Padjelanta, Sarek, Stora Sjöfallet and Muddus – names to delight the ear of a true hiker. These four national parks, together with the Sjaunja and Stubba nature reserves, constitute the Laponia World Heritage Site. The area is three times as large as the Swedish island of Gotland.
The western part of Laponia, Padjelanta, is a rolling mountain plateau with large lakes. The unique plant life here makes Padjelanta popular among botanists. The central part, Sarek, has around a hundred high summits. Several of them have glaciers, while deep valleys and fast-flowing streams meander between the mountains. Northern and eastern Laponia have lowland peaks, wetlands and primeval forests.
Hiking trails and mountain cabins surround Sarek, while the Padjelanta trail can be found in the west and south. Kungsleden passes along the eastern edge, and continues northwards towards the Kebnekaise range. The primeval forests of Muddus with pine trees, spruce and birch also contain several marked trails.
If you want to ramble more freely, you should make your way into Sarek, usually known as Europe’s largest wilderness. Hiking in Sarek requires experience. This is because there are no marked trails, no accommodation, and no facilities that make life easy for hikers. In contrast, Padjelanta has a marked summer trail and overnight cabins.
Reindeer husbandry is carried out throughout the region, and visitors must show respect for this.