Frequently Asked Questions
Abisko National Park is one of the driest places in all of Scandinavia. Due to our geographic location in a rain shadow caused by the nearby peaks in Norway we have more clear, cloud free nights than nearly anywhere in the world within the aurora oval. While the likelihood that you will see an aurora during your visit is very high, Lights Over Lapland cannot make any such guarantees. Over the last four seasons 99% of the guests that joined one of our multi day packages saw auroras on at least one of their nights in the Park. We are confident that there is no better place on Earth to see the lights than Abisko! Book a multi day package now to check off this awesome experience from your bucket list!
Due to our location in a micro climate and resulting rain shadow, Abisko National Park is one of the finest locations for stargazing and astrophotography in the world. Thanks to a very dry and clear climate you will have a minimum of an 80% chance of seeing the aurora if you stay in the area for three nights.
While we can not guarantee that you will see the lights during your trip we can say that you have a very high likelihood of success, especially if you join us for multiple nights.
Auroras can be seen from the end of August to the end of March and most of the season offers the same statistical opportunity to see the northern lights. If you are in Abisko for more than three days you have at least an 80% chance of witnessing the lights!
In the autumn (September to November) you can go hiking and enjoy the quiet season in Abisko National Park. This is also a good time for visitors who prefer warmer temperatures or if you want to take pictures of auroras reflecting in open water. If you want to enjoy fall colors you should visit in late August or September but please know that this is still considered summer season so Lights Over Lapland has not started offering any aurora tours until October. December and January are the darkest and coldest months. This is the perfect time to enjoy the polar night, and the abundance of darkness gives you more opportunity to see the auroras than any other time of the year. From December until the end of March you can also enjoy exciting daytime activities like dogsledding, snowmobiling, snow shoe hiking and much more. If you would like to visit Abisko during the high season when the biggest selection of day trips and other activities are available then February and March is the time to come. Long sunny days allow you to experience all of the great things that the park has to offer and relatively warm nights allow you to enjoy lights in comfort. Book your trip early to ensure your place, as March tends to be one of the most popular months of our entire season.
Most of our guests fly into Stockholm’s Arlanda International Airport from their home country. From Stockholm you can catch a quick domestic flight to Kiruna in Swedish Lapland. Once you arrive in Kiruna, Abisko is a one and a half hour journey along a spectacular stretch of Arctic wilderness that meanders through birch forests, scenic shorelines and a beautiful mountain valley. There are a couple ways to get from Kiruna to Abisko including private taxi and train options. If you are arriving into Kiruna with a flight from Stockholm please contact us and we will be happy to help arrange transportation to Abisko. All trips between Kiruna and Abisko should be booked well in advance.
For our guests that yearn for a little more adventure, and the opportunity to see a bit more of the Swedish countryside, you also have the option of a romantic train journey from Stockholm all the way to the door of our hotel in Abisko. There are two train stops in Abisko so make sure to get off at the correct stop. If you are staying at the Abisko Mountain Lodge or any other hotel in Abisko Östra you should get off at the first stop called “Abisko Ö”. If you are staying at Hotel STF Abisko in the National Park, please get off at the second stop called “Abisko Turiststation”.
It is very common to work in an average temperature of -20 degrees Celsius and very possible to encounter temperatures as low as -35. Warm clothes are a must!
You are responsible for providing all winter clothing. However, one piece Arctic overalls are included for most of our activities and all of our multi-day packages. Warm insulated boots are included in just a few activities but are also available for rental upon request. For safety reasons, and to ensure that you get the most out of your visit it is very important that you bring the following items:
- Winter Jacket. A heavy down jacket with a hood is highly recommended.
- Snow pants. Water resistant or water proof (not necessary if you use our overalls).
- Warm hat. A warm hat that will cover as much of your head and face as possible.
- Gloves. One heavy pair of outer gloves and a smaller pair of liner gloves to keep on while adjusting your camera equipment.
- Wool Socks. It is recommended that you wear one pair during the day and a fresh pair during the evening so it is good to bring two pairs of socks for each day.
- Warm insulated winter boots (available for rental upon request). Sorel, Baffin and Muck are example of good brands.
- Multiple clothing layers for top and bottom. Synthetics, wool and fleece are recommended materials. Cotton is to be avoided. For bottom layers, we recommend wearing thermals + one layer of fleece/thick wool or down pants underneath our overalls.
- Goggles are not a must but if you have some at home we suggest you bring them along as they are nice to use in windy conditions. Clear goggles are the best as they can also be used at night.
We generally do not cancel any tours due to bad weather. The only exception to this is if we feel that it is not safe for us to take you outside in case of very extreme weather. This only happens approximately one time per season.
You can make changes to your activity and transportation reservations up to 14 days before arrival without any problems. If you want to make changes closer than that, please contact us and we will see what we can do. We can generally change reservations to an earlier date without too much problem but we normally do not allow changes to a later date since it will be difficult for us to sell the spaces to someone else on such short notice.
