Abisko Northern Lights: 7 Ways to See the Aurora in 2024 (Tours & Independently)

Cascading green waves with flashes of purple and red against a midnight blue sky: since I was a child, I was obsessed with the idea of one day seeing the Northern lights, even before I knew anything about what caused them.

Flash forward to age 26, when I finally decided to make this dream a reality when I saw some shockingly cheap roundtrip tickets to Sweden (I guess very few people try to swap the cold of NYC for the cold of Stockholm).

I knew what this meant: I could finalize realize my dream of seeing the Northern lights.

So in true type-A fashion, I laboriously researched the best place to see the Northern lights in Sweden.

⌛ Planning your Abisko winter trip in a hurry and don’t want to read the full article? Here are my quick picks.

❄️ Best Abisko Northern Tours
1. Lights over Lapland Photography Tour (#1 most reputable company)
2. 6-Hour Northern Lights Tour with Dinner (longest aurora tour)
3. Budget Lights Over Lapland Tour (great company, but larger group and without photography equipment rental)

🛏️ Best Abisko Hotels
1. STF Turiststation: Only accommodation in Abisko National Park, 10-minute walk to great Northern lights viewing spots.
2. Abisko Hostel & Huskies: Best budget option in Abisko, with great dog sled tours!
3. Abisko Mountain Lodge: Most traditional winter lodge, best for families.
Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you purchase something after clicking. Thank you for supporting the free content on this independent site! For more information on affiliate links and cookies, see my disclosure page for more details.

And lo and behold, the Northern lights in Abisko kept popping up as the absolute best place to see the aurora borealis in Sweden… but also as one of the top places to see the aurora in the world.

Statistically speaking, scientists agree that the Abisko Northern lights are among the most reliable in the world.

According to science, there’s an 80% success rate of seeing the lights if you stay in Abisko for three nights.

View of the aurora over the mountain near Abisko, Sweden, with green and purple colors in a zigzag shape against the sky.

Anecdotally, I have friends who had previously been to Iceland or Norway in winter and failed to see the Northern lights, even on a multi-week trip.

I didn’t want that to happen to me, especially on a trip planned to specifically to see the Northern lights.

In all my research, the the Northern lights in Abisko National Park seemed to have consistently highest success rate.

And I found that to be true — and actually, my three nights in Abisko, I saw the lights (to one extent or another) all three nights!

Flash forward to 2020, I planned a return trip to the Arctic hoping to see the Northern lights again, this time in Tromso.

Personally, when I compare my times chasing the Northern lights in Abisko and Tromso, I found I saw way better lights in Abisko way easier, for a fraction of the cost of Tromso.

I wrote this post after my epic trip to Stockholm and Abisko in the winter, and I most recently updated this post on January 4th, 2024 to ensure all tours are active and all information is correct and up-to-date.

Getting to Abisko from Stockholm

A car pulled over on the side of a road in Abisko, Sweden, to admire the Northern lights overhead
A view of Abisko’s famous Northern lights

Contrary to what you might think, flying is actually usually the best way to start an Abisko Northern lights trip, even if you start in Stockholm!

Taking the train from Stockholm to Kiruna is about 105 Euro each way and takes 17 hours.

Time was a luxury we did not have, and most people on short weekend breaks will not either.

If you have the time, Kiruna is worth a few days exploring, as it’s a super cute and unique town if you have the time.

Kiruna Church Sweden covered in snow, evoking a real Arctic vibe, with a reddish-brown church and snow
A scene from Kiruna, where most Northern lights adventures begin

But I was on a strict schedule, so I headed straight to Abisko after touring Kiruna for a little less than a day.

From Kiruna, you have a few choices to get to Abisko, where you can view the Northern lights a lot easier than in Kiruna proper (due to light pollution from the city and a slightly worse microclimate).

You can take either an obscenely expensive taxi (I believe it would have been about $200 USD), heading to Kiruna by bus or taxi and then taking the train to Abisko (about $11), or booking a direct shuttle bus to Abisko (this is the best way).

