Sweden // Swedish Lapland //

The E12: Blå vägen

The one defining factor that unites the small settlement of Storuman with its northwesterly neighbours, Tärnaby and Hemavan, is the Blå vägen (Blue Way) or E12, as it is less poetically known, running through all three villages. This major artery, one of northern Sweden’s better roads, is so named because it follows the course of the great Ume River that flows down from the mountains of southern Lappland to Umeå on the Bothnian coast. Water is omnipresent hereabouts, not only in Storuman, a sleepy little town which sits on the banks of the eponymous lake, best used as an access point to the mountains, but also all the way up to Tärnaby, a small-time skiing centre, and Hemavan, the start of Sweden’s longest and best hiking trail, the Kungsleden, leading 500km north to Abisko.