The quietest place
More than 1300 kilometres north of Volvo Cars' hometown of Gothenburg you'll find Muttos, a huge national park. A vast sweep of prehistoric forest and great marshes, often called the quietest place in the country, it's a long way from the lively, buzzing and heavily industrial city - both literally and metaphorically.
But despite the distance, the forest can tell us plenty about the Volvo Cars vision. Ninety years ago, the company's founders made a car that would withstand the tough Swedish landscape and harsh seasons. A car that would be as at home on the edge of the boreal forest as it is driving down a sunny coastal road.
Although it's also sometimes known as Muddus, Muttos is the name that the Sami people indigenous to the area have given to the park. It's part of the Laponia world heritage site in the north of Sweden, and provides a home to herds of reindeer that have been a central part of the local way of life for centuries. When there's no snow on the ground some Sami villages move to the park, bringing more reindeer with them to graze. But Muttos is a sublime place all year round, a largely untouched area that's renowned for its local legends as much as its sights. It contains five hundred square kilometres of lovingly preserved taiga - the band of prehistoric forest that encircles the top part of the globe. Altogether, the taiga makes up the world's second largest community of coexisting plants and animals, beaten in size only by the ocean.
Muttos is home to everything that's beautiful in the Nordic landscape. It's marbled with ravines and waterways, covered in vast silent marshes and crowded with giant, ancient pines. And, like all of the taiga, it needs to be treated with care and respect. Generally speaking, the taiga can be a fairly dangerous place to be if you're not ready for it. But one of the things that makes Muttos so special is its accessibility.
Access to history and beauty
Visitors come to Muttos for the silence, the beauty, and the nature. One of the forest's pines is supposed to be one of the oldest of its kind in the world - at least seven centuries old, in fact. Lynx, wolverines and lemmings are some of the animals that live here, along with the reindeers that are herded by the local community.
They also come for the folklore and history. So many legends have grown up around the Muttos that every cabin in the park contains a folder which collects them all together. The tales range from historical vignettes about what it's like to live in the forest, to mysteries and myths. What better inspiration is there to go there and create your own stories?
Letting you in
The people who take care of the park believe that an area this impressive should be accessible to everyone. A couple of trails run through the south part of the forest, close to most of its most unique features: the historic cabins, the ancient pine, and the blaze-damaged “fire fields.”
It’s also the location of the Naturum Visitor Centre Laponia, a great starting point for expeditions and a place for children to learn about the forest and take part in activities like wildlife tracking and reindeer spotting. In 2018, a new park entrance is being built in Skájdde which is adapted for disabled visitors. There’s even a ski route through the park on its northern side, letting you through part of the landscape that, during warmer months, is too marshy to enter.
In Muttos, there are some log cabins open to the public, but if they're full, you're welcome to pitch a tent in certain areas or ask to stay in a forest dwelling. You fetch your own water, and cut your own wood. As long as you take care of your surroundings - in terms of common-sense gestures like not dropping litter, being respectful of the reindeer and trying not to disturb the people who actually live there - you can sleep right in the middle of the forest.
Giving people the freedom to explore the best the world has to offer, creating their own unforgettable experiences. And, all the while, aiming to preserve this beauty for generations to come. You can find out more about the Muddus national park here – including accessibility, a list of suggested equipment, the park rules and detailed info on how to find it.
Prepare for the experience
Muttos is a perfect driving destination for you and your Volvo. Here’s how to make sure that you’re equipped for the journey.
The Muttos national park is accessible by road - the E45 highway that runs from Gothenburg through Norrland passes by it, and there's also a road that goes up to the Skájdde entrance - although it might be tricky or inaccessible in winter, so call Laponiatjuottjudus on +46 (0)971-555 00 in advance to check the conditions.
Service by Volvo
A tuned-up car makes your drive better suited to long drives in harsh environments, and also more sustainable. Before you set off, book yourself in for a service to make sure that your car is prepared.
Pack & load
If you're heading into the park, you will need to pack some equipment. Find the entire range of stylish and useful Pack & Load solutions for your car in our Accessories online product catalogue.
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Lobster fishing in Sweden
Nowadays, it seems a growing number of people are taking the time to learn to do things the traditional way. It may take a little longer but the reward can be well worth the wait. It was in this frame of mind that we set out to sea to try out a spot of traditional lobster fishing, and discover if there really is pleasure to be found in patience.