Invariably, Swedish Lapland conjures images of husky sledding, dancing displays of the Northern Lights and idyllic snowy landscapes. But, each year, this winter severity thaws into a summertime playground. Pretty villages welcome with heartfelt cheer and snowshoeing routes melt into spectacular hiking trails. One particular highlight is the Kungsleden, a 270-mile trail that brings you up into the Arctic Circle. While the full length is the preserve of hardy adventurers, it can be broken down into manageable sections where remote huts provide access to giant rocky mountains.
And, whether you’re exploring by foot or on a scenic road trip, it’s all beautified by the presence of the Midnight Sun – a truly spectacular phenomenon. Given the region’s northerly latitude, night never fully falls, casting an ethereal glow over already sublime landscapes.
The Dragonfly room at the Treehotel
This being Scandinavia, Swedish Lapland also welcomes visitors with style and innovation. At the aptly-named Treehotel you can stay among the canopy of an evergreen forest in art-installation treehouses that range from UFOs to mirrored cubes. There’s even a treetop sauna to soothe any aches from exploring the surrounding are. Zipline through the forest, kayak the Lule River and spot reindeer in the Korgen Nature Reserve
If you want to experience a world first, book into the ICEHOTEL 365. Like its winter cousin, its suites, bar and chapel are immaculately frozen, carved out by expert craftsmen and cast in a beautifully ethereal glow. It’s all possible, ironically, thanks to the solar power of the Midnight Sun. And, together with its ICEHOTEL neighbour, it’s the largest permanent art exhibit north of Stockholm, complete with spectacular sculptures and its very own gallery. What’s more, you’ll warm up in the summer sun, perhaps rafting along the next-door Torne River to a remote fishing spot or a bike ride through the verdant forests.
A fireplace at the Pine Bay Lodge in Lulea, Swedish Lapland
That’s not to say, however, that the region has lost touch with its roots. Stay in a summer cottage or mountain log cabin, returning from country walks in search of indigenous beavers to home-cooked meals. Expect hearty dishes of moose, reindeer and fish caught fresh from the Baltic Sea, all washed down with a glass of locally brewed beer. For something a bit more adventurous, consider heading out to spend a night in a wilderness cabin. Swedish Lapland is dotted with fishing and hunting retreats where, in spite of the lack of electricity, the Swedish love of the wood-heated sauna lives on.