Gay Guide • SWEDISH LAPLAND | Itineraries, Tips and What to See | Practical Complete LGBT Friendly
GAY FRIENDLY SWEDISH LAPLAND
Travel solutions with itineraries to discover all the wonders of this destination, places not to be missed, advice on where to sleep and what to eat, and above all special suggestions to make the most of your trip!
Welcome to the Land of Ice. The darkness of the Arctic winter, the green of the Northern Lights, the thousand colors of the millenary Sami culture, excursions in the ice, Huskies pulling sleds and reindeer grazing in the snow. Welcome to Lapland.
SWEDEN AND SWEDISH LAPLAND GAY FRIENDLY
Sweden, and thus also Swedish Lapland, was ranked as the most welcoming and safe destination for LGBTQ + tourists. Here LGBT rights have a long history. Same-sex sexuality was legalized as early as 1944 and Sweden was also the first country to allow transgender people to change their legal gender after reassignment surgery. Here everyone is free to be whoever they want and LGBTQ + tourists are welcome.
In Luleå, the gateway to Swedish Lapland, the Pride organized by RFSL Luleå and Northern Norrbotten County has been held every year in August since 2012. And also this year the city is preparing to welcome the 2022 edition from 15 to 21 August. For more info click on the Luleå Pride website.
Visiting this destination at its best depends essentially on how long you have to fully enjoy it. Here is a solution based on the number of days available to you:
WINTER EDITION (October-March)
Day 1 - Stockholm / Luleå
Day 2 - Luleå (Gammelstad + Dogsleds with Huskies in winter)
Day 3 - Luleå - Boden (Treehotel) - Google Maps
Day 4 - Boden - Gällivare - Kiruna (Icehotel Experience) - Google Maps
Day 5 - Kiruna (Nutti Sami Siida & Reindeer + Northern Lights in winter)
Day 6 - Kiruna / Stockholm
Extra - Discovery the Swedish Capital, see the guide MAP'CITY • STOCKHOLM
SUMMER EDITION (April-September)
Day 1 - Stockholm / Luleå
Day 2 - Luleå - Gammelstad - Piteå - Google Maps
Day 3 - Piteå - Boden (Treehotel) - Google Maps
Day 4 - Boden - Kalix - HaparandaTornio - Google Maps
Day 5 - HaparandaTornio - Gällivare - Google Maps
Day 6 - Gällivare - Kiruna - Google Maps
Day 7 - Kiruna - Abisko - Kiruna - Google Maps
Day 8 - Kiruna / Stockholm
Extra - Discovery the Swedish Capital, see the guide MAP'CITY • STOCKHOLM
(By opening the Maps with Google, you can easily follow our path)
Click'n'Go - Click on the places to find them on the Map
WHAT TO SEE in SWEDISH LAPLAND?
10 THINGS TO SEE in SWEDISH LAPLAND
The capital of the province of Norbotten and the gateway to Swedish Lapland. Our journey started right from here. Just 100 kilometers from the Arctic Circle, it is very pretty and offers lots of activities in both winter and summer. In the winter months do not miss the Ice Track, a path on the frozen sea that surrounds the city center. Take a kick-sled and enjoy the city from the sea.
Gammelstad Church Town
A spectacular city of red houses, buried in the snow in winter. About ten kilometers from Luleå, this small town has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, as an example of the traditional parish towns of Scandinavia.
One of the prettiest cities to see in Swedish Lapland. Do not miss its Lutheran Church, whose exterior resembles dragon scales, and the 2 town halls, the small one (the old town hall), built by the architect Artur von Schmalensee in 1953, and the new and modern circular town hall, inaugurated in 2018.
Jokkmokk & Sami Culture with Ajtte Museum
Lapland is the land of the Sami, who live in the region that stretches across northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and northwestern Russia. Despite the "Scandinavianization" imposed in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Sami have kept their language, cultures and traditions. Jokkmokk is a natural meeting place for the Sami and here is the Ajtte Museum, Swedish Museum of the Mountain and the Sami, a museum of cultural and natural history. Although in the past they were mainly nomadic tribes who lived by hunting and fishing, today they are dedicated to breeding and caring for reindeer and dogs and they are increasingly living on tourism. Their clothing is very distinctive with dresses full of brightly colored embroidery (red, yellow and blue) that contrast sharply with the white landscapes of Lapland.
Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi
Just 19 km from Kiruna, the town of Jukkasjärvi is home to one of the most visited places in the area, the Icehotel. It is the first hotel of its kind in the world, with ice rooms (cold rooms) and normal rooms (hot rooms). Inside there is also a restaurant (don't miss the Ice Dinner experience) and an Ice Bar to have a drink in ice glasses. But be careful: sleeping at minus four degrees is not for everyone! Below in the Hotel section you will find more information.
Stora Sjöfallet National Park (only in Summer)
Between Jokkmokk and Porjus there is a detour to Stora Sjöfallet, one of the most beautiful national parks to see in Lapland, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. But be careful from mid-November to April, everything is buried in ice and snow.
An area characterized by mountains and one of the most beautiful places to see in Northern Sweden. Here trekking lovers will find a real paradise, starting point of the Kungsleden, or Via del Re, the winter activities that can be done are many (such as walks with snowshoes, skiing, excursions by snowmobile or sleigh, etc. ) and, of course, it's also the perfect place to go in search of the Northern Lights. In Abisko there is also the Sky Station Aurora, a high-altitude observatory (can be reached by chairlift) for the Northern Lights.
It is a small town where in the winter there are great chances to see the Northern Lights, while in the summer the midnight sun. Around the town there are several national parks such as Sarek, Padjelanta, Stora Sjöfallet and Muddus, as well as the Sjaunja and Stubba nature reserves.
Town in the eastern part of Swedish Lapland, where the highest water temperatures in Sweden are recorded in summer, so much so that this area is considered the "Swedish Riviera".
The two sister towns of Haparanda and Tornio lie on each side of the Torne River, one in Sweden and the other in Finland. A magical place where Swedish, Finnish and Sami cultures meet. Here is the northernmost IKEA in the world.
WHAT TO DO in SWEDISH LAPLAND in WINTER and SUMMER
Sledding with the Huskies (Winter)
One of the best experiences to do in Lapland is to ride a sled pulled by the Huskies. We have experienced this emotion thanks to Luleå Adventure. More than ten kilometers through woods and snowy landscapes in the company of adorable Huskies who can't wait to run in the snow. At the end of the excursion get ready to experience what in Sweden is almost an institution: the Fika. A social moment of sharing over a good coffee and a sweet. And if all this is inside a beautiful hut heated by a fireplace, it can only be unforgettable. Luleå Adventure offers many activities in both summer and winter. Mauro, his family and all the staff will welcome you with great sympathy and professionalism, ready to make you live one of the most exciting experiences to do in Swedish Lapland. For more information click here.
Take a Northern Light Tour (Winter)
Undoubtedly the dream of all those who take a trip to Lapland in winter is to hope to see the Northern Lights. There are several companies that also organize guided tours to go in search of magic in the Northern skies. This and many other activities are proposed by Kirunalapland. For more info click here.
Feeding the Reindeer (Winter)
If you are in Jukkasjärvi, not far from Kiruna, you cannot miss one of the most beautiful experiences to do in Swedish Lapland: feeding the reindeer! It is one of the activities proposed by Nutti Sami Siida, a farm-museum very close to the Ice Hotel, where you can immerse yourself in the Sami culture. There is nothing more exciting than being approached by these wonderful animals. For more info click here.
Take part in a Winter Safari (Winter)
If you are a lover of nature and animals, this experience is the one for you. They will take you in search of the sighting of bears, moose, wolverines, reindeer.
Trekking in a National Park (Summer)
In Lapland there are many national parks where you can go trekking, such as Muddus, Sarek, Padjelanta, Stora Sjöfallet and in the Abisko area, one of the wildest territories in Europe.
Fishing or Kayaking in the Lakes Region (Summer)
In Swedish Lapland, between Gallivare and Arvidsjaur, there are thousands of lakes where you can fish (but a license is required), or go kayaking to enjoy the view.
Go by Snowmobile (Winter)
If you love adrenaline, snowmobiling is an unmissable activity in winter. Explore remote areas and enjoy the Lapland landscape. If you are not an expert, no problem, you will be given full training and given the safety equipment.
