Signature winter adventure
Aurora Borealis, Sámi culture and Wildlife of Swedish Lapland
Min 5, max 7
Min 5, max 7
Day 1 Arrival to Luleå, Swedish Lapland
Arrival in the Baltic port city of Luleå by train or air and make your way to the Hotel Clarion which is centrally located in Luleå. Your room is pre-booked and just a short walk from the central bus and train station. There are regular 20-minute shuttle buses running between the airport and centre of Luleå. The rest of the day is yours to relax or explore the city and its many cafés and restaurants.
Day 2 Storforsen Rapids, the Arctic Circle and Jokkmokk
Your guide will meet you at your hotel at breakfast to give a quick orientation on the trip and plans for the week. Our first stop is at the massive partly frozen Storforsen rapids on the mighty Pite River. Soon we cross the Arctic Circle and into Sápmi, a land of no borders that spans 4 countries and is commonly referred to as Lapland. We soon reach Jokkmokk a small northern outpost town at the heart of Sámi ancestral lands. We stay at the historic Åkerlunds Hotel which is decorated in a simple Nordic style with roaring wood fires and Sámi vibe. In the evening you’ll enjoy a dinner featuring local specialties and then we’ll head out to watch for the Northern Lights.
Day 3 Wildlife watching and Sámi culture
After breakfast, we’ll drive through a nearby valley renowned for been the winter home for some of Europe’s largest moose. There are also herds of reindeer who along with moose shelter from the long, cold winter months in search of scarce food. We have excellent opportunities to observe these magnificent creatures up close. We’ll enjoy an outside lunch around a campfire on the snow. After lunch, we meet with Anna who along with her family are reindeer herders. She’s prepared an evening meal for us in her lávvu, a traditional Sámi tent. There’s a warm open fire and we sit on reindeer pelts enjoying traditional Sámi dishes prepared over the open fire by Anna. We return to Jokkmokk and if the skies are clear we have another chance to watch for the northern lights.
Day 4 Dog sledding and Jokkmokk
Today the tempo increases as we start the day dog sledding with Matti and Stina who live in a small cabin by a lake along with their 50 huskies. You’ll meet the dogs, prepare the sleds and then we’re off for a two-to-three-hour adventure. Seated on wooden sleds we travel through the forest and across frozen lakes feeling the power and enthusiasm of the Huskies. We’ll stop and light a fire and enjoy a warming cup of coffee. In the afternoon there’s free time to explore Jokkmokk. For those interested in Sámi culture there are many handicraft shops to browse and a visit to the Ájtte museum, which tells the story of Sámi culture and their holistic role in the landscape is a must. After dinner at Åkerlund’s there’s another chance to marvel at the northern lights.
Day 5 Sámi tented camp and Sámi culture
After breakfast, we’ll take a walk to a bird feeding station in the nearby forest. Here there’s a chance to see northern species such as Siberia Jay and Siberian tit with some bird species happy to eat straight from your hand. Red squirrels are also attracted to the feeding station and you don’t have to be a birding enthusiast to enjoy the close interaction. After lunch, we leave Jokkmokk and drive further north to stay with Lennart Pittja at his Sámi tented camp nestled amongst the mountains of Sápmi. Lennart is part of the Unna Tjerusj Sámi community and has been working with nature-based tourism for most of his adult life. You feel warm and comfortable in one of Lennart’s canvas lávvus, sleeping on proper beds with a camp heater. Heated toilet facilities are communal and located close to the tents. Lennart will cook Sámi meals for us on a crackling fire in a small, cosy wooden cabin. After dinner, we’ll again head outside to hopefully watch the aurora dancing across clear night skies.
Day 6 Wildlife watching, winter activities and Sámi culture
We’ll rise at leisure and enjoy a relaxed breakfast in the camp’s cosy lakeside cabin. After breakfast, you can explore the surrounding forest and frozen lake on Nordic skis or snowshoes. As you move around you can simply enjoy the magnificent surroundings or you can search for tracks of moose, reindeer, ptarmigan, fox and weasels. There’s a bird feeding station at the camp that attracts a wide range of arctic species and it’s also possible to hear and spot owls such as Tengmalm’s. After lunch, the rest of the day is at leisure and in the evening you can enjoy a wood-fired sauna with buckets of warm water to cleanse Nordic style.
Day 7 Luleå
It’s another slow morning that allows explorations on skis or snowshoes before heading back towards the coast and Luleå. We’ll stop at a local restaurant in Jokkmokk before arriving at the Clarion Hotel in Luleå in the late afternoon. After 2 nights in a tent, there’s time to enjoy the hotel’s spa and other facilities. After Dinner is on your own or with friends you’ve made on the trip.
Day 5 Departure
After breakfast, it’s time to leave Luleå and Swedish Lapland. You make your own way to the train station or airport using the efficient local transport.
- 13-20 January 2023
- Tour leader days 2-7
- All activities mentioned in the trip itinerary
- 7 nights accommodation (5 nights hotels, 2 nights lávvu tent)
- Full board meals except for dinner on the first and last nights in Luleå
- Round trip transportation in a 9-seater van from Luleå
- Single Room Supplement £ . Note you may still have to share a Lávvu at Lennart’s Camp.
- Winter clothing can be rented at £ for days 2-7.
