There is plenty to see and do in vast and wild Norrland. Marcus Nyberg has sent us postcards from some of the must-sees in the north of Sweden.
The trip has begun! We’ve arrived at the World Heritage site Höga Kusten, the High Coast — a landscape of sea, mountains and steep cliffs. The glacier ice was thickest here, and the greatest land uplift in Sweden takes place right here, up to 8 mm (0.3 in) a year. At Mount Skuleberget, we’re going to try the ropes course, guaranteed to make you dizzy.
Yesterday we took the boat to Ulvöhamn, unofficial home of the foul-smelling fish “delicacy” surströmming. Thanks to boiled potatoes, onions, sour cream and flatbread, the fish went down pretty easily. We also spent a night at Högbonden, a lighthouse-turned-hostel.
Now we’ve stopped at “the city of birches,” Umeå. We’re going to stay in the Stora Fjäderägg hostel, next to an old lighthouse. We won’t be sleeping in, because we’re off to look for seals, which are most active in the early morning. Ornithologists often come here, so some rare birds may show up as a bonus; migratory birds land here in late summer, on their way to Asia or Africa.
We’re also going to visit “The House of Cheese” in Burträsk to taste Västerbotten cheese, the pride of the province. It’s said to be a strong cheese that tantalizes the taste buds.
We’ve taken the bus west, to Lycksele. In Kristineberg, outside town, we visited an underground church called Saint Anna. It’s located 90 m (98 yds) underground and came about in 1946 after rock blasting in the mine there. The workers thought the blasting had produced an image of Christ on the rock wall, a rumor that quickly spread throughout the area.
We’re heading to Lycksele Zoo, where we’ll get to see bears, wolverines, lynx and exotic musk oxen. Musk oxen lived alongside mammoths and died out in Scandinavia 3,000–4,000 years ago. There’s now a small herd living in a wild setting in Härjedalen province.
Finally in Luleå after a long travel day. Next time we’ll make a stop on the way, to see the 45 m (49 yds) tall wooden moose, Stoorn, which will tower over the boundary between the provinces of Västerbotten and Norrbotten. To be opened in 2010, it will seat 350 people in its restaurant, and the moose head will serve as a lookout with an outdoor café.
We’re staying at Gammelstad kyrkstad, the best preserved church village in the world with over 400 church cabins around the 15th-century church.
We’ll also head out to the island of Kluntarna, where we’ll rent a cabin and take a sauna in the midnight sun.
We’ve passed the Arctic Circle and arrived in Kvikkjokk after a stop in Jokkmokk. There, we visited Ájtte, the Swedish mountain and Sami museum, and took in the Sami exhibits. There have been Sami in the area since ancient times.
In Kvikkjokk, we’ll start our hike in Sarek National Park — 197,000 ha (487,000 acres) of pristine wilderness. We’ll get help from an experienced hiker — otherwise, it would be undoable; there are hardly any overnight cabins and cell phones don’t work. The weather will determine how long we stay. I hope we see a moose — they’re supposed to be really big here. The camera’s ready!
Up in Abisko now. This is the start of the 400 km (250 mi) long Kungsleden, King’s Trail, one of the world’s best known long-distance hiking trails. Last night, we had a swim and sauna on the shore of Torne träsk. The water was really cold!
We’ve just taken the chairlift up to Mount Nuolja to get an amazing view of the most photographed mountain scenery: Lapporten, or the Gate to Lappland. The U-shaped valley stands out clearly in the mountain chain. Also on Mount Nuolja is the Aurora Sky Station, the best place in Sweden to see the northern lights. But that’s mainly a winter thing — in the summer, it’s too light at night.
Kiruna, the largest city in Sweden in terms of surface area, is our final stop. Mining operations have caused serious cracks in the ground here, so the city has to move! The move will be in its final phase around 2030.
We’ve been on a guided tour down the iron ore mine, the largest in the world. Imagine working 540 m (590 yds) below ground.
We also took a trip to Esrange or Spaceport Sweden, a space station that aims to provide space travel to private individuals. We’re having a great time, and there’s sunshine around the clock! (In fact it’s a bit hard to sleep at night.).
Marcus Nyberg is a Norrlander at heart but had to move to Göteborg in the south of Sweden to appreciate the beauty and discover the tourism potential of Norrland.
The author alone is responsible for the opinions expressed in this article.
Translation: Susan Long
- Höga Kusten, Högbonden: Marcus Nyberg
Stamp, Robyn: www.robyn.com
- Umeå, Västerbottensost: Västerbottensost
Stamp, Jonas Hassen Khemiri: Leif Hansen
- Lycksele, musk oxe: Gold of Lapland
Stamp, Carolina Klüft: Ryno Quantz/Svensk Friidrott
- Luleå, Kluntarna: Göran Wallin
Stamp, Josef Fares: Shahab Salehi
- Sarek: Rolf Löfgren
Stamp, Moneybrother: Jakob Kaae, Jan Nordberg
- Lapporten: Marcus Nyberg
Stamp, Monica Förster: www.monicaforster.se
- Kiruna: Esrange/SSC
Stamp, Zlatan Ibrahimovic: Micke Grönberg/SR
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