There is also a once-daily public bus (line 91) that goes directly from the airport to Abisko, but it is generally really hard to line up your flight arrival time with the bus departure.

It’s worth looking into, but don’t get your hopes up. It didn’t work out for us when we visited in 2016, and we had to resort to the most chaotic way to get to Abisko from Stockholm (don’t be like us — just book the d*mn shuttle bus).

7 Ways to See the Abisko Northern Lights

There are several ways to see the Abisko Northern lights, depending on your budget and how much time you have.

The cheapest (but least reliable) is just hoping for a clear day, walking away from any source of light pollution, and looking up!

However, this isn’t the optimal way to see the Northern lights in Abisko, because weather conditions may not be favorable in your exact location and you won’t have a guide who can predict where the aurora will be at its strongest.

Lights over Lapland Photography Tour

Photo Credit: Manawa

Ask anyone and this is their top recommendation for an Abisko Northern lights tour.

The Lights over Lapland photography tour has the best reputation in town because it’s run by a passionate aurora photographer who will not only bring you to great spots but also teach you how to photograph the lights on your own.

Plus, you don’t need to splurge on your own fancy camera for this — they will provide you a DSLR camera to use, all set with the proper settings ready to go, and they’ll also give you a brief overview of the skills needed to snap your very own photos of the Northern lights.

You’ll get personalized attention since the tour is limited to eight people, and the tour is prepared for any eventuality so that you can see the lights.

Depending on whether the Northern lights are dancing, you’ll either seek out the lights on foot based out of their nearby lavoo camp, in a sleigh pulled by a snowmobile in the wilderness camp, or go further afield to chase the lights in a 4×4 van.

You’ll have four hours of aurora hunting so you have plenty of time to cross your fingers and hope for the best.

You won’t just be standing around as you wait for the lights to appear, either; during the tour, your guide will explain the cultural and spiritual significance of the Northern lights to the Sámi indigenous people of the region.

Book your Northern lights photography tour here!

Budget-Friendly Aurora Chasing Tour

Two people standing on the frozen lake, looking at the aurora above which shows green, red, and purple colors swirling in the sky.
Photo Credit: Manawa

While the Lights over Lapland Photography Tour is my top choice in Abisko, it’s also a little bit pricy.

This aurora chasing tour is a decent amount cheaper, so if you’re on a budget, this may be the way to go in Abisko.

This tour does not include photography equipment, but if you already have your own high-quality camera set up (at a minimum, this includes a mirrorless or DSLR camera, wide-angle lenses, and tripod) then this may not matter to you.

This tour goes by minivan up to 90 kilometers away from the heart of Abisko National Park if needed to one of their favorite spots, such as Lake Torneträsk, Bear Mountain, or the mountains near Björkliden.

Note that this tour has less personalized attention than the above tour, since there can be up to 18 guests per tour.

That said, if you don’t mind the lack of photography equipment or the larger group size, it’s a great option to help you save some money in pricy Sweden!

Book your budget Abisko Northern lights tour here!

6-Hour Northern Lights Tour with Dinner

bright green and purple sky in the sweden night sky in abisko

If 4 hours of aurora chasing isn’t enough for you, here’s another great value offer — a 6-hour long Northern lights chase including dinner!

This small group tour (max. size 12) includes dinner first, then departing on a minivan tour chasing the lights.

This way, your guide will bring you to the best spot for the aurora based on the night’s forecast and microclimate conditions.

They’ll set up camp with a roaring campfire and hot tea and coffee so you can stay warm while waiting for the aurora to show!

This tour’s extra value comes from its two additional hours of aurora-watching compared to other tours as well as including dinner as part of the experience.

However, keep in mind that it does not provide any photography equipment, so you’ll have to bring your own from home.

Book your 6-hour Northern lights tour here!

Aurora Watching Tour with Sami-Style BBQ: From Kiruna

The neon green swirl of the Northern lights overhead with view of the landscape of Abisko and city lights in the distance.

