Kiruna, Abisko, Sweden
GPS: 68.319451661887, 18.686475634972
Abisko National Park is one of Sweden’s northernmost regions, around 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. It is a short distance from the Norwegian border and extends into Norrland, a large polar area with excellent conditions for observing the natural spectacle of the Northern Lights. This park represents one of the most beautiful and easily accessible wilderness areas in Swedish Lapland.
The Abisko valley and the Lappish mountains of the Scandes (Scandinavian Mountains) have been inhabited for centuries by the nomadic Sámi people. Their way of life is based on hunting and fishing, and more recently traditional reindeer herding amidst vast expanses of forest and mountains. Established in 1909, Abisko National Park is one of Sweden’s earliest protected areas, covering an area of 77 km². It enjoys a wilderness environment dominated by the Abiskojåkka River (canyon and rapids), the southern shore of Lake Torneträsk (one of Scandinavia’s largest alpine lakes) and the beautiful scenery of the Lapporten Valley (easily recognizable by its characteristic U-shape). Its forest cover, mountain ranges and rocky gorges are home to Nordic animals such as reindeer, Arctic fox and lynx. Every year, the natural resources of Abisko National Park attract many researchers and botanists conducting studies on climate change (a scientific station is reserved for them near the park).
Despite its isolated location in the middle of Swedish Lapland, Abisko National Park is one of the driest places in the country. In winter, its clear pollution-free skies and clear nights offer optimal conditions for observing the Northern Lights. The Sámi, one of the last indigenous peoples in Europe, have long associated these dancing lights with bad omens. They believe the lights reflect the souls of the dead in the sky and avoid going outside when the Northern Lights are on display. During the summer, visitors can enjoy the unique spectacle of the midnight sun from the Aurora Sky Station. The flowers on Mount Njullá (or Nuolja) and the number of birds in the park, which can be seen in the high season, will delight hikers looking for a change of scenery.