The Ultimate Guide to Abisko
Verdant forests, majestic mountainscapes and some of the best aurora displays you’ll ever encounter, Abisko National Park is simply remarkable. Dubbed the world’s most illuminating experience, it is recognised as the most reliable place on the globe for northern lights sightings, where displays can be more intense or prolonged than anywhere else on the globe.
From trekking on the Kungsleden (Kings Trail), fly-fishing and canyoning in the summer months to trying your hand at Nordic skiing, snowmobiling or even ice fishing in the winter – whichever time of year you visit, your experience is sure to be breathtaking.
Where is Abisko?
The village of Abisko can be found in the north of Swedish Lapland, nestled deep within the Arctic Circle. Protected by the mountains and far away from artificial light pollution, Abisko boasts some of the highest and most spectacular aurora displays. Abisko is also Sweden’s driest location with almost cloudless skies, so even if you don’t see the lights – you’re sure to have an enchanting experience. In the heart of Abisko lies Lapporten – an unusual U-shaped valley between two mountains that has become a popular natural attraction.
Getting to Abisko couldn’t be easier on our direct flight from London Heathrow to Kiruna in Swedish Lapland, which includes a transfer directly into the national park. You can also choose to fly via Stockholm – Sweden’s cosmopolitan capital and perhaps spend some time exploring this fascinating city before continuing to Swedish Lapland. Alternatively, reach Abisko by rail travelling through the mountains from Northern Norway or direct from Kiruna.
In Abisko’s winter, the Aurora Sky Station is a key attraction. A viewing facility at the summit of a mountain, take the thrilling chair lift to the tip of the summit and prepare yourself for spectacular views over Swedish Lapland and the wide-open skies beyond. Whilst dining facilities include a restaurant serving delicious Nordic cuisine, you also have the chance to enjoy an aurora exhibition, emphasising the importance of observing and understanding the northern lights. On average, northern lights can be seen between 50-60% of the time that the station is open.
Where to Stay
We recommend a stay at the cosy Abisko Mountain Station, which is situated in the heart of Abisko National Park, minutes away from Abisko mountain by foot. When not in search of the aurora, a host of winter pastimes including husky sledding and snowshoeing are widely available at the hotel. Dining here is also a treat, as locally sourced ingredient make heart-warming meals. For a truly unique stay, spend a night at the Icehotel, located just over an hour’s drive away.
Excursions & Activities
With appropriate Arctic clothing, there are a number of winter activities available in Abisko to enjoy. From exploring frozen lakes and wildlife watching with a Sami local guide, to getting your adrenaline pumping with husky sledding excursions, ice climbing and snowshoeing. If active adventures aren’t ideal, why not immerse yourself in local traditions with a Sami camp visit.
Photographing the Northern Lights
How do I photograph the northern lights? Generally you’ll need a tripod as exposures from several seconds to almost 20 give the best results. SLR camera users should try a wide angle lens with a wide aperture as well as setting their ISO levels to high. On your winter holiday, you’ll see numerous books and postcards showing spectacular night skies but those have been put together by people with years of experience – we’ve had some amazing shots sent in to us by first timers! Find out more about photographing the northern lights.
Best Time to Visit
Aurora displays occur between September and mid-April, but the easiest time to visit the Sky Station is between December and March, making use of our direct flight. March and the spring equinox bring longer hours of daylight for exploring, whilst hikers will enjoy September’s autumn shades of orange, red and gold are a wondrous sight. By November, the verdant forests are cocooned by a glistening blanket of snow.