23 Stunning Places To Visit In Northern Sweden in 2024 (+ Map!)

Are you looking for the best places to visit in Northern Sweden? This is a guide to the most beautiful spots in Arctic Sweden, including cities, villages, and national parks!

I love Northern Sweden, but I feel it is overlooked in favor of Arctic Norway or Finnish Lapland.

Jammed between the two, the north of Sweden is sparsely populated and there are far fewer settlements throughout the region, but the land itself is incredibly beautiful as mountains give way to areas of open tundra and birch forests.

Arctic Sweden offers all the same activities as those available in Norway and Finland, with the added benefit that there are often fewer people on the tours.

Me searching for the best places to visit in Northern Sweden
Me searching for the best places to visit in Northern Sweden

Along with access to all the incredible experiences such as dog sledding and snowmobiling, Northern Sweden is one of the best places in the world to see the northern lights!

In this guide, I have listed my favorite places to visit in Northern Sweden. If you have any questions or suggestions for beautiful places in Swedish Lapland that you feel I have missed, please leave a comment below!

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Best places to visit in Northern Sweden

1. Kiruna

Kiruna is the northernmost city in Sweden and it offers Arctic adventure all year.

In the winter, ski enthusiasts can hit the slopes at Luossavaara, where you’ll find three ski lifts, four slopes, and a park with jumps and rails.

In the surrounding areas, there are several places where you can go snowmobiling and dog sledding. For a more unique winter activity, you can go on a moose-watching tour.

Moose just outside of Kiruna
Kiruna is one the best places in Northern Sweden to see moose in winter

For those hoping to see the northern lights during their stay in Kiruna, I recommend staying at the Husky Lodge Hostel. Located outside of the city, there are plenty of dark spots, with a clear view facing north.

The hostel is on a working husky farm, so during the day, you can interact with all the dogs, including the youngest puppies!

In summer, spend your days hiking and exploring the town. The Kebnekkaise hike is a solid option if you’re looking for the best Arctic landscape views. In Kiruna, visit Kiruna Church and the Konstmuseet I Norr art museum, and grab a fresh pastry from the Hjalmar Lundbohmsgården bakery.

The city itself is sinking into the iron ore mine that dominates the area. For this reason, the authorities are currently in the process of moving the entire city to a new location, which involves moving historic buildings to the new city!

2. Abisko

Abisko is one of the best places in the world to see the northern lights. A unique weather pattern means that there is often a circular patch of clear sky above Abisko.

It also offers outdoor enthusiasts easy access to Abisko National Park and is the starting point for the King’s Trail – Sweden’s longest and most popular hiking trail (450 km / 279 mi).

The most popular part of the King’s Trail stretches between Abisko and Nikkaluokta. It is 105 km (65 mi) long and takes 10 to 12 days to complete.

The best time to spot the aurora is between September and April and this Lights of Vikings Abisko Northern Lights tour is one of the best northern lights tours in the region.

The start of the kings trail in Abisko
The start of Kungsleden (Kings Trail) in Abisko

After being picked up, you will be treated to an incredible dinner before setting out on an epic trip through the north to find the northern lights. The tour has no distance limits and will travel into Norway and Finland if needed to find clear skies.

In summer, you’ll spend most of your time exploring Abisko National Park. In the park, you might spot Arctic wildlife such as foxes, moose, and reindeer. The Abiskojokk River – Abisko Östra Loop offers a great introduction to the national park.

This 11.3 km (7 mi) trail offers impressive views of the Arctic scenery and wildlife spotting opportunities.

At night, stop by Abisko Mountain Lodge, where they serve up some of the best food I have had in Northern Sweden. I suggest trying the moose if they have it on the menu!

3. Pajala

Pajala is a small town found along the Torne River, and an area best known for its five salmon rivers. As a result, the town is one of the best places you can visit if you want to experience world-class salmon fishing.

For those looking for an epic fishing experience, I suggest booking a fishing trip with  Camp Onka.

On this trip, you will stay at the beautiful Lapland Guesthouse and join fishing excursions where you will have the opportunity to catch grayling, trout, and Arctic salmon.

A wooden building near Pajala
A wooden building close to Pajala bathed in the summer sun

In July, check out Pajala Marknad. Pajala Marknad is the biggest market in the heart of Lapland. It dates back to the 18th century and consists of handicraft stalls, games, food, drink, and live music.

To learn more about Sámi culture in Pajala, stop by Laestadiusmuseo, which is a brilliantly restored rectory. In winter, don’t miss Santa’s Winter Village and its lively Christmas festivities.

4. Gällivare

Gällivare might only be a small Arctic town, but it is famous for many things. The town has been host to multiple World Cup skiing events and has even been featured in an Avicii music video!

Between October and May, hit the snowy slopes at the Great Little Ski Resort and take on the challenging Dundret – Västtoppen – Skärmflygartoppen hike. This 13.5 km (8.3 mi) loop trail will see you explore the vast nature reserve.

Snow covered trees outside of Gällivare
Snow covered trees outside of Gällivare

In summer, you can hike towards Dundret, where you’ll find a ski lift that offers incredible views of the area. You’ll also want to spend some time getting to know the town.

Must-see attractions include Agda Rössels Park, Fjällnäs Slott, and Gällivare Kulturmuseum, where you can learn all about early Sámi settlers.

5. Muddus National Park

Muddus National Park is a vast wilderness area that belongs to the Laponian UNESCO World Heritage Area. This park is best known for its primeval forests, vast marshlands, deep canyons, and towering waterfalls.

Hiking is the most popular thing to do in the park, and it can be done all year round. In winter, grab your snowshoes or cross-country skies and take to the park in search of migratory birds, Sámi reindeer herders, and panoramic views.

Northern lights over Muddus National Park
Northern lights over Muddus National Park

In summer, make the most of the dry weather and hike deeper into the park, keeping your eyes peeled for reindeer cooling off in the marshes.

In my opinion, the 50-km (31 mi) Muttos Trail is the best hiking trail in the national park. It starts at the Skajdde (Skaite) entrance and leads through breathtaking ancient forests.

6. Stora Sjöfallets / Stuor Muorkke National Park

Stora Sjöfallets in Norrbotten County is the third-largest national park in Sweden. The park features a varied landscape that features alpine mountains, birch slopes, primeval forests, and glacial mountain heaths.

It also happens to be grazing land for the Sámi villages of Unna Tjerusj and Sirges. All year round, tourists visit the national park to hit the hiking trails.

A ptarmigan in Stuor Muorkke National Park
A ptarmigan hanging out

You could do Stage 12 (Teusajaure – Vakkotavare) of the King’s Trail. This picturesque 14-km (8.6 mi) trail will take you through birch forests and show you the sharp peaks of Sarek and Stora Sjöfallet.

7. Sarek National Park

One of the oldest national parks in Europe, Sarek is home to mountains taller than 2,000 meters (6,651 feet), deep valleys, and more than 100 glaciers.

Hiking in Sarek requires experience, as there are no marked paths or designated accommodation options. This makes it perfect for those seeking a wild adventure.

Hiking is the main draw to Sarek, and it can be done all year round. However, spring and summer are a better time to visit in terms of accessibility. You’ll also have the opportunity to spot reindeer calves.

Aerial view of Sarek National Park
The wild lands of Sarek National Park

A popular starting point is Saltoluokta. From here, you can make your way to the Pastavagge and Pielaslätten valleys in a couple of days.

Alternatively, start at Sourva to access the center of the park. The Padjelantaleden trail includes a boat trip from Ritsem over Lake Akkajaure and impressive mountain views.

8. Padjelanta National Park

The largest national park in Sweden is Padjelanta National Park, where you’ll find vast high plains, shimmering lakes, and unique places to stay. Once again, hiking is the biggest draw.

In summer and winter, you can escape everyday life by hiking to Consul Persson’s Cabin. It’s 18 km (11.1 mi) to the cabin from Staloluokta and it’s open to visitors all year round. However, it’s manned in August.

A river valley in summer
Summer is one of the most beautiful times to go hiking in Padjelanta National Park

The cabin offers stunning lake and mountain views and is only a short walk from a magnificent waterfall and sandy beach. Other notable places to stay include Staddajåkkå cabins and Padjelanta Kyrkkata.

If you want to explore the park in winter, check out this Padjelanta National Park winter ski tour. It includes remote stays, local food, and spectacular mountain views!

9. Jokkmokk

If you want to explore the Arctic wilderness in Northern Sweden but stay somewhere less remote, Jokkmokk is perfect. From Jokkmokk, you can tackle the Skierffe loop trail.

