Shame I didnt do this as I imagine it wouldve been stunning - have done some excellent helicopter and plane rides over famous places Ive visited but I do also generally get good views from my flights into or out of the countries I visited and I did get a good snow covered country look down when flying into Stockholm from London and have done so over Finland and Norway and other countries in Europe when travelling in winter.
Anyway the prices advertised were tempting too but my ultimate choice at the time was to be at the 2pm reindeer races which were just about to start!
Not just reindeer here for the annual Jokkmokk Festival that brings locals, tourists and Scandavanians from near and far away - out here on the frozen and snow covered lake in addition to reindeer and helicopter rides and excitement charged reindeer races there are also cute husky dogs that can take you for a sled ride.
No idea how much but looking at helicopter ride prices and prices for most things for sale or on offer around the festival wouldnt expect it to be any price out of the ordinary.
A few minutes walk over the hill away from the centre of Jokkmokk down on the frozen lake at 2pm each day of the Market are the reindeer races.
Huge turnout - very popular event with lots of participants geared up in their fairly aeronautic costumes (i dont really mean the reindeer!) considering it was minus 20 or something up there in the Arctic at the time!
Lots of excitement and cheering for the participants obviously going on by the local crowd!
At certain times during the day the Reindeer Master, leads his team of reindeer and fellow Sami family around the Jokkmokk Market streets. From memory Im pretty sure that the Grand Parade was at midday or 1230pm.
In preparation for the visit to the annual Jokkmokk Sami Market/Festival i had found the official website which provided the daily schedule for the 2-3 day event so that this sort of highlight I wouldnt miss!
The tourist office is also right in the centre of the centre of town which is where all the stalls and main hive of activity that is the Jokkmokk Market/Festival - except the reindeer races which commence at 2pm a few minutes walk over the hill on the nearby frozen solid lake which is also where you will find the husky dog sled rides and the helicopter rides.
So the tourist office is very handy for information such as the route of the Reindeer Parade, times of activities such as films and exhibitions being held and the reindeer races. Also what accommodation is available in the town and locality and some souvenir items in remembrance of this special annnual event.
Down by the lake is this private house with a collection of rocks and minerals, mostly found locally. Some sorts are quite rare in the rest of the world and I personally find the "cloudberry marble" interesting. You can also buy some from the shop in the form of spheres and such, and see how they work with the polishing.
Some 40 kilometres north of Jokkmokk itself, you will find the hydropower village of Porjus along the Lule River, where the electricity company Vattenfall has an exhibition on all things hydroelectric which is open for general visits summertime (call for other times). Since hydroelectric power is a controversial issue up here, it pays to learn a bit about a popular topic for discussion. Sami families say their reindeer paths have been completely ruined by messing around with the water table in the rivers and all for the sake of people not even living up here but in Stockholm. Waterfalls have disappeared and the great rivers become just slow trickles here and there. At the same time, it gives Sweden cheap electricity for our heavy industry. See the dilemma?
But Porjus is more than dams. It is also a village with an international crowd, a famous hotel and restaurant and a shop full of highland specialities as well as being the centre for flights into the wilderness as long as you are allowed to fly there. I will certainly return here in summer as I liked the look of it a lot.
Since I haven't yet been to any of the national parks that make up Laponia, I won't separate them but just make one single tip. You can read a lot more on the websites below but I feel I have to mention them since it is a World Heritage and also many people's main reason for going to Jokkmokk in summer, to hike. The Laponia national parks are Muddus, in Gällivare municipality (see page), and in Jokkmokk you find:
Stora Sjöfallet - a mix of highland and a lake system where the waterfall that gives its name to the park is less impressive than the rest of the park today, due to hydroelectric power dams. Here you have Mount Akka and famous fell stations like Saltoluokta (www.stfturist.se) which you reach by boat!
Padjelanta - the park furthest away and hardest to reach without walking or helicopter, but once you reach it, it is a relatively easy park for beginners to hike in even if you still need to take all precautions. There are no big fell stations though, but as a compensation, there are many Sami reindeer herding families here.
Sarek - by far the biggest and the most impressive and lending its name to many highland products. This is a place for the more experienced hiker and includes high fells and glaciers but also the famous Rapadalen delta valley which is impossible to reach other than by foot unless you'd have authority permission to fly. Don't be surprised if you see bears drinking in the delta. A pure escape from civilization.
Jokkmokk's Heritage Park is typical for its kind; a collection of old buildings from times gone by and with various themes to them. It was closed during our visit so I cannot say that much about what they were all used for but summertime it is very lively and then there is also a cafe here. During market week, it is also quite lively with various market events as it is just by the lake. There is also a Sami style building here which you can book if you want to sleep "wildnerness style" for a night.
I have to say this is one of the prettiest Swedish churches I have seen - and I have seen many! It is built in wood like several others, but in a way that makes it look almost fairytale with its turrets. The many glass windows along one side are also unusual. If you come in the dark, it is illuminated and it really is a piece of art. The interior is Sami inspired as is the case in the Old church nearby too. Opening hours are a bit erratic so if you are set on seeing the interior you'd better call the tourist office before your visit.
With the same entrance ticket as to Attje, you can also visit the Highland Garden in summer. Down by a stream by the Lake Talvatis you will find it summertime when various highland plants and flowers are in bloom. There is an exhibition building which tells you what you see and with photos by local photographer Edvin Nilsson who used to be a ranger in Sarek National Park. Afterwards, you can stroll around the paths in the area.
The main reason for us to visit Jokkmokk itself was this famous museum about the Sami people and life in the highlands. The main exhibition area focuses around a nave from where you enter different rooms with various themes - just like a reindeer paddock. There is "Settlers" about people coming up here to try to make a living, "The River" on life along the great rivers up here, which ones have been altered by hydropower and which ones are saved, fishing and wildlife and so on. Then "Silver and Textile" with the different Sami costumes depending on where they come from, what different accessoires mean and which silver was used for what ceremony. Then there is a section on "Laponia", the World Heritage highland area. and how the year circles around reindeer herding, but also information about other wildlife, a collection of birds and so on. There is also a room on "Drum time" with the famous and beautiful Sami drums and how they were ruined by Swedish "missionaries" and others who despised Sami culture. This room also deals with births, funerals and legends. Then there is a room about everyday items and how people managed their days with tools for hunting, cooking, sewing and so on. Finally, there is a room about roads where you see how people transport themselves in this wilderness and how the road network has grown enormously only since the 1950s with the intensification of forestry. There is quite a good souvenir shop with everything from expensive handicraft to more affordable things and a lot of nice books and postcards. If you want to see more, there is also an archive for research and there is a play area where children can paint unless they prefer to be in the garden with its buildings. In the main hall is also usually a Sami tipi (known as "kåta") unless there are other exhibitons, and you can prepare your own visit to Laponia thanks to the museum selection of maps and images. At the back of the museum is their well-known restaurant serving Sami dishes but this was closed during our Christmas visit.
During the Winter Market week, there was a great exibition of Sami duodji. Permanent exibitions depict also life in the north, with hunting techniques and information about bird and animal life in the area. And there is also a permanent exibition about the Sami. I liked in particular the shaman drums they display (very rare sight and so interesting!).
The photo is of a cool art exibit that demonstrated the Sami are not afraid to experiment with their traditional wear 'gakti' :)
The Sami church was built in 1976 on the foundation of the original one of 1753.
The church is opened for tourists during the summer months only. We visited Jokkmokk in September and it was already closed.