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Sarek national park
Sarek National Park in Swedish Lapland
Photo credit: Anders Ekholm/Folio/

True adventure in Laponia

If you’re looking to get away from it all, there’s no better place than Laponia in Swedish Lapland, where you can experience vast expanses of nature, the Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun. Head north to experience Sweden’s Arctic region and a well-preserved way of life in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The northern region of Laponia traverses several northern countries but is mainly associated with Sweden and Finland. Laponia is sometimes referred to as Europe's last wilderness, but it's anything but. Old hearths and settlements show that the Sámi have lived in these lands since prehistoric times.

The Sámi are indigenous people with a long tradition of herding reindeer. They have their own language, culture and customs. The Sámi call this area Sápmi, and every brook, forest, cliff, hill, lake and river has a name.

Laponia was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1996 to protect its important combination of unique nature and cultural values. According to UNESCO, Laponia is one of the best-preserved examples of nomadic areas in Northern Scandinavia.

Northern Lights and Midnight Sun

The dramatic landscape and climate make for memorable natural experiences, including the Northern Lights and the Midnight Sun.

It can take some effort to catch a glimpse of the magical Northern Lights, but that’s part of the excitement. The darker the skies and your surroundings, the better the conditions are for spotting this phenomenon caused by electrically-charged particles from the sun colliding with each other as they enter the earth’s atmosphere. The resulting colours of light often have a green tint and are visible in the late evening. Join a tour and head out on a husky or reindeer sleigh to enhance the Northern Lights experience. Your best chance of spotting it is from August to April.

While it can be dark all day long at the height of winter, it’s non-stop daylight in this region from around the end of May to the middle of July. Late nights get even longer when the Midnight Sun shines long past midnight.

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Naturum Laponia, Swedish Lapland

Naturum Laponia Visitor Centre is the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Photo: Ted Logart/Swedish Lapland

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Naturum Laponia, Swedish Lapland

Photo: Ted Logart/Swedish Lapland

Hiking in Swedish Lapland

Photo: Tomas Utsi/

Northern Lights

Photo: Lola Akinmade Åkerström/

Midnight Sun

Photo: Asaf Kliger/

The land of the Sámi

Photo: Asaf Kliger/

Explore the unspoilt nature of Laponia

Laponia is a sparsely populated nature area with old-growth forests, glaciers, mountains and enormous wetlands spread over 9,400 square kilometres. 95 per cent of Laponia is protected as national parks or nature reserves. Before venturing into them, it’s essential to be informed, well-equipped and prepared for nature’s elements. The Naturum Visitor Centre is a helpful place to get information and learn more about Laponia and the Sámi way of life.

The climate in this region is extreme, with temperatures as low as -40°C in the winter and up to +30°C in the summer. The Sámi have divided their year into eight seasons, according to changes in nature and the reindeer’s life cycle. For example, the migratory birds return in the spring-summer and reindeer herds begin moving to the summer grazing land. In the autumn-winter season, the first snow arrives.

Late summer and early autumn, when the mosquitoes have settled down and the berries and mushrooms are ready for picking, is the best time to hike. In the winter – the longest season – skiers can glide over the iced-over wetlands and warm up in winter cabins.

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Sarek National Park

There are 30 national parks in Sweden, one of them being Sarek with magnificent mountain ranges, glaciers and wild rapids. One of the main attractions of Sarek is the majestic Rapa Valley where one has the chance of seeing scenery as well as bears and moose.

Photo: Fredrik Schlyter/

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Sarek National Park

Photo: Fredrik Schlyter/

Muddus National Park

Photo: Elin-Anna Labba/Laponiatjuottjudus

Stora Sjöfallet National Park

Photo: Hans-Olof Utsi/ Hans-Olof Utsi/

Padjelanta National Park

Photo: Hans-Olof Utsi/

The national parks of Laponia

There are four national parks in Laponia: Sarek, Muddus/Muttos, Stora Sjöfallet/Stuor Muorkke park and Padjelanda/Badjelánnda.

Sarek National Park 

A living Sámi cultural landscape, the Sarek National Park has mountains higher than 2,000 metres and almost 100 glaciers. The park is void of any comfortable accommodations or hotels, so come prepared to pitch your tent or stay on the outskirts of the park at night.


Muddus or Muttos National Park forms the eastern part of Laponia. Established in 1942, this park is ideal for day trips or longer overnight camping visits, with its summer trail system of approximately 50 kilometres.

Stora Sjöfallet 

There’s more varied mountain landscape and glaciers in the Stora Sjöfallet/Stuor Muorkke National Park, including the massif of Áhkká, with its 13 summits and 10 glaciers. It is also the park’s highest point at 2,015 metres above sea level. The park, which includes part of The King’s Trail, was inaugurated back in 1909.


Reindeer have been migrating to the Padjelanta/Badjelánda National Park for thousands of years and are still attracted to the wide-open pastures. The Badjelánnda Trail is easy to hike and follows dry ridges and plateaus created by the inland ice cap.

Practical information before your trip to Laponia