This 12.7 km (7.9 mi) trail is challenging, but the valley and river views from the top of Skierffe are phenomenal. While hiking is popular in Jokkmokk, Sámi culture is at the heart of everything.

Visit the Ajtte Sámi Museum to learn more about the Sámi people and visit Gamla Apoteket and Sámi Duodji to admire local handicrafts.

A reindeer relaxing in the snow outside of Jokkmook
A reindeer taking a well earned break in the snow

Jokkmokk is also home to a centuries-old winter market that features thousands of handicrafts made by Indigenous people, food, and live music.

Those in search of more adventure might also want to visit Silba Siida, who in winter and spring run daily Sámi tours and meet the reindeer sessions.

10. Kebnekaise

At 2,096 meters (6,876 feet), Kebnekaise is the highest mountain in Sweden and it’s famous for being one of the most remote high peaks in Europe. Only experienced climbers should take on the peak and I recommend joining a Guided Ascent tour.

However, you can tackle Kebnekaise on your own in both summer and winter. There are two primary routes and they both start at the mountain station.

The views from the highest point of Sweden
Reaching the summit of Kebnekaise is not easy!

The Western Route is the best solo route. It is an 18 km (11.1 mi) round trip and takes between 10 and 12 hours. The Eastern Route is shorter at 16 km (9.9 mi), but you’ll have to cross Björling glacier and climb a Via Ferrata trail.

Alternatively, for those not wanting to tackle the summit of the mountain, the area towards the base has wonderful trails and the opportunity to spot amazing wildlife like moose and reindeer.

11. Jukkasjärvi

With origins from the 17th century and a prime location along the Torne River, Jukkasjärvi was once an important fishing port. Today, the village is popular with tourists who want to learn more about early settlers.

A major point of interest is the Old Homestead. Here, you’ll find an old timber cottage from 1736. The homestead features a small museum and even a restaurant that serves traditional char soup.

As you walk through the town, be sure to visit Jukkasjärvi Church too, and learn about Sámi reindeer herding at Nutti Sámi Siida.

Ice sculptures in the Ice Hotel
One of the more interesting ice sculptures found in the Ice Hotel

The most famous site in Jukkasjärvi is the Ice Hotel, which is known to be one of the best in the world. The hotel is open year-round, but the majority of it is rebuilt each year. The ice hotel can be visited as a day trip or you can opt to spend the night on an icy bed!

When it comes to hiking, the Puimonen Hill hike is your best bet. This year-round trail only takes 45 minutes and offers excellent river views.

12. Luleå

Luleå is famed for its history that dates back to the 1400s. The best thing about the city is that it doesn’t matter when you visit because there are always plenty of things to do.

However, you’ll want to start by exploring Gammelstad Church Town. This part of the city displays a collection of perfectly preserved wooden houses and Nederluleå Church, which was constructed in the 15th century.

Church in Lulea
One of the most famous churches in Luleå

In the city center, stop by the Norrbottens Museum to learn more about local history, culture, and art, and take in a cultural show at Kulturens hus Luleå.

If you’d prefer to be more outdoorsy, visit the Luleå Archipelago. In winter, this Hovercraft tour allows you to explore Luleå’s 1,000+ islands by racing across the ice. In summer, boat tours also head out to the archipelago in search of seals and the best beaches.

13. Haparanda

Found close to the Swedish border, the city of Haparanda and its sister city Tornio has always been a popular trading site between Sweden and Finland. Even today, Haparanda is a place of trade and shopping.

The city can proudly say it’s home to the northernmost IKEA in the world, a lifesaver for those like myself who live in Finnish Lapland and need to furnish their house!

After spending some time shopping in the likes of Iittala Rörstrand Fiskars Outlet, visit the Old Town. Here, you’ll find traditional wooden houses, quirky artwork, and old churches.

view of Haparanda
Looking out towards Haparanda

I recommend stopping at a little café and art shop called Tornedal & Co. for a cup of coffee and homemade Swedish Fika.

To complete your stay, head up to the Observation Tower for the best views in town and spend a night in the historic and beautiful Haparanda City Hotel.

14. Arjeplog

Arjeplog is an area often associated with hiking, Sámi culture, and impressive Arctic landscapes. Your visit to Arjeplog should start at the Silver Museum, which has a vast collection of Sámi silver.

After that, head over to the stunning Sofia Magdalena Church from the 17th century at the headland of Lake Hornavan. Once you’ve seen the town, it’s time to explore the incredible surroundings.

