Norrland is one of the three major regions of Sweden, it’s the least populated and consists of nine provinces. The region is well known for its national parks, northern lights and world-famous ice hotel.
But there is another unique aspect of the tourism to Norrland and that is the opportunity to meet the Sami. Norrland is home to the Sami people, the Lapland province is their traditional homeland but their but Sapmi, the cultural region, encompasses the northern parts of Sweden, Norway and Finland as well as a small portion of north-eastern Russia.
The Sami are an indigenous people with their own language, culture and customs. A good place to start to learn more would be to visit the Ajtte, a Sami Museum in Kiruna.
Those with more time can experience the culture for themselves many tour companies offer such experiences. These involve visiting Sami families at a Lavvu (a temporary dwelling like a Tipi) where you can try traditional Sami food and take part in a Jolk, the Sami way to musically tell a story and remember the old ways.
A key tenet of the Sami life is reindeer, herding them on migration routes and seasonal foraging grounds. Today there are still some Sami who herd reindeer and during some experience tours may be able to feed and pet their reindeer. If you want a full-on Reindeer experience, then the Nutti Sami Siida in Norrbotten county can arrange a reindeer sledding trip or herding with a Sami guide.
Sami slojd, or handicraft, makes for a unique souvenir that is traditional and made from natural materials. It usually falls into two parts hard or soft and can be bought in several of towns and villages across Norrland as well as Stockholm.