At the end of the road – welcome to Nikkaluokta!
At the end of the road, where the trails begin, this is where you will find Nikkaluokta – a small mountain village surrounded by a stunningly beautiful nature area, which is one of the entrance points to the Kungsleden hiking trail and to Kebnekaise – Sweden’s highest peak!
“Nikkaluokta is the start and end point of many hiking trips and mountain expeditions,” says Anna Sarri, who runs the family business Nikkaluokta Sarri AB in Nikkaluokta.
The small tourist station is owned and operated by second, third and fourth generation Sámi families, who live in the village that lies where the valleys Vistasvagge and Ladtjovagge open into Lake Paittasjärvi in the Kalix River water system.
The first permanent dwellings in Nikkaluokta were peat huts or goahtis that were erected in the early 1900’s by reindeer herding Sámi families – njargajohttit – who lost their herds during severe winters and came to settle permanently in Nikkaluokta. The village offered good fishing and hunting opportunities and soon there were also jobs available in providing transport and services to tourists that came to explore the mountains.
Among the Sámi families who settled in Nikkaluokta was Nils Olsson Sarri and his wife Maria. Of their fourteen children, all six sons remained in the village to work in the mountain tourism industry.
“We have the same environment and conditions as our ancestors had, and are passionate about providing excellent service to our guests,” says Anna. She explains that Sámi history and tradition remain strong in the village and that Sámi hospitality, with a great respect for nature and culture, is as alive as ever.
“We follow the family tradition and are as happy living here in the valley, among tourists and herds of reindeer, as the generations who lived here before us have been.”
A respite from the stress of modern society
Nikkaluokta Sarri has 56 beds in ten cabins and four apartments. The tourist station also includes a camping site with a service building and a shop, and a main building with the tastefully decorated restaurant Skáidi – a Slow Food Sápmi restaurant where guests can savour Sámi dishes that have been carefully prepared using local ingredients.
“Even hikers like to add a bit of comfort to their adventure. Here you can eat well and rest in a pleasant environment,” says Anna, who has noticed an increase in guests each year.
The share of foreign visitors to Nikkaluokta is also increasing, they typically arrive at the beginning and at the end of the season. Another growing category of visitors is adventure tourists – for them Kebnekaise is of course the main attraction.
Many visitors arrive to Nikkaluokta with the goal of pursuing a healthy outdoor holiday with plenty of activities in the beautiful scenery, but also to enjoy days of silence and stillness. The peaceful village offers a respite from the stress of daily life. Here you can make do with simple things and just enjoy the day. Waking up in nature, to the sounds of birds and streams, and with a view of the mountains, is relaxing, and for photo enthusiasts there are plenty of motifs available; the sky feels close in Nikkaluokta and the view is often spectacular.
With nature as starting point
Amidst all the touristic chores, Anna and the villagers in Nikkaluokta have their feet firmly on the ground. They have learned to live in harmony with nature and an important part of the business idea is to share the accumulated knowledge of the local environment with their guests.
“We think sustainably. It’s a must when you live as we do,” explains Anna.
The company Nikkaluokta Sarri is ISO 14001 certified and works with both environmental goals and environmental requirements. The company is also Sápmi Experience certified, which is a quality label specifically for the Sámi tourist industry. Characteristic of companies that have been awarded the Sápmi Experience certification is a holistic view of the habitat Sápmi (the cultural region traditionally inhabited by the Sámi people), and a professional treatment of guests. Quality, durability, safety and reliability are key words and reindeer herding is naturally treated with respect.
Right now, preparations are in full swing in Nikkaluokta for the season premiere in late February. Many nature enthusiasts kick off the mountain season at this time of the year, by going on day trips in the area. In February, the mountains of Swedish Lapland have changed character yet again – from a world of white and blue to a hint of pink when the sun returns – first on the mountain tops, and then in the village itself.
“We are happy living here, at the end of the road, and would not want to trade places with anyone,” says Anna and smiles.