Kukkola, Norrbotten, Exploring Sweden

Kukkola, Norrbotten – Exploring Sweden

Kukkola is a small village at the shores of the Torne River a bit upstream of Haparanda. It is right next to the rapids Kukkolaforsen, with Finland directly on the other side. The rapids were earlier the main livelihood of the village but have become a tourist attraction in modern times. Kukkola has a population of around 50 inhabitants and is a part of Haparanda Municipality in Norrbotten County.

This small village should not be mixed up with the town of Kokkola in Finland. Even though the names are similar, they are quite far away from each other. A recent marketing mishap in Finnish Kokkola did, however, make the names even more similar and has been made fun of all over the internet. The first three letters of Kukkola form a rather rude word in Swedish.

A Short History of Kukkola

Farming and forestry have existed in Kukkola for centuries, but it is fishing that has been the main livelihood. The rapids of Kukkolaforsen were perfect for fishing with hand nets. The main catch was European whitefish and salmon. With the decline in salmon, the catch has been even more specialized on European whitefish.

Two water-powered mills were built in the mid-19th century. One of the mills was later used to produce electricity, making Kukkola one of the first villages in the area to be electrified.

Things to Do and See

It is the nature around the Torne River that for many is the main attraction. During Christmas time this has been a location where meetings with Santa Claus have been arranged, during the summer you will most likely mostly encounter mosquitos.


Kukkolaforsen is the rapids in the Torne River that are a part of the local scenery. It is the rapids and the Torne River that have provided for the village during its long existence. It is indeed an impressive sight when you look out over the water towards Finland on the other side.

The Fishing Museum of the Torne Valley

The Fishing Museum of the Torne Valley, or Tornedalens Fiskemuseum in Swedish, is a local museum that tells the story of local fishing with old equipment being exhibited.


Sikfesten, or the Whitefish Festival, is a celebration with its origins in the Middle Ages. It is usually held at the end of July and is a celebration that the whitefish have begun their swim upstreams.

How to Get to Kukkola

  • Flights: The closest airport is Kemi-Tornio Airport (KEM), 39 kilometers across the border on the Finnish side, which offers a few domestic flights within Finland. Other options close by are Luleå Airport (LLA) 137 kilometers away and Rovaniemi Airport (RVN) 132 kilometers further north.
  • Car: Kukkola is along road 99, between Haparanda and Övertorneå.
  • Bus: There are regional buses from Länstrafiken Norrbotten that connect Kukkola with the surrounding region.
  • Train: The closest train station is in Haparanda where Norrtåg operates trains between Boden and Haparanda.

The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:

  • Stockholm – 1035 kilometers (11 h 49 min)
  • Gothenburg – 1385 kilometers (16 h 56 min)
  • Malmö – 1643 kilometers (18 h 10 min)
  • Linköping – 1230 kilometers (14 h 2 min)
  • Kiruna – 344 kilometers (4 h 7 min)

Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden

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