Northern Lights in Sweden, northern lights sweden

Seeing the Northern Lights in Sweden – Best Time and Places

If you get the chance to see the Northern Lights in Sweden, take it. You can experience spectacular displays for at least half of the year all over Sweden.

Every time I’ve traveled to Sweden to photograph the Northern Lights, I’ve always been impressed by the variety of scenic landscapes, which only accentuate the beauty of the dancing aurora displays above.

Northern Lights in Sweden, northern lights sweden

Seeing the Northern Lights in Sweden – Best Time and Places

You won’t be able to see an aurora display without knowing the best time and place to see the Northern Lights in Sweden, so keep reading to find out everything you need to know to make your Sweden Northern Lights trip as successful as possible.

Ready to learn more about where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden? Let’s get started!

Best time to see the Northern Lights in Sweden

The best time of year to see the Northern Lights in Sweden is from late September to early March. The sun hardly sets between May and August, making those months a very difficult time to see any aurora displays. During the fall and winter months, however, the sky gets darker, and the nights are longer, giving you a much better chance of seeing the Aurora in Sweden.

If you want to increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights in Sweden, my recommendation is to plan your trip either in late September or in mid-March. The solar activity increases during this time of year, and you’ll avoid the bitterest cold and stay slightly warmer, which will make your Aurora chase in Sweden more pleasant. 

Northern Lights in Sweden, northern lights in sweden

Best time to see the Northern Lights in Sweden

As for the best time of day to see the Northern Lights in Sweden, aurora displays can happen anytime between 6 PM and 2 AM, but the best, most intense displays generally occur between 10 PM and 2 AM. I recommend having an Aurora app to know the Aurora forecast if you don’t want to miss any Northern Lights show. 

Best time of year to see Northern Lights in Sweden

To sum it up, these are the best months to see the aurora borealis in Sweden:

  • September, October, and November – In September and October, the temperatures will be more pleasant, but the nights aren’t as long as during the winter months. The good news is that the fall equinox is, along with the start of the spring, the best time of year to see the Aurora since the solar activity increases. 
  • December and January – The nights are long, and the skies are dark, creating the ideal conditions for Northern Lights viewing. If you want snow in your Northern Lights photographs, this is the time of year to come, although snow can mean cloudy skies.
  • February and March – Solar activity increases again as we get close to the spring equinox bringing more chances of Aurora displays in Sweden. There also tend to be fewer tourists than during the Christmas season, which is perfect if you want to avoid the crowds.

Best places in Sweden to see the Northern Lights

Swedish Lapland, in the northwest of Sweden, is by far the best place to see the Northern Lights in Sweden.

Parts of Swedish Lapland are within both the Arctic Circle and the “Auroral Oval Zone,” making the area an ideal spot to see the lights. Since Swedish Lapland is rather remote, there isn’t much light pollution, so you won’t have to worry about city lights affecting the aurora’s visibility.

Within Swedish Lapland, these are the best places in Sweden to see the Northern Lights:

  1. Abisko National Park – There is an 88% chance you will see an aurora display here.
  2. Kiruna – Home to Esrange Space Center, a major institution for studying the aurora borealis.
  3. Jukkasjärvi – Here’s the world’s first ice hotel, a unique place to see the Northern Lights in Sweden.
  4. Porjus – Town with live webcams of the sky so you know when Northern Lights displays are happening.
  5. Tärendö: Small town with flat terrain so it’s easy to see an aurora display above.
  6. Luleå: Coastal city that’s perfect for aurora chasers who want urban comforts.
  7. Särkimukka: A small village by the Lainio River in the middle of the Taiga forests. A beautiful, quiet location to see the Northern Lights in Sweden.
  8. Harads: The one-of-a-kind Treehotel, a spectacular spot for Northern Lights viewing, is located here.

