Bordering to Norway and Finland it covers 100 000 square kilometres (nearly a quarter of Sweden's total area and larger than countries such as Hungary and Portugal), from the tall mountains in the west, to the coast and archipelagoes in the east. It includes the province of Norrbotten and the northern part of the province of Lappland. Much of Norrbotten Country is within the Arctic Circle, meaning that Midnight Sun and Arctic Night occur.
The county has a mere 250,000 inhabitants (2.5% of the national population), most of them in Luleå, Piteå, Boden, and Kiruna.
- 1 Luleå, the county seat and largest city
- 2 Piteå
- 3 Älvsbyn
- 4 Boden, the Swedish Army's stronghold against invasions from the east
- 5 Kalix
- 6 Överkalix
Tornedalen, the valley of Torne River, is home to a Finno-Ugric community with Meänkieli as their mother tongue.
Lappland is the homeland of the Sami culture since the Ice Age. While Swedish settlers arrived to the coast in the 14th century, and Sweden claimed the land in the 16th century, the communities remained isolated, speaking either Sami, Meänkieli, or bondska, a Nordic dialect group very different from standard Swedish.
The demand for iron and wood induced a wave of colonization in the late 19th century with enormous investment in railways, mines and hydroelectric plants, which are today indispensable to the Swedish economy. In the late 20th century, the industries were automated, and the countryside was again depopulated, though tourism and space science have emerged as new businesses.
Though Swedish is the everyday language, and English is well understood, the northern edge of Sweden is linguistically diverse. The Sami languages, as well as the Meänkieli at the Torne river, are Finno-Ugric; similar to the Finnish language, the latter mutually intelligible. Some of the most archaic Swedish dialects, collectively described as bondska, have survived in towns such as Överkalix.
Resrobot is a search engine for all public transport in Sweden.
There are trains to Kolari (sparsely off season),
- SJ has sleeper trains from Stockholm and Gothenburg to Luleå and Kiruna.
- The Inlandsbanan railway leads through the more sparsely populated inland via Östersund and Arvidsjaur to Gällivare. This is more or less a tourist line,
- In Finland there are overnight trains to Kolari via Tornio (sparsely off season), and via Kemi to Rovaniemi. Some of them take cars to Oulu and Kolari. Continue by car via Haparanda or Pajala, or by coach via Haparanda.
- From Norway there is the Malmbanan railway Narvik–Luleå.
- From south Sweden to Kiruna or Gällivare: E4 and E10. For Pajala use road 392.
- From south Sweden to Arvidsjaur: E4 until Skellefteå and then road 95.
- From Finland there are several border crossings. E8 runs along the border.
- From Norway there are two roads: E10 leads from Narvik to Luleå and 77/95 from E6 between Bodø and Mo i Rana via Arjeplog to Skellefteå. In the north there are routes through Finland.
- There are flights Luleå-Kiruna and Luleå-Pajala.
- SJ has trains Luleå–Gällivare–Kiruna. This Malmbanan rail line carries iron ore from the mines in Kiruna and Gällivare to the ports of Narvik and Luleå, but also has passenger trains and is regarded Sweden's most scenic railway.
- Inlandsbanan can be used to reach many smaller inland towns and villages.
- Länstrafiken i Norrbotten has local and regional buses.
Arctic Sweden contains enormous areas of pristine nature. The Northern Lights can be seen during favourable conditions.
Riksgränsen is Sweden's northernmost ski resort, with snow well into June.
- See also: Nordic cuisine
Nightlife is limited to the cities and the resorts.