This BBQ & aurora watching tour departing from Kiruna combines a culinary experience with Northern lights chasing, sharing delicacies from the local Sámi culture such as smoked reindeer as you enjoy a BBQ dinner.

(Reindeer not your jam? Fish, vegan, and vegetarian options are all available, too.)

After the BBQ dinner, you’ll head out into the more remote countryside in search of the aurora — depending on the weather and where you need to go, you’ll either explore by bus or by snowmobile!

Note that this tour departs from Kiruna and brings you to Abisko, so it’s perfect if you’re not planning on staying overnight in Abisko.

Book your aurora tour with BBQ dinner here!

Visiting the Aurora Sky Station

One of the most popular ways to see the Northern lights in Abisko is to visit the Aurora Sky Station located not far from STF Turiststation.

This tour brings you from STF Turiststation to a chairlift which will bring you to the top of Mt. Nuolja, about 3,000 feet above sea level (900 meters).

The views of Abisko and Lake Törnetrask below you are pretty epic — add in the Northern lights over Abisko and it’s like a painting come to life!

The benefit of the Sky Station is that you get to stay indoors in a cozy and comfy setting while you wait for the Northern lights to appear.

The downside is twofold: one, you’re locked into one location, so if the weather conditions are poor there, you won’t really be able to change it up.

The other downside is that because you’re high up, you may experience some different weather conditions that actually make viewing the lights harder, such as if a cloud settles atop the mountain.

That said, the Abisko Sky Station is a popular choice for many, because it’s comfortable to sit in the sky station and enjoy a meal here while you wait for the lights.

While I wouldn’t recommend it as the only way to see the Northern lights, having a meal here and spending a night here would be a good way to supplement another Abisko Northern lights tour experience.

Book your Abisko Sky Station experience here!

Aurora & Guided Snowmobile Tour

northern lights and snowmobiles

If you want to combine your Abisko Northern lights chasing with a fun out-in-nature activity, this aurora and snowmobile tour is an excellent option.

Cozy up in your provided thermal suit and choose between driving your own snowmobile (alone or with a passenger) or hop on board a sled pulled along by a snowmobile.

In between glimpses at the sky for the aurora, keep an eye out on the snow-covered ground too for local wildlife like moose and reindeer along the way.

This tour is capped at 8 people to ensure a small group experience, and it lasts for about 2 hours exploring the area around Abisko and Björkliden, around the scenic Lake Torneträsk.

Book your snowmobile and Northern lights tour here!

Self-Guided Aurora Watching

A photograph Allison took of the Northern lights as they danced overhead in 2016 in Sweden.
A snap I took of the Northern lights in Abisko National Park!

That said, you don’t need to take an Abisko Northern lights tour in order to see the lights. Self-guiding is an option, too!

I was on a strict budget while I visited Abisko since it was back in my teaching days, and I was spending my money elsewhere on things like my dog-sledding tour so I didn’t take a Northern lights tour while in Abisko.

Instead, each night when I was staying at STF Turiststation I would check the aurora livestream (it’s since changed, but you can now find it livestreaming on Twitchit’s going off right now as I type this, at 3 AM Swedish time!) and then go for a little night hike with my photography gear.

The first two nights I did this, there was Northern lights activity in Abisko but I didn’t get to take very good photos, because the conditions were really fleeting and I didn’t really know what I was doing.

Plus, it was really cold and standing around aimlessly without a fire or anything didn’t make it easy to have the patience I’d need for a better chance of great photos.

The final night I got better photos, walking down from where I was staying at STF Turiststation to the frozen-over Lake Törnetrask and being determined to truly see the lights.

Just as I was giving up and heading back in, the Northern lights erupted above me and I was able to snap the above photo!

It’s not a fantastic photo, but I’m proud that I was able to capture the purple element which was visible even to the naked eye.

