This is a post I wanted to write for so long. A year ago I went to the north of Sweden and experienced all its magic and peacefulness. Since then, I have been talking about it and recommending it to friends and family to go and see it for themselves. I already wrote about it when I was blogging for the German academic exchange service , but now I am giving you the English version….
Why the North of Sweden?
I moved to Sweden in 2010 and have since then only made my way up to the capitol, Stockholm. Considering that this is not even in the middle of the country, I felt the need to see more of this country I am living in. I wanted to feel the freedom and the greatness of seemingly never-ending lands and get in touch with a different Sweden from the one I knew so well.
As we booked our trip off-season (season starts 14th of June) we booked a car to arrive at our different stops. As we flew to Kiruna we picked up the car at the airport for a 8 day rental (costs were approx 400 Euro). Make sure that if you want to drive the car across the border to Norway that you indicate this when renting. Our route was the following : Kiruna-Abisko-Narvik-Abisko-Nikkaloukta-Kiruna-Jokkmokk-Kiruna.
I personally do not like driving a car and find it incredibly stressful to drive on crowded motorways. So when we got to Kiruna and picked up our car and my boyfriend told me he “forgot his license at home”, I kind of freaked out a little. Little did I know how much I would love driving these empty roads, making quick stops along the way for taking pictures and exploring the lands in passing. Note: most of the roads only allow 100 km/h – no hurry recommended.
Where ? The hostel in Abisko is great! Clean, modern kitchen and stunning views on lake Torneträsk. We stayed in a 4-bed room.
- Evening walks are a must as the sun never sets during this season. The midnight sun makes the concept of sleeping a little overrated and you really have to force yourself to call it a day.
- We went to Trollsjön lake and parked our car just outside of Abisko. Amazing hike and although the lake was still frozen beginning of June, a truly great experience. Bring lunch!
- Go see the Silverfallet waterfall that is beautifully situated at the beach. Note: there is only a small wooden sign showing the way but then it is pretty easy to find.
- Narvik. We left Abisko for a night and took the train over to Narvik in Norway (1.5 h) Train tickets can be bought on SJ.se and are quite cheap (12 €). The ride offers great views on the fjords and although we were a bit unlucky with the weather I can only imagine how nice it must be with sun!
- Kungsleden. In Abisko is the start to the famous Kungsleden trail, which is about 440 km long. Every year people from all over the world walk this train to connect with nature. Walk a bit on the train and enjoy the nature.
1. In Kiruna we went to the famous mines and took a bus underground to see the magic happening. It is definitely worth checking it out, if you are keen on putting on a yellow hat and taking a real bus to go underground. You can buy tickets at the tourist information where the bus with the tour guide departs from.
2. SPiS Kiruna Restaurant. Kiruna itself is not that pretty and besides the church you might enjoy eating at this really nice restaurant. Funnily enough it belongs to the youth hostel.
Where? We stayed at a great Airbnb House. The owner was not there and due to off-season we where the only people in this village. Not meeting any other people for 3 days and no Internet is kind of refreshing. Note: the toilet is not in the house but since the sun never sets a little trip to the facilities outside is just part of the experience.
- The road from Kiruna-Nikkaloukta. There is only one road taking you to this sami village from Kiruna. The views are breathtaking!
- Kebnekaise You can see the highest mountain in Sweden from your window staying in the village.
Where? Again, we stayed at a beautiful hostel (STF Jokkmokk Vandrahem) that felt so much like a home. We stayed in a private double room.
Jokkmokk is already more south than Abisko and is great for exploring nature reservats as well as lakes. Also I can recommend visiting the Ajtte Museum to get an understanding for the Sami culture and their beliefs.
If you can go, go. I will definitely be back. But for now i cherish the new found love with nature and the feeling of freedom that I experienced in no-man’s-land.