the island also serves as a natural harbour. And the two-kilometre long sandy beach on the corresponding side of the island gives the feeling of being in much more southern latitudes.

Stenskär is part of a nature reserve and has, among other things, a vibrant birdlife. There is also a lookout tower and an old fishing village with charming, red-painted fishing cottages, several labyrinths and remains of old house foundations.

Photo: Ted Logart

From Norra Hamn, MB/Renön can take you to the nature reserve Stor-Räbben, a barren and beautiful island in the outer archipelago that is well worth a visit. Here you can follow a marked nature trail that leads to all historical sights. The old, idyllic fishing cottages functions today as holiday homes and testify to a time of greatness in the 18th and 19th centuries when Norrbotten’s largest fishing village was on the island. Stor-Räbben is a real summer paradise, and in the fishing village, there is a cottage for rent.

From Norra Hamn, you can also get to Baggen and Vargön. Popular excursion destinations where it is also possible to rent cottages. Baggen is an island with high steep stone slabs and a sandy beach well suited for bathers. There are four simple rental cottages, nice walking paths, an open-air chapel, fireplaces and a wood-fired sauna for cottage guests.

Learn more

On several islands in the Piteå archipelago, there are cabins for rent, rest cabins, dry toilets and fireplaces. Read more at pitea.se. You can find more information about the tour-boat at guide-natura.com.

strand, andy anderson, 1920 x 1080
There are good sandy beaches almost everywhere in Swedish Lapland, thanks to the ice age and the uplift.

Unforgettable memories

Midnight sun, wind and waves. Old-growth forests and natural beaches. Cosy fishing camps and the sea, stretching towards the horizon. Regardless of which island you choose, there will be an unforgettable memory.