So, yes, you can absolutely self-guide and see the Northern lights on your own! However, after taking several Northern lights tours in Tromso, I have to say that if you can afford it, taking a tour offers a far better and more comfortable experience, with a much higher guarantee of seeing the lights.

Personally, if I were to re-do this trip, I’d take a tour at least one night of my trip — it would have been worth the extra expenditure, something I can now only see with hindsight.

Where I Stayed to See the Abisko Northern Lights

The green waves of the northern lights as seen from above a mountain in sweden with lights on the horizon

Originally, we booked to stay at Abisko Hostel & Huskies.

I mean, it has huskies in the name — how could you not?

However, due to a last minute problem with the hostel (a malfunctioning fire alarm system that they were fixing), they had to cancel our reservation.

But they rebooked us for no extra cost at STF Turiststation, a more expensive (but incredibly nice!) hostel that also has cabins and private rooms.

And we had a whole 6-room hostel room to ourselves!

We loved our stay at STF so much that if your budget allows I’d really recommend staying there, because you truly can’t beat having all of Abisko National Park to yourself.

STF has multiple saunas, snowshoe and cross-country ski rentals, TWO of the nicest hostel kitchens I’ve ever seen, a fireplace and lounge room.

The green hue of the Abisko northern lights illuminating a tree and low-lying clouds on the horizon
A green sky in Abisko

Plus, it’s walking distance to frozen waterfalls and the frozen lake in Abisko National Park, which are great places to go during the day while waiting for the Northern lights to appear at night.

Even if you don’t stay there, it’s a great place to go for lunch – they have a daily buffet for about $15 USD, which is a fantastic deal for pricy Sweden.

The people at Abisko Hostel & Huskies were so lovely, and really helped us out with everything related to our stay… but I can’t speak to how the dorms were as we ended up being unable to stay there.

The dogsledding tour we took with them, however, was excellent!

Daytime Things to Do in Abisko (Before the Northern Lights Come out!)

Spend the after going dogsledding with huskies.

When not seeing the Northern lights, dogsledding is a fun way to pass the time
Dog sledding is a must-do when you visit the Arctic!

As I mentioned before, I loved my dog-sledding tour in Abisko!

While in general, I’m a traveler who is hesitant to support animal tourism, I think dog sledding is different. (I wrote a whole post on dog sledding in Norway to explain why!)

And in Abisko, I was able to see that the staff really value the dogs’ safety and wellbeing.

They had an awareness of each dog’s personality and knew how to pair the dogs with other dogs they’d get along with.

Sled dogs aren’t like your average dog – while obviously domesticated, there’s still a touch of the wild in them.

There’s a very clear hierarchy amongst sled dogs, and certain dogs need to be at the front of the line or else they get really upset.

I appreciated how the staff knew about this, anticipated it, and kept the dogs happy — they were literally howling with happiness, ready to run before we left.

At approximately $170 USD, a two-hour sled ride with the dogs is certainly an expensive treat, but it was well worth it to me.

However, for me, the realization of a childhood dream was worth the added cost.

Book your dog sledding tour in Abisko here!

Chase (frozen) waterfalls in Abisko National Park… or even climb them!

frozen waterfalls in Abisko National Park

Abisko National Park is a stunning setting even if it weren’t for its frequent dalliances with the Northern lights — and seeing it by day is a must.

Take some snowshoes (if you’re staying at STF Turiststation, they’ll rent you some!) and go for a hike to find the beautiful frozen waterfalls.

The staff at the front desk can draw you a map to find it, just a 15-minute trudge through the snow away.

If you’re feeling exceptionally brave, we saw people ice climbing up the waterfalls, using a belay set-up and climbing with pickaxes and crampons.

Back when I saw this with my own eyes in 2016, it was a big ol’ nope for me, but now 2023-era me who loves rock climbing is wondering when I can get back and try my hand at ice climbing!

Book your ice climbing excursion here!

Learn about the indigenous Sámi culture.

