Above the Arctic Circle, Sweden’s Lapland region unfolds with snowcapped mountains, deep forests, and vast stretches of untamed wilderness. After exploring vibrant Stockholm, fly north to Kiruna and embark on an authentic dogsledding expedition that takes you across frozen rivers and valleys blanketed in untouched snow. Feel the thrill of driving your own team of huskies from one wilderness lodge to the next, and unwind at the end of each day with wood-heated saunas and hearty meals. Along the way, discover the traditions of Lapland’s indigenous people, the Sami, and learn about their ancient reindeer herding culture. Then cap off your adventure by experiencing one of the world’s architectural marvels: the Icehotel of Jukkasjärvi, exquisitely constructed from ice and snow.
Arrive in Stockholm and transfer to our hotel, located on the charming waterfront. During time on your own, venture into Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s medieval old town, where pastel facades line cobbled alleyways and historic palaces and churches look out onto elegant squares. This evening, gather for an orientation with our trip leader followed by a welcome dinner.
First Hotel Reisen (D)
Today, we’ll be joined by a representative from National Geographic’s Global Exploration Fund-Northern Europe who will tell us about the groundbreaking projects this program supports and share insights as we explore Stockholm. At the Vasa Museum, examine a 17th-century royal warship that was much celebrated until it sank in front of crowds of onlookers on its maiden voyage in 1652. Stroll along narrow streets where regal architecture mixes with a vibrant contemporary culture.
First Hotel Reisen (B,L,D)
Fly to Sweden’s northernmost city, Kiruna, located 90 miles above the Arctic Circle. Explore this mining outpost in the heart of the Lapland region—a vast wilderness of alpine peaks, ancient forests, and pristine lakes and rivers. Lapland is home to the Sami people, who have inhabited the northern parts of Scandinavia for thousands of years. Get outfitted for our sledding adventure before heading to the village of Övre Soppero, where we’ll settle into our accommodations at a local homestead. Meet our Sami hosts and experience their way of life firsthand.
Övre Soppero Homestead (B,L,D)
Today, we’ll discover the cornerstone of Sami culture: reindeer herding. Try your hand at the art of lassoing reindeer and learn how modern-day Sami herders move their migrating herds over vast distances. Then set off on an exhilarating sled ride. Follow our reindeer teams through velvet green forests and snowcovered fields to a nearby lavu, or traditional Sami tepee, and enjoy lunch by a warming fire. Later, return to the homestead and transfer to our next destination: Väkkärä Wilderness Lodge, situated on beautiful Lake Väkkärä. Settle into our private log cabins, and relax in a wood-heated sauna—a Lapland tradition. Our remote location is ideal for viewing the aurora borealis, which provides dazzling entertainment on clear nights. (6 miles reindeer sledding, 2-3 hours)
Väkkärä Wilderness Lodge (B,L,D)
Rise early to prepare for our dogsledding adventure. Meet your team of Alaskan huskies, and learn the basics of harnesses, lines, and mushing. Then set off by sled into the heart of the Lapland wilderness. Experience the thrill of driving your own team on a trail through snow-clad forests and across frozen lakes and rivers. Keep an eye out for moose, reindeer, lynx, and other wildlife. Our destination is Sevuvuoma Lodge, a wilderness retreat situated beneath the peak of Vittangivaara. Following our first day of mushing, unwind in the lodge’s sauna and enjoy a hearty dinner. (18 miles dogsledding, 5-6 hours)
Sevuvuoma Lodge (B,L,D)
After breakfast, prepare for the next leg of our dogsledding adventure. Feed and harness our huskies, then head off on a trail where few travelers have set foot. Our journey takes us through a quiet, snow-covered landscape where the hiss of sled runners and the panting of the dogs are the only sounds. This afternoon, arrive back at the Väkkärä Wilderness Lodge. Meet a renowned reindeer herder, who will prepare a traditional Sami meal and share images and stories from his 40 years of working with reindeers. (18 miles dogsledding, 5-6 hours)
Väkkärä Wilderness Lodge (B,L,D)
Enjoy a final morning of mushing before we say goodbye to our husky teams. After lunch, transfer to nearby Jukkasjärvi and check into the Icehotel, the world’s largest hotel made solely of snow and ice. Constructed each year from some 10,000 tons of ice and 30,000 tons of snow, the Icehotel’s exquisite architecture is sourced from the Torne River. Explore this ephemeral creation of snow walls, crystal domes, and whimsical ice sculptures. After a well-deserved sauna, celebrate our adventure with a farewell dinner and a drink in the famous Icebar. Tonight, sleep in a heated room, or, if you prefer, in one of the hotel’s famous ice or snow rooms, where you will be snugly outfitted in a thermal sleeping bag. (15 miles dogsledding, 4-5 hours)
Return to Kiruna this morning and fly back to Stockholm. Take advantage of an unscheduled afternoon to explore Stockholm and enjoy dinner on your own.
First Hotel Reisen (B,L)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight home.
National Geographic Adventures are unique, active itineraries for intrepid travelers that combine spectacular places, cultural interaction, and physical challenge. You'll explore fascinating, off-the-beaten-path places with top guides, and wherever possible, meet National Geographic experts in the field.
Based in Stockholm, Camilla Hansen is the Program Officer of National Geographic’s Global Exploration Fund-Northern Europe. She has studied paleoclimatology at both Stockholm and Uppsala University and has conducted fieldwork throughout Northern Europe, the Canary Islands, and Tierra del Fuego. With nearly a decade of research in earth science, she now focuses on climate change outreach programs and educational administration.
Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room (available only in Stockholm and at the Icehotel), add $800 for 2014 and $900 in 2015. International airfare to/from Stockholm and airfare within Sweden is not included in the adventure cost. The group flight within Sweden is $750 (subject to change). Upgrade to an Ice Suite at the Icehotel for $300 per person (double occupancy) and $450 per person (single occupancy).
GROUP SIZE: 8–15
See special terms and conditions for this adventure.
While on the dogsledding expedition, we will be mushing for 4 to 6 hours per day (15 to 18 miles) on moderate to steep grades. No previous experience is necessary, although you should have good balance and the stamina to endure full days in the snow, and be willing to participate in the feeding and harnessing of the dogs. We will stay 4 nights in rustic homesteads and wilderness cabins, 3 nights in first-class hotels, and 1 night at the Icehotel, where you will have the option to sleep in the hotel’s warm or cold accommodations.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.
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