One could almost consider Porjus the hydroelectric capital of Sweden. Some of the biggest hydroelectric power stations in the country are located here in this small locality with around 260 inhabitants. With the Porjus power station next door and Harsprånget and Ligga close by, a big part of the country’s hydroelectric production takes place here.
A Short History of Porjus
For a long time Porjus had only a small permanent settlement. That was up until the beginning of the 20th century. The construction of the Porjus Hydroelectric Power Station in 1910 to 1915, one of the oldest in Sweden, also meant the establishment of a larger settlement of over 300 workers. The original makeshift houses were soon replaced by more permanent buildings as the workforce grew to almost 700. Eventually the planned dismantling of the community didn’t occur at the end of the construction. The effect of the original plans can be seen in at the nearby Harsprånget Hydroelectric Power Station where only the street layout of the makeshift houses is still visible.
The local church was established in 1928, when a crew barrack was converted into a church.
Things to do and see
Porjus might be a small place with a short history, but it is made up by large constructions and nature close by.
Porjus Old Power Station
The old power station in Porjus has partly been converted by the owner Vattenfall into a museum displaying how water power becomes electricity. It has been closed during 2020 due to the Corona pandemic.
Rallarstigen, the Navvy Path. is a hiking trail starting in Gällivare and ending at Harsprånget, going through Porjus. The 44 kilometer long trail was used in 1910 to carry the material for the construction of the power station.
The Lancaster Easy Elsie
The British bomber Easy Elsie, an Avro Lancaster Mark I, did an emergency landing outside of Porjus in 1944. It had been damaged by anti-aircraft fire during a mission in northern Norway. It was taking part in Operation Obviate, where the target was to sink the German battleship Tirpitz near Tromsø.
Laponia – Four National Parks
Porjus is the gateway to the Laponia area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site consisting of four national parks. The national parks are Muddus, Padjelanta, Sarek and Stora Sjöfallet. Muddus is probably the easiest to access, as it is located just a short distance to the east of the locality. The other three are located to the west, close to the Norwegian border and famous for being remote.
Harsprånget is a few kilometers south of Porjus along the E45. It is actually two parts. First is the Harsprånget Community, where workers lived during the construction of the nearby power station with the same name. The community was founded in 1946 and housed 2000 people before it was dismantled. A bit further down is Harsprångsfallet, where a 300 meter long trail takes you down to a viewing platform of the outlet of one of the largest hydroelectric power station in Sweden.
How to get to Porjus
Flights: Closest airport Gällivare Lapland Airport (GEV) located 56 kilometers away. It connects the area with the Stockholm-Arlanda Airport (ARN) for connections around the globe.
Car: Porjus is located along the E45 between Gällivare and Jokkmokk.
Train: Closest train station is in Gällivare with trains from Luleå and Björkliden/Kiruna
Bus: There are regional buses connecting Projus with the surrounding area.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
Stockholm – 1061 kilometers (11 h 55 min) Gothenburg – 1409 kilometers (16 h 08 min) Malmö – 1669 kilometers (17 h 49 min) Linköping – 1255 kilometers (13 h 46 min) Kiruna – 170 kilometers (2 h 10 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden