Lapland in Winter – Dreamland
Lapland is a region far north of Sweden. For me, Lapland in winter is like Dream-land. It’s hard to describe, but whenever I’m there at that special cold time of the year, I feel like I’m living in a dream. Imagine yourself walking through a forest covered in snow, a few hundred kilometers to the north of the arctic circle, in complete silence. Above you are the northern lights, undulating high in the sky…
Credit: Florian Denzinger
And you suddenly arrive to a frozen lake, which you cross.
You arrive to a friend’s hut, and you decide to put on the sauna. After sitting in it for 15 minutes, you jump naked in the snow and roll over in it, despite it being between -20 and -30 degrees C. It’s just surreal! After a while, you decide to go for a ride around the forest… It’s an amazing feeling driving through all the vast emptiness of the landscape… You know what, they say that a video is better than a thousand words so here we go:
People in the north are also pretty different than in the south. Up there, population density is much lower, and people aren’t used to socializing as much as down here… So they like to talk very slowly, and when you ak them questions, they actually usually take about 10 seconds or so before they answer them. When you go there, you should also try reindeer meat, one of the local specialties. In particular, they usually dry the heart of the deer, and despite whatever you might be thinking, it actually tastes awesome!
What are some cool spots in Lapland then? Well, most people seem to go to Kiruna (Jukkasjärvi), Abisko, and Luleå.
- Kiruna is a pretty different city than anything that you’ve ever seen before… There are some huge mines nearby that look like Mordor (with big steam chinmneys), and soon they are going to relocate the city center because they want to further expand the underground mines just beneath it. There is a nice ski slope towards the outskirts, and if you go to the top during the night, you will probably see the northern lights.
- In Abisko, you can go to the top of a mountain with amazing views. Furthermore, since this is a tourist resort, you can also do a bunch of cool activities like snow scooter and husky riding… Additionally, the statistics say that if you stay there for 3 nights, you’ll have over 70% chances of seeing the northern lights.
- Luleå is also a pretty cool city to visit… You can walk over the frozen sea and even walk over the ice to some islands! Or you can rent some ice-skating shoes and go for a ride. This is a picture from the view at the harbour:
- But I would also recommend you to explore some smaller city off the map, where you can interact with locals and get the true Lappish experience. The website (http://www.swedishlapland.com/en/Accommodations/Hostels/) has some good information on the different hostels in the area. I found a small village in the middle of nowhere that I now regularly visit whenever I have holiday… And it’s now become my favorite place in the world. I’d tell you the name but… 😛 hahahah
And did I mention that there is an Arctic Science course that you can study for free (EU citizens) in February, where you study the northern lights and ice formation…? I did it and it was one of the coolest courses that I’ve ever taken! 😀 The course takes place around Kiruna, with some classes at the IRF (Institute of Space Physics), and some visits to Abisko and the Ice-hotel in Jukasjärvi.
If you are still not convinced, you gotta know that there are no sunsets and sunrises since the sun doesn’t go above the horizon… The only couple of hours of light seem like a colorful sunrise and sunset at the same time. It’s just so beautiful!