Day 8 marked the start of our coastal adventure. We weren’t planning on driving down Sweden’s east coast so this was a nice supplement to the rest of our Sweden road trip.
For an overview of our entire road trip (incl. a map with our exact route) head over here. And if you are interested in more details of our drive up to Storforsen then make sure to check out part 1 and part 2 of this Swedish mini-series.
Route: Storforsen – Luleå
- As soon as we left Storforsen and started our drive towards the coast, we noticed how the untouched nature started to disappear. There were more cars, houses, animals and people. The roads were broader and the cars drove faster. To us it felt almost like a bit of a culture shock. Funny really, how much you can get used to being away from civilization in just 8 days. That’s why Luleå Gammelstad was the perfect stop before we hit the bigger cities. Listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the little town is like a living, breathing museum. It consists of a church and hundreds of little buildings that used to host the churchgoers back in the day.
- Luleå then was our next stop before we set up camp for the night. We parked in the middle of the city, but there is a parking lot right by the tourist center where you can also get free maps and general touristy information. 🙂 The city itself is not that special tough and the sea just feels like another big lake. There is a nice little path that you can take to walk around the island. But other than that little park, the city was a bit of a disappointment.
Campground: Luleå First Camp
First Camp is a camping chain with 26 different destinations in Sweden, Denmark and Germany. Luleå First Camp is situated at the sea – although it feels more like a lake – and has pretty much everything you need in a campground. There are plenty of different activities you could do and Luleå is just a short drive away. So if you are looking for a family campground, I think this one would be perfect. However, if you are more into beautiful remote camping, then this one might not be for you. All in all tough, the campground was okay. 🙂
Route: Luleå – Umeå
- After driving around for what felt like ages, desperately trying to get to the sea, we finally managed to do so at Bjuröklubb. And it was so worth the wait. We parked our car, packed up our picnic and climbed across the rocks until we reached the beach. What a beach it was. There was literally no one around except of a seagull. The sun was shining and the waves were crashing against the shore. And for me the world was okay again. I felt so at peace out there with the sun on my face. So if you have time and are in the area, definitely drive to Bjuröklubb Naturreservat. There is even a little restaurant at the lighthouse if you want to go for a bite to eat.
Campground: Umeå First Camp
As the night before, we set up camp again at a First Camp campground. And this one seemed even bigger than the one in Luleå. What I loved most about Umeå First Camp, must have been the facilities, tough. They were clean and roomy. Which isn’t something I expected given the size of the campground. As with the Luleå First Camp, however, the tent pitches weren’t all that idillic. It felt more like a car-park for tents. There was a big lawn and one tent next to the other. I’m sure that there are more idillic campgrounds around, but it served our purposes alright.
Route: Umeå – Norrfällsviken
- If I had to describe day 10, the first thing that would come to mind would be “bad luck”. We really wanted to take a ferry to one of the surrounding islands, but it just didn’t happen. Which was probably mostly our own fault. But with no internet connection and a not so detailed travel guide, ferry timetables are hard to look up. We first drove to the ferry-port to go to Holmön and we literally missed the ferry by about 10 minutes. Naturally, we didn’t give up yet and tried the ferry to Norrbyskär just to have the same thing happen to us again. So my tip for you is: check the timetables in advance. 🙂 If you do so, the islands must be quite beautiful. 🙂
- After all of our bad luck, we decided to just drive around for a bit, which was quite nice. We drove down small roads and spied on the locals. There were endless streets with letterboxes at the beginning of small roads. I imagine that living in Alaska must feel a bit like that. Just nature and the occasional letterbox. 🙂 If you have the time, I definitely suggest you leave E4 for a little bit and just drive around. I must be the best way to get a quick feel of what living in Sweden must really be like.
- Following one of the tourist information signs, we ended up in Olofsfors Bruk. It was founded in 1762 and is one of Sweden’s best preserved ironworks. Again, Olofsfors Bruk is somewhat of an open-air museum. You can visit many different buildings and get a feel of what it must have been like to produce iron back in the day. Sadly, most of the information was in Swedish which meant that we hardly understood anything. But it was impressive nonetheless and a good lunch break after a somewhat disappointing morning.
- On our way to our campground we passed another UNESCO World Heritage “site”. Höga Kusten (The High Coast) is a costal area in north eastern Sweden. What’s so remarkable of the area are the “mountains”. I’m not much of a geological person so I won’t give you any details as to how the landscape came about. 🙂 I’m just going to say that it was beautiful to look at. 🙂 There is also a 40 km hike if you have the time and want to really experience the beauty of it all. I imagine it must be wonderful hiking this trail.
Campground: Norrfällsviken Camping
I feel like just the drive up to the campground is worth the stay. Add to that the beautiful location in a little fisher village and you cannot say no anymore. But that’s not even it yet. In the morning, there was a guy who walked through the entire campground with a little cart and a bell, selling fresh bread. What more could you want, really? If you are traveling with a camper van, there are some pitches with a beautiful view of the sea. So although the facilities weren’t the best, the location and all the extras totally made up for it.
And that’s it for our Sweden Road Trip up until day 10. We are only three days away from Stockholm and I already know that I will be very sad to see this little mini-series end. It really was like going on holidays all over again.
If you want to breathe a bit of holiday air as well, why don’t you check out the other three posts of our Swedish adventure? 🙂
Part 3 will be up – hopefully on schedule again – next Monday. And until then, I wish you a most beautiful day and hope to see you back here soon!