Staying in Heart of Lapland this summer? Let us guide you though some go the activities you shouldn’t miss when visiting our region. Ready to tick of you bucket list? Let’s go!
1. Jump across the Arctic Circle
Have you ever jumped across the Arctic Circle? This is where you should do it — what a feeling! Take the bus or rent a car and drive 20 minutes north of Övertorneå to the little village Juoksengi where you find the spot for the abstract latitude marked with a huge sign and international flags waving by the side of the road. Make your best jump and don’t forget to take lots of pictures!
2. Make the longest hole-in-one in the world
Green Zone Golf Course is an outstanding and unique golf course in the golfing world. This international course is situated on the border of Finland and Sweden, surrounded by the beautiful scenery of Torne River. You have the possibility to make “the longest hole-in-one in the world” across the border on the sixth hole. The border is in the middle of the sixth green and the time difference between the countries is one hour. Given this fact, your tee shot takes an hour to hit the green. On the return you put back the lost hour. The sun is up 24 hours a day during summer, which means you can play all night long.
3. Encounter bears in the wild
This encounter is for the patient adventurer. The brown bear can weigh up to 300 kg and is a very shy animal, so be prepared to wait. Encounters with wild bears are very rare, but there is a perfect spot in the northern woodlands where they feel safe. You head out with an experienced guide to a safe shelter from where you can watch the brown bear in its wild habitat and snap some cool pictures. This close encounter makes your heart race and fill you with wonder of Mother Earth.
4. Visit a local flea market, art gallery or farm shop
A roadtrip around the area to visit flea markets, art galleries and farm shops is a given when you stay in Heart of Lapland. Galleri Lejon, is an oasis for any art lover, located in the middle of the Kalix city centre. Here you’ll find a sweet mixture of art, design items and and quirky objets with focus on recycling, ecological and local produce. At Gårdsbutik Bagarstugan, it’s almost as if time stands still. On creaking floorboards, in the most charming of bakehouses, you’ll finds loads of interior design, local produce jams, teas and other specialties.
Drive along road 99 and step into Taavolagården – a farm shop in 19th century environment with furnishings and gift shop in romantic style, flea market and a cozy café. Their pastries are a must for any sweet tooth – and we especially recommend the cinnamon buns. Continue the journey along the Torne river and stop by Pesula lantbruk and Elmers gårdsbutik. The ‘Rybsolja’ is the farm’s specialty, cultivated and produced ecologically on some of the fertile soils which are significant for the area. Meet the Hulkoff family at Butiken på landet where you’ll find a selection of unique, handpicked premium brands like Armani, Barbour and Stenströms.
5. Take a selfie at the world’s greatest view over Torne Valley
The sleek glass box sits in a slope on the mountain Luppio, surrounded by pinetrees and bare rocks, floating over the treeline. Inside you’ll find the White Guide recommended café and restaurant Utblick, which serves locally produced food with flavours inspired by the region. Pick any seat in the restaurant and we promise you a fantastic view over Sweden, Finland and Torne River — the world’s greatest view over Torne Valley! Snap a picture at the selife-spot and don’t forget to use their hashtags that you’ll find scribbled on the huge windows. Take the opportunity to explore the surroundings, hike up to the mountaintop and enjoy the panorama.
6. Shop, eat and dance at the largest market in Heart of Lapland
Pajala Marknad is the biggest market in Heart of Lapland and spans four days in the beginning of July every year. The little town welcomes 40,000 visitors that can visit the tivoli and shop for handicrafts, food, toys, clothes and much more during the weekend. A day of shopping and people-watching flows into a bubbly nightlife with live music under the golden midnight sun.
7. Sleep in an authentic underground military fortress
Forty meters deep inside a mountain hides Siknäsfortet, the last preserved underground fortress in the military defense-zone Kalixlinjen. It was built for protection during the Cold War and was in use 1950–1990. Today, the fortress is a military museum with vintage military equipment, memorabilia and one-of-a-kind army items. For the adventurous traveller, there is a possibility to stay the night underground. The authentic squad room with steel-framed bunk beds, the intimate canteen and the military surplus shop housed inside the old infirmary creates a perfect setting for an unforgettable stay.
8. Eat a Jockfallare in Jockfall
Jockfall Tourist and Conference is a scenic location on the bank of Kalix River known for being the salmon fisher’s paradise. View the gushing waterfall with its 9 meter drop and the strong torrent in the rapid below. Watch the large combative salmon as they make their way up the salmon ladder. If you lust for more activity, there are great hiking tracks and possibilities to book a small game hunting trip or fishing tour. But the best of it all is the salmon delicacy ”Jockfallare”, which the facility’s restaurant serves. Pair it with the sound of the waterfall by eating on the patio for the ultimate experience.
9. Visit Sweden’s ugliest church
Haparanda Church is a contemporary and noted creation made from cooperplate, with a black exterior and white and airy interior, designed by Bengt Larsson. This odd building is named Sweden’s ugliest church, but is still loved by many. Visit the church during summer for daily guided tours and create your own opinion of it — ugly or beautiful?
10. Catch a wild Baltic salmon from Lainio River
Experience first class salmon fishing in the vast wilderness at Camp Onka, an eco camp that was developed in 2013, deep in the forest overlooking the famous Onka home pool. The majestic Lainio River is home to the mighty wild Baltic salmon and exklusive double bank fishing. Stay at Camp Onka through an entire weekend to increase your fishing-luck and wake up to the sound of jumping salmon, chirping birds and the river’s blues.