Once you reach Jokkmokk you have also traveled north of the Arctic Circle. This town in Northern Sweden has a history of over 400 years and is a cultural center of the Sami people. There are many signs around the town that you are in Sápmi, the cultural region of the Sami people covering a large area of northern Fennoscandia.
Jokkmokk is world famous for its annual winter market and it has four of Sweden’s National Parks next door.
A Short History
Duke Charles, later known as Charles IX of Sweden, made the decision in 1602 to establish markets in Swedish Lapland. This was to ensure the Swedish state’s presence in the remote areas of the north. Jokkmokk became one of these locations and a house for a priest, a custom house, and market stalls were built. Prior to the market, this was probably an area where the Sami people resided during the winter months. The market took first place in 1605.
It wasn’t until the 18th century that the permanent population of Jokkmokk started to increase. Settlers arrived also during the 19th century, but it took until the beginning of the 20th century before Jokkmokk had a population of around 1000.
Things to do and see
A visit to Jokkmokk cannot be complete without enjoying the magnificent nature and the local history, as well as the traditions of Sápmi. Here we share a few places and events to consider if you visit the town.
Jokkmokk Market is one of the more famous markets in Sweden. It first took place in 1605 and is today a meeting point for Sami people from all over Sápmi as well as other visitors from around the globe. At the 400-year celebration, the market had over 76.000 visitors.
The market takes place during a weekend in February and it has an average temperature of 25 degrees Celsius below zero. So be prepared for a few cold hours when exploring the stalls selling local handcraft and products. It might be a good time to try the local Souvas, a reindeer kebab.
Read more about the winter market here>>
This is the Sami center and the museum shows the history and traditions of Sápmi and the Sami people. Exhibits include traditional costumes as well as artifacts from the area. It also includes exhibitions about the surrounding area, such as the great rivers and Laponia.
Laponia – 4 National Parks
Jokkmokk is for many the starting point for exploring the Laponia area, a UNESCO World Heritage consisting of four national parks. The national parks are Muddus, Padjelanta, Sarek and Stora Sjöfallet. The easiest one to access is Muddus, as it is located just a short distance to the north along a small road from Ligga Hydroelextric Power Station. The other three are located to the west, close to the Norwegian border and are famous for being remote.
Fjällträdgården – The Alpine Garden
Jokkmokk’s Fjällträdgård was established in 1995. It is a botanical garden concentrating on the plants from the mountain regions.
The Arctic Circle
As Jokkmokk is located just slightly north of the Arctic Circle, a stop at the actual circle is a must. There are rest stops both along the E45 towards Arvidsjaur and along 97 towards Voullerim with large signs marking the Arctic Circle.
How to get to Jokkmokk
- Flights: Closest airports are Luleå Airport (LLA) is located 175 kilometers away and Gällivare Lapland Airport (GEV) located 100 kilometers away. Both connects the area with the Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (ARN) for connections around the globe.
- Car: Jokkmokk is located along the E45 between Gällivare and Arvidsjaur. Road 97 connects the town with the coast in Luleå.
- Train: Inlandsbanan, a tourist train route from Kristinehamn to Gällivare have a stop in Jokkmokk. Otherwise the closest train stations are Gällivare and Murjek to where there are trains from Björkliden/Kiruna and Luleå.
- Bus: There are regional buses connecting Jokkmokk with the surrounding area.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
- Stockholm – 1017 kilometers 11 h 22 min)
- Gothenburg – 1365 kilometers (15 h 34 min)
- Malmö – 1624 kilometers (17 h 16 min)
- Linköping – 1211 kilometers (13 h 12 min)
- Kiruna – 215 kilometers (2 h 41 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden