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Wild Sweden

DETAILS

Celebrate Christmas in Winter Wonderland, far away from home. Hang out with reindeer, watch for moose, meet Sami people and photograph the spectacular Northern Lights. We can't speak enough about the idea of spending Christmas Day in a luxury tented camp far out in the wilderness! We will avoid tourist attractions like ice hotels and Santa theme parks, places which see busloads of tourists each day. Instead, we want you to experience a more real side of Lapland, in small groups with local guides, away from the crowds.

We adore being outdoors in pure wilderness, in remote areas away from the whole Christmas thing. Here we can enjoy nature at a slow pace. Imagine yourself standing on a frozen lake with a cup of hot chocolate while watching the Northern Lights dance in the sky above. Each evening holds an opportunity to watch for Northern lights. As long as the sky is clear, we will venture out and look out. 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. During winter, moose and their much smaller cousins, reindeer, gather in the valleys in search of food. This gives us an opportunity to get close to and photograph some of these fascinating animals in a snowy setting.

Known as Lapland, the native name of this area is actually Sapmi. The indigenous Samis inhabit the region of Sapmi, which today encompasses parts of northern Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Kola peninsula of Russia. During this tour, you will meet with Samis to learn about them and get an understanding of their unique culture and traditions. In order to stay warm in a cold climate, we will make sure you are well equipped so that you will be totally comfortable during the entire week. We provide high quality winter clothing that we pick up and try on on the first day. During the coldest period in December and January temperatures are usually between -10 C to -20 C, but may occasionally drop as low as -30 C. However, you will be well equipped so there is no need to worry! Since we provide professional equipment, cold temperatures have never been a problem for our guests.

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ACTIVITY LEVEL
Difficult
OPERATOR

Wild Sweden

Itinerary

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Meet and greet with your guide in Luleå for a welcome lunch with your fellow travelers. We then have a two hours drive that will take us across the Arctic circle and into the heart of Swedish Lapland. Jokkmokk is a small northern outpost town which will act as a base for our excursions. Its 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 Sami community. As we arrive at our hotel we sit down for a proper introduction over a coffee in the restaurant. Take some time to arrive at your own pace. In the afternoon you will have the chance to visit the Ajtte museum, to give you a good introduction to the Sami culture as well as to the Arctic nature. Or explore Jokkmokk and some of the local handicraft shops on your own. We'll enjoy dinner at the hotel, 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 Hotel Akerlund in Jokkmokk.
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 all help out to prepare a bit before we are ready to take off. Seated on wooden sleds, we travel across the frozen landscape hearing only the breathing of the Huskies. We stop for lunch and light a warming campfire 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 tell us. In this way, we get the chance to learn more about the Sami culture and the life as a reindeer herder first hand. We sit on skins on the floor and try some traditional Sami dishes that are prepared over the campfire. We’ll join for Northern Lights watching in the late evening if the skies are clear. Night at Hotel Akerlund in Jokkmokk.
On this day we are planning to drive through a nearby valley which is known to host not only 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 lake Saggat. If the weather is fine we spend the whole afternoon out in the snowy valley before we return to Jokkmokk for a well-deserved dinner and hot drinks. This will be a long day, but there is always a chance to go out and watch for Northern lights. Fill up your thermos and bring some snacks to stay warm and happy. Night at Hotel Akerlund in Jokkmokk.
We leave Jokkmokk behind and travel further North to visit our good friend Lennart. Lennart is Sami and we are very happy that he lets us celebrate Christmas at his tented camp! Imagine yourself standing in deep snow under the Northen Lights and then go to bed in a tent. I am aware that this may increase the expectations but I just have to mention that his camp was recently featured by National Geographic's list 21 places to stay if you care about the planet. You will see why for yourself. We enjoy a festive Christmas dinner by the fireplace 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. In either case, the illuminated tents will provide an ideal foreground for night sky photography. There will be no fireworks at all. Instead, we end this year the adventurous way, with hot drinks at the fireplace by at the frozen lake. You will then sleep comfortably in one of the tents. The tents have proper beds and a heater, so it will be almost like staying at a hotel. You will be surprised how comfortable a tent can be. Toilet? Don't worry, Lennart has set up some heated 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.
Wake up in your tent and enjoy a late breakfast in the warm cabin. On this day you will have the chance to explore the surrounding forests and the frozen lake on wooden Nordic skis or snowshoes, as you prefer. Search for animal tracks and experience different types of snow. You will also have the chance to try ice fishing by drilling a hole in the ice. These activities are optional. You can also walk on foot, or just hang out at the camp. You don’t have to go anywhere, but if you choose to go for an excursion there will be a lot to see and amazing landscapes to photograph. The camp is located in Laponia, a Unesco World Heritage site. For visitors, this area is often perceived as a huge wilderness landscape. But to the Sámis this is a cultural landscape where their ancestors have herded reindeer and formed life throughout the centuries. You will see that this is Sapmi - the land of the Sami people. Lunch and dinner at the camp.
We enjoy another slow breakfast in the cabin before we say our goodbye’s to Lennart and begin our journey back to modern civilization. Time has come to leave Sapmi and Lapland for this time. We will take you to Lulea for your afternoon train or flight.
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