1. Abisko National Park

Want to know where to see the Aurora in Sweden? Look no further than Abisko National Park, one of the very best places to see a Northern Lights show over Sweden. There is an extremely high chance of seeing an aurora display in Abisko; if you stay in the area for three days or more, there’s an 88% chance that you’ll see the lights dancing.

Abisko National Park, northern light in sweden

1. Abisko National Park

The national park, with its towering mountains, alpine lake, and alpine meadows, is a lovely place to see the Northern Lights in Sweden in and of itself, but the real draw of the park for aurora chasers is the Aurora Sky Station. This observation tower within the national park provides the ideal vantage point for spectacular views of the Northern Lights, and experts are on hand to answer any and all questions about the aurora borealis.

You’ll have convenient access to the Sky Station if you stay at STF Abisko Turiststation, which is located within the national park and it’s one of the best Northern Lights hotels in Sweden. For tours, I recommend joining this small-group Northern Lights expedition.

2. Kiruna

Getting as far north as possible is key for ensuring you’ll witness the best aurora displays. You can’t get much farther north than Kiruna, the northernmost city in Swedish Lapland. Because this city is so far north and so remote, there’s a low amount of light pollution and thus a better chance of seeing the full glory of the aurora borealis in Sweden.

Kiruna, northern lights from sweden

2. Kiruna

If you want to learn more about the science behind the aurora borealis, visit Esrange Space Center, a major institution for studying the Northern Lights in Sweden that is one hour from there. You can also take a Northern Lights tour and settle in for a night at Camp Ripan or cozy up by the fireplace at Máttaráhkká Northern Light Lodge.

3. Jukkasjärvi

Jukkasjärvi is a small, northern town located far away from light pollution. It’s the perfect place to go if you want peace and quiet while you see the Northern Lights in Sweden.

Jukkasjärvi, sweden aurora borealis

3. Jukkasjärvi

What makes Jukkasjärvi unique is that it’s home to the world’s first ice hotel, Icehotel. Every year since 1989, ice has been harvested from the nearby Torne River to rebuild and reshape this accommodation. It’s worth visiting Jukkasjärvi just to admire this icy architectural marvel.

You’ll find plenty to do in Jukkasjärvi; besides going on a Northern Lights tour, you can take a dog-sled ride, visit a Sami (indigenous people of Scandinavia) camp, or see the oldest church in Swedish Lapland.

4. Porjus

There’s a very good chance of seeing the aurora borealis in Sweden if you visit Porjus.

This small town has live webcams set up to keep track of weather conditions and aurora displays, so you can keep an eye out for the Northern Lights both before and while you’re there. If you do luck out and see an aurora display, the town’s low light pollution means you should have a clear view.

Porjus, can you see northern lights in sweden

4. Porjus

Beyond its attraction for tourists who want to see the Northern Lights in Sweden, Porjus is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Laponia, a region where the Sami people live and practice their traditional way of life. The town itself is located near two national parks, Muddus and Stora Sjöfallet, so you can get wonderful photos of the Northern Lights over mountains, waterfalls, ravines, and forests.

While you’re in Porjus, stay in the cozy and quiet Arctic Colors Northern Lights Apartments and soak in the private sauna after a long day.

5. Tärendö

Head to Tärendö if you want to easily see the Northern Lights over Sweden. The terrain in and around the town is very flat, so there are no obstructions for aurora viewing. Tärendö, like most small towns in Swedish Lapland, has very low light pollution as well, which will only add to the ease of your Northern Lights viewing experience.

Tärendö, can you see the northern lights from sweden

5. Tärendö

Take in the Kalix River and surrounding woods from the private beach area at Arctic River Lodge before warming up in a luxurious sauna. There’s even a husky kennel right next to the hotel so you can make some new canine friends.

6. Luleå

Wondering where to see the Northern Lights in Sweden in a more urban setting? Luleå is the capital of and biggest city in Norrbotten County, the northernmost province in Sweden. Aurora chasers can enjoy the many perks of an urban environment, including dining, shopping, and culture, before heading over to one of the 1,300 islands that make up the Luleå archipelago.

