Celebrate New Year 2020: Culture & Wildlife in Lapland

Photo: Anna Öhlund

Welcome the new year in the winter wonderland of Swedish Lapland. Away from the crowds. Close to nature.
— Marcus Eldh, founder of WildSweden
 
 

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The plan

Welcome the new year away from the crowds in Swedish Lapland!

Just imagine yourself standing on a frozen lake with a cup of hot chocolate while watching the Northern Lights dance in the sky above.

  • Celebrate New Year’s Eve at a remote cabin camp far out in wilderness

  • Meet and photograph wild Reindeer and Moose in a snowy landscape

  • Go dog sledding across frozen lakes and through snowy forests

  • Enjoy Sámi specialities like Arctic Char, Gáhkku and Souvas

  • Travel with likeminded people in small groups and local guides for more genuine experiences

WILL WE SEE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS?

We certainly hope so! Each evening holds an opportunity to watch for Northern lights. As long as the sky is clear we will dress warm to venture out and look upwards. Just keep in mind that since the Northern lights are a natural phenomenon, and we can never guarantee anyone to see them. However, Northern Sweden has some of the most frequent and intense auroral activity on the planet… so our chances are as good as they can get.

WATCH AND PHOTOGRAPH WILD ANIMALS

During winter, Moose and their much smaller cousins Reindeer gather in the valleys in search for food. This gives us an opportnity to get close to and photograph some of these fascinating animals in a Winter landscape.

WELCOME TO SÁPMI

Known as Lapland, the native name of this area is actually Sápmi. The indigenous Samis inhabit the region of Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola peninsula of Russia. During this tour you will meet with Sámis to learn about and get an understanding for their interesting culture and traditions.

STAY WARM AND LOOK COOL

Sometimes it gets seriously cold, but we will make sure that you are well equipped so that you will stay warm during the entire trip. We provide high quality winter clothing that we try out on the first day.

>> Packing list for Winter tours

Day 1: Arrive in Jokkmokk & Northern Lights excursion

Meet and greet with our guide in Luleå. Welcome lunch.

We then have a two hours drive that will take us across the Arctic circle and into the heart of Swedish Lapland. Here we reach Jokkmokk, a small northern outpost town which will act as a base for our excursions. It's surrounding area boasts amazing landscapes, ranging from mountains and frozen lakes to ancient boreal forests and streaming rivers. Jokkmokk is also home to a large Sámi community.

As we arrive at our guesthouse we sit down for a proper introduction over a coffee in the dining room.

On this first evening we will give you some time to arrive at your own pace. You may want to visit the Ájtte museum, a good introduction to the Sámi culture as well as to the Arctic nature. Or explore Jokkmokk town and some of the local handicraft shops on your own.

Dinner at the guesthouse, and then, if the skies are clear we will definitively fill our thermoses with hot drinks and venture to watch for Northern Lights.

Night at Jokkmokk guesthouse.

Day 2: Dog sledding & reindeer meeting

On this day we are going dog sledding with our good friends Matti and Stina. They live in a small cabin by a lake with more than 50 huskies in their snowy garden. We greet with the dogs and then all help out to prepare a bit before we are ready to take off.

Seated on wooden sledges we travel across the frozen landscape hearing only the breathing of the huskies. We stop somewhere for lunch and light a warming camp fire while the dogs get some well deserved rest and cool down in the snow. This sled trip takes about three hours including the lunch.

In the afternoon we will meet up with our good friend Anna just outside Jokkmokk. Anna and her family are Sámi and reindeer herders. She has invited us for an evening meal in her lávvu (traditional tent). With a native perspective Anna has a lot to share. We sit on skins on the floor and try some traditional Sami dishes that are prepared over the camp fire.

Northern Lights watching in the late evening if the skies are clear.

Night at Jokkmokk guesthouse.

Day 3: Moose & reindeer watching in the wild

On this day we would like 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 with the snowy landscape as a backdrop.

We stop for an outdoor lunch somewhere along the shore of a lake. If the weather is fair we spend the whole afternoon out in the snowy valley before we return to Jokkmokk for a well deserved dinner and hot drinks.

In the evening you will have another chance for Northern lights. Fill up your thermos and bring some snacks to stay warm and happy.

Night at Jokkmokk guesthouse.

Day 4: New Year’s Eve with night in cabins

We leave Jokkmokk behind and drive to Snesudden where we will stay for two nights. Thierry & Maëlle moved to Sweden and they have now built a very neat little nature camp with four wooden cabins. This is a great basecamp in the middle of nature. Thierry & Maëlle both have a great interest in the conservation of the wild and how we can live in harmony with nature. We are very happy that they lets us celebrate New Year at their brand new camp!

During the evening we will enjoy a festive New Year dinner by the wood stove in a small wooden cabin. We take turns to go outside and watch for the Northern lights that will hopefully be dancing in the sky above the camp.

You will then sleep comfortably in one of the cabins.