Using Snowshoes & Trying Cross Country Skiing (Winter)
If you love to explore the wilderness, you can also do it with snowshoes or cross-country skiing. Following an expert guide, you will enjoy a fantastic adventure in one of the most beautiful areas in Sweden.
Visit the Kiruna or Gällivare Iron Mine (Summer)
In Kiruna or Gallivare you can live a truly special experience by participating in a tour to discover the largest iron ore deposit in the world (it produces 90% of the iron in the European Union). The tour includes the descent into the mine with a guided tour.
WHEN TO SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS in SWEDISH LAPLAND
The best time to see the Northern Lights is from late September to late March, but the most likely to see it is from December to January, as there are more hours of darkness and it is possible to see it throughout the Swedish Lapland region.
Being able to see the Northern Lights is like being able to see a rainbow. It's just a matter of luck
The sky must be clear and clear (no clouds)
It is necessary to have a good camera because sometimes the human eye cannot see it well.
The Aurora Borealis moves and moves
Dress well because often the clearest days are also the coldest and you can stand around looking for the dawn for a long time
WHERE and HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH THE NORTHERN LIGHTS in SWEDISH LAPLAND
To see the Northern Lights you can opt for a guided tour or go to a dark place away from the illumination of the cities. Better to bring a head battery and some spare batteries with you, so as to be prepared if the cold should play a bad trick on charging, as often happens. To photograph the aurora, equip yourself with a camera and tripod, for long exposure photographs. To photograph the Northern Lights set the camera as follows: aperture f / 2.8, ISO 800 (increases if it is very dark) and 8 seconds of exposure time. Keep in mind that if the aurora is moving very quickly, you will need to reduce the shutter speed.
USEFUL APP TO SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS in SWEDISH LAPLAND
Before going out to see the Northern Lights, we recommend that you install the "My Aurora Forecast" application on your smartphone. It will be very useful for you to know the current KP index (we tell you what it is below) and find out how many chances there are of seeing the aurora, based on where you are. Download it here - App Store o Google Play.
The KP index is a value on a scale ranging from 0 to 9. At a KP index of 0 there is a very faint or nonexistent aurora, while at most, 9, a large geomagnetic storm is in progress.
WHEN AND WHERE TO SEE THE MIDNIGHT SUN in SWEDISH LAPLAND
The best time to see the Midnight Sun is from Late May to Mid July, as there are more daylight hours and it can be seen throughout the Swedish Lapland Region. With many hours of daylight, it will be possible to extend your excursions. Tip: Bring an eye mask which can be useful for sleeping even with light.
WHERE TO STAY in SWEDISH LAPLAND?
BEST LGBT FRIENDLY HOTELS & APARTMENTS in SWEDISH LAPLAND
Luleå - Best Western Plus Savoy Luleå ****
Luleå - Clarion Hotel Sense ****
Luleå - Quality Hotel Luleå ****
Kiruna (Jukkasjärvi) - IceHotel ****
Kiruna - Camp Ripan ****
Kiruna - Best Western Arctic Eden ****
Jokkmokk - Hotel Akerlund ***
Piteå - Piteå Stads Hotell ****
Abisko - Abisko net Hostel & Huskies
Abisko - Abisko Mountain Lodge
Gällivare - Grand Hotel Lapland ****
UNUSUAL and PARTICULAR PLACES TO SLEEP in SWEDISH LAPLAND
Sleeping in an Ice Hotel
ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi
If you want to live a unique and unforgettable experience, you cannot miss the opportunity to sleep in an ice hotel. Every year this hotel is created from scratch by architects, designers and artists who create real works of art, not just bedrooms. Open the doors of the Ice Hotel you will find yourself in a fantastic world all made of ice, even a church where you can get married. If the idea of sleeping in the ice scares you, don't worry, the Icehotel staff will provide you with a special sleeping bag to better face the night. In addition, for those who need it, you can also buy clothes, socks, etc. The hotel opens its doors to visitors every day, so you don't have to sleep in it to see these beautiful rooms. To find out all about this particular hotel click here to read our article Map'Hotel • ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi
Sleeping in an Aurora Hut / Glass Dome under the Aurora Borealis
AURORA CAMP in Kiruna
Click here to discover more
Sleeping in a Treehotel / Hotel on the Trees
TREE HOTEL in Boden/Harads
One of the most unique hotels we have ever seen. Seven rooms, all different, suspended between the trees and perfectly integrated into the surrounding environment. Here nature, ecology, comfort and modern design come together for something truly unique.