Luleå, are there northern lights in sweden

6. Luleå

The islands can be reached easily by snowmobile, dogsled, or motorboat depending on their location. They are the perfect places to see the aurora borealis in Sweden, as many of them are uninhabited, giving you the chance to watch the Northern Lights dance overhead in complete privacy.

Speaking of privacy, I highly recommend staying at the Aurora River Cabin. You’ll get a cozy cabin all to yourself along the shore of a lovely lake, a perfect location for watching the aurora dance overhead.

7. Harads

Harads is one of the best places in Sweden to see the Northern Lights if you want to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The town is not only well known for its strong aurora activity, but also home to the Treehotel, a completely distinctive Aurora treehouse hotel.

Harads, aurora lights sweden

7. Harads

Harads is quite remote, so there’s no need to worry about light pollution impacting your view of the Northern Lights. At the Treehotel, you’ll be nestled among the trees, high enough to obtain views of the aurora borealis over the surrounding forest. If you want to sleep under the Northern Lights in Sweden, this is by far your best option, since the panoramic windows will provide unparalleled views of the sky that you can enjoy from the warmth and comfort of your cozy treehouse.

8. Särkimukka

Perfect for dog-lovers, Särkimukka is a tiny village whose canine population is many times larger than its human population. It makes sense, then, that dogsledding is a very popular activity to do here, along with, of course, seeing the Northern Lights in Sweden.

Särkimukka, best month to see northern lights in sweden

8. Särkimukka

Särkimukka’s location very far north, 150 kilometers above the Arctic Circle, makes it a prime spot for aurora viewing. Couple that with the village’s charming surrounding landscape of a taiga forest and nearby Lainio River, and you’ve got yourself a picturesque scene for taking Sweden Northern Lights photos.

A great place to stay in Särkimukka is the Pinetree Lodge, considered one of the best northern lights hotels in the world. At this family-owned Northern Lights accommodation, you can choose from either rooms in the lodge or private cottages. Either way, you’ll be able to enjoy the hot tub and sauna and meet the owners’ many huskies.

Can you see the Northern Lights in Stockholm?

Stockholm Northern Lights displays are rather rare, since Stockholm is so far south of the Arctic Circle. You might get very lucky and be able to see the aurora borealis from Stockholm if it’s an intense display and the skies are clear. Often, however, since Stockholm is a big city, the light pollution means you can’t see much.

Trying to see the Northern Lights in Gothenburg, Sweden is a similar story. Gothenburg is also quite far south, so you generally won’t be able to see the aurora borealis, unless it’s a particularly intense display.

If you want to give yourself the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights in Sweden, stack the odds in your favor and go further north.

Best Swedish Northern Lights tours

Catching a glimpse of the aurora borealis in Sweden is a big draw for many tourists, so of course, there are plenty of options for Swedish Northern Lights tours.

Booking a Northern Lights vacation package is the easiest way to ensure that you’ll have the time, opportunity, and resources to watch the “Green Lady” dance across the sky. You can go skiing, meet some reindeer, take a dogsled ride, and more during this Northern Lights & wildlife in Swedish Lapland tour.

Alternatively, if you don’t have the time to do a week-long tour, there are plenty of shorter tours, particularly in and around Kiruna and Abisko. I highly recommend going on either of these Northern Lights tours in Sweden:

Finally, it’s difficult to take stunning aurora borealis images without the right gear and settings. My guide to photographing the Northern Lights will give you all the information you need to capture this gorgeous natural phenomenon in the best way possible.

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Dan is a professional landscape and astro photographer, photography educator, and co-founder of Capture the Atlas. His base camp is in Nevada, USA, but he spends long periods exploring and photographing new locations around the world. Apart from shooting the Milky Way, the Northern Lights, and any breathtaking landscape, he enjoys leading photo tours to some of the most photogenic places on Earth. You can find more about Dan here.
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