The beauty of traveling responsibly
We would love to give you a deeper connection to our Sami cultural heritage, landscapes and traditions -all linked together for a richer lifestyle.
Geunja Sámi Eco Lodge, the WWF Arctic Award winner, Grand Travel Award and Nature's Best 2002-2021
Learning experience and knowledge transfer thru generations
Geunja, the secluded Sami Eco Lodge is hideaway in the mountains . You will only find your way to us by invitation. For the surrounding nature and wildlife to remain as untouched as possible, we welcomes twelve groups of guests a year and maximum 12 guest each time, whether you are an individual or a company.We tailor the content for your trip whether you are an individual or a company. Geunja can be booked on a private exclusive all-inclusive basis for 12 people with a minimum of 2 nights. Day trips are also being offered.
Invitation & Booking
Welcome become a helping hand and a part of the Vinka family.
The income from our paying guests goes to protect and preserve the Sami buildings and caring efforts for nature and culture
Just to let you know, we have travel guarantee provided by Kammarkollegiet, necessary permits to run the business, liability insurance and an F-tax certificate. All for you to feel safe and secure.
For a personal invitation kindly send us your request by using this form or call +46(0)952-602 90. Please include your telephone number and we will get back to you as soon as we are back from the mountains.
Extra content - Do not miss to read one of our guests' story, see further down the page. If you have any questions kindly contact us
A story from one of our guests!
Our journey begins by the end of the road. And “the end of the road” is to be taken literally; it’s not allegorical in a Dantean kind of way – the Route 363, going from the coast to the mountains, comes to a watery halt by the Tjulträsket Lake. But, to quote the villagers in Ammarnäs: where the road ends, the adventure begins.
Where the road ends, the adventure begins
Mikael Vinka picks us up by boat, and we race across the grand lake to reach the cove where Geunja Sámi Eco Lodge stands. The stead looks like it’s been there for centuries: the silvery and withered timber walls of the buildings, the grass-clad roofs, the Sami goahti and outhouses standing on legs of graceful mountain birch. While it can’t be said that anything is spoken loudly in Geunja, it is a place where tradition and sustainability is allowed to speak the loudest, permeating everything from building construction and materials to the food served and the stories told.
Our first evening at Geunja is spent in the goahti. We are sitting around the fire on aromatic birch branches, enjoying the atmosphere and having our dinner – a stew made from sautéed reindeer slices, served with potatoes, lingonberries, flatbread and cheese. Mikael Vinka tells us about everything from the construction and function of the goahti to its traditions, such as how the family is placed, how you show your respect. We learn about Sarakka, the goddess of the hearth, and Mikael tells us how his grandfather entered this particular goahti flying through the smoke, in spirit form and the shape of a snow-white ptarmigan. Mikael is an excellent storyteller and everyone is spellbound listening to him. And this is where magic happens: everyone has a story of their own. No question is too stupid to ask. The conversations are low-key and capturing. We start conversing and listening that evening, and we keep conversing, and listening, our whole stay.And: the calmness, here too. Someone falls asleep on the hides. Another one rests her head in her husband’s lap.
A full-on experience
Being there is a full-on experience. While the accommodation, the food and the storytelling is magical, it would be unfair to describe only those parts. For example: I get to see my first ever wild beaver that morning, swimming right next to me on our boat trip into the small river delta. In fact, the water is so clear I could count the pebbles on the bottom without a problem. It is an enjoyable excursion, and Mikael is an amazing guide, talking about the surrounding wildlife and vegetation.
We stay there for three nights. We were only meant to stay two night, and go home after lunch – a mouth-watering chanterelle soup; everything we eat at Geunja comes from the pantry of the surrounding nature – but the mere thought of it makes us both cringe. I really don’t want to leave that blissful bubble where nothing else matters but now. It is a very comforting bubble. We’re gracefully invited to stay another night, and Mikael helps us to connect with the outside world and our babysitter.
We can do whatever we want that afternoon. Some of the guests decide to take a walk in the mountain. Some of them want to go fishing. And we spend our afternoon resting in the sun, cuddling the dog and falling asleep together on the grass, before enjoying the sauna extraordinaire and a cold, but pleasant, swim in the lake. Mikael joins the group in the sauna, and shares stories about everything one could imagine – amongst stories about how Geunja was built and stories from the nature reserve, he talks fondly about how the Crown Princess of Sweden inaugurated Geunja.
One thing to know about Mikael is that he collects stories. Being who he is, from a Sami descent, this means he has also been collecting lore and traditional knowledge. It’s apparent Mikael feels passionately about remembering, honoring and practicing old Sami and Arctic knowledge, traditions and customs, as well as transferring those experiences to others. Meeting him means learning, in a very pleasant way.
It’s like being a family, only a bit more harmoniousWe go to bed late that night. In a way you could describe Geunja as a magical place, a Wonderland of the mountains, the grand escape where you lose track of time and space. The rest of the world could be destroyed in a holocaust, for all we know; all of us are present in the moment and that is all that matters. We eat when we get hungry; we sleep whenever we feel like it and we wake up as the day breaks and the pale morning sunshine shows.
A couple of guests choose to sleep in the goahti that night. We – me and my husband – have beds in one of the lodges. There is no electricity at Geunja, but the beds are comfortable – even when we decide to use only one of the beds and fall asleep entangled – and there are candles, a kerosene lamp and a small iron stove to make the room even more pleasant and inviting.
One of the things about Geunja is that all the guests help out making food, doing dishes and tidying up – or with haymaking, when it’s time for that, Mikael tells me. I get to cook the porridge for breakfast, and the char that one of the guests catches that day ends up being on our dinner plates later. It’s like being a family, only a bit more harmonious, doing dishes outdoors, laughing together, with the sun warming us.
"I´m still in the mindset of Geunja"
We go home, accompanied over the lake by Mikael and the family dog. It is a strange feeling landing on the shores of Tjulträsket, going back to another kind of civilization. But the following days, I’m still in the mindset of Geunja, forgetting about my smartphone and being in the moment. It is a lovely memory. May it never go away. Text by: Maria Broberg.
Information & Booking
Due covd-19, we will not be offering package tours this year. Day trips may be arranged. Let us keep you updated on any changes
More stories ...
All images on this website are copyrighted. Many thanks
to the photographer Jess McGlothlin, Staffan Widstrand, Ola
Jennersten,Ted Logardt, Robert Hansson, Maria Broberg and guests of
Geunja who contributed images to the website. The website is under
construction. Please give us feedback! © 2021 by Lappland
safari - Geunja Sami Ecolodge in Vindelfjällen Ammarnäs a part of Swedish