Day 5: Day on snowshoes exploring the wild

Wake up in your cabin and enjoy a hearty breakfast.

On this day you will have the chance to explore the surrounding forests on snowshoes. Search for animal tracks and experience different types of snow. You can also walk on foot, or just relax at the camp with a good book.

We will have lunch in a tent and dinner at the camp.

Day 6: Wake up in the wild, then departure

We enjoy another slow breakfast in the cabin before we say our good bye's to Thierry & Maëlle and begin our journey back to civilisation.

Time has come to leave Sápmi and Lapland for this time. We will take you to Luleå for your afternoon train or flight.

Would you like to stay some extra days? You can always book a few extra nights in Luleå. We can recommend a good place. Or we can drop you at the famous Tree Hotel in Harads which is along the way to Luleå.

WHAT'S INCLUDED?

  • Tour leader

  • All activities

  • 5 nights accommodation

  • Full board with all meals included

  • Round-trip transportation from Luleå

ADD-ONS

  • Single room supplement 750 SEK for the three nights at the guesthouse. Note that you may still have to share cabin with another person.

  • Winter clothing can be rented at 1800 SEK for the entire trip.

  • Beverages are paid at each restaurant.

ACCOMMODATION

  • Three nights at Jokkmokk guesthouse. Choose between single, double, twin or family room. The rooms are basic but comfortable and clean with bathrooms in the corridor. These bathrooms can be used by all guests, but you can lock the door from the inside when you use it. There is also a shared sauna. This homely guesthouse was built as a home for the local hunt master nearly 100 years ago.

  • Two nights in wooden cabins out in the wild. The idea with the camp is a mix of wellness, downsizing and adventure. There is no electricity or running water. The camp consists of four guest cabins, two wood heated saunas equipped with a rustic showers, two dry-toilets and one common house. Each guest cabin has a double/twin bed for two persons. If you are traveling solo you can choose to have your own cabin. If you are traveling as a family or group of friends two more persons can sleep on a sofa-bed. You are welcome to spend time in the common house whenever you want, to play games, enjoy a warm drink, read or just relax. Meals will be served in the common house. In each cabin, there is a wood-stove that you have to manage yourself. But we will of course help you out if you need. Don’t worry, generally our guests are even too hot. The cabins is lit up by candles. Some of the buildings are also equipped with dynamo lights.

FOR WHO?

Recommended minimum age is 10 years. Participants should be able to walk in uneven terrain without difficulties. Walking level is easy/medium. You don't have to ski or snowshoe, that is just an optional activity on one of the days.

SMALL GROUPS FOR A MORE GENUINE EXPERIENCE

Maximum 7 participants with one guide. With two guides we may take up to 14 participants.

LOCATION & HOW TO GET HERE

We meet up in Luleå at 11am on day 1. On the last day of the tour you can take a flight or train at any time after 15:30, since we will in Luleå at 14:30 at the latest.

By air: Fly via Stockholm Arlanda (ARN) to Luleå (LLA). From Luleå airport you can take a shuttle bus or taxi (20 minutes) to Hotel Arctic which is next to Luleå train station. Note that since the tour begins at 11am you may need to fly to Luleå one day earlier and stay at a hotel, or make a night's stopover in Stockholm and take a morning flight to Luleå.

By train: You can also take the Arctic Circle train from Stockholm or Arlanda airport to Luleå. When you arrive in Luleå you just walk 200 meters to Hotel Arctic which is where we meet up for the tour. If you arrive in the morning you can have breakfast at the hotel free of charge, before we meet up for the tour. The train ride is about 13 hours and you can choose to travel in daytime or overnight. This may sound like a long way to travel, but it is a great trip and a good start of your adventure. Train travel is also much better for the environment. The train has a restaurant with basic meals, snacks and drinks. If you are unsure you can travel by train in one direction and fly in the other direction. Purchase your train tickets online at www.sj.se. The cost of the train ticket depends on which comfort you choose. The approximate rate for a bunk bed in a shared 6-bed compartment is about 2500 SEK for a return ticket if you book a month in advance. 3-bed compartment or private compartment are also available. Let me know if you need any advise. Note that the tickets for these trains are not released until about 3 months prior to departure. Before the tickets are released it may look as if everything is sold out.

BOOKINGS & CANCELLATIONS

Our booking procedure is simple. Just pick a date and fill in the form. You pay a 20% deposit at the time of booking and the rest 45 days before you arrive.

We will manually review your booking to make sure that we still have availability. If everything is okay we will send you a confirmation by email within 24 hours. Until your booking is confirmed no payment or charges will be applied, and credit card details are held for security purposes only.

  • You may cancel your tour at no cost up to 7 days from the time of booking. We will provide a 100% refund.

  • Cancellations between 8 days from the time of booking and 46 days before arrival will be charged at 25% of the booking’s total amount.

  • Cancellations between 45 days and 15 days before arrival will be charged at 75% of the booking’s total amount.

  • Cancellations within 14 days of arrival will be charged at 100% of the booking’s total amount.