The Arctic region of Europe has its own Indigenous population: the Sámi people, who inhabit the Sápmi region which includes parts of Northern Norway, Sweden, and Finland, as well as Kola peninsula in Russia.

The Sámi people have lived off and cared for the land for centuries and continue to live in this region today, despite attempts from the nations who claimed Sápmi land in their borders to erase or assimilate Sámi culture.

The exact arrival of the Sámi in the region and who they originated from is still unknown, but most scholars agree at the Sámi have been inhabiting the Arctic region continuously for at least 2,000 years.

Despite harsh Arctic weather, attempted forced assimilation through political and so-called ‘educational’ means, and the division of their ancestral lands into four distinct nations, the Sámi continue to preserve their traditions, language, and culture.

One fascinating facet of this culture is the unique relationship between the Sámi people and the semi-domesticated reindeer they herd through the wild lands of the Arctic region.

For many centuries, the Sámi hunted reindeer as a wild species, but since the 1500s, that changed when some Sámi began herding reindeer and domesticating them, similar to free-grazing cattle. 

Reindeer husbandry is still a major part of the Sámi economy, though now tourism plays a role in that, with many Sámi people choosing to remain static through the winter period and establishing a farm that tourists can visit rather than roaming nomadically as they would historically do.

Visits with the Sámi people often include checking out the reindeer farms and getting a chance to feed reindeer or go reindeer sledding. 

This Sámi tour is the one I would recommend as it is also run by Lights over Lapland, which enjoys a great reputation in the region. 

The 7-hour tour consists of a visit to a reindeer farm in Rávttas, a small Sámi village 45 minutes away from Abisko.

The tour is inclusive of roundtrip transportation and lunch. On the tour, you’ll get the chance to meet and feed the reindeer, learning about Sámi culture from an English-speaking Sámi tour guide, and enjoy a short reindeer sled ride

Book your Sami village experience here!

What to Pack for a Trip to Abisko’s Northern Lights

Allison Green posing with the Northern lights on a tour in Norway in a red thermal suit with the green aurora overhead, surrounded by snowfall
Seeing the Northern lights on a tour in Tromso – much better equipped this time!

Despite being located north of the Arctic Circle, Abisko isn’t always as cold as you might think.

It’s colder than Tromso in winter, but warmer than Rovaniemi in the more-popular Finnish Lapland region.

Temperatures of -20°C / -4°F are common, and on rare occasions, the weather will reach as low as -40°C / -40°F.

However, when I visited in mid-February, the weather really wasn’t that bad. In fact, Abisko was warmer than the weather in NYC that I had left behind!

We usually had temperatures of around -1°C/30°F during the day, and as low as -9°C / 15°F at night.

However, the weather is unpredictable, so you will most certainly want to pack accordingly.

Here’s what I recommend you bring (for a more complete list, check out my winter in Sweden packing list)

  • Down Parka
  • Base Layers (either merino wool or other performance fabric)
  • Warm Sweaters + Waterproof Pants
  • Wool Socks + Snow Boots
  • Touchscreen-friendly Gloves + Waterproof Gloves over them
  • Hand Warmers (Electric or Disposable)
  • Tight-knit Hat + Large Scarf
  • Mirrorless/DSLR camera + Wide Angle Lens (+ Extra Batteries!)
  • Tripod + Lens Defogger

58 thoughts on “Abisko Northern Lights: 7 Ways to See the Aurora in 2024 (Tours & Independently)”

  1. Hi Allison, thank you for sharing your experience, so funny and so informative! I have a few questions though, I hope you don’t mind if I e-mail you?

    • Hi Linette! Sorry for the delay in responding, I’ve been in Cuba without wifi for the last week and a half. Please feel free to email me at allison at eternalarrival dot com 🙂 I’d love to help!

  2. Allison,

    A great article, thanks very much. Can I ask, is it worth paying to visit the Abisko sky station, or can you see the Northern Lights well without booking a tour?

