Along the border with Finland, the lush, gentle slopes of the TORNE VALLEY (Tornedalen in Swedish) are among the most welcoming sights in northern Sweden. Stretching over 500km from the mouth of the Gulf of Bothnia to Sweden’s remote northern tip, the three rivers, Torne, Muonio and Könkämä, mark out the long border between Sweden and Finland. The valley is home to Swedes, Finns and Sámi, who speak an archaic Finnish dialect known as tornedalsfinska (Torne Valley Finnish, an official minority language), though Swedish is widely understood and is the language of choice for the youth. Refreshingly different from the coast and the heavily wooded inland regions, the area is dotted with small villages, bordered by flower meadows. To either side of Route 99, the main road along the valley, lie open fields providing much-needed grazing land for the farmers’ livestock.
Arriving from Gällivare or Kiruna, you can enter the valley by bus at its midway point, Pajala. From the south, buses also run daily from Haparanda.