Winter heaven – “Standing motionless staring out across the frozen seas; peaceful, meditative thoughts overcame me in this wonderful sub-arctic land – I took a moment to breathe in the pure, crisp, ultra-clean air, this must be a glimpse of winter heaven”
Our recent visit to Swedish Lapland opened my eyes to a winter getaway of tranquillity and beauty. A land of pristine wilderness, unspoilt and so different to the UK. For the adventurous amongst us, this environment can be enjoyed and explored by combining exhilarating activities such as dog sledding and snowmobiling. For the romantics out there, hunting the dancing colours of the Northern Lights is one for the bucket list. Much is to be said however, for simply soaking up the stunning nature whilst enjoying the seclusion of your private cabin with traditional Swedish sauna and combining your blissful holiday with tasty local cuisine.
We list 3 compelling reasons to visit Swedish Lapland
1. EXPERIENCING WINTER ACTIVITIES
Throughout Swedish Lapland you can enjoy a wide variety of winter themed activities; snowmobile excursions, dog sled tours, reindeer farm visits, moose safaris, skiiing, snow-shoeing, ice fishing, winter survival skills training excursions and ice sculpturing to name a few!
On our trip we were fortunate to enjoy a full day dog sled tour ‘running with the huskies’, an experience I found comparable to driving fast on an open road, yet somehow far more satisfying. With excellent professionalism, our expert dog-sledding guide Kim led our group away from husky base camp, each of us with six, howling, very enthusiastic and incredibly affectionate Alaskan Huskies pulling us along. With temperatures in the region averaging minus fifteen from December to March, this type of winter excursion is not for the faint-hearted, yet ‘mushing’ as it is often called requires no previous experience, the Huskies do virtually all the hard work!
We enjoyed two wonderful full day snowmobile excursions during our visit to Swedish Lapland, with moments on each excursion leaving me laughing in hysteria like a schoolboy. This type of activity is popular for those who are seeking an adrenalin kick, but also offers safaris and adventures for families with children, with a variety of snowmobile available for beginners to enthusiasts. For me, the best memory was riding across a vast frozen lake just inland from the Lulea Archipelago. I enjoyed letting the throttle out a little, pretending I was racing across the Bonneville Salt Flats like Anthony Hopkins on his modified Indian Scout Motorcycle in the film The World’s Fastest Indian.
(At this time of the year, the sun hangs low in the sky in northern Sweden. This photo was taken on a full day snowmobile excursion...Click image to enlarge).
For all excursions, we were fortunate to enjoy halfway picnic spots, where our resourceful guides selected a suitably picturesque location to light a fire and prepare warm drinks and a hot lunch for the group.
2. CHASING THE NORTHERN LIGHTS
With peak visibility between December and February, the aurora borealis, more commonly referred to as the ‘northern lights’ is a natural phenomenon resulting from collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere. The most common aurora display presents itself in a pale yellowish green colour and is caused by oxygen molecules located about 60 miles above the earth. Swedish Lapland is an excellent location to view this magical light display, due to its lack of light pollution as well as its proximity to the aurora banner, which passes directly over parts of Norway, Finland and Iceland.
(The pale yellowish green colour of the northern lights stretches high into the night sky...Click image to enlarge).
During our trip, we quickly discovered the hotels and lodges tend to keep up-to-date accurate information and schedules on the aurora activity, similar to weather forecasts. With technology now providing extra assistance, we were also encouraged to download the mobile aurora app, so we could monitor activity and cloud cover ourselves. One lodge we stayed at records the night sky from its roof top each night, not because the northern lights are a rare sight in this region, but because of how mesmorisingly beautiful each display is and how varied displays are from one night to the next. One evening we enjoyed a private northern lights photography lesson, which came complete with 2 professional guides, camera gear and of course…fire wood and lots of hot beverage! Although we only a got a partial sighting of the northern lights (with no guarantees you will see anything at all), the overall experience is highly enjoyable and we came away with an appreciation and new-found ability to read and understand the sky at night, transforming the way I now look at the stars forevermore.
(Fire, hot beverage and starry northern lights skies...Click image to enlarge).
3. ROMANTIC LAPLAND
This winter getaway of majestic beauty and tranquility are the very definition of romance itself; a real life winter wonderland. Swedish Lapland offers so much enchantment from awesome views and sights to interesting action packed adventure activities. With bags of cultural charm and sophistication, this destination will ensure your romantic break with your loved one will be one you not only enjoy wholeheartedly, but always look back on fondly and cherish.
Wonderful romantic accommodation in the region is plentyful, with examples from the famous Ice Hotel, the world’s first hotel made of ice with an almost fairytale atmosphere within to the cosy log cabins of Sorbyn, a charming residence fringed by frozen lake and dense forests. If you wish to have your marriage blessed with something extra special, the celestrial beauty of the Ice Church will offer an experience like no other. This Ice Church, along with the Ice Hotel, is built each year, and therefore with no architectual foundation your cherished memories from your vows exchanged and blesssing are all the more valuable to you in a unique and special way.
(Art Suites at the Ice Hotel, 3D, intricate, individually designed themes...Click image to enlarge)
For food lovers, Swedish Lapland cuisine is both wholesome and fulfilling with Lingonberries offered in abundance. Hearty food, with sophistication prevails throughout the region, with many local dishes including Arctic Char (we found this to be similar to salmon and trout) and moose available. If its wellness and spa you are looking for these are both central to Swedish culture and you will find plenty of opportunity to unwind in private relaxing log cabins, saunas, spas, hot tubs to name a few.
During our trip we were lucky to be able to stay within the Lulea Archipelago at a very special lodge located on the water's edge overlooking the frozen pack ice of the Bothnian Sea. It was here that I stood out after darkness with clear skies above taking in my surroundings. Standing motionless staring out across the frozen seas; peaceful, meditative thoughts overcame me in this wonderful sub-arctic land – I took a moment to breathe in the pure, crisp, ultra-clean air, this must be a glimpse of winter heaven.
LET'S START PLANNING MY ADVENTURE
If you are itching to visit Swedish Lapland or another wonderful destination and need help planning an itinerary that you will feel comfortable with, speak to one of our Sandgrouse Travel & Expeditions consultants who will happily start working on an exciting proposal for you. Our inside knowledge and first-hand experience can open some fascinating doors into a world of unique expeintial travel.
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