The Seven Seasons of Coastal Swedish Lapland

We are located in Swedish Lapland, one of few places to experience the Arctic. 
The word comes from the Greek ἀρκτικός (arktikos) near the bear, northern, and ἄρκτος (arktos) for female bear. 
Thus, we are in the polar area under the northern star constellation of the "Great Bear" (Ursa major) with the "Big Dipper", "the Wagon", and the "Little Bear" (Ursa minor) with the Polar or Northern Star.

Swedish Lapland is crossed by the Arctic Circle (66° 33'N) and Piteå lies only 1°22' (132 km) south of the arctic circle. Above the Arctic Circle, which defines the Arctic, the sun can remain continuously above or below the horizon for twenty-four hours for at least one day, giving the light contrasts of the north. The midnight sun can, however, be seen 90 km ( 50′) south of the circle at summer solstice (midsummer) due to atmospheric refraction. We have therefore, midnigh light about 100 days that characterises the summer of the north.

The Seven Season Concept

Swedish Lapland offer enriching and transforming experiences of the Arctic nature. Officially there are eight seasons of Swedish Lapland, based on the Sami reindeer herding seasons (see below).

We have however, developed the Seven Season Concept, which expresses the seasonal flavours of the Arctic nature based on its changing light, and its core characteristics of seven contrasts of the seasons:

1) Contrast in light from the short dark winter days to the bright late winter days and long bright summer days.

2) Contrast in colours from the green summer, the colourful "ruska" fall, the greyish late fall to the bright snow-white winter.

3) Contrasts of the sea water phases where you in summer may swim in over +25 degrees C. and in winter where you may walk, skate, ski or even drive your car on the frozen sea.

4) Contrast in climate temperatures from warm summer days with +30 degrees C. or more, to the Arctic cold winter days with -40 degrees C. or lower. A contrast of over 70 degrees C.

5)  Contrasts in weather from the still and calm summer evenings to the roaring storms of the late fall and winter.

6) Contrasts in soundscapes from the quietness of the cold winter days or sunny and crisp autumn days, to the delightful spring birdsongs and the soft wildlife calls of the high summer.

7) Contrasts in the sky from the sparkling stars and northern lights in the winter to the colourful midnight sun in summer.

These seven contrast form the foundation of the seven seasons concept of the north, each season characterised by a special light, special climate and special phases of nature adapting to the northern environment. We welcome you to share the Seven Seasons experiences with us.

For more information,
please, contact us.

 Sami eight seasons
of the reindeer

Our concept of seven season is not to be confused with the Sami eight seasons that is based on the year circle of the reindeer.

1: Spring winterGidádálvve (Mars-April)
when the reindeers migrate from the winter grazing land to the calving areas, where the calves are born. The light returns after the dark winter.
2. Spring, Gidá (April-May)
the period when the reindeer calves are born and the snow melts away.
3. Spring summer/pre-summerGidágiesse 
(June) the calm period after calving with grazing in the birch forest and bogs, still free of insects.
4. SummerGiesse (June- July)
the period when the reindeers migrate to higher areas in the mountains to avoid insects and search cooler places in the hot summer, period for calf marking.
5. High summer/pre-fallTjaktjagiesse  (August) the reindeers have migrated back to the birch forest and boggs for grazing when insects have decreased, to eat them strong for the winter.
6. FallTjaktja (September-October)
the reindeers are now in the lower mountains. Just before the "heat" (mating season) males are slaughtered.
7. Fall-winter/pre-winter, Tjaktjadálvve 
(November - December)- Snow is accumulating and the reindeers move to winter grazing lands in boreal forest and start eating lichens. Time for slaughter of calves, and the reindeer flocks are divided into winter grazing groups and moved to winter grazing areas.
8. WinterDálvve (December- Mars)
the longest of the eight seasons, where the reindeer herds are moved between different winter grazing areas with lichens and low shrubs of berries.

1. Sparkling spring

From late May to Midsummer the Sparkling Spring arrives in Swedish Lapland, and winter losing its grip. The light has taken over the darkness, and the days become longer and longer, and the nights shorter until the darkness of the night completely vanishes.

At the coast of Swedish Lapland the last snow fields melt away, and the sea ice breaks up and melts away, open up waters for the returning seabirds, while the seals rest on the last ice floes at sea.

In the forests the rippling spring creaks floyrish and complement the intense soundscape of the birds, where males are busy to attract females and keep competitors away. Around midsummer nature has become a great nursery. 
At end of May and beginning of June, trees come into foliage within a few days, giving the landscape a light green flavour and a smell of fresh spring forest fragrance. Spring flowers emerge and flourish and our most delicate orchid, the great yellow lady´s-slipper orchid (Guckusko) (Cypripedium calceolus) or the delicate pink fairy slipper orchid (Norna) (Calypso bulbosa) start to emerge in secret places in the forests. 

In the mountains the nights are still cold but the days warm and slowly meting the snow cover. It is still a great time for skiing and snowmobiling in the dazzling sunlight.

2. Bright Summer

The Bright Summer lasts from Midsummer to mid-July. In our area, just 130 km south from the Polar circle, at midnight the sun just shortly dips below the horizon. This gives us a midnight sun experience with magic bright nights.

 Now the summer is in its highest greening with nature exploding with growth in the long bright days, giving plants a special northern flavour. After midsummer insects take advantage of the flourishing flowers creating optimal conditions for rising young birds that together with new-born animals start to explore their new life.

