Northern Lights Route, Scandanavia
Written by our community author Tove Irene Dahl.
The Northern Lights Route connects three nations (Norway, Sweden and Finland) along a historically rich route connecting the vibrant Arctic island city of Tromsø in the north to the bustling twin cities of Swedish Haparanda and Finnish Tornio at the mouth of the Tornio River near the Norrbotten archipelago to the south. The route slips away from the Arctic Ocean and majestic mountains and fjords on the Norwegian side and then continues along both sides of the Muonio and Tornio rivers that mark the Swedish and Finnish border and shared Lapland region. Along the way, the route cuts through a high mountain plateau, green forests, rolling hillsides and even the Arctic Circle.
The road’s two parts are connected by seven bridges that make it easy to crisscross the landscape, moving back and forth from the Swedish to the Finnish side (and time zone) in just moments. Along the way, you can explore the countries’ shared Tornio valley culture with its unique Meankiele language and traditions. Indeed, this road has been a cultural pathway connecting the native Sami, Kven, Finns, Swedes and Norwegians for generations (as written about, for example, in Solveig Torvik’s book ‘Nikolai’s Fortune’).
The region’s cultures and stories planted in this vast natural landscape share space with innovations spurred by local ingenuity and multiple institutions for higher education, making the Northern Lights Route a varied route to drive. From tiny villages along the way to the sizable urban end points of this route, there are plenty of places to stop, refuel and rejuvenate.
Chat with the locals and take advantage of the ample opportunities to sample their natural and cultural treasures that that are there for those who look for them. From one end to the next you’ll discover considerable variety and discover peaceful borderlands where it is easy to find welcoming people who take time to speak English with visitors who show an interest in the region and its fascinating people.