    • Hi Gill! In my opinion, it’s not worth it to visit the Abisko Sky Station. I would recommend staying at STF Turiststation where you can walk 10 minutes to the frozen lake where you can see the lights beautifully.

  3. Hi Allison, I’m Juan Bautista from Argentina and I really loved you pictures! I intend to go to Abisko next year in January/February. I just want to see the Northern Lights on a budget. How long would you recommend me to go to Abisko and how cheap could it be if I don’t do any activity? Thank you very much!

    • Hi Juan! Thank you 🙂 I would recommend you go for at least 3 days, and excluding transport, budget $40-50USD per day if you aren’t doing any activities, cook all meals yourself, and don’t drink more than a beer or two from the supermarket. A hostel at Winterday is about $30 a night, or was last year at the exchange rate back then. So then add on another $10 or so for groceries each day. Transit is expensive though – flights are about $120 roundtrip plus another $80 or so to get between Kiruna and Abisko, so keep that in mind!

  4. Hello,

    Thanks for the article.

    I am planning to go to abisko national park in January 2018 (2nd January – 5th January 2018). I know that no one can give 100% guarantee about northern lights appearance.

    1 .But can you please suggest me that is it a good time to see the northern lights?

    2. What about the weather during theses day ? I saw the forecast and it says that it will be dark throughout the day.

    • Hi Peeyush.

      You have about an 80% chance of seeing the Northern lights if you are there for 3 days so you are pretty sure to see them as long as there are no winter storms that cover up the sky. But the microclimate of Abisko means that clouds are less likely than other places in the far north so you have a very good chance to see them. I saw them 3 nights in a row, but the first 2 nights were kind of cloudy so you could only see them for a bit.

      The weather will likely be very cold as there is no sun to warm you up. I’d estimate anywhere from -20F to 10F and yes, it will be dark pretty much all throughout the day as you are only a week or two after the solstice. Dress warm and be prepared to be kind of confused by the lack of day and night!

    • Fleece lined leggings (Amazon link in my post) + regular North Face down jacket + smaller Uniqlo down jacket + waterproof boots, plus normal sweaters and jeans. I lived in NYC and just used multiple layers of my warmer winter clothes; if you don’t have warm winter clothes you can also ask your hotel to see if they can lend you a snowsuit for activities outside. Abisko.net for sure has some 🙂

  5. Hi Allison,
    Thanks for the great post.
    Me and my brother are looking to di the trip at the end of March2018. I quickly wanted to check with you regarding Abisko. Is it necessary to rent a car to drive around in Abisko if you are there for three days? Did you do any other activities during the day in Abisko? And regarding the traveling: fly from Stockholm to Kiruna and then train/shuttle from Kiruna to Abisko.


    • Hi Willem! I didn’t find it necessary to rent a car, but it depends what you want to do. I did a day of dog-sledding which included a transfer; the rest of the time I was just doing walks and hikes in Abisko National Park. I personally flew from Stockholm then Kiruna, then took a taxi with a friend to Kiruna city then a train to Abisko. I’d recommend doing a shuttle instead (the train station is located a bit outside the city so it’s kind of inconvenient); I did that on the way back and it was much easier.

  6. Hi Allison,
    We are travelling for couple of days to Abisko and Kiruna for Northern Lights and Ice Hotel by car .
    I have a couple of questions
    1. Is that possible to just go around the Abisko Mountains by Car without any event Companies
    2. Is there any best place to view the Northern Lights
    3. Any Hiking places and MUST visit places


    • Hi Sandeep, I’m sorry, I don’t understand your first question. If you’re asking if you need a tour to visit Abisko National Park, the answer is no 🙂 In my opinion the best place to see the Northern Lights is by the frozen lake in Abisko National Park, as it’s far from light pollution. But pretty much anywhere you get away from unnatural light, you will be able to see the lights if they are out and it is a clear night. You can also try the Aurora Sky Station but I think it is quite expensive. For hiking, there isn’t that much during the winter due to the snow, but there are a few nice trails you can do in the national park near STF Turiststation. Ask someone at the STF hotel about the walk to a frozen waterfall 🙂

  7. Hi,
    This is so much informative. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us Recently I have been to Iceland in this October end, I stayed there from 27th October to 7th November but unfortunately couldn’t able to see northern lights. So everyday I’m thinking about it. so finally thought of visiting Abisko to see NL after doing lot of search. so could you please tell me that March 2018 would be the great time to visit!? And do I need to check weather forecast and moon phases!?