In the mountains a calm period occurs, where the last snow quickly melts away and plants and flowers flourish in the long bright days.  Reindeers enjoy the insect free period and the newly grown fresh herbs. 

This is the time to experience the bright nights and be spellbound by the northern silence of the bright summer.

3. Dusky summer

From mid-July, the evenings get darker and from August we start to sense the approaching darkening winter nights when the first stars appear in the darkening night sky.

In the Dusky Summer om mid-July to the end of August, nature has become silent except for the begging calls of the now grown up nestlings born earlier in the summer. The flower flourish and the first wild berries ripe full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, grown under the bright northern sunlight. Our northern berries such as the yellow cloudberries (hjortron) and the by Carl von Linné loved arctic bramble (åkerbär) (Rubus arcticus) give us a sensational taste of Swedish Lapland.

The summer days are at warmest, and the sea, lakes and rivers are now inviting for swimming, and relaxing paddling. It is a good time to experience the interconnectedness with the more then human world and discover the restoring power of Friluftsliv.

4. Colourful fall

From end of August throughout September, beginning in the north and in the mountains, nature takes farewell of the summer, and the first leaves change colours, while the air becomes crispy fresh, and the first frost night appears.

The first migratory birds head south, with the migration peaking at end of September - beginning of October. Insects disappear and berries become ripe and mushrooms appear everywhere. At the coast of Swedish Lapland, September is a great period for harvesting nature, collecting berries, mushrooms and herbs, or going hunting, or just absorb the colourfulness of the season.

Now flowers transform into seeds and over-wintering plants accumulate nutrition for the winter. The green chlorophyll of the leaves is absorbed and give way for the underlying bright colours of the fall. It is the colourful “Ruska” time, as they say in Finland.

The nights start to get really dark, and in the night sky we can now enjoy bright stars and planets, and the moon reflecting in the sea. Clear nights we can also enjoy the first dancing norther lights (Aurora borealis) of the season without the freezing cold of the winter.
 It is a great time for hiking in forests or in the mountains, or paddling in the sea, and excitedly even in the darkness of the night in the hunt for the northern light. 

5. Dark fall

Mid October marks the beginning of the Dark Fall, the leaves have fallen of the trees and the days have become significant shorter. This time of clear crispy days and contrasting stormy rainy days’, invite to unusual experiences until the first snow falls in late November or beginning December.

Nature has become screaming silent, the visiting summer birds have left for warmer areas, insects have prepared themselves to survive the winter, and only winter-green plants remain us of the green summer. The storms of the fall have ripped of the last leaves from the trees, and the cold fresh air and frosty nights forecast the first snowfalls.

Now is the time for forest hiking and discovering the exciting cryptogams, mosses and lichens that have been hidden by the higher plants of the summer, or frost paddling when the first rime covers the reed and water surface. In shallow bays pikes are absorbing the last sun rays and the whooper swans are gathering in big groups in the still open sea. The common merganser gathers into enormous armada´s of thousand birds fishing for the whitefish European cisco or Vendance (Coregonus albula). The mergansers compete with fishing boats, who harvest the red gold of the sea, the vendance roe of the Swedish Bothnia Bay area, a PDO certified delicacy branded as “Kalix löjrom” – a prime taste of Swedish Lapland. Dark fall is also a high season for the Northern light, that can be photographed mirroring in the calm water of the sea.  
At the end of the season the see freezes and invite to great skating, while in the mountain area the new snow invite skiers as early as end of October or beginning of November.

6. Dark winter

The Dark Fall is transforming into the Dark Winter as the snow starts to cover the landscape and the days become shorter, and the cold takes a grip on the landscape, remaining us of our northern arctic latitude.

From the beginning of December to the middle of February the few light hours in the middle of the day are, however, a sparkling colourful experience, with the dusky light exploding in pink, purple and red. Further north, above the polar circle, complete darkness or just an hour of daylight gives a real polar experience. When the daylight after a short visit disappears, other lightning takes over. Sparkling starlight free from urban light pollution, midday moonlight and the greenish light of the northern light – Aurora borealis – lighting up the snow-covered landscape and frozen sea.

On Nordic cross-country skates, we explore the frozen sea in the dusky daylight and evening moonlight. At the afternoon dark night light, we take skis or snowshoes on a tour with headlamps through the winter forest. To sit around an open fire during a cold winter night, drinking coffee from the open fire and listening to the silent sounds of the artic night is an experience few people granted. 

7. Bright winter

From the beginning of March, the light is returning, and the days become longer and warmer, the Bright Winter has arrived.

The sunrays are warm, and snow melting begins at daytime, forming icicles and dripping from roofs. In the forest and on the sea, the snow is still deep and inviting for cross-country skiing and snow-shoe hiking or snowmobile tours on the sea. Later in April with warm days and cold night a hard snow crust form perfect conditions for skating on skis.

The first migratory birds arrive and join the residential birds in the birdsong concert. On ski or snowshoe tracking tours you can explore the activities of the wildlife in the forests and on the sea ice, or paddle the first open waters between the ice floes.

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Studio Guide Natura, Renön, Piteå

Lövgrundsvägen 93,
94141 Piteå, Sweden

Tel. (+46)  076-1359111

contact (at)
Bankgiro: 774-5060

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