SWEDEN

LAPPLAND-HOME OF THE SAMI

If you are looking for an adventure experience then Lapland is the place for you. It has been credited as a top tourist destination due to its scenic beauty and many National Parks. Lapland covers the northern parts of Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola Peninsula in Russia. The inhabitants of Lapland are known as Sami and their total is around sixty thousand. Their culture is very traditional and their isolated way of life is a distinctive characteristic to their nomadic and subsistence lifestyle.

Tourism is a source of income for the Sami people but their culture is very important to them so you wont find them tryting to sell you mountains of tacky merchandise. Almost erverything you buy will be handmade so a visit to their community is an authentic source of fascinating and original souvenirs. There are cases where materials may be substituted for others in accordance with the law, an example is fur. However, there is protection for genuine Sami handicraft which is a special unique seal that only licensed Sami craftsmen are allowed to use to mark their products. The land and nature are their main sources of income.

There is a good transport network so dont worry about being stranded in the wilderness. Hiking trails cover the backcountry and National Parks. On these trails there are tourist stations, cabins and shelters offering cheap accommodation. It is not necessary to be an experienced hiker thanks to this efficient and affordable tourist network. However, during winter it is advised that only experienced hikers venture along the trails due to dangerous weather conditions.

The Swedish Touring Club has all the information and help you can need for a visit to Lappland. Sftturist.se gives several touring suggestions and heaps of accommodation options. For any backpacker who wants to explore Lappland this site is the perfect guide, giving a list of loads of youth hostels, mountain huts and mountain stations. The tour suggestions are very detailed and cover places all over Lappland in Sweden. One recommended route which appears outsatnding is the summer route from Vaisaluokta to Staloluokta which covers the Sarek and Paadjelanta National Parks. You can reach the starting point of Vaisaluokta by flying to Ritsem, and then hiking along the marked ice trail. On this trail you begin by walking across moorland and later come face to face with Sweden's largest glaciers in the Sulitelma massif and magnificent slopes of Stuor Titer and Unna Titer. You dont have to worry about lack of accommodation because there are hostels at regular intervals along the trail. By doing a trail such as this you have the opportunity to walk across masses of unspoilt land.

For those who would like to remain settled in one place, the Arvidsjaur district in Sweden, and in particular a town called Arjeplog, is one of the most common tourist destinations for those who want to live alongside Sami and experience Sami culture. Arjeplog is situated in the far north of Sweden, in the middle of Lappland, and is surrounded by striking mountain ranges, beautiful forests and wonderful lakes. There are daily flights between Arvidsjaur Airport and Arlanda Airport Stockholm. To find out more detailed information you can email the Arjeplog Tourist Office.

There is a wide variety of accommodation options open to backpackers in Arjeplog ranging from Hotel Lyktan which has standard rooms and a youth hostel and Kraja Vardshus whcih offers chalets and a caravan site. Arjeplog embodies the true spirit of Lappland and is an exceptionally lively town. There are many tourist attractions available but one of the most well-known is The Silvermuseum which has the collective works of a doctor, Einar Wallquist, who settled in Arjeplog in the early 1900's and was so moved by the Sami culture that he documented his findings. For information and bookings consult their website or call 0961-612 90. There is also Arjeplog Church which is very original and artistic with its wooden architecture and attractive colours. For information and bookings you can call 0961-612 50. You can also go and see Rapatjarn Lake which is famous for its six kilometre long boulder ridge which formed during the Ice Age. Here you can walk along a scenic nature trail which has artefacts from the Stone Age such as cooking pits and game traps.

There are many activities and sports to do in Arjeplog, the favourite is often a husky ride and Peter Virding is reputedly one of the best. He runs an experienced dog team and you can contact him for information and bookings at petes_husky@ebox.tninet.se. There is also the chance to go skiing, snowboarding, hunting, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, rafting, and climbing- the list is endless! Taking a couple of these activities, Galtis Ski Slope is ten kilometres from Arjeplog and here you can have lessons in skiing or snowboarding. In Miekak, which is near Arjeplog, there is Miekak Hunting and Fishing Camp, where you have the opportunity to indulge in these traditional activities which are used by the Sami people as a method of subsistance to this very day. They offer accommodation, with for example, the option to stay in a self-catering cabin with on-site shop, or you can also go into the mountains and camp in a tent. The same follows for fishing in Miekak, which has the reputation of being one of the best in Sweden. For more information and for booking enquiries you can visit the Miekak Webpage.

Useful Links

Arjeplog Turistbyra provides information for travellers to Arjeplog

Arvidsjaur Turism provides travel information relevant to the whole Arvidsjaur district.