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The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) appear in and around Kiruna in the far north of Sweden. The sky comes alive with color as streaks of pinks, greens, and purples dance around and make beautiful and breathtaking patterns. Around January, when the winter is fully set, you can see the Northern Lights throughout the Swedish Lapland (the large expanse of land in the northwest corner of Sweden that covers almost a quarter of the entire country). The Northern Lights are visible in Sweden from early September to as late as the end of March or the beginning of April.

Guided Northern lights tours in Sweden

What causes the Northern Lights?

These undulating rainbows are a unique natural phenomenon that occurs when electrically charged particles from the sun collide in the Earth’s atmosphere. The kind of gas particles involved determines the colors we will see (low-lying oxygen causes the most common green color, oxygen higher in the atmosphere causes the red color, and the bluish-purple hues come from nitrogen). These varying colors are truly magical, as the colors dance across the night sky, moving to some unheard music. 

Long winter nights are usually welcome, as visitors with the Northern Lights on their bucket list flock to the Swedish Lapland to view the incredible light show. It is best to view these lights on clear evenings. Any time between 6:00 am and 2:00 pm in Sweden is ideal, but the most spectacular show usually takes place around 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

Mystical Swedish Explanations

The Sami (indigenous people of Sweden) believed that the Northern Lights were the souls of the dead. The Sami did not sing or dance to the Northern Lights because they feared that the dead would feel disrespected and the Northern Lights would dip down and carry the offenders to the afterlife.

On the other hand, the Vikings thought that the Northern Lights were the Valkyries taking fallen soldiers to meet their chief god, Odin. 

In Latin, the name Aurora Borealis translates to “dawn of the north.” Aurora is the Roman goddess of dawn and the Northern Lights, for millennia, have been cloaked with different myths and stories, therefore captivating mankind.

Northern Lights in Sweden

The Swedish Lapland is a snow-covered playground, a winter wonderland that offers endless options for winter sports and a lifetime experience of viewing and experiencing one of the world’s most extraordinary natural displays. In Sweden, you can watch the Northern Lights in action from:

1. Kiruna

This is the country’s northernmost city with a population of about 17,000 people. It is the perfect location to explore Sweden’s great white north. To get to Kiruna, you can take a scenic 12-hour train ride from Stockholm or a 90-minute flight from Stockholm. Although you can get to Kiruna by car from Stockholm, it can be quite dangerous due to the extreme weather conditions and the frequency of wildlife. The journey to Kiruna by car is quite long, with low speed limits and high speeding tickets. 

Kiruna is a beautiful city to travel to because it is one of the most unusual places in Sweden. It is the largest town in the Swedish Lapland, and although it is quite modern, you can experience the Sami culture, visit the Icehotel, as well as watch the Northern Lights or visit Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise.

Kiruna is 145 km north of the Arctic Circle, meaning that you can experience the Midnight Sun and the polar night here. During winter, Kiruna has zero hours of sunlight per day, and it makes it the perfect destination for anyone who has the Northern Lights on their bucket list.

2. Aurora Sky Station, Abisko National Park

Aurora Sky Station is located in Abisko National Park (100 km west of Kiruna). Abisko National Park is popular for its clear skies, and it is one of the best spots to watch the Northern Lights. The observation tower that is accessible via an open-air chairlift is designed with minimal lighting to make sure that you can watch the Northern Lights clearly.

The Aurora Sky Station is surrounded by mountains, and at the right hours during winter, you can have a spectacular view of the Northern Lights. There is also a café, a Northern Lights exhibition, and a souvenir shop that visitors can visit and get a firsthand experience of Abisko National Park and the Aurora Sky Station.

3. Jukkasjärvi

The charming village of Jukkasjärvi is only 20 minutes away from Kiruna by car. Jukkasjärvi is home to 550 inhabitants and the famous Icehotel is located here. Visiting the world’s first Icehotel is an incredible experience in itself, but combining your stay at the Icehotel with a safari of the Northern Lights can be quite magical. 

The Northern Lights in Jukkasjärvi are quite visible, and there are numerous chances to experience winter sports under the dancing lights. This small village is framed by glassy lakes and the villages only road passes by a handful of Swedish rustic homes, eventually leading to a charming wooden church that is one of the oldest in the region. The scenic drive to Jukkasjärvi, leading up to the magical Northern Lights, is quite breathtaking.

4. Porjus, Laponia

This is another tiny northern village in Sweden that is home to a mere 400 inhabitants. It is located 60 km north of the Arctic Circle and lies in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Laponia. Porjus stands on the edge of a beautiful lake in the stillness of nature and away from the city lights.

You can enjoy your view of the dancing lights from the porch of a rented cabin with a glass of glögg (mulled wine) in your hand. This quiet village is accessible from Kiruna via bus, car, or train. Experiencing the Northern Lights from Porjus is quite coveted due to the low population and the uniqueness of the small village.

Swedish Lapland

If you are visiting this majestic part of the world specifically to watch the Northern Lights, plan a trip into the Swedish northern wilderness anytime from early September to late March. The Northern Lights are one of Mother Nature’s finest masterpieces, and ticking the experience off of your bucket list should be a magical experience.

Swedish Lapland is a culture-rich, magical wonderland that opens up the unique world of the Sami culture, culinary specialties and vast expanses of nature. This arctic territory presents the outdoor enthusiast with endless options such as hiking, skiing, dog sledding, and fishing. The world-class accommodation that harnesses the natural surroundings, as well as the cultural experiences are all unmatched.

The magnificent nature of the Swedish Lapland may seem untouched, but for millennia the Sami have lovingly used their land and named every valley and mountain peak. The people, animals, and nature are intrinsically connected. An adventure in this part of the world is the best way to explore something different, like wintertime glamping, fly fishing, snowmobile tours, hot air balloon rides, Nordic skiing, and a taste of the unique flavors of the Swedish Lapland.

FAQ

Auroral activity is at its peak when the nights are their darkest i.e., between early September and late March.

The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon and you cannot accurately predict when they are visible. However, it is our responsibility to make sure that you have high chances of seeing the Northern Lights on your tour. You can always check our website for more details.

The Northern Lights are more visible when the skies are clear.

The tour guide assigned to you will take pictures of you with the Northern Lights in the background. They can also take group photos with the Northern Lights in the background. This service is free of charge.

If the tour you have booked gets canceled, you have three options:

  1. Reschedule for another day.
  2. Find another tour to do and use the deposit for that tour instead. 
  3. Get a full refund. 

Northern Lights tours can be canceled due to unfavorable weather conditions. This is meant for the safety of all the visitors and it is best to wait until the weather is more favorable.

Ideally, you should be in an open space at a high altitude and away from street lights.

  1. A short ride to a new spot can cause condensation. So wrap your camera in a waterproof bag before putting it into the camera bag to avoid condensation.
  2. Carry an extra battery because they do not cope well with the cold.
  3. A head torch is highly recommended if you are working manually with a camera.
  4. Use a tripod to work with long exposure times.
  5. Set the focus to infinity to capture the stars.
  6. Use a wide-angle lens with a fast aperture. Adjust the ISO speed to high (between 800 and 1600).
  7. Adjust the ISO speed to high (between 800 and 1600).