97km (60 miles) N of the Arctic Circle, 1,198km (744 miles) N of Stockholm

As one of the most important sources of iron ore in Europe, Gällivare has a grim, industrial look. Traditionally, it has been a rather dour mining town, despite its location at the center of some of the great unspoiled wonders of Europe. The town had no involvement with resort-style sports until the Dundret hotel began its high-energy marketing efforts.

This is a land of contrasts, from high mountain peaks to deep mines. We visit Gällivare only to explore the national parks, which range from primeval forests at Muddus to panoramic terrain at Stora Sjöfjället. If you come in winter, the northern lights are enthralling.