These are the seven beautiful rooms of the Tree Hotel. To find out click here to read our article Map'Hotel • TREE HOTEL in Boden/Harads
WHERE TO EAT in SWEDISH LAPLAND?
BEST TYPICAL RESTAURANTS of SWEDISH LAPLAND Quality / Price
Kiruna - €€ - Restaurang Kiruna | Landströms Kök & Bar
Kiruna - €€ - Spis Mat och Dryck - Restaurant
Jukkasjärvi - €€€ - ICEHOTEL Restaurant
Luleå - €€€€ - Restaurant CG
Luleå - €€€ - Hemmagastronomi
During our stay in Luleå we had lunch in this restaurant overlooking the sea (perfect for admiring the midnight sun in summer or enjoying the view of the ice track in winter). The perfect place to taste local cuisine, enjoy sweets from the pastry shop and maybe buy some typical products to take home as a souvenir.
Luleå - €€ - Cook's Krog
Gällivare - €€ - Steakhouse Gällivare
Piteå - €€ - Restaurang Ångbryggeriet
Öjebyn (Piteå) - €€ - Paltzerian
Sjulsmark (Piteå) - €€ - AB Jössgården
Liehittäjä - €€ - Huuva Hideaway (Sami tradition)
WHAT TO EAT in SWEDISH LAPLAND?
BEST TYPICAL DISHES of SWEDISH LAPLAND
Salted and smoked reindeer meat which makes up the famous Sami dish
Alpine fish from Lake Abborrträsk, a great place to enjoy this grilled fish outdoors in the summer
A local dumpling-like dish with pork belly served with melted butter and cranberry jam
There are plenty of them but our favorite is the mushroom based one
Cooked in many different ways, it is the basis of many local dishes, often accompanied by potatoes and cranberry jam
TRAVEL TIPS about SWEDISH LAPLAND by World Mappers
The most common question when traveling to Lapland is: is it really that cold in winter? what is the weather and temperature? The average winter temperature in Sweden is quite freezing. In the south of Sweden, the thermometer drops just below freezing, but in the north, towards Lapland, the temperatures are even colder. In Kiruna, the average January temperature is -11 ° C (-13 ° F), with snow covering the ground from November to March. During our trip we reached -20 ° C.
How to dress for a trip to Swedish Lapland? Certainly you need warm clothes, sometimes it is better not to spare any expense to have adequate technical clothes, but the secret is to dress in onions or in layers. It is important to have technical undergarments, preferably in merino wool. Fleece and clothing with insulated interiors, a suitable winter jacket, windproof and waterproof, and good, thick socks. Touch gloves under the ski gloves. Neck warmer, ear flaps and a woolen cap or fur hat. On many winter tours in Lapland, additional warm technical clothing is often provided to wear, for example in activities such as dog sledding. Heating bags can also be useful, to keep the extremities warm especially.
Another practical question is how to get to Swedish Lapland? There are many international airlines that fly to Stockholm. From here you can take a domestic flight with SAS or Norwegian, with daily flights (approximately 1h40) from the capital arriving and departing all year round. Alternatively also the train that leaves from Stockholm, but it takes many hours (about 15 / 16h).
Once in Lapland, how to get around? You definitely need a car (which can be rented for example at Lulea or Kiruna airport and will be supplied with studded tires, perfect for icy roads), although trains (operated by SJ) run between some of the main locations and cities, including Luleå, Kiruna and Riksgränsen. There are also buses connecting the main cities. To move locally in the summer in the villages and cities you can do it on foot or by bicycle.
Don't miss the town of Kalix, a very pretty seaside town, famous for the delicious Kalix Löjrom - Kalix Caviar - which is served on special occasions such as Nobel banquets, royal weddings and other celebrations. The more than 4,000 islands are home to unique species of flora and fauna, sandy beaches, quaint lodges and hostels accessible only by boat.
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MAP'CITY • STOCKHOLM
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