The emerging Lulea Archipelago on the Eastern side of Swedish Lapland offers a choice of some fantastic places to stay and a wide choice of spectacular Northern Lights activities.
Lulea is the largest town in Swedish Lapland which is an advantage as it is served by many more flights than the more popular but isolated town of Kiruna. This means it is easier to get to it from a wider range of locations. Although there are no direct flights there are around 10 flights from Stockholm each day so you can connect through from all over Europe and the USA with ease.
Lulea has an upbeat contemporary feel driven by the fact it is a university town. It has a number of excellent hotels and restaurants and makes for an inexpensive way to get away for a long weekend of Aurora Hunting.
Staying in either the Clarion Sense or the Elite Hotel with a host of wonderful arctic experiences, like husky sledding and snowmobiling, combined with great opportunities to see the Northern Lights included makes for a fabulous Northern Lights weekend break.
See our suggested Aurora Break staying in Lulea Town
The Lulea Archipelago, 30 minutes away from Lulea Airport, is a part of the Gulf of Bothnia separating Sweden from Finland and is characterised by the bracken water brought to the sea from the mountains of Swedish Lapland. This mix of fresh and seawater freezes totally in winter creating amazing open landscapes for exploring. It is possible to journey out in some places over 30 kilometres across frozen seas to some of the remote islands. Some of the best snowmobile trips in Sweden take place on this frozen expanse.
If this is of interest then the two places you should consider staying at are Pine Bay lodge and Brandon Lodge, both situated at the edge of the frozen sea. Run by one of our most respected partners, Goran Widen, Pine Bay lodge comprises a 7-bed lodge with a deluxe annexe while Brandon Lodge has cabins and a central log restaurant and bar.
Autumn Tree Hotel and Aurora Retreats would be our suggested break for staying at Brandon Lodge.
Northern Lights activities consist of photography workshops with a photographic professional to amazing night time activities on the frozen seas in the Archipelago. Two flagship Northern Lights experiences are the Dinner on Ice product which is used extensively for special occasion guests looking for a flagship event to base their celebration around. This combined with Pine Bay lodge as an exclusive base is hard to beat for your Northern Lights Trip.
For the more intrepid Northern Lights hunter, you can combine this with a night in a cosy yurt positioned on the frozen ice. This unique experience is magical for 2 people celebrating anything from a proposal to a big birthday!
Finally, a new experience is spending an evening with an astronomer who has high spec telescopes, to learn about the planets, galaxies and stars and get a zoomed-in perspective on the Northern Lights.
Inland from the coast and about an hour away lies the iconic TreeHotel run by Kent and Britta Lindvall. The vision and execution of this unique hotel is quite inspiring and is worth a visit. With only 7 rooms with names as quirky as the Mirror Cube, UFO, Birds nest and DragonFly, the Tree Hotel continues to attract media, architects & designers from around the world intrigued by this unique idea.
A night at the Tree Hotel is a special experience and if the Northern Lights are out the sight of the treehouses framed by the Northern Lights is quite dramatic. Seeing the Northern Lights reflecting out from the Mirror Cube, in particular, is quite special.
See our full range of Tree Hotel Aurora Breaks
The Tree Hotel has its own Northern Lights activities including its wilderness Tepee dinner, Northern Lights snowmobiling adventures at night and minibus aurora chase. In autumn you are able to do your own self-guided Northern Lights hunt and can be pointed in the right direction of great spots to view them from.
Moving further inland you enter the Rane River valley area which is the typical tree-lined river valley in Autumn which then freezes up for the winter months. This is one of the most picturesque areas of Swedish Lapland and home to a few smaller and authentic places to stay.
A top recommendation would be the luxurious cabins at the Arctic Retreat, a small encampment of luxury log cabins deep in the valley on a picturesque bend in the river. This ‘get away from it all’ location is the perfect place to relax and do more sedate Northern Lights activities. Photography, guided evening snowshoe walks & relaxing with a glass of champagne in your private hot tub all make for special memories whilst hunting for the Northern Lights.
Our recommended break staying at the Arctic Retreat.
Sapmi Nature Camp
Beyond the Rane river valley, you go ‘off the beaten track’ as you head west. There are smaller places to stay along this route including the Outpost lodge and the totally authentic and unique Sapmi nature camp situated on the edge of the immense and beautiful Lapponia National Park.
Inspired by the indigenous Sami people this camp is in fact Lavvu’s (tepees) and is run by Lennart Pittja whose family have herded reindeer in this vast expanse for centuries. If you are seeking an authentic introduction to Sami culture then this is unbeatable.
There is nothing touristy about this – Lennart absolutely wants you to understand the history and also contemporary lifestyles of his people.
Activities are less planned but range from Ice Fishing to cross country skiing and of course, visiting the reindeer herd if they are grazing within range.
In this open expanse you don’t need to go aurora hunting as the vistas are so vast. With the Northern Lights above camp you have one of the most evocative images of the auroras.
See our FULL range of Northern Lights breaks in Sweden