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Chartered in the year 1621, Luleå is the capital city of Norrbotten. In the late 19th century, it came to limelight when Malmbanan railway started its operation to transport iron ore to Narvik (Norway) from Bothnian Coast.
Now the town center moved to its current location, which is 9km towards the northwest due to the falling level of the sea in 1649 because of glacial uplift of land.
It is now a laid-back university town and a major high-end center. It claims the lion’s share of its world-class restaurants, along with sparkling bay with marina and an exciting archipelago of islands located off the coast.
Whether you are a local or visiting Luleå for a few days, sightseeing here can surprise you with something new. Explore and learn about the best places to visit in Luleå.
In this guide, you will learn about the popular things to see in Luleå, upcoming landmarks, and offbeat things to do in Luleå. Therefore, you can easily plan long vacations or weekends in Luleå.
We have covered this amazing stuff by considering major centers of attractions for groups, families, and couples.
Do you know that Sweden have beautiful castles you can visit? Read it here!
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Table of Contents
- 1 Quick information and Luleå travel tips
- 2 Experiences and top things to do in Luleå
- 2.1 Explore the Midnight Sun
- 2.2 Kayaking
- 2.3 Whitewater rafting
- 2.4 Guided Snowmobile tour
- 2.5 Fat Bike adventures
- 2.6 Aurora Borealis
- 2.7 Enjoy your stay in a small red house
- 2.8 Retreat yourself with Swedish saunas
- 2.9 Visit the Facebook Data Centre
- 2.10 Get back in time in Gammelstad
- 2.11 Enjoy skiing and Skating
Quick information and Luleå travel tips
- Currency? Swedish krona
- Languages? Swedish
- Where is this place? Located in North Sweden. Northern Europe.
- What is Sweden famous for? Skiing, Northern Lights, ABBA, meatballs, pickled herring, IKEA.
- Best time to visit Luleå and Sweden? All year round. But if you’re not a fan of winter, come in summer, spring, or autumn. The weather won’t be extreme but mind that spring and autumn might be wet from the rain. Just make sure to bring a good winter jacket and travel shoes with you!
- How to get there? The easiest way is to fly from Stockholm to Luleå (1hr 20mins), by Bus (13hrs 20mins), by Train (12hrs 20mins), or you can drive yourself (10hrs).
- Other famous places in Sweden? Stockholm, Kalmar, Gammelstad, Ystad, Gothenburg, Uppsala, Malmö, Swedish Lapland,Kosterhavet, Gotland, Österlen, Lund, Marstrand, Skåne
- Famous neighboring countries? Norway, Denmark, Iceland, and Finland
Do you need a visa for Sweden?
Sweden is part of the Schengen area and citizens of EU group of countries can freely enter this Baltic state while citizens of USA, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia can enter the country just with their passports and stay for 90 days.
You can check our guide on how to get a Schengen visa and as well to see if you’re eligible to enter the country with just your passports or if you’ll need to apply for a visa prior entry – read it here.
Where to book your flights to Sweden?
Check our handy-dandy guide on how to find the cheapest flights around the world – read it here.
Do you need insurance?
Remember this: anything can happen! Read our take on why you need travel insurance and how it can save you money when things go unplanned – read it here.
Experiences and top things to do in Luleå
Explore the Midnight Sun
During winter, the night almost remains dark, making Luleå an ideal attraction to spot the iconic Northern Lights.
However, it does not mean you should miss it during summers. You can spot just the opposite and experience the midnight sun. You might wish that summer could have no end. It is almost endless in such a great height of the season.
This means everything you can come across here can be enjoyed almost anytime during summer. You may never run out of daylight during summers.
Kayaking is not limited to any specific place. However, the beauty of kayaking in its archipelago is an opportunity to explore the Bay of Bothnia, which has many islands. Kayaking may be not on the list on a typical trip in Swedish Island.
Its archipelago is worth watching, and you can paddle along 1300 islands in calm tides.
If you want some more fun and adventure, you can enjoy white water rafting from class II to IV Rivers.
Luleå is an ideal hot spot to indulge in different summer adventures in the spectacular scenery in Swedish Lapland.
You can enjoy both whitewater rafting and kayaking in Luleå if you are here to experience something.
Guided Snowmobile tour
If you love adrenaline, speed, and getting up close to nature, be sure to go on a guided snowmobile tour.
Norrbotten has no lack of stunning trails for snowmobiling, which can lead you to the forest or across the islands.
Feel the powerful the engine of snowmobiles vibrating beneath to have a great nature experience during winter.
Fat Bike adventures
Even if you have never been a great mountain bike adventure, you will still love fat biking. These bikes have giant tires to go wherever you like across the landscapes, i.e., through water, traversing forests, or over dunes. It is an excellent adventure for thrill seekers.
It might be the light almost whole night during summer. If you visit Luleå by late August, even though it still has summer technically, you can also glimpse the Northern Lights.
At this time, you can always go out in kayaks or boats on the archipelago. You could explore the aurora borealis while floating through the Bay the Bothnia waters.
Enjoy your stay in a small red house
The whole archipelago freezes around Luleå during winters and roads are often marked out for people on the ice to travel to their homestays. It feels much a getaway during summer months if you are separated from the city.
You can get the most of long summer days by swimming through the water, rather than craving to be inside.
Retreat yourself with Swedish saunas
Sauna might be an activity you can enjoy all the year round. However, do not miss a chilled beer on a hot sauna during the summer months.
Take a quick swim by running down the ocean under the midnight sun. It is a unique experience than your same old gym sauna.
Visit the Facebook Data Centre
It may not be the first thing to do in your bucket list. Nevertheless, getting there is a unique experience.
Luleå is home to the first data center of Facebook outside the US. It is because the weather is cold enough. So, the data center doesn’t need so many fans to keep its servers cool. There is also plenty of hydropower.
The Facebook data center is located just around the university campus in Luleå. It is labeled a very unique and small sign, which reads Facebook.
Get back in time in Gammelstad
Gammelstad is a historical attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located just inland from Luleå.
If Swedish people did not attend church in the past, they had to pay a fine. Trek to church was very long in Swedish Lapland. Back then, people used to build small cottages across the church. Hence, they could stay somewhere close to the church when they came into town.
Now, Gammelstad is a heritage attraction. However, most of these cottages are still operational as they are settled across the church.
Enjoy skiing and Skating
It goes without saying why locals have such a craze for skating and skiing when winter arrives. So, pack your skis and drive to a vast open area, Ormberget, located on the outskirts of Luleå.
There are ski tracks for daily skiers and visitors who want to challenge themselves. Måttsundsbacken is another excellent choice for downhill skiing, with three slopes and two lifts.
Founder of Pretty Wild World and one of the leading experts in Europe travel, the Nordics, and Scandinavia Destinations.
Evan Kristine has been mentioned in big publications such as The Huffington Post and the Thought Catalog has been sharing her useful travel tips and hacks to the world for more than five years now.
Nowadays, she is a full-time traveler exploring and documenting her journey around the world providing you the next best travel idea for your great next adventure.