As a birthday present, I received from my incredible man one of the most intense experience of my life: Visit swedish Lapland to watch Northern lights! The perfect spot to catch the northern lights is Abisko National Park where we discovered the life under 20 degrees!
Where is Lapland?
Lapland is an area that includes the far northern parts of Europe and was traditionally home to the Sami people. It’s also the perfect place to catch the Northern Lights. You can either choose Norway (Tromso), Finland (Rovaniemi) or here in Sweden from Kiruna.
How to go to swedish Lapland?
To come and visit this region of Sweden you can take a direct flight to Kiruna, or choose like us an early flight from Stokholm Arlanda airport to Luleå and rent a car there. Nice way to gently enter into the Arctic Circle!
What about the weather?!
End of February, the sunrise was at 7.40am and sunset from 5.15pm (but get really dark at 6pm).
We spent a total of 3 days in Lapland, short time but quite enough when you considerate the -15°c average we had!
Long week-end in Lapland
Summary of our program:
- Flight from Lyon to Stokholm (Arlanda), we slept one night in an hotel with free transfers from and to the airport
- Second flight to Luleå where we rented a car to visit the city center
- Lunch at Jukkasjärvi and a second night at Aurora River Camp in Poikkijärvi
- Husky Tour in Svappavaara
- Lunch and visit of the old Kiruna city
- Night close to Abisko and Night Lights watching at Aurora Sky Station
- Visit of Abisko National Park
- Lunch and visit of the new Kiruna center
- Way back to Luleå airport
- Flight to Stokholm to go back home the next day
What’s the best period to see the Northern Lights?
I’m not a specialist, and you may find on internet a lot of tips about the best period for each region of the Globe. What I can tell you is you need to find a dark night with no moon and no clouds… February looks to be a perfect timing for us, with at least 10h of day light so time to also enjoy the amazing landscapes!
Step 1: Luleå to Jukkasjärvi
Arrived around 8.30am, we rented a car in the airport and walked into Luleå city center. It was sunday with everything close and quiet. Most of the restaurants were opening late so we decided to take a sandwish on our way and just hit the road!
We arrived for lunch at Nutti Sámi Siida, in Jukkasjärvi, WAY too touristic and expensive with only 2 meals options: prefer Stejk Street Food in Kiruna with tables under the same Sami style house!
We slept at Aurora River Camp, a very nice cottage on Poikkijärvi side. They offer winter suits and boots to cross the frozen river and go the other side (where you find a supermarket and the touristic Ice Bar). The weather wasn’t good enough to appreciate the night lights, but we tryed!
To rent a car: You can book online and get the keys from a keybox at anytime. We found the car in the parking slot in front of the airport, and left it here with the keys in a dropbox.
Step 2: Husky Tour, Kiruna and the Aurora Sky Station
We started our second day in Lapland by a Husky Tour in Svappavaara: 2h and 13km of dog sledding accross magic frozen forest and lakes!
We had lunch in Ann’s Burger Grill and looked around the desert town of Kiruna: they’re currently closing everything and move the population 3km east.
We arrived in Abisko for the sunset (4.30pm) and waited for the night to get dark.
We spotted our first night light around 8pm at Silverfallet waterfall (10min driving) and went to Aurora Sky Station around 9pm. There you climb 900m in chair lifts which almost guaranty you to see clearly the Northern Lights. Even if the camera gives a brillance to the colors our eyes couldn’t catch, it was still magical to look at those mesmerizing forms emerging during almost 2 hours!
To visit Abisko and the Aurora Sky Station:
You absolutely NEED TO BOOK in advance your trip there! The cable car to go up propose a day ticket, a night ticket, and a special dinner, but be sure to book in on their website!
To sleep: You have a limited choice around Abisko. We stayed at STF Tourist station (the most expensive dormitory we’ve ever seen)
Step 3: Abisko National Park and new Kiruna
Even with the -18°c temperature, the lights were so amazing that we decided to take a walk to Abiskojakka canyon. We discovered the rest of Abisko National Park by car, with a beautiful point of view from Björkliden ski station.
Our way back was amazing, with the sunlights all day long… We had lunch in the new center of Kiruna (around the modern clock) and headed back to Luleå.