A wooden walkway in Arjeplog
A wooden walkway in Arjeplog

You can do this in several ways throughout the year. In summer, you can hike one of the many trails or even take part in the Arctic Circle Race, which is 17 km (10.56 mi) long and leads through stunning mountain terrain.

Alternatively, you could take to the water in a canoe or boat with Silver Resort to see things from a different perspective. In winter, adrenaline junkies might prefer to race down the snowy slopes by snowmobile.

Rental snowmobiles are available at Experience Arjeplog.

15. Pieljekaise National Park

Approximately 10 km (6.2 mi) south of Jäkkvik is Pieljekaise National Park. Consisting mostly of birch forests, this park lies off the beaten track, offering travelers the opportunity to escape everyday life.

Hiking and wildlife watching are the most popular things to do in the park, and they can both be done all year. Having said that, hiking is easier in summer and autumn when the park is more accessible.

Fall in Pieljekaise National Park
Fall is one my favorite times to visit the Northern Sweden

Two major trails pass through Pieljekaise National Park. Those are the Kungsleden (the King’s Trail) between Jäckvik and Adolfström (27 km / 16.7 mi) and the Jäckvik to Viejenäs trail (22 km / 13.6 mi).

Even in winter, these trails are relatively easy to hike and they offer out-of-this-world Arctic views. Along the way, you might even spot golden eagles, Arctic foxes, reindeer, and moose.

16. Kalix

If you’ve always dreamt of seeing the northern lights, sailing alongside sea ice, and racing through the Arctic by dog sled, Kalix is ideal! Beautifully situated where the river meets the sea, Kalix is a haven for outdoor adventure.

In summer, walk along the beaches, explore the archipelago’s islands by canoe, and enjoy a Roe Safari – a unique tour that will see you try Kalix Löjrom (Kalix’s famous caviar).

A wooden church in Kalix
Medieval wooden church in Kalix

During your time in Kalix, be sure to visit Siknäsfortet too. Siknäsfortet is the last preserved underground fortress in the military defense zone Kalixlinjen.

In winter, the frozen sea allows tourists to head out on an Icebreaker Adventure. You’ll explore the archipelago, walk on the ice, and even swim! Meanwhile, a Winter Safari tour will see you visit a reindeer herd, dog sled, and ice fish.

17. Kvikkjokk

Kvikkjokk village is a popular starting point for travelers making their way into Sarek National Park. Admittedly, there isn’t a great deal to do in the village, but it does have an important history.

Kvikkjokk was founded in the 1600s, making it one of the oldest Swedish settlements in Lapland. In the village, you can still see signs of the past in the form of the Kvikkjokk Church.

A reindeer in the snow
A reindeer trying to forge their way through the snow

Apart from that, the main thing to do in Kvikkjokk is hike. Several popular hiking trails start in the village, so be prepared to do a lot of walking.

Most trails can be completed all year, but you might need snowshoes or cross-country skies in winter. One of my favorite trails is the 7 km (4.3 mi) climb to Snjera. You’ll climb 809 meters (2,654 feet) and see snow-capped mountains for miles from the top.

18. Boden

Boden is easily reached by train and is best known for its cultural and military history. You’ll spend most of your time walking around the local museums and landmarks.

Försvarsmuseum is the town’s defense museum and art gallery, and it has a collection of interesting exhibits and a VR experience. Meanwhile, Rödberget Fortress, open in summer, is a modern fortress that features several major and minor forts that surround the city.

You don’t want to miss the Patinamuseet and its impressive collection of automobiles either! Other notable attractions open throughout the year include the Havremagasinet Art Gallery and Nära Mat Boden market.

Bridge to Boden
A bridge crossing the salmon fishing river

In winter, I recommend heading over to Gruvberget Ski Resort. Here, there are slopes and hills suitable for all ages and skill levels to enjoy. Families can have fun at the Nordpoolen Aquatic Center, too!

At the end of a busy day, I suggest visiting Bryggmästarn micro-brewery for a refreshing beer. They have a large selection of beer on tap from their brewery and others from around Europe.

19. Arvidsjaur

Car enthusiasts will know Arvidsjaur as a winter car testing center for the European car industry, but this vibrant town has so much more to offer.

There are endless things to do in summer and winter, so it doesn’t matter when you visit.

