If your desire is to see the Northern Lights in Sweden, you should know a few things before you go. Yes, because spotting the Aurora Borealis is not a very simple thing since it is impossible to predict when the phenomenon will occur.
So, to prevent you from being disappointed on your trip, I wrote this article on the 5 key points for a perfect journey to discover the Northern Lights in Sweden.
I’ll tell you the best time to spot it, where you’ll have the best chance to see it, the best weather conditions, and much more.
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What are the Northern Lights?
The Northern Lights are a unique atmospheric phenomenon. In scientific terms, it consists of the collision of the sun’s electron particles with the earth’s atmosphere. This collision causes a spectrum of colors to appear in the sky. The colors range from vivid red, yellow, to green, depending on the conditions.
The indigenous Sami population used to think that the Northern Lights in Sweden were the manifestation of the dead’s souls. That’s very fascinating!
If you are wondering, it is impossible to predict when the phenomenon occurs, but there are some things to know about Northern Lights, things you could do to increase the possibility of catching it. Read on to learn more!
Is Sweden a good place to see the Northern Lights?
Yes, definitely. But why choose to see Aurora Lights in Sweden? For several reasons. First of all, it is a destination with a less rigid climate than that of other sighting places – such as Siberia or Greenland. Also, Sweden is easy to reach by plane and is a cheaper option than neighboring Norway and Finland, although it is a less popular destination for Northern Lights tourism.
That being said, let’s talk about the 5 things you absolutely must know before going to see Sweden’s Northern Lights.
5 tips to help you see the Northern Lights in Sweden
1. Choose the right time to see the Polar Lights in Sweden
What months can you see the Northern Lights in Sweden? The best time to spot it is from October to the end of March.
Generally, March is recommended because temperatures are “milder” than in winter, and rainfall and cloud coverings are less frequent. In fact, the sky must be clear and free of clouds as this could compromise the sighting.
Also, know that it doesn’t have to be cold to catch the Aurora, it has to be dark. Yes, Northern Lights are only visible in the dark, so the best hours to spot it are from 9 PM to 2 AM.
2. Choose the right place to see Sweden’s Northern Lights
Where can you see Northern Lights in Sweden? Theoretically, everywhere. There have even been sightings of the Northern Lights from Stockholm but this is very rare considering that the capital is located in the southern part of the country, far away from the polar circle. The closer you get to the Polar Circle, the greater your chances to see it. It’s also good to be in a wide open space, at a high altitude, where there is a complete absence of light.
Where is the best place to see Northern Lights in Sweden? Definitely Abisko, one of the most famous national parks in Sweden. This is not only one of the best places in Sweden but also one of the best in the world! The position of the Aurora Sky Station in Abisko is perfect. It is located in northern Swedish Lapland, and the clear sky and the very low rainfall create the ideal atmosphere for the sighting.
Reaching Abisko is not difficult either. Just reach the city of Kiruna, which is only a 2-hour train ride from the national park. There are two ways to get to Kiruna from Stockholm: you can take a 12-hour train ride or a 90-minute flight. Just remember to book your trips in advance.
3. Choose the right duration of your trip
How many days does it take to spot the Aurora Borealis? As mentioned above, it is a phenomenon that cannot be predicted. It is quite a common phenomenon in Lapland, but you will have to be patient with the weather: the clear sky will play in your favor, but you should wait for it. For this reason, the longer your stay, the more likely it is for you to spot the Northern Lights in Sweden.
It is said that if you stay for three or more nights in the right period, the percentage of seeing Northern Lights in Abisko will be almost 100%. I would book at least a fourth night to make sure. If you have the chance to stay longer, do it. It’s worth it.
4. Choose the right clothing for the sighting
How to dress in Lapland? When hunting for the Sweden Lights, you should not risk your experience being ruined by the cold. Because it is very icy, you will have to cover yourself to stay as warm as possible.
Opt for the classic layers of dress, but don’t forget to stay comfortable and keep your motility. Three layers are perfect:
- 1st layer: intimate heat and thin socks;
- 2nd layer: fleece or wool jacket, pants, and wool socks;
- 3rd layer: heavy winter coat, ski trousers, and snowshoes;
- extra layer: there will be a dry cutting wind, so don’t forget to cover hands and face as well. Bring a scarf, a hat, and gloves with you. I suffer from cold feet, so I also use foot warmers with patches, which last 6/8 hours.
5. Don’t forget to plan other activities
Don’t make the mistake of not planning additional activities during your trip. If you happen to not see the Northern Lights in Sweden, what else would you want to remember from your vacation? There are dozens of other things to do to enjoy your Lapland experience, such as wildlife watching safaris or the dog-sledding tour.
NB. It’s up to you to decide if you will dedicate to the sighting independently or if you prefer to book a guided Aurora tour. You can take a look at the organized tours here. If the weather is bad, the organizers will probably take you elsewhere with better weather to increase the chances of seeing it. Plus, some tours include assistance in taking photos of the Northern Lights to keep memories of your experience. That’s the positive side of guided tours.
6 (Bonus). Cool hotels to spot the Northern Lights in Swedish Lapland
Lapland is where you are most likely to see the Aurora Polaris but Abisko is not the only place to go to. There are many other Aurora spotting sites, like Kiruna, Jukkasjärvi village, or Harads.
These places are also incredible for another reason: they host such cool hotels, which will make your experience in Lapland truly unique.
Here are the coolest hotels in Lapland:
- Icehotel, Jukkasjärvi. This gorgeous hotel gives you the option of staying in a room of ice and snow. Even the bed is made of ice!
- Treehotel, Harads. This hotel’s peculiarity is to have the lodges suspended from the ground and set among the trees. You will live the dream of a luxury treehouse as a perfect spot to catch the Northern Lights.
- Camp Ripan Aurora Spa, Kiruna. The name “Aurora Spa” says it all: you will relax in a hot outdoor-sauna while enjoying the Swedish Northern Lights in this hotel. There’s nothing better.
- Logger’s Lodge, Harads. The luxury holiday par excellence. You will have access to a private lodge for two. The only people with you will be your companion and the staff at your complete disposal.
I wish you good luck on your Aurora hunt 😉
Oh, and don’t forget your insurance!
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