Northern Sweden in Winter – Aurora Borealis ©Edoardo Miola
At the beginning of february we’ve been to the Swedish Lapland, sorrounded by wild and untouched nature.
Here you can get all the info about our trip. It has been made unforgettable by our accomodation’s owners. Check Lantliv Lodge website and you’ll fall in love with this place!
- Photography workshop with Edoardo Miola, Nikon School
- Trekking & Ice-Skating on the frozen Baltic Sea
- Dogsledding experience and a taste of snowmobile
- Horseback riding into the wild and snowy forest
- Snowshoeing in Northern Sweden’s forests: reindeers & Sami people
- Skellefteå: cities of Northern Sweden in winter
- Ice-fishing in Swedish Lapland
- Arctic lights & Northern lights in Sweden
- How far is Swedish Lapland from Stockholm
- What to wear in Swedish Lapland in winter
- Food in Northern Sweden
- Where to stay in Northern Sweden + Travel Planning
Northern Sweden a.k.a. Swedish Lapland
Wild Northern Sweden belongs to a cultural region called Lapland.
Which country does Lapland belong to? This Arctic & sub-Arctic region includes the Northernmost part of Scandinavia – Norway, Sweden & Finland – and a small portion of Russia.
I’ve already spoilered where we’ve been to, and the answer is Sweden. To be more precise, we’ve explored the Västerbotten County, being based nearby Skellefteå, in a peaceful village called Österjörn.
Epic forests and fairytale red houses; pack of lovely reindeers and lonely elks; Northern lights in winter and midnight sun in summer, shiny dawns and sunsets. Concept of pollution doesn’t even exists: Lappish air is incredibly clean.
In wild Northern Sweden you can hear the sound of silence and enjoy your life slowly: then you’ll realize that your city is more noisy and polluted than you’ve always thought. About 2% of Swedish Lapland is farmed or inhabited; the remaining part is forest or wilderness: for those who live in a metropolis as I do, it is a very deep emotion.
Since here everything revolves around nature, every season offers different opportunities. We’ve experienced winter wonders: snow/icy adventures and activities related to the local animals/wildlife.
What to do in Northern Sweden in winter
Just staying within a 150 km radius of Skellefteå it’s plenty of winter activities to choose from, all of them original and authentical.
If you’ll be based in the stunning Lantliv Lodge, as we did, they will get you whereever you want. Furthermore, the owner will share all of its local, naturalist and photographic knowledge with you.
1. Photography workshop with Edoardo Miola, Nikon School
Edoardo is an award-winning photographer and the owner of the Lantliv Lodge. He is from Italy, but Northern Sweden is his place now. I took part to his workshops: it hasn’t been just about learning something more concerning photography. It has been much more! I’ve learned a lot about local life, culture, nature and wildlife. His personality was the highlight of our travel, even for my boyfriend who doesn’t take any picture!
If you’ve got Nikon gear as I do, you’ll have the chance to try his professional lenses. This lovely squirrel was caught using Edoardo’s tele (Nikon 200-400 f/4). We were been observing its habits every day: it used to steal a bird’s food just outside “our” lodge!
2. Trekking & Ice-Skating on the frozen Baltic Sea
The Gulf of Bothnia excursion, deserves a dedicated article: It’s worth the entire travel!
I suggest you to experience this awesome trekking with a professional guide: Peter of Swenature is the right person. He’ll furnish you with snowshoes and other gear needed, providing every kind of explanation about such other-wordly place. Last but not least: safety! He knows the ice conditions, where you can walk and where you can’t.
I’ll be always grateful to him because he’s also suggested me a place where I could ice skate safely: Kåge.
Here is the proof: Me Ice-Skating on the frozen Sea!
Ed. There isn’t any specific excursion to realize this nordic dream.
STEP 1. I’ve brought my personal ice-skates from Rome.
STEP 2. I’ve found a safe place to skate thanks to a local expert as Peter.
STEP 3. I’ve reached the specific point he had suggested me by car: Edoardo – Lantlive Lodge‘s owner – has been our driver.
3. Dogsledding experience and a taste of snowmobile
It’s pointless to say that the traditional dogsledding experience has been much more rewarding than the snowmobile’s one. It’s not just about doing something enjoyable. It’s also about being eco-friendly in such a delicate environment as those of Arctic and sub-Arctic.
Everybody has been pulled by 10 beautiful huskies eager to go: during such heartbeating experience you won’t even feel the arctic wind and the frozen temperatures! On the Lantliv Lodge’s advice, we’ve relied on Team Arctic Melody. A choice which made the difference: they take care of their amazing dogs as if they were their own sons. I was really impressed!
The dogsledding experience ends up into the wood. From there you’ll be a snowmobile passenger, heading to Team Arctic Melody‘s. To me it was a great compromise: I wouldn’t have experienced this funny means of transport, otherwise! The snowmobile allows you to drive over ice and snow, and lets you cross difficult and hidden tracks.
