Where to See the Northern Lights in Sweden

Where to See the Northern Lights in Sweden

Watching the night sky come alive with dancing beams of green, purple and pink is a life affirming experience that many travellers chase, as they scour the globe in search of their next adventure. Famously elusive (with sightings sadly not guaranteed), the Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis) are a unique natural occurrence caused by electrically charged sunlight particles colliding within the Earth’s atmosphere. The Latin name roughly translates to ‘dawn of the north’ and the Sami – Sweden’s indigenous people – had a much more mystical explanation for the rainbow-hued light rays, believing they were the souls of the dead and demanded the utmost respect. If you too, are fascinated by this phenomenon which has mesmerised mankind for millennia, then read on for our guide of where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden.

  1. Aurora Sky Station, Abisko
  2. Kiruna, Swedish Lapland
  3. Jukkasjärvi, Kiruna Municipality
  4. Porjus, Laponia
  5. Riksgränsen, Lappland


Aurora Sky Station, Abisko

Nestled in the far north of Sweden, you’ll find the wild and rugged Abisko National Park, which plays host to the Aurora Sky Station. The park has long been renowned for its Midnight Sun and Northern Light experiences, so when it comes to where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden, this is undoubtedly one of the best spots. Daily shuttles run between Abisko and the city of Kiruna (located 60 miles away), while there are plenty of places to bed down near Abisko Tourist Station. Once at the Sky Station, a chairlift will whisk you up to the observation deck that towers 3000ft above sea level, where the twinkling stars and midnight sky are merely back up dancers for the main show. Although there are never any guarantees, the region’s clear skies and mountainous surroundings increase the odds of seeing this extraordinary illumination, with September to March being the most lucrative period for catching sight of the majestic light show (throughout Swedish Lapland).


Kiruna, Swedish Lapland

As the country’s northernmost city, it should come as no surprise that Kiruna sits firmly on the list for where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden. The city is accessible via a 90-minute flight from Stockholm, or if you’re willing to make the commitment, a wonderfully scenic 12-hour train ride. Surrounding Kiruna, you’ll find a variety of terrains, from glistening lakes and dense forests to snow-dusted mountains and winding rivers. There’s an abundance of daytime activities on offer that will keep you occupied prior to the main event, including ice fishing, skiing, dogsledding and snowmobile tours. Some tour operators even offer the chance to see the stunning spectacle while traversing the snowscape onboard a dogsled or atop skis.


Jukkasjärvi, Kiruna Municipality

Situated within the municipality of Kiruna (20 minutes’ drive from the city), the charming village of Jukkasjärvi is another apt place for aurora hunting. Home to just over 500 inhabitants, its name is of Northern Sami origin and means ‘lake of assembly’, referencing the village’s genesis as a Sami marketplace. The region is best known for the fascinating Icehotel, which is reconstructed each year as the Torne River freezes over, featuring ice-sculpted artworks from various artists (more than 500 have now contributed to its various incarnations). While some may claim this to be the ‘coolest’ hotel in the world, if cosier accommodation is more up your street, you can stay at the permanent Icehotel 365, which features a toasty ‘warm’ section. A stay here is an astonishing experience, let alone when combined with a nearby Northern Lights Safari.


Porjus, Laponia

Porjus is another miniature northern Swedish gem, located 37 miles north of the Arctic Circle, with little more than 400 people calling the village home. As part of the UNESCO World Heritage-designated Laponia region, it’s a sought-after spot for watching the Northern Lights thanks to its remote location and the serene natural environment which surrounds it. Hunker down in a comfortable cabin and marvel at the dancing curtains of colourful light overhead, with a steaming mug of glögg (mulled wine) in hand.


Riksgränsen, Lappland

If you like your natural phenomena interspersed with action-packed days, Riksgränsen ski resort is a snow-clad option for where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden. Perched between Abisko and Narvik, near the Sweden-Norway border, Riksgränsen is the country’s northernmost ski resort and a hub for winter sport lovers. One of the pistes even crosses the border into Norway, meaning you can technically tick off two countries during one ski holiday. Boasting both downhill and off-piste slopes, the resort is also renowned for its superb snow conditions, and what could be more magical than potentially enjoying your après against the backdrop of the Aurora Borealis?

Written by Luisa Watts