Winter is the best time of year for adventure sports. You can explore Arvidsjaur’s snowy surroundings on a snowmobile tour or dog sled tour, or even head deep into the forest on a Moose Safari that visits a field renowned for its large population of moose.

The northern lights reflecting in a lake
Fall is the best time to see the northern lights reflecting in bodies of water

In summer, you can explore the untouched nature of Lapland on a Packrafting tour that includes several hours of rafting and some of the best hiking trails in the area.

On the topic of hiking, the Vittjåkk-akkanålke trail is a great option for those who want to explore forests once walked by the Sámi people.

20. Sorsele

Sorsele is a fantastic place to visit if you’re keen to hike in the Arctic wilderness and hit the ski slopes.

Sorsele is the nearest town to Nalovardo Ski Resort. In winter, the resort has several ski slopes to race down and a ski lift to help you reach the top. There are also charming cottages you can book if you wish to stay overnight.

Sámi center in Sorsele
Learn about Sámi culture in Sorsele

In summer, tourists travel to Sorsele for hiking. The town’s proximity to the Vindel River and the Vindelfjällen protected area make it a fascinating place to explore. The Gimegolts Nature Reserve 2.1 km (1.3 mi) out-and-back trail is a great introduction to the area’s natural beauty.

If you want a more unique hiking experience, you can hike with huskies on a Cold Nose Husky Tour. Other popular activities include biking and canoeing.

21. Älvsbyn

Älvsbyn is easily reached by train from Stockholm and Boden. Often referred to as Norrbotten’s gem, Älvsbyn is best known for its lush forested landscapes, steep mountains, and the mesmerizing Storforsen, which is just 40 km (28.4 mi) away.

Storforsen is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Europe and you can visit it all year. It is most impressive when the snow has melted, so consider visiting in spring and summer.

Storforsen waterfall close to Älvsbyn
Storforsen waterfall is one of the best places to visit in Northern Sweden

The 7.2 km (4.4 mi) Storforsen Hiking Trail will lead you to multiple viewpoints that display the waterfall’s power. In winter, be sure to head over to Kanisbacken to cross-country ski, downhill ski, and camp overnight in the wilderness.

In the town, pay a visit to the Älvsby Bensinmuseum and check out its vast collection of vintage vehicles.

22. Karesuando

Karesuando is a small church village that sits alongside the Muonio River on the border with Finland.

This village is a great destination for nature lovers as there are plenty of stunning views and outdoor activities. There are also a handful of cultural attractions in the village.

In winter, make the most of the dark days by venturing out into the night to try and spot the aurora borealis. Given its remote location, it is easy to find dark skies either in Sweden or across the border in Finnish Lapland!

Northern lights dancing above Karesuando
Northern lights dancing above Karesuando

Thrill seekers can race down the slopes at Davvi Arctic in search of their next adrenaline rush too!

History buffs will enjoy the local museum. The White House Village and War Museum, built in 1888, has been restored to show the way of life and culture of its time. Karesuando’s wooden church is also well worth checking out.

23. Porjus

Porjus is a small settlement that is seen as the gateway to the Laponia area. Laponia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site consisting of four national parks. Therefore, a visit to Porjus any time of the year is going to focus mostly on hiking.

However, there are some key points of interest in and around Porjus too.

Places you don’t want to miss include the Lancaster Easy Elsie (an English Lancaster bomber that crashed on the marshes in 1944) and Thunborgs Speciality Shop (a unique shop with souvenirs, mountain supplies, and Lapland delicacies like smoked fish and reindeer).

Porjus Railway building
The now closed Porjus railway station

Those of you who want to explore the wilderness that surrounds Porjus should take on The Navvy Trail. This is a 44 km (27.3 mi) heritage trail between Gällivare and Porjus.

Accessible all year, the trail passes through Muddus National Park and Stubbá Nature Reserve, so you can expect impressive views throughout.

Stunning places to visit in Northern Sweden (On a Map!)

🗺️  HOW TO USE THIS MAP: You can use your fingers/mouse to zoom in and out. To get more info about a place, simply touch/click the icons. Want to save this map for later use? Click the ‘⭐’ by the map title and it will add it to your Google Maps account (Saved > Maps or ‘Your Places’).

I hope you have enjoyed the guide to my favorite places to visit in Northern Sweden. If you have any questions or think I have missed a place off my list, please feel free to leave a comment below!

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