Amazing landscape covered with snow and northern lights are among the first associations that most often cross our minds, when we think about the north. But there is so much more that can be experienced 400 km south of the Arctic Circle in the summer.
Breathtaking nature with endless forests, lakes, great hiking and cycling trails, exploring wildlife and northern culture. All that is available in Umeå, a city in the north east of Sweden and its surrounding. With more than 84,700 inhabitants, Umeå is the largest city in Norrland, university town and center of education with over 39,000 students. In 2014 Umeå was the European Capital of Culture along, along with Riga in Latvia.
Europe’s first elk or moose farm is located in Bjurholm, about an hour outside Umeå. It offers a unique experience that guides you through everything there is to know about the elks. The guide makes an amazing presentation in the museum and than takes visitors outside. The elks living in nature are wild and usually prefer to stay away from people, but when raised by humans, they don´t mind human company. Elks in Sweden can be found anywhere, but it’s hard to spot them in nature, that is why the farm gives an amazing opportunity to get to know those large, powerful from so close; you are free to walk inside their fence, touch them and if you are lucky even to see and touch baby elks. After the visit you can treat yourself with local food in their restaurant and try the cheese, made from elks milk.
Holmön and Fjädrägg
An amazing archipelago that consists of islands such as Holmön and Fjäderägg really comes to life in the summer. The ferry drives to Holmön several times per day, but the best option to explore the island is to leave the car behind and either walk, or rent a bike on the island. You can also find a museum that takes you through the 600 years of history of the island, restaurant and lighthouse. But if you want a real adventure make sure to come on board of the Sloop of Holmön and sail to Fjädrägg in a traditional way.
The sailing trip takes about an hour, and you can spend the night in a hostel in the lighthouse. Besides the beautiful nature and amazing experience with sailing and staying at the lighthouse, there is also an opportunity to enjoy the animal world. The island is inhabited by several unusual species of birds and ringed seals that you can see sunbathing on the shore.
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There are a lot of lakes and great hiking trails in the area, but Tavelsjö offers a new hiking trail around the lake, also available by bike, and with its 23 km in length makes it up for an amazing experience. Along the way you can find boards with inscriptions of cultural, historical, geological and geographical characteristic of the lake.
My suggestion for a lunch would be to prepare it yourself; almost all the lakes have a possibility of an open fire, which is available for everyone. If you are skilled at fishing, you can catch your lunch at the lake by yourself, as the lake is known to be a very good fishing lake.
The organization Stiftelsen Arboretum Norr was founded through a collaboration between Umeå University, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Umeå Municipality. Arboretum Baggböle is situated only 10 km outside Umeå and it is the main out of the three arboretums in northern Sweden. There are over 2800 planted trees, bushes and vines, mostly from Scandinavian countries on the 16ha large area, situated next to Ume River. One of the purposes of the arboretum is to study which species thrive and survive at far northerly latitudes. It’s easy to spend the whole day in the arboretum, enjoy the nature, with great accessibility for everyone, observatories, places with open fire and a cafeteria.