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Ritsem (Lule Sami: Rijtjem) is a Sami settlement in Norrbotten County, Sweden, in the north-west end of the Laponia national park system.

Ritsem itself is in Gällivare municipality, at the northern shore of the lake Áhkájávrre (Akkajaure).



Ritsem is a transport hub and together with the nearby other Sami settlements the main civilization around in this remote part of the Swedish fells. There are also facilities of a hydroelectric plant.

The Sami language here is Lule Sami. Everybody speaks Swedish and English.

Get in


There are buses from the municipal centre Gällivare 180 km away. Gällivare in turn is on the Malmbanan and Inlandsbanan railways, and on European roads E10 and E45, thus easily reachable. Gällivaare also has a small airport with flights from Stockholm (not combining well with the bus, overnighting usually necessary).

The bus from Ritsem takes about 4 hr (driving takes about as long). and costs 600–700 kr. Transfer at Stora Sjöfallet (off season?). Try to book the trip together with your train ticket, with "Resplus", which helps if the train is late.

If you are coming from the south along E45 you can turn to Ritsemvägen before Gällivare, some distance after Porjus. There are few other significant roads.

You may of course also come by some of the long-distance hiking trails in the area. There is boat transport to Ritsem from several trailheads.

Get around

Landscape by Áhkká

Ritsem itself is quite small. For the surroundings, hiking or local boat are the main means of transport. A bike is useful at least along the roads. In winter you can use skis or a snowmobile (mind ice safety).

By boat


Boat transport can be cancelled in bad weather. In the winter the lake freezes over, use your skis or a snowmobile instead.

  • M/S Storlule, +46 70-550-58-54. Rijtjem–Änonjálmme/Áhkká–Vájsáluokta. By schedule. Adult 320 kr, child 7–15 years 160 kr.
  • Ahkka boat taxi, +46 76-843-81-37, . July–August. Boat transport in the Ritsem–Änonjálmme–Vájsáluokta–Áhkká bay sector by Anna and Andreas Parfa. Book by SMS 24 hr in advance. From Ritsem to Änonjálmme or Vájsáluokta: adult 500 kr, child 3–12 years 200 kr, big dog 200 kr; Ritsem to the Àhkká bay or similar 300 kr/person, or by agreement; minimum charge 1500 kr for all passengers..
  • Ante Walkeapää, +46 70-604-40-79.

By helicopter



Áhkká seen across the lake

There is a nice view to the lake Áhkájávrre and to the Áhkká massif.

  • 1 Áhkká (Akka) (across the lake). The fell massif across the lake, with highest peak at 2,016 m (6,614 ft) over sea level. Áhkká is a goddess in the Sámi pre-Christian religion. Seem from the right perspective one can see her head, breasts, belly and legs. A large number of terrain features caused by the glaciers can be identified below the mountain. Áhkká (Q419567) on Wikidata Áhkká on Wikipedia
  • 2 Goahti church (Vájsáluokta, across the lake). There is a church built as a traditional Sami dwelling, a goahti. There is a service once a year in July. Should be open for visits. Goahti church (Q6532285) on Wikidata



Hiking. Ritsem is at the western border of the national park of Stora Sjöfallet. The national parks Badjelánnda (Swedish: Padjelanta) and Sarek are a day's hiking from the lake. All three are part of Laponia. Long-distance hiking trails reachable from here include Kungsleden (from Hemavan via Kvikkjokk and Vákkudavárre to Abisko), Padjelantaleden (from Ritsem to Kvikkjokk), Rádjebálges (to Tysfjord on the Norwegian coast), Nordkalottleden (from Kautokeino to Kvikkjokk or Sulitjelma) and E1 Long Distance Path from Nordkapp to Sicily. Most of these trails are well marked and have cabins a day's hiking apart. For Sarek you are on your own: the trail just passes through a corner of the park. There are a few bridges; otherwise there is little infrastructure. Also Rádjebálges and the nearest section of Nordkalottleden are demanding. All require some experience of wilderness backpacking in a Nordic climate if you lose the trail or get bad weather.

Also day hiking (or skiing) to the closer surroundings is rewarding. A tent can be hired (to be booked a week in advance).

Fishing is available in several places. Get the permits (and equipment, if needed) in the shop.

Snowmobile driving.

Guided tours are available for all activities.



The STF fjällstation has a shop. Also some of the cabins along the trails do, with a smaller assortment. Fish, bread and souvenirs may be available at some Sami settlements.







Lodging and camping site available.

  • 1 STF Ritsem, Ritsem 4, +46 10-190-2450, . 2021: 1 March–26 April, 24 June–11 September. A "fjällstation" maintained by the Swedish Tourist Association. Hostel like lodging. Shared kitchen, toilets and showers. Pets allowed. Linen. Laundry facilities. Sauna. Wi-Fi. Café. Shop targeting wilderness backpackers. Also camping. Baggage storage – you can send your civilization luggage here to fetch on arrival. Parking. Bed in 4-person room (mixed sex): 700 kr; double room 1900 kr (100 kr off for STF members); linen 300 kr/set.

Nearby cabins

Áhkájávrre seen from Vákkudavárre

These may be suitable for an overnight trip along some of the trails. Most are manned in season.

  • 2 Gisuris. Operated by Badjelánnda Laponia Turism, i.e. by the regional Sami community. Sells a few very basic edibles.
  • 3 Guvtjávrre (Kutjaure). Operated by STF. Only accepts cash payment. Does not have any shop.
  • 4 Rávddajávrre (Rautojaure). Day/emergency hut. Beds for two, space for two more on the floor. No heating. On Nordkalottleden en route to the Narvik fells in Norway, with the next cabin, Røysvatn hytta, far ahead.
  • 5 Sitasjaure. Operated by STF. Self-catering kitchen, cash only, pets allowed. Close by is a Sami camp and several old Sami sacrificial sites. Halfway to Nordkalottleden (the leg Abisko–Narviksfjällen).
  • 6 Vájsáluokta (Vaisaluokta). Operated by STF. Only accepts cash payment. Does not have any shop. Goahti church in the adjacent Sámi settlement. Trailhead for Padjelantaleden, which here coincides with Nordkalottleden.
  • 7 Vákkudavárre (Vakkotavare). Operated by STF. Has a shop. Bus to Gällivare (the Ritsem one). Kungsleden continues to the north from here.
  • 8 Änonjálmme (Akka). Operated by STF. Has a sauna, but no shop.



If you prefer, pitch your tent some distance from the settlement. That's what most hikers do along (or off) the trails. If you do, leave no trace.



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