In November 2014, I visited Abisko and the Aurora Sky Station for the first time, hoping to catch a glimpse of the famous Northern Lights.
I still can’t believe I’ve lived in Sweden my entire life, and hadn’t seen the Northern Lights until then!
It was an amazing experience and I would recommend the once in a lifetime trip to everyone. You MUST try to chase the Northern Lights (also known as aurora borealis) at least once in your lifetime, and Sweden is the perfect place to do it.
Abisko is one of the best places in the world to see this natural phenomenon. So if you happen to spend some time in Sweden (or really just want to see some magical lights) then head up to Abisko to see the magic for yourself!
The Best Place to See the Northern Lights.
The Aurora Sky Station is located at the top of Mount Nuolja at 900 meters. There is no light or sound distracting you from the stunning view, and to get to the top you take a ski lift for about 20-30 minutes. Once at the top, there is a restaurant you can warm up in, buy something to eat and wait for the magic to happen.
Top tip: If you’re visiting during winter time, make sure to bring a lot of warm clothes! It does get really cold and you will be glad of some warm socks and extra layers. You can borrow shoes and an extra layer before you step on the lift, but I make sure that you don’t underestimate the cold. The lift is slow and you’ll be happy you brought those extra layers!
We flew from Arlanda airport in Stockholm, to Kiruna. From there we took a train to Abisko Turiststation. From the station it’s a less then 10 minute walk to the hotel. You can find more information here.
Where to stay
The STF Abisko Mountain Station is a beautiful lodge, located only ten minutes away from the chair lift taking you up to Aurora Sky Station.
The Mountain Station offers different kinds of accommodation, and you’ll also find a nice restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner too. I found the accommodation really cosy, the people working there were really nice and the food was nice too. I would definitely stay there again if I went back.
There are also different activities offered beyond just seeing the Northern Lights (even though you could do that for several days!). They offer photo courses that help you get the perfect shot of the Northern Lights, as well as various hiking or skiing tours. More info here.
Best time to see the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights appear when it’s dark outside. You can best see the phenomenon when there is no other light distracting, and in Abisko you can best see it between October and March. In September and April there is a smaller chance to see it, just stay up late and hope you’re lucky enough!
There is no exact time when the lights will appear: they can be visible for fifteen minutes or stay for hours, it can be early at night or late around midnight.
Dress warm and be patient, it will happen!
If you stay around the Sky Station for three days you have an 80% chance of seeing the northern lights, according to scientists at IRF in Kiruna, so it’s worth staying a little longer to give yourself the best chance to see them!
Have you seen the Northern Lights? Where did you see them? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!