Vilhelmina – A Unique Town with an Enchanted Forest and Sami Culture

Vilhelmina - look carefully and the rocks will look back at you!

Go back a few hundred years and getting to church was no easy task for many of Sweden’s residents. The closest place of worship may have taken days to reach and required you to traverse through mountains and forests. One solution was to build small towns around the churches, offering pilgrims a place to stay. Vilhelmina is one such Swedish church town.

Vilhelmina Main Street Lapland Sweden
The main street shows the Swedish and Norweigan heritage

If you’re travelling north through Lappland or along the Vildmarksvägen, this quirky town is a good place to stop for an hour or two.

Vilhelmina Sami Music Lapland Sweden
We had to hear a traditional song before we could leave!

First we visited a great little craft shop owned by a friendly Sami woman. She was telling customers great stories about her heritage. She also insisted on playing a drum and singing a traditional song before anyone could leave. It was entertaining!

Vilhelmina Museum Lapland Sweden
The small and quirky Vilhelmina Museum - you can park here for free before exploring the town

Further up the hill is a small museum. It gives insight into Vilhelmina’s history, the Sami people and offers free maps to ensure you don’t miss any of the town’s highlights. 

Vilhelmina Church Lapland Sweden
Vilhelmina Church

The church is worth a quick look. Although the sight of real interest is the old Sami village up on the hill. However it’s not easy to spot. When you’re at the base of the church, head right and up the up the dirt road called Krykbergsstigen (church path).

Vilhelmina Sami Gohati Cone Hut Lapland Sweden

Small kåta (huts) dot the forest and you’re allowed to have a look inside. Observing the traditional materials and stone fireplaces that kept the Sami residents warm.

Vilhelmina Sami House Lapland Sweden
Rose goes exploring to see if anyone's home!

If like us you wish to experience something a bit different, look out for two smiling carved wooden people. They mark the entrance to the Enchanted Forest and the start of the fairytale path! A 1km ‘yellow path’ tells you the old Sami tale of The Bear Man.

Vilhelmina Enchanted Forest Wooden Statues Lapland Sweden
Look for these guys to enter The Enchanted Forest

Along the way you’ll find eyes peering out from under rocks, painted faces on the trees and dwarves guiding the way.

Vilhelmina Enchanted Forest Stone Eyes Lapland Sweden
The rocks will keep eyes on you

The story tells how Attjis-ene (the daughter of the moon) loved a man. But he found Attjis-ene to be incredibly ugly, so refused her hand in marriage.

Vilhelmina Enchanted Forest The Bear Man Lapland Sweden
Storyboards tell the tale of The Bear Man

Unimpressed Attjis-ene turned him into a bear so he couldn’t marry anyone else. Off he went to hide in a cave.

Vilhelmina Enchanted Forest Story Lapland Sweden
The plot thickens...

The sun’s daughter Njavvis-ene took pity, so married the bear herself and they had a son. This angered Attjis-ene, who devises a plan to kill them all. 

Vilhelmina Enchanted Forest Stones Lapland Sweden
Yes, that is a troll and some observant rocks!

If you want to find out how the story ends, you’ll need to go to Vilhelmina’s Enchanted Forest and follow the fairytale path!

Vilhelmina Sagostigen Enchanted Forest Lapland Sweden
I made some friends in The Enchanted Forest
  • Do you live near an enchanted forest or mystical place?
  • Have you seen anywhere like Vilhelmina before?

Leave a comment at the end of this post and share your story!


How do I get to Vilhelmina?

Vilhelmina is far north on Sweden’s E45 Highway. I advise hiring a car to make the 700km drive from Stockholm. It’s easy to find. If travelling the famous Vildmarksvägen Wilderness Route (read our story here), the road passes through Vilhelmina. Don’t forget to stop!

How much does it cost to see Vilhelmina?

There’s no charge to see the town or the Enchanted Forest. Free parking is available outside the Vilhelmina Museum.

How long should I spend in Vilhelmina?

Allow two hours to see Vilhelmina and walk the Enchanted Forest. Remember to find out how The Bear Man tale ends!

2 thoughts on “Vilhelmina – A Unique Town with an Enchanted Forest and Sami Culture”

    1. Thanks Lia.
      Sweden is so beautiful. Of all the places we have been fortunate to travel, Sweden is right up there as a place we could happily live. I’m really pleased you enjoyed the stories. I’ve got so many more Swedish adventures to share! 🙂

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