    • Hi Smita! Glad you enjoyed it. Too bad about Iceland 🙁 March should be a good time to visit, but unfortunately nothing is ever really certain. You do have a better chance there than other places, as the weather is generally clearer and since you are north of the Arctic Circle you’re more likely to see it. You’ll need to check the weather the week of your trip to make sure it won’t be stormy (unfortunately you can’t predict more than that). Moon phases don’t matter that much. A full moon may dull it a bit, but I saw the lights three times when the moon was full or nearly full.

    • Hello, i will be going this March the 1st because its new moon, i’ll be there for 9 days, hoping darkness of new moon will aid in seeing the lights better =)

    • Hey Julio, I’m so glad to hear that (and jealous about Norway – that’s one of the places super high on my bucket list!) I hope you have an amazing time, and best of luck with seeing the lights!

  8. HI Allison,

    Thanks a lot for your blog post, it’s really helpful. This is my second comment on your post. (First I asked you about the plan…see above 🙂 )

    So I am going to Abisko on 2nd of January 2018 and I need your advice about activities in Abisko e.g. dog sledding, ICE hotel etc.
    Do I need to book them in advance using some website? If yes then can you please suggest me some websites.
    Or can i get them at my hotel (STF Tourist station) ?

    • Hi Peeyush! Glad that this post has been so helpful. I personally booked dogsledding in advance with abisko.net, but I know that STF Turiststation has tours and things you can sign up for upon arrival, though you might want to book in advance if you have very specific things you want to do like seeing the Ice Hotel. Enjoy your trip!

    • Perfectly safe to travel alone to Abisko! Sweden is very safe 🙂 I would just recommend that if you fly, you book a shuttle (you can find one on Abisko.net’s website) or take the train to Abisko as timing the flight, taxi, etc. with the daily train connection from Kiruna-Abisko can be a bit of a hassle (and it’ll be cheaper than taxi+train if you’re traveling alone)

  9. Allison, thanks a lot for so much useful information. Can you tell me if it is easy to walk from Abisko.net (Winterday hostel) to STF? I understand it is about 2 km but not sure if it is easy to walk because it will be quite cold when we visit there in 2 weeks from now. Reason for considering Abisko.net is that it is 50% cheaper than STF

    • Hi Piyush. I haven’t made the walk so I can’t tell you from personal experience, but I’m pretty sure there’s just the one main highway that you’d have to walk so I don’t think it would be the safest choice. My situation was a little unique in that I booked to stay at Abisko.net (for the same reason) but they had a problem with their sprinkler system the week we were due to arrive, so they rebooked everyone into other hotels and guesthouses. They arranged transport for us between STF and Abisko.net as a result of that. I’d reach out to the team at Abisko.net and ask them directly. Keep in mind that it may already be booked up if your trip is in two weeks, though! It was booked up months in advance when I went two years ago.

  10. I am planning to visit Oslo, Tromso, Alta and Stockholm in mid-october of 2019. Can you please suggest what can be a good but very cheap itinerary for 3-5 days? Seeing the Northern Lights is a prime reason for the entire trip.

    • Hi Annay, do you have 3-5 days for Abisko or for that entire trip? If you have 3-5 days for the entire trip then I recommend only picking one place, and I’d pick Abisko, Sweden if you are on a budget.

  11. Hi Allison,
    Thanks for the great article! I just wanted to ask you about the snowshoe/XC ski rentals at STF Turiststation – is it really free with a room?? It seems too good to be true and I can’t find anything about it online. Do you think it may have changed since you were there?

