If you are in Sweden north of the Arctic Circle any time from May to mid-July, you may find it rather difficult to get to sleep at night – because the sun never sets! Even further south, the nights remain incredibly light, with the sun dipping reluctantly below the horizon at around 11pm, even then leaving in its wake more of a mystical half-light than real darkness, only to reappear ready for the new day at 3 o’clock the following morning.
Set amidst the vast, wild, awe-inspiring expanses of the Lapland mountain plains, the Midnight Sun is a very special phenomenon, one which each year attracts visitors from all over the world. Watching the sun descend towards the horizon, only seemingly to change its mind and climb once more into the sky, is an experience which alters our perception of what is “normal”, what is “real”. It goes against everything those who live further south think of as natural and self-evident. You may at first feel slightly unsettled as established “truths” are reassessed, but this quickly gives way to exhilaration and wonder that such a thing is possible. And that is the beauty of the Midnight Sun – its power is such that in those other-worldly night-time hours almost anything seems within reach. This is truly a magical time to be in northern Sweden!
Such extended daylight, of course, makes this time of year perfect for outdoor pursuits. It is not uncommon for the local people to come home from work and set off on a major hike into the hills, returning well after midnight. The Midnight Sun means that it is not only possible to enjoy the beautiful landscape for hour after hour, but, after a brief period of acclimatisation, visitors to the area usually find that they feel far more awake and have far more energy than usual. You may only be getting a few hours’ sleep a night, but you will awake with the birdsong, feeling refreshed and invigorated and eager to be out on the trail!
Winter will come around soon enough, and with it the welcoming darkness and a new range of pleasures. But for now it is time to revel in the unending daylight in the Land of the Midnight Sun!
The Nature Travels Team
Nature Travels offers two hiking tours in Lapland at this time of year giving you a chance to experience the wonder of the Midnight Sun. Both take place well inside the Arctic Circle. Hiking in the National Parks of Laponia is an accessible experience taking you through three National Parks in this UNESCO World Heritage area, while The Unknown Face of Sarek and the Rapa Valley Delta is an expedition into the untamed wilderness of Sarek National Park. Slightly south of the Polar Circle, but still with almost continuous daylight during the summer, we offer a number of horse riding holidays in Sweden suitable for both novice and experienced riders.