Confuse Sweden with Switzerland, and you’re likely to elicit the ire of a normally calm and stoic Swede. Despite their similar population sizes and confusing affinities for neutrality while yet still holding substantial caches of global arms (both are in the top five arms exporters per capita), Sweden and Switzerland are actually quite different places with people and locales so unlike one another it’s almost unimaginable that anyone might mix up the two. In fact, ask any Swede and he’s likely to quickly point out that only one of the countries (Sweden to be clear) has its own language, over 200 thousand miles of coastline, three World Cup medals, an accomplished and prolific music industry and 31 Nobel laureates. It’s no doubt that Sweden is a great place with a lot to offer. You’ve probably heard of Stockholm and Gothenburg and maybe even Malmö, but to experience even more of Sweden’s unique beauty, consider visiting this far-flung but totally amazing place during your next vacation:
The northernmost city in Sweden, Kiruna is high in the Arctic Circle in a part of the country known as Lapland. The area boasts Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise, nearly 18,000 residents and an ore mine that’s provided jobs since the turn of the 20th century. Mining is such an integral way of life for Kiruna that even emerging, dangerous cracks in the earth’s surface due to mining activity have not dissuaded residents to give up mining as a way of life. Instead, many area inhabitants and even some of Kiruna’s historic buildings are being relocated two miles to the east atop more stable land. Over the next twenty years, more than 6,000 Kiruna residents will choose to either accept payment from LKAB, the company which owns the mine, and move across town to New Kiruna or out of the area altogether. To date, nearly 95% of residents have chosen to stay, underscoring the appeal the area has for its inhabitants.
Besides mining, tourism is the biggest draw to Kiruna. Visitors can learn about and meet the indigenous Sami people, tour the mine, the Abisko Scientific Research Station and the Institute of Space Physics. And depending on the time of year, you can enjoy local landmarks like Abisko Natural Park and Kebnekaise Mountain, as well as multiple local hiking trails, lakes and rivers either via hiking under a midnight sun or skiing, dog sledding and snowmobiling in the snow. Indeed, a trip during the winter is most recommended, as this is when you might see the lights of the aurora borealis.
If this sounds like a destination for you, don’t let an unused timeshare or other unwanted obligation hold you back. Contact Step Zero so you can travel when you want and where you want with your imagination as your only limitation!