I hope everybody has had a wonderful Christmas? I have this little dream, that one year we will make a trip to Sweden and hopefully get to experience the Northern Lights and the amazing wildlife. It isn't something we can afford to do at the moment but when I received an email from Marcus at WildSweden telling me all about their tours I asked him if I could share it as I know this will appeal to so many of you.
Currently in Sweden it is -14 degrees and the sun is shining, Marcus himself has two young daughters and it sounds like they have some wonderful adventures. WildSweden have spaces on a couple of tours this January and March, 2018. The aim is to let travellers experience the real side of Lapland, in small groups with local guides, away from the main touristy areas. There will be no tourist attractions like ice hotels or Santa theme parks. Busloads of tourists end up going there already. Instead you will be part of a small group of like-minded people, who travel, have fun and explore together.
Highlights of the trip include:
Watching and photographing the Northern Lights.
Reindeer and Moose watching.
Dog sledding across frozen lakes and snowy forests.
Staying four nights in a guest house and one night in a tented camp.
Local guides with a maximum of seven guests per group.
Surangaw Aurora Borealis.
Children are welcome but the recommended age is 8 years and over due to walking on uneven terrain.
Day 1 - Arrival & Northern Lights excursion
Fly via Stockholm to Luleå in Swedish Lapland.
Meet and greet with your guide at the airport for a two hours drive to our guesthouse in Jokkmokk, a small northern outpost town which will act as a base for excursions into some of the wildest parts of Lapland. It's surrounding area boasts amazing landscapes, ranging from mountains and frozen lakes to ancient boreal forests and streaming rivers.
Enjoy a welcome dinner this evening with your tour guide and fellow travelers.
Are you a keen photographer and aiming to capture the Northern Lights on this trip? Not sure about the camera settings? After dinner we will meet up with a local photographer who will teach us how to succeed with Northern Lights photography. This will increase your chances of going home with beautiful aurora photos. While this crash course will focus on SLR cameras with tripods, there will also be some instructions on how you can capture the aurora with smaller pocket cameras and even smartphones.
As night falls, we go outside to await the spectacle of the aurora borealis, the legendary northern lights. Each evening holds an opportunity to witness the phenomenon.
There is virtually no light pollution at all here. As long as there are no clouds the chance to see the aurora is very high.
Often, the aurora begins as a white glow low in the sky that slowly starts to shift and undulate. Wavy patterns evolve, colors appear and change, until the lights look like shimmering curtains of green, yellow or red. Of course, since the lights are a natural phenomenon, we are never guaranteed to see them, but Northern Sweden has some of the most frequent and intense auroral activity on the planet...meaning our odds are very good!
We will make sure you are well equipped so that you will stay warm during the entire week. You will be offered to pre-book winter clothing that we pick up and try out on this first day. During the coldest period in December and January temperatures may drop as low as -30℃ or even -40℃, less later in the season, but we will be well equipped so no need to worry.
Night at Jokkmokk guesthouse.
Picture by Marcus Westberg.
Day 2 - Moose & reindeer watching
On this day we are planning to drive through a nearby valley which is known to host some of Europe´s largest Moose, but also big amounts of reindeer. This provides a great opportunity to view and photograph these majestic animals.
Lunch out in the snow watching across lake Saggat.
If the weather is fine we spend the whole afternoon out in the snowy valley before we return to our guesthouse in Jokkmokk for a well deserved dinner and hot drinks.
Night at Jokkmokk guesthouse.
Picture by Jan Nordstrom.
Day 3 - Dog sledding & Reindeer meeting
Big adventure day! On this day we are all going dog sledding with our friends Matti and Stina. They live and train their dogs all year around, and they will take across the frozen landscape during a couple of hours hearing only the breathing of the huskies. This is a true close-to-nature experience. Outdoor lunch by a camp fire.
In the afternoon we will meet up with our good friend Anna. We have asked Anna for an evening meal in her lávvu (traditional tent). With a native perspective Anna has a lot to tell us. In this way we get the chance to learn more about the Sami culture and the life as a reindeer herder at first hand. We sit on skins on the floor and try some traditional Sami dishes that are prepared over the camp fire.
Compared to the hectic life in cities, it is like as if Anna lives in another world. Her husband is a reindeer herder and rarely at home while Anna is at home taking care of their children as well as some of their beloved reindeer. We will visit these reindeer. They are wild animals but if you sit still they may come as close as eating from your hand.
This will be a long day, but if you like you may want to go out and watch for Northern Lights. There is a lake within walking distance from our guesthouse that offer good views. Fill up your thermos and bring some snacks to stay warm and happy.
Night at Jokkmokk guesthouse.
Picture Anna Kuhmonen.
Day 4 - Sami camping under the Northern Lights
We leave our guesthouse in Jokkmokk and travel for a couple of hours to visit another good friend of ours. Lennart is Sami and we are very happy that he lets us stay at his tented camp!
This will hopefully be the highlight of the trip. Imagine yourself standing in deep snow under the Northen Lights and then go to bed in a tent. Lennarts camp was recently featured by National Geographic's list 21 places to stay if you care about the planet.
We spend this day in the best of ways with a forest hike in a snow clad Arctic forest. You will have the chance to try either snow shoeing or cross country skiing.
We enjoy a dinner by the fire place in a small wooden cabin, and then go out to watch the Northern Lights that will hopefully be dancing in the sky above us. The illuminated tents will provide an ideal foreground for night sky photography.
Night in tents. The tents actually have proper beds and a heater, so this is more like a hotel room than a tent. You will be surprised how comfortable a tent can be. Toilet? Don't worry, Lennart has set up some toilet booths near the tents. All in all we will have five tents to share so there will be plenty of room for all of us.
Sapmi Nature Camp.
Day 5 - Unesco World Heritage Gammelstad, then departure
We wake up in the tents and gather for a long breakfast in the cabin. We say our good bye's to Lennart before we drive a couple of hours to return to Luleå.
Time has come to leave Lapland. If you have an early flight we will take you straight to Luleå airport. If your flight is later in the day we can take you into Luleå town for you to explore on your own. We can highly recommend you to see the Unesco World Heritage Gammelstad. The Gammelstad site is the world's most extensive and best preserved church town, with more than 400 church cottages gathered around a medieval stone church. This is really pretty. It is also the best place to look for handicraft items and local souvenirs to bring home.
Catch a taxi to the airport or to the train station in time for your flight or train.
Or stay some extra days! You can always extend the tour with one or two nights in Luleå, at your own expense, but we are happy to help you out.
This would be the trip of a lifetime so, if this interests you get in contact with Marcus Eldh firstname.lastname@example.org