Why And How To Get To Abisko, Sweden

In here you will find a guide to get to Abisko, Sweden and what cool things you can do to entertain yourself in such a remote place.

There are many places in northern Europe that are magnificent. From the Norwegian fjords to north of Finland and the surreal Icelandic nature, but don’t forget about Sweden.

It was time to visit a place that me and my wife (@sallapyy) wanted to explore for a long time: Abisko National Park in Northern Sweden.

It all started with a summer roadrip to the Lofoten Islands, I drove 14 hours from Oulu, Finland to Lofoten, Norway and on the way we found this jewel of a place, Abisko.

We didn’t have time to explore it as much as we wanted because we still had a long way to go for our final destination so we definitely had to come back.

Why Abisko?

We now came back but at the end of November, completely in a different season, winter. Abisko is known for its National Park. The area is visited in every season and you will find things to do throughout the year.

snowshoe hiking at Mount Nuolja
Snowshoe hiking at Mount Nuolja

However, if you come in winter you have one of the best chances in the world to experience the northern lights.

Because of its geographical location, Abisko is the town within the Northern Lights belt which has the most days with clear skies during the year. Even if Northern Lights values aren’t the best for an specific day, having clear skies will greatly improve your chances to see them

And I’m not kidding, the weather forecast wasn’t too promising when we checked before taking our flight to Kiruna, the nearest airport. The whole area was snowing and totally cloudy but as soon as it got dark, skies opened up in Abisko and we did see Lady Aurora dancing all night long, on our first night! We were staying there from Friday to Sunday.

Besides northern lights, there are plenty of things to do, especially hiking and exploring the vast area from its national park. Abisko national park has lots of trails from easy to moderate and hardcore hikers. So you will find the trail that suits you the best.

Other things that you can do: snowshoe hiking, skiing, dog sledge tours, snowmobile tours, northern lights tours and more, plenty of stuff to keep you busy!

Sunrise is at 10.30am and sunset at 1pm but who says nights are dark?

Henkilön Outdoor • Auroras • Adventure (@mercurial_traveller) jakama julkaisu

 

How to get to Abisko?

Driving there is easy, roads are well maintained during summer time but if you go there during a snow storm just be sure that the roads are open, sometimes Swedish authorities closes the road coming from Narvik. One of my friends had this issue and it was a pain.

You can also take a train from Central Europe or South Sweden but in my opinion most of the time it is much easier and cheaper to fly in. The nearest airport is in Kiruna, just 1 hour away by train from Abisko.

Kiruna train station
Kiruna train station, taking the train to Abisko

From Kiruna airport take a local bus which will take you to Kiruna bus station. The bus system from the airport to the city is very well planned, the bus always leaves 30 minutes after your flight arrives, so it will wait for you even if your flight is delayed. You can purchase the bus ticket with cash or card from the driver, no need to pre-book.

From the bus station you can take a free shuttle bus to Kiruna’s train station. The bus leaves from the “D stop” and the journey takes just 5 minutes. You can also walk to the train station if you want.

There are 2 trains per day from Kiruna to Abisko, I recommend to book your tickets online in the Swedish railways website: www.sj.se.

Abisko Östra train station
Abisko Östra station, waiting for the train back to Kiruna

We stayed at Abisko Mountain Lodge, great place and just a 5 minute walk from Abisko Östra train station, that is where we left the train which continues towards the national park train station and with Narvik as final destination.

GOLDEN HINT: Once you arrive to Kiruna’s bus station don’t go straight to Kiruna’s train station. In the train station there is absolutely nothing, not even a shop. So hang around the city center, there are plenty of coffee places to grab some local delicacy to eat while you wait the free shuttle bus to the train station.

 

Flights

I really recommend Norwegian and SAS, they have cheap flights that connect through Stockholm. As always, buy the tickets as early as possible and also book your hotels asap. Especially during winter time many tourists want to go to see northern lights so the cheapest accommodations will go first of course.

Before deciding the time of your inbound and outbound flights, check the times of the trains from/to Abisko, then you can plan your flights accordingly. This way making the most out of your days.

Arriving to Kiruna aiport
Arriving to Kiruna airport

How about tourists?

Actually it is not bad at all, of course there are tourists but not massive crowds as in other parts of the world. The town and national park area is huge and we did meet lovely international people in our hotel but when we went out to hunt for northern lights or climbing up the mountain, it was only us 2, no one else.

 

Getting to places within Abisko town and its national park

If there is something that I liked from Abisko is that you don’t really need to rent a car to explore the place. Even though we decided to stay at Abisko town (cheaper accommodation compared to the national park area), we were just 20-30 minutes away from the main trails, you can easily walk it from Abisko town. The sidewalks in between the town and national park are very safe and the signs for directions are clear.

Abisko Tourist Station
Abisko Tourist Station, the national park trails start from here.

I hope this guide for Abisko is useful, get inspired about what to do there through photographs. If you want to know something more that I didn’t write about just let me know by a comment below. You can also send me a private message on my Instagram @mercurial_traveler 🙂

Cheers!

-MT

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