We continue following the northern adventures of Angela, from our incentives team, through the incredible Swedish Lapland. If you’ve missed Part 1 about Angela’s stay at the palatial Icehotel, read here. From skiing and dog-sledding to a luxurious 10-step sauna experience, there are so many attractions in this land of ice and snow. Let’s begin our journey into Lapland!
Our group received an introduction to an immensely popular activity in northern Sweden – cross-country skiing! After a short lesson, the guide whisked us off upstream on the Torne River. Eventually, we reached Rimisaari island where they offered us traditional Swedish coffee around a fire. The landscape was scenic and some of us glimpsed reindeer in the distance. It was a fun morning out, albeit physically exhausting.
The best way to experience northern Sweden’s magnificent white hilly landscapes and ice-covered lakes is on a snowmobiles. We received a short safety briefing and we were split into pairs. Our guide took us on elevated hills with amazing views, showed us tracks in the snow by wild animals, and pointed out big holes in the frozen rivers to avoid. This is certainly not for the faint-hearted!
We stopped at a tiny wooden hut in a remote snow-covered forest. Traditional Swedish Fika was served, strong coffee and delicious sweet cakes, before we huddled into the smoke-filled wooden hut for a rustic lunch.
By the time we had thawed out inside the cosy cabin, it was time to wrap up warmly again and ride our snowmobiles back to the hotel.
A mega highlight on the itinerary! The next day, our group met a motley crew of dogs in a somewhat chaotic introductory session; the dogs were excited and restless. As soon as we headed out into the snowy forests, the dogs stopped barking and we could only hear the steady thuds of their paws on the snow. I sat back and marvelled at the picturesque woodlands.
We stopped en-route for photos, but the dogs don’t like to stand still. They are happiest when they’re running so they bark and misbehave until they are given the instruction to start running again.
Eventually, we neared a beautiful cluster of wooden chalets where we had a delicious winter’s lunch before we headed back to the hotel. It was so peaceful and quiet, the only thing we could hear on the sleds were the dogs breathing and the sound of the sled’s runners against the snow.
SWEDISH SAUNA RITUAL
Sauna has a long tradition in this region and is said to have tremendous healing effects on the body. There is absolutely nothing more Swedish than a sauna. In Sweden, saunas are everywhere – in homes, offices, factories, sports centers and hotels. As our host explained, the sauna is no place to be in a hurry. In fact, it is considered an almost sacred place: to talk, relax or rejuvenate.
A classic Swedish Sauna Ritual is the perfect way to experience Swedish Lapland. Rejuvenate your mind and body on a 3-hour sauna consisting of the following steps:
1. A hot shower
2. Heating up in the sauna
3. A cold shower with thorough scrubbing down using black tar soap
4. Return to the sauna to heat up
5. Roll outside in freshly fallen snow
6. Return to sauna to heat up, once again
7. Evening dip in a hole carved into the frozen river
8. Return to sauna to heat up again
9. Soak in outdoor heated bathtub with drinks & canapes
10. Bush whacking: gently whipping yourself with a ‘vasta’ to stimulate circulation
After the 10 steps are completed, you have experienced “Saunanjalkeinen” – a feeling of being physically and mentally clean. It’s so blissful that you will want to enjoy it again and again!
What an adventure this was – a real highlight! We headed off into the icy darkness on sleds led by snowmobiles and arrived at a roaring fire under the starry sky. The host and our chef for the night welcomed us with warm berry juice and talked about the area’s history, its fascinating culture and the local Sami tribe.
Just when we thought we were going to freeze, we headed into a warm and cozy tepee. This was the venue for a 3-course dinner, prepared on the fire by our talented host. Fine wine accompanied each traditional dish. Our journey back was lit up by the starry sky and bright moonlight as we sped through woodlands on snow-topped plains.
Ready to go?
Ready to experience the winter wonderland that is northern Sweden? Contact us to begin planning your incentives trip to snow-topped Swedish Lapland.