Arvidsjaur in Swedish Lapland

Winter in Swedish Lapland

Part 1

I spend eight days in the deepest winter in Swedish Lapland, more precisely in Arvidsjaur, which is about 100 km south of the Arctic Circle. Zum deutschen Blog.

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winterly sunset near Arvidsjaur

Arvidsjaur

One day before New Year’s Eve we fly from Stuttgart to Arvidsjaur  in Swedish  Lapland. Flycar brings employees of car companies from various German airports several times a week to North Sweden, who test their (new) cars on the frozen lakes. Therefore, one also sees one or the other “erlkönig” car on the street. However, these  test tracks are absolutely secret and the population involved in them is also secretive.

Old Sami Church Town

In Arvidsjaur you also find the listed buildings of the “Forest-Sami”. These wooden huts were built for the Sami families when they gathered here for the most important Christian festivities, Some of them were for sleeping and could be well and easily heated, because of the small layout and the low roof. Others were built only for storage. The first Christian chapel was built here in the 16th century, then shortly after the first church. From here the Sami were Christianized.

old gahtie-Koten

In Arvidsjaur you also find some nice ski slopes and cross-country ski runs, all well lit until late in the evening and a nice indoor swimmingpool with waterslides.

But we are less interested in this part, because we want to enjoy  the snow and the lonely and absolutely quiet and beautiful landscape.   Although, this trip will not always be so quiet… read for yourself!

We are accommodated at Hotel  Laponia, located in the middle of Arvidsjaur.   We have a nice large room, the breakfast buffet is very good and also the small but fine à la carte selection at noon or in the evening is more than we expected at a 3* hotel.

Akkanalke National Park

After arrival, Johann Schatton, our guide here, points up to the sky and shows us  the very rare mother-of-pearl clouds, which are formed at an altitude of 20 – 28 km in the stratosphere under very specific conditions. A beautiful celestial spectacle that gives us hope that we might also be able to observe a Northern Light (Aurora Borealis) at night.

mother-of-pearl clouds

Instead of going to the hotel, Johann takes us to the nearby Akkanalke National Park.  It is deeply in snow,an ice-cold wind blows here  and the trees duck deep under the snow loads. From here we can see the clouds much better and the beginning of the sunset around 2 pm also.

view from Akkanalke

Mala

The next day, on New Year’s Eve, Johann picks us up and drives with us the approx. 50 km to the next village, Mala. This small place is so to speak the entrance to the area of the Sami, about which I have already written.

This small village is also located at a large frozen lake and also has a beautiful mountain for skiing and many groomed trails for Nordic ski. Of course, everything is illuminated until late at night.

In the ski resort Mala Hotell AB we are now dressed for our first winter pleasure.   Everyone gets a  warm and thick jumpsuit, gloves, boots, balaclava and a helmet. Why, are you wondering?

We now want to ride Snow Scooters!

let´s go, snow scooter

First of course there is a briefing, then there is a little practice in the parking lot and after that we start. But first for shopping, because Johann wants to cook on open fire with us in one of the typical wooden huts by the lake shore.

But let’s go now! On the lake sticks mark the tracks for the many snow scooters, then off we drive through the forest. Here, too, there are specially prepared  paths, even with sign posts to other villages. That’s kind of cool!

At the lonely hut near a small river a fire is quickly ignited and Johann cooks a delicious kind of goulash for us, which wrapped in bread tastes really good. In the meantime, we let ourselves be enchanted by the calmness of the landscape surrounding us and the glittering white of the snow in the already slowly setting sun.  There are even a few of the featherly mother-of-pearl clouds, but not as impressive as yesterday.

break at a wooden hut

Then, unfortunately, we must go back before it gets really dark. On the large frozen lake in Mala Johann lets us speed up! These snow scooters are really fast and that’s real fun.

golden sunset near Mala

Then we go back to the hotel in Arvirdsjaur. Some few hours remain until the end of the year. Some people spend them in the swimming pool or in the sauna.  

Last hours of the year

In the evening of  New Year’s Eve  there is  a  really good  3-course menu in the hotel followed by dancing music. What somewhat alienates us is that two security men  then  ask all families with children under the age of 18 to leave the room. Why?  The Youth Protection Law does not allow children and adolescents to listen to loud music at this time of the day.   Not even in the presence of their parents and on New Year’s Eve.

sweet desert

Something else here in Sweden is a little different from back home in Germany. Alcohol is served in the restaurant, but a waiter  is not allowed to ask if you want sone. You have to order it. And if the  waiter thinks you have had enough, then nothing more will be served to you. The staff in the restaurants have a responsibility to ensure that guests come home save.  And here, of course, the 0.0 alcohol level is law.

The fireworks we watch at midnight outside on the frozen lake directly above the road are remarkable for such a small place as  Arvidsjaur, but also quickly over.

fireworks at Arvidsjaur

We are no longer drawn to the music, because now the youth of the surrounding area appears to celebrate. We prefer to go to bed because we want to get out early. Another little adventure awaits us…

In our room there is a small kitchenette, so we always cook a nice pot of tea in the morning and take it with us in our thermos cans. This is  nice, as today we can expect a car drive over snowy and partly somewhat icy roads to the

bridge over the Storforsen river

Storforsen  waterfall

Around 8 o’clock in the morning the first red appears in the sky. Today it is cloudless and clear, so  the best condition to go there. It seems as if we are the only ones on the road this New Year’s morning, along with the first reindeer we see just behind Arvidsjaur.  

The day starts well. We admire the white landscape, all bathed in a soft light until the sun really rises.

Around noon we finally reach the entrance to the waterfall. Only few cars are here, but the small café is open and of course also the little shop.

wooden path at Storforsen

Via wooden walkways we reach the waterfall, which we can hear with its roar much earlier than we can see it.

Then we stand on the visitor´s platform. It’s actually more of a  steeper, very long rapid, but very impressive. The water of the  river  Storfosen  rages over stones, swirls and the spray  manages  to cause proper fog.   Bizarre ice figures line the edge and the stones looking out of the roaring water.

From here you can look well over the valley, due to the temperature difference a fine fog blanket has been pushed between the ground and the sky. A mystical mood is this… Few, but mostly Asian tourists are here with us. We all stroll  over the wooden walkway downstream. Again and again strongly impressed by the power of the water. Shortly before we reach the  Storfosen  Hotel we turn off and follow the walkways inland.

icy Storforsen

Here, the rocks, snow, frost and fog have created a very enchanting winter landscape. Apparently there was another arm of the river here,maybe it was cut off by falling rocks and the river has found a new berth. In any case, we look directly into a small gorge, which is now completely snowy and quiet.

Storforsen waterfall in winter

A little further on, a stage was built  over the old riverbed and many small platforms on which you can sit in the summer and splash in the small, then forming pools.

Back to Arvidsjaur

Shortly before the final darkness we are back at the car. Now we just have to go back. We take a little used sideroad. Above us, the almost complete full moon shines down on us already at 3 p.m. and so gives a little light.

We enjoy the return journey through the quiet, dark landscape.

lonely streets in Swedish Lapland

There will be some more about our winter holiday in Swedish Lapland. If you want to be part of it, subscribe to my newsletter and give me a “like” on Facebook, Instagram,  Tripadvisor  or Pinterest, where I keep posting in between.

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See you !!

view over Storforsen

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