    Also, in general, I’ve been clicking around your blog now and I love your work! Very relatable for me, as a fellow quirky/outdoorsy Californian avoiding adulting while living in Berlin. Keep it up!!

    • Hi Ruby! It was free with a room when I stayed in 2016 but I’m not sure if anything has changed in the last 2 or 3 years, sorry!! You could always e-mail them and ask. And thank you and hello fellow Californian abroad! 🙂 Berlin is great – I actually considered moving there before ending up based in Sofia!

  12. Hi Allison! Great article! Thanks for sharing your experiences and beautiful photographs! Which month in the year did you go to Abisko? I was thinking about going for 3 days around Christmas…Happy Holidays!

    • Hi Roneeta, I went in mid-February. Keep in mind that around Christmas is the polar night, meaning no true daylight at all at any point for about 3 weeks! There will be post-sunset twilight-y colors but that’s about it. So if that doesn’t bother you I say go for it! If you think that would get to you, save it for late January or later.

  13. Hi Alisson! I loved your blog regarding your Sweden experiences vis-a-vis Northern Lights in Abisco. This includes your informative comments from various readers. Me and my travel buddy plan to travel Sweden in early January 2020 (probably between 6-10 January. Would you think this is an ideal period to see the northern light, taking into consideration to stay in Abisco for 3 nights as you suggested? Indeed I appreciate your comment on this query.

    • Hi Ernesto, thanks for your comment! This is a good time, just keep in mind it is during the polar night when there is no daylight – check the sunrise and sunlight times. There will be some twilight so it is not always completely pitch black but it may be a bit disorienting. Personally if you have flexibility I think that the end of January or early February will give you a better balance of day and night while still giving ample opportunity for Northern lights. In terms of time of the year generally the aurora is a little stronger in fall than in winter but if you have three nights you have the 80% chance. You could always be unlucky with clouds or no solar activity but your odds are better than anywhere else. Have a great trip!

  14. I was frantically searching for information to go to abisco in feb 2021, if the covid situation improves. I found your post and it had a ton of information, i ma sure would be sufficient. maybe I will get back when things are formalised.

  15. Hi Allison,

    Is there any app you know which are dependable for Aurora forecast? I understand that it is only possible to see the aurora in winter months. Just wanted to check once if any chance of that in summer though.

    Thanks for compiling all relevant information in one place. You made my trip plan way easier.


  16. My friend and I are leaving for Abisko in 32 days. Loved your blog.great information. I was waffling between taking a tour to see the lights or not and thanks to your info we will be taking a tour.

    • The countdown is on! Yes, you definitely won’t regret seeing a tour. I’m going back to the North (Rovaniemi & Tromso this time) and I will definitely be taking a few northern lights tours again even though I have seen them before. It’s just that magical!

  17. Hi Allison,

    Wonderful posts and information on Northern Lights. one of the very best amonst all the ones I read so far.

    We are planning a Northern Lights tour in 2nd week of March and want to go to 2 different places.

    we have zeroed down on Rovaniemi as one for sure. For the second (or lets say the first), we are confused.

    Initially thought of doing Tromso but having second thoughts after reading your article. Is Abisko a good option (also considering that we will anyways be going to Rovaniemi) or you recommend any other place?

    Thanks in advance.


    • Hi Aneesh, Tromso is more fun for winter activities as there is a lot more variety and the landscape is more naturally pleasing to the eye than Rovaniemi or Abisko, in my opinion.

      That said, if your goal is the Northern lights only, Tromso is not really the place for that. The lights rarely appear over Tromso; when they do, they are faint or mostly covered by cloud. Northern lights tours almost always drive 3+ hours to Finland in order to even see a good lights display.

      So for Northern lights I’d pick Abisko. For everything else (fjord landscape, winter activities, culture of a Northern city) I’d pick Tromso. I hope that helps!


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