Abisko a village in Sweden and part of the Swedish Lapland is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights. It is also near the Abisko National Park and 250km within the Arctic Circle. Close to the border with Norway Abisko is a fantastic hiking area with its large glistening lakes, clear skies and huge spaces of wilderness and wildlife.
The Abisko National Park covers 75 sq. km from the southern shore of Lake Tornetrask, where Abisko the village is located. Permafrost is common in the park established in 1909 and home to a number of wildlife and birds.
However, Abisko with its popular and amazing hiking trails as well as the national park is often overshadowed by the mesmerizing Northern Lights.
WHAT TO SEE
Things to do
The Hiking trails, the National Park and the Aurora Sky Station are the major attractions of Abisko.
The 450km Kungsleden trail is the main encompassing trail that follows the Scandinavian mountain range and one can begin or end at Abisko Turiststation. The trail goes through the national park. The Turiststation provides for lodging, food and other facilities for those walking the trail or visiting the park. Hiking in summer means being abreast with the midnight sun whereas winter hikes are for those wanting to glimpse the Aurora Borealis. Also, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and other winter sports are popular here.
The Lapporten, the famous 'U' shaped valley often also called the ‘gate’ to the Lapland is visible from Abisko.
The Abisko National Park is home to a number of animals, such as the stoat, squirrel, marten, moose, reindeer, Arctic foxes, wolverines, bears, lynx and more. There are also many bird species found within the park area.
The Northern Lights, however, are the splendid phenomenon that draws most people to Abisko. Abisko lies within the Aurora Oval and also in the rain shadow area, hence ensuring clear skies and low rains. It is often said, that if one stays in Abisko for 3 days and if the sky is clear, the chances of sighting the Aurora are as high as 88%. The Aurora Sky Station is a great place to begin! The Nordic dinner coupled with a detailed explanation about the Northern Lights while one gets adjusted to the dark skies shining brightly with several stars is the ideal way to begin the quest for the stunning show of natural lights.
A number of different adventure activities can also be undertaken in Abisko. Ice climbing to the frozen Abisko canyon, cross-country skiing across the national park, fishing and dog sledding are some of the fun things to do while in Abisko.
Abisko is one of the finest of the Sweden Lapland and no matter which route you take to reach here the scenery is always staggeringly beautiful. The quaint village of Abisko with a mere population of 85 habitants according to the 2005 census is a far cry from any urban center. However, that works because it brings one closer to the natural surroundings and the best chances for one to sight the breathtaking Northern Lights.
How to reach
Stockholm is the nearest airport at a distance of 1330 km. However, Kiruna is the most preferred stop from where bus, rail and road lead to Abisko. The European route 10 connects Abisko via road and the Abisko village station, as well as the Abisko Turiststation for the national park, are the main railway stations.