Insider tip Sweden: 7 reasons why you should spend your next winter vacation in Västerbotten
A winter wonderland landscape and nobody knows it? There is no such thing. There is! An undiscovered snow paradise awaits in the Swedish province of Västerbotten. FOCUS Online reveals the coolest outdoor experiences in the region.
Skiing in the Alps is great, no question about it. But the snow-covered fells of the northern Swedish province of Västerbotten top everything that the normal German winter sports enthusiast knows from the usual ski areas. The untouched area near the Arctic Circle is roughly the same size as neighboring Denmark and offers so many spectacular activities that a week's vacation is far too short.
Best of all, international tourism has not yet discovered the region. Reason enough to discover the Lapland winter paradise.
1. Whiz through the woods on a dog sled
Surrounded by a winter landscape that looks as untouched as it is magical: the crunch of the sled and the breath of the huskies are the only things you can hear in the silence of the forest. This is how dog sledding goes in northern Sweden!
The small company "Peder Karlsson Upplevelser" offers particularly cordial and family tours in and around the town of Tärnaby: Peder and his wife Sara are five huskies, who are quickly around snow-covered fir trees and through the snow-covered hills. The "Alaskan Huskies" are much more child-friendly than their Siberian relatives, which is why vacationers can climb the runners themselves at the Karlssons. Whoever does this will feel – and enjoy – the amazing power of the blue-eyed animals.
Information and booking at www.pederkarlssonupplevelser.com.
2. With the ice ax for ice fishing
A must for every Sweden winter vacationer: ice fishing. Because the ice on what feels like 1001 lakes in Västerbotten is over a meter thick almost all year round, drilling the fishing hole can be difficult. But the unique experience in front of a spectacular winter backdrop pays off for a workout on the ice.
With a little luck – and above all patience – at the end of the day you will even have several fish in your hands that you can proudly take home. The success of the day is guaranteed – self-caught fish tastes twice as good as bought!
3. Lonely in the ski area: Ski Arena Hemavan / Tärnaby
No queues, no tourist crowds, no stress, but an entire ski area (almost) on its own – what could be nicer? The ski arena of the two neighboring towns Hemavan and Tärnaby offers all of this. The 15 drag and chair lifts take you up to 1300 meters; You can speed down the valley on a total of 49 slopes. Admittedly, there is no alpine flair and breakneck slopes like in noble Åre, but there are perfectly groomed slopes, panoramic views as far as Norway and family-friendly prices.
Tärnaby is also considered a talent pool for Swedish alpine sports: Olympic champion Ingemar Stenmark, multiple world champion Anja Pärson and slalom ace Jens Byggmark are children of the Tärnaby ski club founded in 1928.
All slopes and some lifts in the ski area are named after the stars. The next talent is already in the starting blocks: Magdalena Fjällström. As of next season, she will drive for the Swedish national team and cause a sensation, the local people are sure.
Information and ski pass at www.hemavantarnaby.se.
4. Fast rides with the snowmobile
Are you looking for the best snow experience of your life? Then give Snowmobiling a try! As with a jet ski on water, you dash across the white splendor with a snowmobile. Snowmobiling is a popular sport in Sweden: almost everyone has at least one of these high-powered companions in front of the house. The brave can whiz through the powder snow at up to 100 kilometers per hour. If you like it more leisurely, you can of course also drive slower. You can also get your money's worth at 20 kilometers per hour. It is a feeling like discovering a lonely lunar landscape that no one has entered before. Whether alone or in pairs on a snowmobile: the gas is on the right, the brake on the left – that's the only thing you need to know.
This is fun and adventure for vacationers. For many locals in winter, however, the only way to get to shopping from their remote yard.
Information and booking at www.pederkarlssonupplevelser.com and by email at [email protected]
5th Traditions, customs, myths: In the world of the Sami
In addition to winter paradise, Västerbotten is also home to an indigenous group that still lives in and with nature: the Sami, as they call themselves, the native people of Scandinavia. For centuries they lived as peaceful hunters and reindeer nomads in the harsh climate of Västerbotten. Today they are only a minority in the Swedish population.
Lars-Jonas Johansson is one of the Sami and is happy about visiting tourists. He traces old traditions with holidaymakers, explains interesting things about Sami customs, and sings a traditional joik, a kind of yodelling. Around 30 minutes by car outside Tärnaby, Johansson conducts the small one-man show "Daelvie", which means winter in Sami. "I'm not presenting Disneyland," he says. "But only the genuine way of life of my ancestors. That is important to me."
If you want, you can experience for yourself what it means to be responsible for your own dinner: with the lasso you have to hit the reindeer's antlers. Which looks a lot easier than it is in practice.
Information at www.hemavantarnaby.se/daelvie and [email protected]
If you want to learn more about Sami culture, the best thing to do is to visit Helena Nilsson in the "Trolltrumman" shop in Tärnaby. She is happy to provide insights into her private collection of wooden skis, carvings and bags made of reindeer hide that are over 100 years old.
Information at www.trolltrumman.com. Also worth seeing is the Västerbotten Museum in Umeå, the capital of the province.
6. Swedish cuisine makes meat eaters cheer
The second northernmost Swedish province is best known for its Västerbotten cheese. The spicy milk product has been maturing in the "Norrmejerier" dairy in Burträsk since the 1870s. Cheese is still made in the traditional way today. Elk meat is also very popular in the region: anyone who has not yet tried the tender venison should not miss this chance in Västerbotten! A little more exotic, but just as tasty in taste: reindeer meat.
The orange Moltje berry is the highlight of the desserts. It is pureed or eaten as a whole berry for sauces, in cakes or as fresh fruit and grows on many meadows, bogs and mosses in the province in summer.
The most important thing in Sweden is the "fika break". Whether in the morning, at noon, in the evening, in the office, while skiing or in the wild: A short, sociable coffee break always fits in with the Swedes' daily schedule.
7. Heavenly natural spectacle: polar lights
If the weather god is in a good mood, the Sweden adventure trip even ends magically – with polar lights. These often appear in the arctic sky of northern Sweden. To do this, charged particles must be released by the sun, penetrate the earth's atmosphere and collide with gaseous particles. Depending on which gas the particles hit, the formations in the sky appear yellow, green, red or even pink. "Green light, brings luck!" Is how Västerbotten is said.
In Västerbotten you can watch the mystical spectacle particularly well, because the places are remote and there is therefore hardly any disturbing, artificial light that interferes with the observation.
Those who like it simple, cozy and familiar will love the "Fjällhotell", the mountain hotel in Tärnaby: Since 2004 it has been run by the Gothenburg residents Hans-Peter and Brigitta Carlson, who moved to the tranquil Tärnaby to work less and live more , Whether you really did it with your hotel can be doubted, but you love what you do. And you can feel it. The hotel is ideal for all on-site activities: from the ski room you practically fall onto the slopes, mountains and lakes begin at the front door and the culinary delights in the "Backfischan" restaurant remain unfulfilled.
Information and booking at www.tarnabyfjallhotell.com.
Virisen Lapland restaurant
Lamb, beef, elk, reindeer, char, trout, ptarmigan, black grouse, capercaillie, berries and mushrooms: In the small farm restaurant 40 kilometers outside Tärnaby, regional products from our own farm are on the menu. The owners Thomas and Gunilla Olofsson also rent four log cabins directly on the lake shore.
Information at www.virisen.se.
Good fish and delicious desserts can be found in "Fleetwoods Matsal" in Högfjällshotell in Hemavan.
Information at www.hemavantarnaby.se
Note: The author was supported by VisitSweden in her research.