4. Horseback riding into the wild and snowy forest
I’ve already tried out horseback ridings in many other occasions, but none of those was like this one! It was quite unordinary to me sinking in the snow, and riding across such epic landscapes!
Futhermore Horses of Taiga‘s horses are icelandic! It is such a unique breed: pony-sized and with a temper as rebel as the weather of Iceland. However, what they’re famous for is the ability to perform two additional gaits beside walk, trot, and canter/gallop: tölt (explosive acceleration and speed) and skeid (“flying pace”).
I need to say also something about the owners. Flo and Micke are two of the nicest people we’ve ever met and their love for nature shines through everything they do.
5. Snowshoeing in Northern Sweden’s forests: reindeers & Sami people
This experience is related with the activity n° 1: photography workshop with Edoardo Miola. He knows all the best spots for taking pictures, wildlife habits and everything else about Northern Sweden. Nevertheless, we could have also rent snowshoes at the Lantliv Lodge and go trekking by ourselves, but it wouldn’t have been the same without Edoardo.
One day, we were intentioned to have a close encounter with reindeers, without taking part in any expensive Sami* experience. Despite nature being unpredictable, Edoardo found the perfect spot and timing, just knowing these animals and observing their habits in recent days. After 30km by car and 8km on foot, here they are: reindeers gathered by a Sami* on a snowmobile!
*Sami = The northernmost indigenous people of Europe. They’ve always been nomadic, living on reindeers livestock. Nowadays they live both on livestock and tourism, and most of them are not itinerant anymore.
6. Skellefteå: cities of Northern Sweden in winter
During winter, temperatures can drop also to -30°. I was really curious about urban life in such a cold environment! I’ve find out that people project movies over an icy wall, women go shopping with a little sled, and that every house has an essential tool: the boot heater! A must have.
Last but not least: winter swim!
Regarding Skellefteå sightseeing, I suggest you to visit Bonnstan, the “church-town”. It’s an authentic settlement from the XVIII sec. developed around the city church. It has been built in order to host pilgrims. Despite lack of electricity and flowing water, these adorable houses are inhabitated during the summer months. The owners can’t modify any feature because these constructions are protected by law. It’s a time travelling excursion!
7. Ice-fishing in Swedish Lapland
To be honest, Ice -fishing doesn’t belong to Lapland top experiences.
If there is a frozen lake just next to your lodge, and the owner has got all the fishing gear needed, can you miss it?
Of course, not!
Gear needed: an hand ice auger, a specific ice-fishing rod and a lots of patience. Only a few fishes could bite: in such harsh climate (-15°/-20°) they strip down their vital functions and they barely see the decoy. Despite fishing two algae and zero fishes, we were pretty satisfied. We’ve tried something new and typical, and we were also in the perfect timing to enjoy the sunset.
8. Arctic lights & Northern lights in Sweden
Although in this area you could experience Northern lights – when geomagnetic activity is over KP 3, it’s dark and the sky is clear – don’t plan all your trip around this phenomenon. You can plan your activities, but you can’t guess when the Queen of the Night Sky would appear!
We weren’t lucky enough to catch it, but we’ve filled up our eyes with wonders. We’ve been witnesses to arctic dawns and sunsets, and we came back home satisfied to have known the authentic Lapland.
Don’t worry about having days plenty of activities. The meaning of this travel is contemplation, it is being grateful for small things, and enjoying life slowly. It’s about being moved by firy dawns and sunsets, tasting hot beverages after hours at -20°, waiting patiently for wild animals and looking upwards, expecting aurora borealis in the sky.
Practical information on Northern Sweden in winter
How far is Swedish Lapland from Stockholm
Skellefteå is the door of Swedish Lapland. You can get there with a 10 hours night train from Stockholm, or with a 1 hour flight from the capital. We’ve reached Northern Sweden with a SAS filght, but don’t underrate the train option. The costs are often similar, and the train stops at Jörn, really close to Lantliv Lodge!
What to wear in Swedish Lapland in winter
Despite my non existent peripheral circulation, using this gear I’ve been really fine with the harsh weather. The article I’ve linked is in italian but you can get all the products.
Food in Northern Sweden
The traditional lappish dish is reindeer, but don’t be worried: it’s plenty of veggy food choices as well! At Lantliv Lodge you can count both on an italian chef (a guarantee!) and on a swedish one: nobody will be disappointed. We’ve experienced the local berries (lingonberry & hjortron), tasty fish (salmon & arctic char), delicious sweets, and swedish flavours: sweet and sour courses.
Where to stay in Northern Sweden + Travel Planning
What’s awesome about this kind of travel, is that is 100% tailored around you! The Lantliv Lodge could plan your entire trip, or you can get there just to sleep and have a dinner. We went for a middle way: I’ve asked for specific and personalised experiences, but they’ve been our drivers for all time. By paying 10Sek/km you can get this service, sharing the amount with other guests, if possible. The travel costs depend on many factors: kind of excursions choosen, their duration, and so on.
To get a specific answer, send an e- mail to firstname.lastname@example.org: they are eager to help!
P.s. I want to be back!