8 Instagrams from Arctic Sweden

2017-11-05T01:05:11+00:0013 August 2014|Road trips, Sweden, Sweden, UNESCO World Heritage|

A visit in Arctic Sweden will likely begin in Luleå, one the biggest cities in the region. Luleå isn’t uninteresting in itself, with more than 100 cafes and restaurants, a pretty cityscape and some unusual street art.

A final greeting from Sweden this time: cool street art in Luleå

But I’m here to have a closer look at the Laponia region (the Latin name for the Sami region), and an intriguing church town. For Laponia I head inland – towards Jokkmokk. To get there, I cross the Arctic Circle.

The Arctic Circle in Sweden

I’ve crossed the Arctic Circle in the air numerous times. Two of Norway’s biggest cities are located well above that apparently alluring 66° 33′ 44″, so hopping back and forth is quite a common occurrence. Nevertheless, after my failed attempt last summer (courtesy of a ridiculously sprained ankle), this is the first time I’m crossing it on the ground. On foot.

Sami flag at the Arctic Circle

Jokkmokk itself has a slight frontier feel, not unlike Karasjok and other Sami towns across the border in Arctic Norway. There are three lunch spots in town, I’m told, as I pop into the tourist information. One of them is in the Ájtte, the Mountain and Sami Museum – culture and nature all in one plac

Across the street from Ájtte is the very pretty Jokkmokk Church.

Jokkmokk Church

But, again, I’m not here for city life, such as it is.

Muddus National Park – Laponia

The Laponia region comprises four national parks, including Muddus, Sarek, Padjelanta and Stora Sjöfallet. Along the way, nature is presenting herself at her prettiest.

Summer in Northern Sweden

Just inside Muddus National Park, I stumble upon this lovely creature.

Reindeer in Muddus National Park

I’ve encountered reindeer before. In Norway’s Hedmark county, relatively close to home, I once met a flock who were astoundingly interested in meeting me. One, in particular, wanted to investigate my steering wheel, but his antlers hindered his enquiring mind.

This one in Muddus is grazing along the gravel road, and isn’t too concerned about my approaching car – until I get fairly close. Coming back the same way, I meet him once again.

Church Town of Gammelstad


My final stop on this brief Swedish road trip is practically in Luleå.

In Gammelstad, more than 400 rustic, red timber cottages are clustered around a 15th century stone church. These were used only on Sundays and religious holidays, by farmers from the surrounding countryside who could not make the journey to and from church in one day. Distances were long and travelling conditions a bit more challenging than today.

And today? The cottages are still privately owned and people often stay overnight for festivals, courses and the like. During the confirmation period (around Midsummer) youngsters frequently spend Nights in the cottages. Must be such fun.

Gammelstad street

I arrived in Gammelstad at about 9pm on a rainy evening, too late for a guided tour. On the other hand, I had this adorable little village practically all to myself. So utterly charming.
unesco logo

The Laponian Area and the Church Town of Gammelstad, Luleå are both UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Here are more UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited around the world.

About the Author:


  1. Betty J. Ogburn 14 August 2014 at 0419 - Reply

    …BEAUTIFUL–I’ve always wanted to see the sweeping landscapes of the Arctic Circle, :-)!!…

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 17 August 2014 at 2106 - Reply


  2. Gil 14 August 2014 at 0748 - Reply

    If I knew it was so beautiful over there, I would have bought my last Volvo via overseas’ delivery.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 17 August 2014 at 2106 - Reply

      Next one, eh?

  3. Maria Falvey 15 August 2014 at 1712 - Reply

    I’m always in awe of Arctic sites that have trees – beautiful shots Sophie, thanks for the eye candy

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 17 August 2014 at 2106 - Reply

      You’re welcome 🙂

  4. Lisa Goodmurphy 16 August 2014 at 0204 - Reply

    Just lovely, Sophie! I have always wanted to cross the Arctic Circle – thought we would do it in Norway on a fjords cruise but Sweden looks quite beautiful too!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 17 August 2014 at 2107 - Reply

      Probably easiest in Norway, with Hurtigruten (the Coastal express).

  5. Noah 16 August 2014 at 0447 - Reply

    I think it’s mindblowing that they have trees above the Arctic Circle in Europe … they are none in North America at that latitude, or they are miniature little runts compared to what is in Sweden!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 17 August 2014 at 2110 - Reply

      Interesting to hear the Arctic vegetation is different in the Americas. Temperatures seem to be a bit higher on the Scandinavian side of the Atlantic, with the Gulf Stream n’all. Could that have anything to do with it, I wonder…

  6. Mary @ Green Global Travel 16 August 2014 at 0632 - Reply

    Very cool photos! I love the one of the reindeer! Thanks for sharing!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 17 August 2014 at 2110 - Reply

      Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Mary {The World Is A Book} 16 August 2014 at 0803 - Reply

    What a beautiful collection, Sophie! We haven’t made it that far north yet but the sights are just stunning. I love that Gammelstad town and the timber cottages. I can imagine just strolling through them. Lucky you for coming across that reindeer twice.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 17 August 2014 at 2111 - Reply

      I really liked Gammelstad, too. Would be fun to see if it’s possible to hire a cottage for a night or two sometime.

  8. Agata 16 August 2014 at 1023 - Reply

    A fabulous post! My favorite place on Earth, really. I love it! And I think that every person who loves outdoor and trekking and wilderness should go there at least once in a lifetime!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 17 August 2014 at 2112 - Reply

      You really do like Scandinavia, don’t you, Agata 🙂

  9. Jeff Titelius 16 August 2014 at 2144 - Reply

    What a wonderful tour through Sweden! Never been but it’s long been near the top of my list! Gammelstad is positively enchanting and picturesque and loved the picture of the brick arch and the sunlight on the pediment! Gorgeous!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 17 August 2014 at 2113 - Reply

      Thanks heaps, Jeff 🙂

  10. Cathy Sweeney 16 August 2014 at 2221 - Reply

    Lovely, lovely, lovely! I hope to visit Sweden — the land of my maternal ancestors, of whom some are quite mysterious. I’d also like to see a reindeer.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 17 August 2014 at 2113 - Reply

      I knew there was something Scandinavian about you, Cathy 🙂

  11. Freya 16 August 2014 at 2328 - Reply

    Stunning !! I have never been to Sweden but so want to go one day.
    Muddus National Park looks so beautiful, it would be great to hike around there.
    I also love these old authentic churches.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 17 August 2014 at 2114 - Reply

      Great for trekking, Freya – and I know you like that 🙂

  12. Jade 17 August 2014 at 1244 - Reply

    Beautiful photos, I don’t think I have been over the Arctic circle yet, but I have been fairly close

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 17 August 2014 at 2115 - Reply

      Thank you, Jade 🙂

  13. Turkey's For Life 19 August 2014 at 1010 - Reply

    Wow, you do keep managing to tick off these UNESCO sites don’t you?! 🙂 This place is sooo pretty; the sky looks amazing. Bet it was a great feeling being able to cross the Arctic Circle on foot.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 August 2014 at 1518 - Reply

      Loved it, Julia 🙂

      • Turkey's For Life 2 December 2014 at 1930 - Reply

        And just revisited this post from your tweet tonight and recognised it straight away. Love these pics. 🙂

  14. Leigh 19 August 2014 at 2045 - Reply

    Looks absolutely fantastic. Would love to follow in your footsteps.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 August 2014 at 1518 - Reply

      Just pop across the Atlantic any time, Leigh.

Leave A Comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.