- Alcoholic beverages are paid for by each trip participant at each restaurant (cash or card).
2 nights at the Clarion Hotel, Luleå (private bathroom)
3 nights at Hotel Åkerlund, Jokkmokk (private bathroom)
2 nights at Lennart Pittja’s Sámi Camp in Lávvu tent (shared, outside toilet facilities, no shower, sauna for hot water wash)
Special Dietary Requirements
This trip travels through Sápmi and incorporates traditional Sámi food which is focused on reindeer meat and Arctic Char fish. However, our hosts will accommodate special diets so long as they are aware at time of booking.
What to Bring
Winters in Swedish Lapland are long with a cold and dry climate. During normal winters we have a proper snow cover from the end of November until the beginning of May. However, with the climate change we have seen that temperatures are rising and that the weather has become more unpredictable.
During the coldest period in December and January we expect temperatures between -10C to -20°C (14°F to -4°F) but it may well drop to -30°C (-22°F). We will make sure that you are well equipped and stay warm during the entire trip. This guide describes how you can dress for such temperatures.
Will there be any daylight?
During December and January daylight is limited to just a few hours during the middle of the day. However, the light reflecting off the snow can make the days seem brighter. The short daylight hours also create ideal conditions to view the northern lights, which can be seen whenever it is dark, which basically means at night time from mid September until March, however, peak viewing time is often in January and February.
Most Guests Rent Winter Clothes
You can rent top quality Winter clothing for the trip for 300 SEK (around 30 EUR) per day. Unless you have travelled to the Arctic before, and have access to similar equipment that you know will work down to -35˚C, we would strongly recommend renting this winter equipment through us.
You will be able reserve clothing during the booking process. If you choose not to reserve clothing you may still be able to rent the whole set or separate items from whatever is still available when we visit the rental shop.
The clothing package includes the best Fjällräven equipment as shown below.
Winter clothing package includes:
- Warm jacket: Fjällräven Guide Parka or Yupik Parka
- Winter hat: Fjällräven Nordic heater
- Insulated trousers: Fjällräven Polar Bib
- Mittens: Hestra
- Winter boots: Lundhags Polar Quest
During the booking process you will also be offered to buy merino underwear. And you can buy merino socks at arrival in Jokkmokk.
Recommended Packing List
The following clothing suggestions apply to everyone, with underlined items included in the rental package. Note that even if you rent our clothing you will still need to bring the inner and middle layers.
As weather conditions in Lapland can change quickly and often, and depending on what kind of activity you are undertaking, the best advice is to bring several layers of warm, comfortable inner wear such as long johns, long-sleeved shirts, jumpers and trousers.
Choosing the best travel bag
On most of our winter trips, you can travel with a suitcase, duffel or wheeled bag since you will only need to take your bag from the van to your room/tent and back. We also recommend you to bring a small daypack.
Socks & Footwear
- Two layers of socks: Thin liner socks + thick socks, wool or synthetic, not cotton. Plus an extra set of socks for when your feet are damp. You don’t need to change socks each day, just hang them outdoors overnight to kill any bacteria.
- Winter boots: Comfortable and warm boots. Choose one or two sizes larger than you normally wear so that you can wear two layers of socks and still have plenty of space to allow air to circulate. Take out the soles to let them dry each night. Winter boots are included in our rental winter clothing set, though since these boots are large and heavy you may still want to bring a pair of normal boots to wear in the car or when it is not freezing.
- Base layer: long johns, wool or synthetic.
- Middle layer: heavy wool (wool terry) or fleece trousers. Note that the rental trousers that we provide are insulated enough so you may not need a middle layer.
- Outer layer: insulated trekking or skiing trousers.
- Optional: Snow gaiters, if you boots with a low or medium shaft there is a risk of snow coming into your boots. Not needed for our rental clothing.
- Base layer: long-sleeved top or thermal base layer, wool or synthetic.
- Middle layer: wool or fleece jacket.
- Outer layer: an insulated jacket that protects you from wind, preferably hooded.
- Optional: Extra packable down jacket for when we are standing still.
Head and Hands
- Winter hat: Insulated and windproof that covers your ears.
- Inner gloves: Five-finger wool glove liner to wear inside your mittens.
- Insulated mittens – gloves with thumbs, preferably oversized.
- Balaclava or buff (neck gaiter).
- Head torch with extra batteries or charger.
- Optional: Thin hat to use when not freezing.
- Credit card (you won’t need cash, all places will accept VISA and Mastercard at least).
- Passport (check validity).
- Train/airline ticket (check so that you arrive in time).
- Phone + charger.
- Electricity adapter: Sweden uses the Europlug (type C and F) and 230 volts.
Other equipment you may want to bring
- Shower gel and shampoo (environmentally friendly preferred).
- Personalised first aid kit with personal medicines.
- Slippers for indoor use (for cold floors).
- Sunglasses ( handy for dog sledding) and sunblock (only during February – April).
- Water bottle (you can refill from taps).
- Camera with extra batteries. Tripod is essential for northern lights photography.
- Binoculars (8x recommended for moose and reindeer).
- Small backpack – for extra layers of clothing, camera, snacks etc.
- A feel-good book.
- Your favourite chocolate bars.
- Note that bed linen and towel is already included, you don’t have to bring that.