A city break in the arctic… Here’s how to see Stockholm AND Lapland, all in 72 hours
Considering visiting Lapland but don’t have the budget for a mega trip? That doesn’t mean you can’t have an awesome break AND see the Northern Lights while you’re at it. Here’s our recipe for the perfect Lapland weekend – and how to make the most of your 72 Hours in the land of the midnight sun…
Day 1: Arrive in Stockholm
Board your flight to Stockholm and arrive early afternoon. You’ll be taking the night train up to Abisko, but it won’t leave till around 8pm meaning you’ve got all day to wander Stockholm’s picturesque streets.
Carrying more than a rucksack? Take your bags to the train station and leave them there. Alternatively, for a smaller fee, head to the 2nd floor of Ahlens department store around 5 minutes away from the station. Here you can store your luggage during the day for just 20 Kr. Just don’t forget to pick them up before your train leaves!
Pay a visit to one of Stockholm’s many galleries and wander the gorgeous waterfront lit up in the early darkness. Once the chilly winter air starts to bite, retire to a local restaurant to sample those Swedish Meatballs.
Pick up the luggage and board your comfortable night train. If you’re lucky, you might even spot the Aurora Borealis as you zoom through almost a thousand kilometers of pristine plains and forest. Prepare to wake up the next morning under a carpet of pristine snow as you pull into Abisko station…
Day 2: Abisko
Leisurely morning out of the way, arrive in Abisko just in time for lunch. You might not feel like it though; you’re now north of the Arctic circle. Winter visitors will be treated to a taste of Polar Night – or 24 hour darkness – when the sun barely peeps above the horizon and the landscape is bathed in moody twilight. Time to cozy up in your guesthouse and tuck into some local reindeer meat… or if that doesn’t float your boat, maybe stick to snacking on Scandinavian Saffron buns and plenty of hot tea.
This tiny village is widely regarded as one of the best and clearest places to view the Northern Lights in the world. Both village and the station are positioned just on the corner of Abisko National Park – a winter wonderland full of mountains, lakes, swirling rivers and sprawling vistas.
In winter (especially December), Torneträsk lake at the heart of the park is often frozen over. You’ll spot people skating on its surface, or hiking with snow shoes on the nearby trails. Since you’re limited for time, opt for one of the tours lasting from 30 minutes to two hours (quite enough time to ensure your fingers are thoroughly frozen in the Arctic climate). Local guides from the park can advise you on the best options for your interests, but you can do anything from skiing on mount Njullá, to Aurora photography courses and even helicopter tours.
Don’t get too carried away though, because the must-see activity here is something best done at night. Head up the cablecar to the Abisko Sky Station – Abisko’s much heralded viewpoint – to stake out a place at the mountain top. From here you’ve got some of the best chances of spotting the lights, with the added bonus of comfy chairs and real wood fires. There’s even the option of a gourmet four course meal available if you choose, to thoroughly defrost you inside and out!
Once your stint at the lodge is over, your transfer will take you back to your guesthouse, ready for a well-deserved rest.
Day 3: Arrive in Kiruna
Next stop, Kiruna. A short hop on the train takes you this charming town in Swedish Lapland by early afternoon. Aside from being one of Sweden’s Northern most towns, it’s also home to the world famous IceHotel, which provides some of the best Arctic Activities to be found.
Opt to stay in the hotel itself and you’ll have the choice of a “Warm” or “Cold” room. In the first you’ll find a cozy lodge style room, complete with fluffy beds fit for a king. Go for the latter option for the true Arctic Experience… A room made entirely of ice, including the walls, floor bed and ceiling! Each room is crafted by hand by an ice artist, creating a stunning installation which you can actually sleep in. Don’t worry though, you’ll be provided with comfy matresses, plenty of blankets and insulated sleeping bags to keep your toes toasty.
Whether you opt to sleep under a ceiling of ice or prefer a more traditional option, you can book loads of activities starting from the IceHotel. These range from Husky excursions to horse riding to ice sculpting classes – so there’s definitely something different for everyone to try.
Once you’ve tired yourself out with winter activities, settle in for the night with a drink at the ice bar (yep, the glasses are made of ice too…) and cross your fingers for a glorious display of the Northern lights. Whether you get lucky or not, you can always look forward to cozying up for your last night in this winter paradise.
Day 4: Get ready for your flights home
On day 4 you’ll prepare to depart. Enjoy being woken with steaming hot Lingonberry juice at your bedside, followed by breakfast in the Icehotel’s buffet. Before long you’ll be headingback to the UK via Stockholm – enjoy the glorious aerial views of Sweden’s icy expanses, before landing back in the UK early in the evening.
Wanna give this itinerary a whirl? You can check it out with our 4 day Lapland Adventure trip! The northern lights definitely deserves to be on everyone’s bucket list, but sometimes the prices make it seem like a pipedream! That’s why we created this trip; see Lapland in a weekend, with trains and accommodation included.
Since we don’t force you to include any activities and there’s no set itinerary, you can do as much or as little as you like – meaning you can explore Northern Scandinavia for an affordable price. If you do fancy splashing out just let us know – we can include any of the IceHotel’s activities to save you the hassle.
Four days not enough? All our trips are customisable, so feel free to contact us to add in an extra night here or there. Or, why not extend your trip to 7 days and maximise your chances of spotting the lights!