by Lydia Schrandt for USA TODAY 10Best

Virtual tour: Travel north to Swedish Lapland

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Swedish Lapland comprises vast swathes of wilderness – wide open spaces ripe for outdoor adventures beneath the midnight sun or the northern lights.

Photo courtesy of Asaf Kliger/imagebank.sweden.se / www.nutti.se

Some 20,000 Sami live in Sweden, largely in the north. This indigenous Finno-Ugric community has their own language, flag, heritage and parliament.

A highlight of a winter visit to Swedish Lapland is the chance to see the northern lights. Sweden’s proximity to the Arctic Circle makes it possible to experience the natural light display.

Photo courtesy of Swedish Lapland

If you’re in the very north of Sweden (above the Arctic Circle) during the two months around the summer solstice, you’ll notice that the sun doesn’t set. This allows for long days of outdoor activity.

The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Gammelstad Church Town is Sweden’s largest and best-preserved church town. Some 400 wooden houses surround the stone church, built in 1492.

Photo courtesy of Tina Stafrén/imagebank.sweden.se

No matter the season or the region, the fika ranks as an important part of Swedish culture. Making time for fika means spending time with friends over a cup of coffee and a snack.

Photo courtesy of Pernilla Ahlsén/imagebank.sweden.se

In Northern Sweden, coffee is typically served with cubes of a squeaky cheese in a wooden Sámi cup known as a guksi. The warmth of the coffee softens the cheese and reduces its rubbery texture.

Photo courtesy of Tina Stafrén/imagebank.sweden.se

Treehotel, one of the most famous hotels in Sweden, lets guests sleep among the trees close to the Arctic Circle.

Skiing has been a way of life in Swedish Lapland for thousands of years. For much of the year, cross-country skiing is one of the best ways to enjoy the great outdoors.

Dog sledding is a favorite winter adventure in Northern Sweden. Trips range from a couple of hours to days. A team of Huskies can cover between nine and 25 miles per day.

Sweden is home to 30 national parks, including Sarek National Park. This is a land of glaciers, narrow valleys, river deltas and mountains rising more than 6,500 feet above sea level.

Photo courtesy of Michael Jönsson/Scandinav Bildbyrå/imagebank.sweden.se

The King’s Trail (Kungsleden), the longest and most famous hiking trail in Sweden, attracts hikers from around the world each summer – and skiers each winter.

Photo courtesy of Asaf Kliger/Icehotel/imagebank.sweden.se

The village of Jukkasjärvi is home to a Swedish icon: the original Icehotel. The ice blocks used to build the hotel each year are harvested from the Torne River.

Sweden is home to around 350,000 moose – known as the kings of the forest. Bulls can stand more than six feet tall, and each year, there are around 6,000 traffic accidents involving a moose.

The policy of Allemansrätten, the "Right of Public Access," allows everyone in Sweden to roam freely across the land. This often means heading out into the wilderness to pick wild berries.

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