There are more to the Swedish car industry than Volvo, Saab and Koenigsegg. This other side can be found in the north in Arvidsjaur and neighbouring Arjeplog. During the winter months this is home to several of the major car manufacturers when they test their cars in the winter environment.
When cars do not reside in the town, around 4 500 inhabitants do. The town is located in the southern half of Swedish Lapland and is a perfect base for exploring the area.
A Short History
The first chapel was built in Arvidsjaur around 1560 and it was also a part of the many church and market places established in the beginning of the 17th century in Swedish Lapland. These were established so that the state would have better control over the trade and the people living here. The chapel in Arvidsjaur was accompanied by a church in 1607. This also meant the creation of a church town for the region’s Sami people as they were required to visit the church twice a year. As the Sami people were nomads, the church town acted as their home during the times they visited the church.
At the beginning of the 20th century there were still less than 400 people living in Arvidsjaur. It was about this time that the current church in the town was built. The population development of Arvidsjaur increased up until the 1990’s, after which it has stagnated. If you think that the name of the town looks rather special, it is because it stems from the Ume Sámi word árviesjávrrie. The Sámi languages are Uralic, meaning that they have little in common with Indo-European languages.
Things to Do and See
This small town is rather cosy. Here we list some of the most interesting places to visit in Arvidsjaur.
Lappstaden is the church town of Arvidsjaur. This is where the nomadic Sami people built the goahtis they used during the two occasions each year that they were required to visit the church. Right next to the goathis the settlers built their own church cabins. Lappstaden was moved to its current location in the beginning of the 19th century. Although the settlers’ cabins have made way for the modern town, the goahtis of the Sami people still stand and they are one of the main sights of Arvidsjaur.
Arvidsjaur’s local heritage organisation and museum can be found at Gamla Prästgården, the Old Manse. This is the spot, on the outskirt of town, where the first church and church town from the 17th century were located. This is the place for those who want to learn more about the local history.
Winter in Arvidsjaur
Winter is probably the main season for the town. This is when much happens. There is the possibility to driving on ice, ice fishing on the lakes, dog sledging, driving snow scooters, and so much more. There is of course also the possibility of skiing, either at the ski tracks around Arvidsjaur or down hill skiing at Prästberget.
There is no better way to enjoy nature than walking out to explore it. There are several hiking trails around Arvidsjaur to explore and even more non-marked trails for the more experienced.
How to get to Arvidsjaur
Flights: Arvidsjaur Airport (AJR) is located 12 kilometers from the center. It connects the area with the Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (ARN) for connections around the globe.
Car: Arvidsjaur is located along the E45 between Jokkmokk and Sorsele and along road 95 between Arjeplog and Skellefteå.
Train: Inlandsbanan is the only train route stopping in Arvidsjaur.
Bus: There are regional buses connecting Arvidsjaur with the surrounding area.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
Stockholm – 863 kilometers (9 h 56 min) Gothenburg – 1211 kilometers (14 h 24 min) Malmö – 1471 kilometers (16 h 24 min) Linköping – 1057 kilometers (11 h 42 min) Kiruna – 369 kilometers (4 h 42 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden