Described as “Europe’s last wilderness,” Sarek National Park is a dream destination for hikers, mountaineers, and adventure fanatics who are looking for untamed and challenging terrain. The park is in the province of Norrbotten in northern Sweden and located north of the Arctic Circle (burrrr!). The park has precipitous mountains that reach heights greater than 2000 meters and has almost 100 glaciers. In addition, long, deep, narrow valleys and wild, turbulent waters wind between the mountain chains, creating a sensational sight of unrestricted wilderness.
Established in 1909, the park is one of the oldest in Europe and is the embodiment of isolation. It has no marked trails, cabins or amenities – so the most comfortable accommodations will be those you manage to stuff in your backpack. A few of the essentials needed for visiting Sarek include a compass, map, toilet paper, tent, and most importantly, an unwavering sense of adventure. You will travel through several ecological zones, including alpine, sub-alpine, montane, and humid, and possibly catch sight of bears, wolverines, lynx or some large elk.
Unless you want to hike in sub-zero temperatures and walk in crampons (which are spikes that you can add to your boots, to walk on ice) during the entirety of your expedition, the best time to go is in late spring, summer and early autumn. Nonetheless, conditions can be unpredictable regardless of the time of year and the weather will undoubtedly influence your itinerary during your mountaineering. Adding to the primitive experience, visitors are allowed to gather berries and mushrooms, build a fire, pitch a tent, and fish (in water where it is permitted and if one has a fishing license). Keep in mind that the area is the home of the Sami people who have lived in area for thousands of years, known for herding reindeer – so don’t get too carried away with your berry pickings!