Welcome to TA Finland!
Hmm, your question gives a lot of options.
I would suggest that you would route via Norway on your trip as the scenery in there is really something different from Sweden and Finland. Mo i Rana and the Lofoten islands might be something to look at. Do not take the shortest route up the coast of Sweden, IMHO it is a little boring. But there is lots of countryside and small towns if you like that. Lots of woods and fields and not too many hills...
If you travel far North, you could be able to see the midnight Sun.
If you plan your route along the Eastern side, do not miss Kiutaköngäs in Kuusamo.
Along the coast Kalajoki has one of the nicest beaches in Finland.
In July there will also be many events such as concerts etc.
Hope this helps to get started!
Thanks Yuke, that was quick!
We're planning to go Esbjerg, Gothenburg, Karlstad, Ostersund and up to Muddus Park. We're a bit short of time, so must be careful with planning. We like small communities, history and scenery. Night sun (or at least twilight) is also on the agenda.
I'll be doing the usual research, but always best to talk to like-minded folk, especially locals!
It's a pretty large chunk of territory you're looking at. Since you say you're short of time, it would be helpful to have a hint of what your time/cash budget might be. There are indeed rich pickings of experiences in those regions - you'll get your money's worth if you've got the money, and that goes for time as well.
The Swedish High Coast between Sundsvall and Umeå has magnificent sceneries, even if there are no real mountains there (it's a Unesco World Heritage site) visitsweden.com/sweden/… . Best views are between Härnösand and Örnsköldsvik. From Umeå you can also hop onto the Finnish side of the Gulf of Bothnia to Vaasa by the new shipping company Vaasanlaivat - Vasabåtarna: http://www.vaasanlaivat.fi/ .
If you are intrested and have time and money for cruise you should go for it, views are awesome. http://www.saimaacruises.fi/In-English
In my opinion lakes are one of the best things in finland.
Thanks for the replies; it's now looking like a road-trip Esbjerg - Malung - Jokkmokk - Umea - Sundsvall - Stockholm - Riga. Sorry Finland, next year maybe (when retired:)).
We'll manage two nights in Jokkmokk and are keen to take advantage of the short time there. Small villages, geology/scenery and wildlife are top of the agenda.
A couple of specific Qs - 1) just how significant are the summer mosquitos? 2) is fuel readily available or is special planning required?
1, Lapland's mozzies are pretty fierce in July. Take precautions.
2. Petrol stations are thin on the ground, like the population. Tank up when you can, but you don't need to plan it like a military operation.
Once you're already in the area and if interested in geology do not skip the chance to visit the iron ore mine in Kiruna (guided tours of the mine available). Also the plans of moving the entire centre of Kiruna town to a new location will be interesting to see (esp. when seeing the size of buildings they plan to relocate) - and this is being done because of mining.
1) just how significant are the summer mosquitos?
A real nuisance
2) is fuel readily available or is special planning required?
No need for planning. The range per tank for modern cars is > 800 kms. Distances between petrol stations are typically way less than 100 kms.
"Distances between petrol stations are typically way less than 100 kms."
Except in Swedish Lapland where they are few and far between, although not so far that you'd suddenly have to drive the tank empty before finding the next tank station.
E.g. between Töre and Kiruna (290 km) there's practically only one petrol station by the road E10. There are more petrol stations in the beginning of the leg in Töre and again in the end around Kiruna, but the main road E10 itself runs through "wilderness" without too many human settlements on the way.Edited: 3:47 am, January 02, 2013