Recently I took a 4 day trip to Lulea to see how it fit into our Swedish Lapland Holidays programme. Whilst there I got to sample the area and some new activities, also meeting our main guide Graeme who coordinated a brilliant trip, taking me from each activity and making sure I felt right at home. It was very cold when I left the plane, which made me appreciate the superb outer arctic clothing which we provide for our clients. It really is a must in such chilly climates.
For the first night I got to stay at Nordkalotten Hotel, a gorgeous lodge situated around 10 minutes’ drive from Lulea airport. Looking out of the window of my room, I felt the full impact of being away from the main town, in regards to less light pollution (good for a sighting of the Northern Lights!) It also really gave the feeling of being back to nature. The hotel itself had a very peaceful, serene feeling with both a restaurant and bar, swimming pool and gift shop. If you want to experience Lulea town, a 10 minute taxi ride will get you into the centre. There are some good restaurants to sample. I would particularly recommend Cook’s Crog for a sumptuous 3 course Lappish meal.
On day two of my trip, I got to explore a UNESCO World Heritage site – Gammelstad, a picturesque town with a 15th century church, surrounded by 400 wooden cottages.
Then travelled onto Sorbyn Lodge for a fantastic gourmet meal by Richard, who when he is not in the kitchen creating masterpieces, is also the owner and musher of a pack of pure Siberian huskies. I got to meet them after lunch and could not believe how well trained they were. Gorgeous too! If you want to meet them and experience a husky sled ride, we do currently have two breaks on offer that do this in Lulea; our Best of Lapland programme and our Tree Hotel break.
That evening was spent at the Tree Hotel Sweden where after a tour of the premises and the individually designed rooms, (UFO, Blue Cone, Mirror cube, Cabin & Bird’s Nest) another fantastic meal awaited me. It was the perfect, cosy atmosphere to find out more about Brittas and Kent the owners of the hotel. I think this is one of the things that makes Swedish Lapland stand away from other breaks – being able to meet the people directly and find out about their passion and enthusiasm for their surroundings and way of life. Not something you can achieve from staying at a corporate hotel!
The next day I travelled to Pitea harbour and spent the morning on an Ice Breaker voyage. After being kitted up with the arctic clothing, we watched the ice breaking as the boat glided through the frozen water in the Bothnia Gulf. This felt quite surreal watching the icy sea cracking as the boat passed through. Then there was the chance to put on survival suits and float next to the broken ice. This was finished off with a lovely warming soup lunch and cake. Truly a one off experience which I would definitely not have missed.
The last day of the trip was certainly not going to disappoint! I had thought after the Ice breaker activity that nothing would top this, but I was wrong. Day 4 meant a transfer to Camp Brandon and meeting Goran and his colleagues on a frozen archipelago. Half of us travelled to the Ice Wall on snowmobiles through forests and over the frozen ice, and the rest travelled by hovercraft. Having watched the snowmobiles travelling off, I was amazed to see just how fast the hovercraft zoomed over the ice. It looked about 200mph but once inside felt like 40mph. Our guide, Anders told us about the area and we almost immediately overtook the snowmobiles who had a good 30mins head start on us! The hovercraft was able to travel over both ice and rivers, making it quite a ride! We arrived before the snowmobiles for lunch. This really was the ultimate thrill and highlight which cannot be missed! After the last wonderful lunch, the teams switched round and I snowmobiled back with my guide to the starting place. We went through frozen forests and complete isolation on the ice. In the middle of nowhere, it was hard to imagine the stresses of everyday life!
Unfortunately the trip was then over, but what an experience! During my brief time in Lulea I got to feel incredibly welcome by everyone I met and left knowing I had experienced the best, unique activities imaginable. People are always asking why they should choose one tour operator over another. The answer for us is simple; we provide real experiences with real people in small groups so everything feels unique and personal.
To experience some of these wonderful excursions, please click on the below link:
Best of Lapland – Lulea, Kiruna & Abisko