Since my purpose of this Scandinavian trip was to see the Northern Lights, I left Norway (to hear about my Norway trip, read here!) and venture into Sweden!
We decide to go to Abisko National Park for several reasons. It’s Sweden’s only National Park and is within the arctic circle. Woohoo Aurora!
Also discovered that since Abisko is land-locked and between mountains, the average for seeing the lights is about 70%. Much higher than Iceland, Tromso, and Finland.
So off we go…just a flight, flight & train ride and we’re there. Yes, I’m not kidding. Abisko is not an easy place to get to no matter where you’re coming from. Route was Stavanger –> Oslo –> Narvik –> Abisko
We finally get to our bed & breakfast (+ only bar in area!), Abisko Mountain Lodge and I just fall in love. You can see the mountains, the national park is across the road, there’s maybe a foot of snow and it’s the cutest lodge. Hello winter wonderland! Plus our room had heated floors, win!
We unpack (as this is our longest stay of the trip) and go into the lodge for dinner. My friend and I definitely tried some food over the next few nights at dinner we otherwise would never have tried (her – reindeer meatballs, me – fish stew along with every type of fish imaginable). It was seriously the best food I’ve ever had. I wanted to stay forever.
And then leaving dinner, we saw some lights. On our first night! With the naked eye! A few little streaks of green. Win!
Since we were a few weeks away from true winter (oops on my research) we couldn’t do most of the quintessential winter activities (sledding, xc) so we hiked (and hiked and hiked)! We booked with a local guiding company for a day hike and a night hike to view the Aurora.
The day hike was great. We drove out to the park, hiked along the Kungsledden Trail (The King’s Trail), I slipped on some ice, and learned all about the National Park. It’s the beginning point to a thru-hike along the Kungsledden Trail South with huts. Needless to say, I want to do this!
At night we hiked up this hill from our hotel to a completely solitude spot to view the lights. And it was clear! The lights just danced and danced and we took it all in.
It was amazing. Now the lights are not as bright in person as they are in the picture below, but the brighter they become the longer you are away from light pollution. But it’s so fascinating to watch them dance before you.
The next day we relaxed in the lodge and did a night photography tour. Learning a bit on how to use an actual camera, we hike to a lake in the park to wait for the lights to appear. So we wait wait. And wait. In far below freezing temps. Probably not our finest moments, but did get a few cool pictures through the clouds.
The next day we venture out on our own into the park (somehow make it to the same lake in the daytime!), relax, chat with the ice climbers are staying at the lodge and hang out with the staff. Have I mentioned how much I love the people here?!
The next day we head to Stockholm. Leaving Abisko was very bittersweet for me, I loved it so much!
So by bus and flight, we’re out! (Abisko –> Kiruna –> Stockholm)