Luleå: 8 winter must-dos in Sweden's far north
The Local · 14 Jan 2016, 11:38
Published: 23 Nov 2015 09:38 GMT+01:00
Updated: 14 Jan 2016 11:38 GMT+01:00
1. Walk on water
Photo: Karl-William Sandström/Visit Luleå
It may sound cliché, but why not be your own miracle this Christmas season? Up in Luleå nothing is done half-way. When the waters freeze over the ice can be over a metre thick.
And that presents opportunities. For ice skating, you might say? Indeed, but the people of Luleå get even more creative. The annual Ice Trail is the coolest place in town for walking, sledding, biking, and more.
2. Dog sledding
There's nothing like being at one with nature out in the wilderness to make you feel like a true Swede. But that doesn't mean you have to do it alone. In fact, joining a pack makes it ten times better.
Dog sledding is a popular tourist activity, but no less of a classic for that. Get to know your own team of dogs and you'll be dashing through the snow in no time.
3. Take me to church
Photo: Anders Alm/Visit Luleå
These days, Swedes may be a mostly secular people, but they also have a passion for preserving their heritage. Take Gammelstad, for example. The church town is celebrating 20 years as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and with its 424 wooden houses and 15th-century stone church, it makes for a truly unique historical experience.
And don't miss the rest of the Hägnan Open-Air Museum while you're there - it's a treasure trove of Norrland culture, with activities and events all year round.
4. Pack Ice snowmobile safari
Photo: Graeme Richardson/Visit Luleå
Sure, Stockholm gets all the attention in the summer. But up north everyone knows that archipelagos are made to be explored year-round.
The best way to experience the stunning Luleå Archipelago is by snowmobile. A guide will take you all the way out to the island of Brändöskär, an idyllic fishing village with a chapel from 1774 - but the main attraction might be zooming out to the majestic fields of pack ice on the edge of the frozen Bothnian bay.
The formations -- which can reach up to 10 metres high -- are breathtaking. You'll also get a chance to go ice-fishing, and savor fresh food cooked over an open fire making for a daytrip worth remembering.
5. Jopikgården Hotel
Of course, if ice-fishing isn't your thing you can always take the cosy route, opting for a laidback stay at Jopikgården. You still get the flavour of the archipelago, but without the hard winter work. The charming family hotel is brimming with traditional Swedish decor and old-fashioned hospitality - and it's renowned for its fine dining and local cuisine. Waffles, anyone?
6. Ice Music
Starting to see a trend here? If Luleå does anything well, it's everything ice. You don't have to be a Disney sorceress to create stunning melodies on instruments of ice – Swedish musicians do it every year.
The Ice Music concerts are played entirely on instruments made of ice in a giant igloo big enough to hold more than 150 spectators – if that's not something to write home about, we don't know what is.
7. Get sporty
Photo: Fredrik Sundvall
More game for a game? Whether you like to see balls bouncing or pucks flying, Luleå’s got something for get any sports fan cheering. The town is home to four top-level ice hockey and basketball teams – each drawing crowds that make for an unforgettable experience.
8. Taste the Arctic
Photo: Ulrica Holm
When it comes down to it, we all know that the best way to get through winter is by eating really, really good food – and plenty of it. Luckily, Luleå's got a plethora of options. Some of the best restaurants in the Nordics are here, like Hemmagastronomi. Or why not Biergo, where you can book a unique taste-testing experience and buy your own reindeer heart or moose files? Now that's a delicacy.
This article produced by The Local and sponsored by Visit Luleå.