We offer a full catalogue of morning and afternoon activities in Abisko including day hikes, dog sledding, snowmobiling, snowshoe hiking and many more that are designed to take you out into the wilderness surrounding Abisko and to help you enjoy the Arctic wilderness like a true local. We are often asked about what sort of light is available during our activities in December and January and the simple answer is that there is more light available during our morning activities than there is on our afternoon trips. While guests on our activities in the morning often enjoy beautiful Arctic light including glowing hues of pink and purple most of our afternoon activities will take place in pure darkness. While our guests often assume that joining one of our activities in Abisko during the darkest time of the year would be less than ideal, this thought process could not be further from the truth. To see Arctic nature in its pure, dark form is a spellbinding experience and allows you to get a true sense of what it is like to live in the Arctic. The stars will be shining, the lights from your headlamp will illuminate the ice crystals in the air and the silence of the north will be something that you never forget. Book your guided tour in Abisko in the morning or the afternoon and know that you will have the time of your life all while in the hands of top rated, professional guides!
All of the locations we visit in the winter are within walking distance of the STF Abisko Touriststation. We usually walk less than one kilometer per direction to and from our many locations in Abisko National Park. It is recommended that you are in a physical condition that will allow you to walk up to one kilometer at a time, at a slow leisurely pace. During the autumn we occasionally use a minivan to travel further afield in search of the northern lights.
Unfortunately we do not offer a discount if you want to use your own camera during the tour. We always recommend that you use the cameras that are included with the tour due to the fact that we have pre programmed our cameras to perfectly capture the auroras. It is also highly recommended that you use our cameras because we carry a large supply of spare batteries so you will not have to worry about running out of power when you need it the most.
Finally, our guides are intimately familiar with the cameras we provide so they can help sort out any issues that may arise during the tour. Due to the fact that there are so many different types of cameras on the market we can not guarantee that we will be able to help you adjust the settings on your private camera.
While Lights Over Lapland’s adventures are a favorite among photographers, you do not need to be a photographer to have a the time of your life on one of our aurora adventures!
- We have had countless guests join us who had little or no interest in photography over the years and we are happy to say that they have all gone home very happy with our tours!
While all our aurora adventures include camera gear, our trips are not specifically designed for photographers. We simply include cameras in our packages as we believe that the best souvenir from Abisko is a photograph of the aurora display that you witnessed during your time in the Arctic. Our guides will be happy to help you capture beautiful photographs and teach you the ins and outs of aurora photography but their main focus is to make sure that you see the lights and that you enjoy every moment of your time in Abisko.
We provide Nikon D3200 and D5100 with a 18-55 zoom lens. Remember to bring your own memory card to use in our cameras.
The lens upgrade is a faster wide angle prime lens that will allow you to use a faster shutter speed and capture sharper aurora images. The standard lens on our trip is a 18-55 zoom lens and it does a great job but the upgraded lens is a faster 14mm prime lens designed to work with our Nikons. We have a limited number of lenses available so make sure and book it in advance if you want to use it on one of our excursions.
Yes, you can absolutely change overalls when you are here if they do not fit. We just collect your size in advance to be able to prepare for the tour before you arrive. We offer overalls in the sizes XS-XXL (unisex) and they are usually the same size as you would have on a T-shirt.
You need to bring a standard SD card to use in our cameras. Mini SD cards and Micro SD cards will not work. Even if you have an adapter for these, we can not guarantee that they will work in our cameras. Here is an example of what kind of SD card you need to have: SanDisk 8GB Class 4 SDHC Flash Memory Card – 2 Pack. We recommend a minimum of 4 GB/night. We also have these memory cards for sale if you have trouble finding them on your own (200 SEK for an 16 GB card).
- Digital SLR. Pocket cameras, even high end models will not provide high quality results. (available for rental upon request)
- Fast wide angle lens. A minimum aperture of f3.5 will work but f2.8 or faster is recommended. An 18mm lens is a good minimum starting point.
- Stable tripod. Inexpensive low quality tripods will fail under the extremely cold conditions present above the Arctic Circle. (available for rental)
- Extra batteries for ALL equipment. Expect your batteries to function approximately one third as long as they would under normal conditions.
- Battery chargers. For camera and flash batteries.
- Memory cards. 4GB/night recommended.
We generally recommend that you book your activities as soon as possible as they often get fully booked closer in time. If there are still spaces available when you arrive, you can book most activities up to a couple of hours before they start.
Both Abisko Mountain Lodge and STF Abisko Tourist Station have hair dryers to borrow from the reception. Some of the rooms also have hair dryers in them so there is no need for you to bring your own.
Cash is usually not needed in Sweden as most places accept credit cards like Visa and MasterCard. However, it is always a good idea to bring some cash in case of emergencies. There is no ATM in Abisko, so we recommend using an ATM at the Stockholm airport or in the City of Kiruna.
We generally do not recommend our photo tours for children as they are designed for adults. We therefore have a minimum age requirement of 16 years old on all our package trips, and 10 years old on our single evening tours. Children under the age of 15 will need to share a camera with an adult.
The 4 hour snowmobile tour is longer and therefore allows you to go further into the Abisko mountains to enjoy the spectacular scenery the Arctic has to offer!