In 1741, the first settler arrived in what was to become STORUMAN, 68km north of Vilhelmina. His first neighbours didn’t appear until forty years later and even by World War I, Storuman, then called Luspen (the Sámi name for a river which emerges from a lake) numbered barely forty inhabitants working just eight farms. Things changed, though, with the arrival of the railway in the 1920s; today Storuman is an important centre for the generation of hydroelectric power. That said, there’s not much to the town: the centre consists of one tiny street that supports a couple of shops and banks. Whilst in Storuman check out the town’s emblem, Wildman, a giant-sized red figure who stands near Hotell Toppen madly brandishing a club, a traditional symbol for Lapland encapsulating strength, riches and determination.
Old railway hotel
Arriving at the train-cum-bus station on Järnvägsgatan, you can’t fail to spot the wonderful old railway hotel, on the opposite side of the street. Built in association with the Inlandsbanan in 1924, the wide-planked, tarred exterior in National Romantic style hides an ornate interior, complete with wrought-iron chandeliers and decorative wall painting (similar to folk art styles found in Dalarna), that’s well worth a peek. It now houses the local library (Mon & Wed 11am–4pm, Tues & Thurs 11am–7pm, Fri 11am–3pm).
If you find yourself at a loose end whilst waiting for buses or trains, one diversion is the worthwhile short walk signed “Utsikten” from the main square, which leads up to a wooden tower from where there are fantastic views out over the surrounding lakes and forest towards the mountains which mark the border with Norway; it’s around a 2km uphill walk to the platform from the town centre.