Located 250km inside the Arctic Circle, villages don’t really come much more remote than Abisko in Sweden. If you’re after a proper Lapland adventure, one that’ll take you away from life in the big city, a visit to this tiny village (population: 85) and its epic surrounding area is an absolute must.
How To Get There
If you want to fly, you’re going to need to get a connecting flight to Kiruna Airport from Stockholm or Gothenburg (SAS and Norwegian Airlines can hook you up on this front). From there you can book an airport transfer with Lights Over Lapland or, alternatively, get the public bus from the airport to Abisko (number 91). A word of warning re: the bus option, it has a changing timetable and doesn’t always run for the entirety of the northern lights season.
Alternatively, get a taxi from Kiruna Airport to Kiruna Train Station and then a train to either Abisko Turistation or Abisko Östra. For more on the train times, head here.
Speaking of trains, another great option is to get one to Abisko all the way from Stockholm. It takes 17 hours but if you get the overnight one, the time will fly by. Plus, the views out of the train window will really put your daily commute from Croydon in the shade.
Things To Do In Abisko
Situated just 4km from the spectacular Abisko National Park, this is an essential destination for people who live for the great outdoors. Whether you’re here in summer or winter, Lake Torneträsk (Sweden’s sixth largest lake) is a real treat for the eyes. During winter, when the lake freezes over, it’s sometimes even possible to walk out onto it and watch the Northern Lights (aka the Aurora Borealis) while standing on it. It goes without saying that you’ll want to bring your camera on this trip.
Speaking of photography opportunities, Lapporten, the U-shaped valley that looks like a giant natural halfpipe for the Gods, is visible from Abisko and sure to be a winner on the Instagram likes front.
“Lapporten, the U-shaped valley that looks like a giant natural halfpipe for the Gods, is visible from Abisko”
The Abisko National Park is well-known for its cross-country skiing and snowshoeing opportunities, while Mount Nuolja and nearby Björkliden provide plenty of backcountry skiing and freeriding opportunities.
One of the biggest pulls to Abisko is the 425km-long Kungsleden hiking trail. Depending on which way you’re going, the trail, which runs along the Scandinavian mountain range, starts or ends at the Abisko Turistation – which consists of a railway station and the Abisko Youth Hostel.
To experience the Kungsleden hiking trail with an outdoorsy group of like-minded individuals, followed by the mother of all parties at the finish line, why not sign up to the Swedish edition of the Fjallraven Classic? It’s on in August and is definitely one for the old bucket list. Hiking and camping in Sweden’s remote wilderness is an experience you’ll never forget.
Briefly touched upon this already but Abisko’s position so far north of the Arctic Circle makes it a great place to view the Aurora Borealis. The area’s long dark winters, and lack of built-up civilisation, means light pollution isn’t really an issue here and your chances of seeing the phenomenon are higher than in many other places. The Aurora Sky Station, up on Mount Nuolja, is undoubtedly one of the best places on earth to experience the northern lights.
Abisko’s geographic location also means it’s a great place to go if you’re after some ‘Midnight Sun’. Hike in the morning, hike in the middle of the night, basically hike whenever you feel like – the sun won’t set. The best times to experience this are between the end of May and the middle of July.
Where To Stay
Alternatively, why not embrace your outdoorsy side and go wild camping. Scandinavia is generally super chill about it, so be sure to make the most of this free and easy attitude while you’re here. A night under the stars in this place will be like no other night you’ve had.
Eating And Drinking
There’s not a billion restaurant options in this part of the world but there are a few decent ones knocking about. Restaurant Kungsleden at STF Abisko Turistation offers nice views and tasty Swedish cuisine. Breakfast options include “sauna smoked” reindeer meat sausages and pickled herring fillets, and they’re also open for lunch and dinner. Call Restaurant Kungsleden on +46 101 902 403 for further information, or if you’d like to book a table.
Another place worth checking out is the cosy Brasserie Fjallkoket at Abisko Mountain Lodge. The restaurant’s needle soup, whitefish roe, and reindeer sausage are all well reviewed with vegetarians also well catered for.
Check out our other adventure travel destinations for 2020.
This destination guide was brought to you in association with outdoor fashion retailer Blackleaf.