Jämtland may be less well-known than the region of Lapland to the north, but the delights of its mountain world and the range of outdoor activities available are no less impressive.
The dramatic mountains and vast wilderness areas of Swedish Lapland in the far north of Sweden are justly famous as a winter adventure holiday destination (though the marvellous opportunities for summer activities such as Hiking on the King’s Trail are less well-known). But the county of Jämtland, bordering Lapland to the north and Norway to the west, also offers winter and summer possibilities to rival the majesty and excitement of its northern cousin.
It is true that the small town of Åre in Jämtland is one of Sweden’s premier destinations for downhill skiing and regularly hosts international ski events, and that the Åre area is also acquiring a name in MTB circles as a centre for mountain biking in summer. But for those interested in winter pursuits away from the hustle and bustle of the pistes, Jämtland is also a superb area for dog sledding, ski touring, snowshoeing or a traditional winter log cabin holiday. From the imposing bulk of Helags to the silent forests of mountain birch, Jämtland’s mountain magic remains largely undiscovered by visitors from overseas.
While rather smaller than Swedish Lapland, Jämtland nevertheless covers a huge area and is very sparsely populated – the sense of scale when travelling through the area is an exhilarating lift to the senses. It measures approximately 315 km from north to south and 250km from east to west. Total area is around 34000 square kilometres, about the size of Ireland, which represents 8.3% of Sweden’s land area, yet Jämtland has a population of just 113 000, just over 1% of the country’s total. The majority of the population is concentrated in the county capital of Östersund. Almost the entire county is a highland region, with the highest peak on the Swedish side being Storsylen at 1728m.
Lying south of the Arctic Circle, Jämtland may not be able to offer the added attraction of such good chances to see the Northern Lights compared to more northerly alternatives (though displays of the Aurora Borealis do occur in Jämtland, the chances of a strong display are more likely further north). But it is able to offer other advantages, not the least of which is that travel to the area is often considerably more affordable. Trains provide a convenient and cost-effective alternative to taking a domestic flight.
For example, clients travelling to our Dog Sledding and Winter Bushcraft experience can step off the plane at Arlanda airport in Stockholm, walk to the train station below the airport building and take a direct train to be in Bräcke just 4.5 hours later, from where transfer to the cabin is included.
Fly to Trondheim in Norway and you can be in Undersåker in just over 2 hours, the jump-off point for the quiet beauty of the Vålådalen Nature Reserve, a marvellous area for extended ski touring and snowshoeing tours. One stop further down the line lies Järpen, the destination station for many of our dog sledding holidays in the area.
Jämtland’s mountain wilderness is waiting to be discovered – take a look at our interactive map of Sweden, find out where it is and start planning your adventure!
The Nature Travels Team