Hiking in Swedish Lapponia, among reindeer, cloudberries and sauna

lapplandIn 2009 I had a knee surgery in May and in August I went with a friend to hike in Swedish mountains for ten days of hiking. We packed backpacks, took my orange tent and took off. We took a night train from Stockholm, went to Kiruna and then a bus to Nikkaloukta, where the adventure began. And we started our hike on the Kings trail, Kungsleden, going to Abisko.


Even if the night arrives late in Sweden, even in the end of the summer, it was already dark when we put up the tent.

The first afternoon was nice and easy. We walked fron Nikkaloukta to a boat that took us across a lake that shortened our hiking by about 9 km.It was good, since it was getting late. And we had a very nice reindeer burger aswe were waiting for the boat. Pretty good statr, if you ask me.

After the boat trip there was still some hiking left and we got to Kebnekeise tourist cottage in the evening. We chose to pass it and seek a place for our tent a bit further. That’s because we wanted to shorten the next day’s trip as much as possible. It was already dark when we finally put up the tent.


View of the mountains the first morning, life is beautiful.


Fluffy flowers on the way

västra leden

The western trail to the top of Kebnekeise, highest mountain in Sweden, we chose the longer, but easier southern trail

The morning was beautiful and we woke up with a very nice view of the mountains. Time for an adventure. We decided to get to Krberkeise’s top this day. As the trail went on we passed beautiful flowers, nice views and another trail leading to the top passing over the glacier. The Western trail is more advanced then the southern. Even if it’s shorter they recomend to take it with a guide, so we chose the longer and easier southern trail

Getting to Kebnekeise we passed ice cold creek, another top and the Coffee Valley. It’s called so, because almost everyone chooses to stop there for coffee break. We even had our luch there. And finally we were on our way up. And the weather turned from very nice to very unnice. The rain started to fall and as we were getting closer to the top-cottage, a cottage quite near the top, we saw almost nothing. We continued few more minutes until er got to the snow and we decided to turn back. Sometimes you have to, and when you can’t see your own feet, it’s such a time.


Crossing an ice cold creek on the way to Kebnekaise


On the way to the top, the weather is turning, this doesn’t look good


Not far from the top, too bad we had to turn back, but the weather made us to

When we were half way down, the weather got better again. That’s typical. Should we turn? We still had a long way back to the camp, back to our tent. So we continued down. Back across the freezing creek, passing by the flower fields and other wanderers on their way. And when we fot to the tent it was getting late. Though luck.


On the way down from Kebnekaise, more than six hours hiking ahead of us

Next day

Next day, better weather


The lake is like a mirror

The next day was beautiful morning and we were tempted to make another try on Kebne. Tempted, but we skipped it. We had a train from Abisko to make and the plan was to go to Singi, Sälka, Nalo, and few other stops on the way and finally to Abisko just in time to catch the train. No delays were planned, so no Kebne this time. Too bad.

We started off early and we hiked for a while. Then the rain started and stopped just in time when we tokk out the rain gear. And started again. And stopped again. And so it would continue for the rest of the week. We saw several reindeer, some of them pretty close. The way was wide and pretty boring. Then we came to Singhi cottages and passed them. At that time the clouds were really dark and the rain was there as well.


We had reindeer as company

We stayed by a simple overnight cottage about half way between the Singhi and Sälkas cottages. Why not inside? Well, the shed was already taken by two spanish girls. And we had a great tent afterall. In the morning the sum came out, so we dried our stuff and continued to Sälkas cottages. This place was important for my friend, since it had sauna and she really wanted to get there on time. And we did. There were quite a few people and it was way too cold. It was not impressive, but quite nice to get warm and clean. A shower after the sauna is a nice thing, especially when you are out in wilderness.


The most beautiful place, Nalo, looks like a picture, look how small the cottages look like.


r Me at Nalo

The very next day was not as sunny, but quite ok as well. We trekked to Nalo resting point. We went passed a field with plenty of clodberries and we ate quite a few. It must have been funny to see us picking the cloudberries with huge backpacks on our backs. The way to Nalo was quite easy and very beautiful, but quite long. We made it by the evening and stayed in our orange tent by a creek.


Hiking on, it’s time to continue


Nalo from behind

In the morning we decided to choose a different way than planned. We picked some cloudberries on the way and we rouded the Nalo mountain from a different side. We passed an area where a glacier had fallen downfrom the mountain. The climate is changing, that’s for sure.

We went on and we came to a hostile place in a valley with cold mountains around, with rocks and wet area. We hardly could find a good place for the tent, but we did. We were thinking about going on, but the dark stopped us. Lucky us.


The cludberries are sweet, good, many and quite unique


The mountains are big, respect giving and magical

moon landscape

We chose to stay in a Valley, not knowing what is in front of us


Moon landscape by a long lake, a few hours on loose stones, though walking, but we made it

The very next day we continued. We went up a slope and came to a lake. It was a moonlike landscape, where the way went next to a lake. The side of the slope was leaning and was covered with small loose stones and a little bigger rocks. It was a hell to try to walk on the moving ground and it took aout four hours to pass a couple of kilometers. Welcome to hell. Very beautiful hell.

WHen we reached the end of the lake we rested just a short while and the we ran to the next cottage, Arvidsjaure. It had a sauna, so we wanted to make it on time. I didn’t care, but my Finnish friend thinks that sauna is very important.


Nice and cool flower

AT Arvidsjaure we picked some blueberries after the sauna. Very good blueberries. And after that it was just two more nights before we came to train in Abisko and went home. Higher up in the mountains we saw thr first snow. And it still was early in August.


Laponian lake, this picture is taken during another trip in May 2010


Lapporten, the Lapponian Gate, a great mountain in Lapponia, May 2010

Another time I was in the area wad in May/June in 2010 and it was still plenty of snow. Very beautiful, but cold. Summers up here can be warm, but are very short. And summertime there are plenty of mosquitos. And they are huge. Wintertime it’s dark 24/7 and you can see Northern Lights, Aurora Borealis. And summertime there are sunshine 24/7. This is a very special place, very beautiful and very different, quite hostile as well.

The Lapponian area became a world heritage site in 1996. Link to the site: Lapponian area.

My grade for this site is four out of five. I was going to give it five, but the dark wintertime and mosquitos in summer are minus.



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4 thoughts on “Hiking in Swedish Lapponia, among reindeer, cloudberries and sauna

  1. The scenery is very beautiful, and I like reading about the other details, the flowers and cloudberries and saunas. It sounds a great place to walk and climb.

  2. Which national park is this Nalo located?

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