Piteå is one of these places along the eastern coast of Sweden that has a name ending with an …eå. Skellefteå, Umeå, Piteå, Råneå, Luleå are other places with this ending. All these places have a river flowing into the sea. The Pite river ends up in Piteå. I’ll let you make an educated guess on the meaning of the names. Riviera is another matter.
Locally, the people say “Pite” to Piteå and “Lule” to Luleå. Both these places are rock solid cold during the winter. In Piteå and Luleå, the harbours freeze. In Northern Norway, the harbours hardly freeze. This is the result of the climate differences of the north. Along the coast of Northern Norway the steady temperature of the Gulf stream makes the winters mild and the summers cool.
The coast of northern Sweden and Finland, on the other hand, has a typical inland climate: Freezing cold winters and (almost) sizzling hot summers. Places like Piteå have been among the most popular vacation destinations for the people from the coast of Northern Norway. In particular, families with small children flock to Norrbotten during June, July and August.
I remember my first vacation when I was a small kid. Sitting in the car from Tromsø, we drove to Kiruna, Jokkmokk, Piteå, and Kalix. Unfortunately, I was peeking out of a constant wet side window. The Arctic Riviera failed us. No sunshine – no reason to stay for arctic people. We decided to stop and visit a cousin of my grandmother in Pajala. After one night, our posse drove back to the drizzling rain on the coast.
Normally, the weather is nice, and Norwegians hungry for sunrays still top Piteå as a summer destinations. According to Ms Maria Johansson at the Piteå tourist information office, one third of the visitors in Piteå during the summer are Norwegians.
Piteå is therefore a natural starting point for the Midnight Sun Road. Before we travel along the road to Storforsen and the large rapid of the Pite River, we visit the UNESCO church town just outside Luleå.
What is your favourite beach?
Piteå – The Arctic Riviera