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Northern Lights
Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, is a natural light display that is frequent during the winter months in northern Sweden thanks to the geographical proximity to the Arctic Circle and the magnetic north pole.
Photo credit: Asaf Kliger/

When and where to see the magical Northern Lights in Sweden

To see the beauty of the Northern Lights, head to northern Sweden between early September and late March. This winter, the Aurora Borealis will be mighty as we enter the solar cycle's peak.

Below are five tips for increasing your chances to see the Northern Lights and some of the best places in Sweden to watch them.

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, appear during the beginning of September in and around Kiruna in the far north of Sweden. The sky comes alive as pink, green and purple streaks dance high above. And by the time winter has fully set in around January, the Northern Lights can be seen throughout Swedish Lapland – the large expanse of land in northern Sweden that covers nearly a quarter of the country. The last glimpses of these undulating rainbows can be caught as late as the end of March or even early April.

The long winter nights are welcomed by visitors flocking to witness this incredible light show. On clear evenings, the best time to see Northern Lights in Sweden is between 6:00 pm and 2:00 am. However, the most spectacular display usually occurs around 10:00-11:00 pm.

Even though northern Sweden in general – and Abisko in particular – is the best place to experience the Northern Lights, it can be seen elsewhere. In optimal conditions, it’s possible to see the Northern Lights all over the country, all the way down to Skåne's southern tip. And if you're planning a trip within the next few years, you're in luck – we're heading into a peak of a solar cycle, which increases the chances to see the Northern Lights. The ridge is forecast to occur in July 2025, and the Northern Light nights will grow in number every year until then.

5 ways to increase your chances of seeing the Northern Lights

1. Come in winter. The best months for seeing the Northern Lights are from September to March.

2. Head north. Even though the Northern Lights can be seen all over Sweden, chances are much higher above the Arctic Circle.

3. Go remote. The Northern Lights can be seen from cities, but the light pollution may obscure visibility.

4. Check the weather forecast. Several good apps monitor auroral activity, but you also need a clear, cloudless sky.

5. Book an activity. A tour guide will take you to the best spot and can give you tips on how to capture the Northern Lights in pictures.

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Northern Lights over Östersund

The Northern Lights are a natural light display, here seen over Östersund in Jämtland Härjedalen.

Photo: Visit Östersund / Göran Strand

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Northern Lights over Östersund

Northern Lights over Östersund

Photo: Visit Östersund / Göran Strand

Northern lights over a city landscape, with photographers lined up to get a shot.

Northern Lights in Stockholm

Photo: Jann Lipka/

Northern Lights in Swedish Lapland

Northern Lights in Swedish Lapland

Photo: Hjalmar Andersson/

Northern Lights in Värmland

Northern Lights in Värmland

Photo: Anders Tedeholm/

The northern lights in the sky are reflected in the water below. A city is visible from afar.

Northen Lights in Sundsvall

Photo: David Schreiner/Folio/

Northern lights over the mountains in Swedish Lapland.

Northern Lights in Abisko

Photo: Ted Logart/Swedish Lapland

What are the Northern Lights, and what causes them?

The Northern Lights are a unique natural phenomenon created when electrically charged particles from the sun collide in the Earth’s atmosphere. The colour variation depends on the kind of gas particles involved – low-lying oxygen causes the most common green colour, red is produced by oxygen higher in the atmosphere and the blueish-purple hue comes from nitrogen.

The result is a truly magical sight to behold as the vibrant colours snake across the night sky, dancing around as if moving to some unheard music.

Mystical explanations

The Latin name translates to ‘dawn of the north’, Aurora being the Roman goddess of the dawn. Steeped in myth and viewed in awe, these lights have captivated humanity for millennia.

The Sámi – the indigenous people of Sweden – believed the lights were the souls of the dead. You weren’t to dance, sing or whistle at them for fear they would feel disrespected and the lights would dip down and carry you off to the afterlife. The Vikings, on the other hand, thought that the Northern Lights were the Valkyries taking fallen soldiers to meet Odin, their chief god.

4 amazing places to see the Northern Lights

The northern lights is in the sky above a house during night time in winter.
Camp Ripan, Kiruna
Camp Ripan is situated in the middle of Kiruna and offers a wide range of outdoor and indoor activities.
Photo: Jonas Sundberg/Camp Ripan


Kiruna is the country’s northernmost city, with a population of around 22,000. It is the perfect base for exploring Sweden’s great white north. From Stockholm, you can either take a scenic 12-hour train ride or a 90-minute flight.

Whether you want to see the Aurora Borealis by car, snowshoe, snowmobile, dogsled or skis, you can find a tour company in Kiruna with the perfect package.

Aurora Sky Station, Abisko
Aurora Sky Station, Abisko
Northern lights above Aurora Sky Station on Mount Nuolja Abisko, Swedish Lapland.
Photo: Ted Logart/Swedish Lapland


For the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights, you should visit the Aurora Sky Station in Abisko National Park. A chairlift takes you up to the observation tower and the station’s Northern Lights exhibition, café and souvenir shop.

Abisko National Park is 100 kilometres west of Kiruna, with daily shuttle transfers and accommodation offered at the STF Abisko Tourist Station. There are no guarantees, but being surrounded by mountains, Abisko is known for its clear skies and has become one of the most popular spots for visitors hoping to tick this must-see off their bucket lists. 

Green northern lights shine above the entrance to the Icehotel.
Icehotel, Jukkasjärvi
The Icehotel is situated 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle in Sweden. It is constructed entirely from ice and contains hotel rooms, a bar and art exhibitions. Quite often, guests who go outside will catch the natural phenomena of northern lights.
Photo: Asaf Kliger/Ice Hotel


If you’re looking for the quintessential northern Swedish experience, go to the charming village of Jukkasjärvi. Located only 20 minutes by car from Kiruna, Jukkasjärvi is home to some 550 inhabitants and the world-famous Icehotel. 

A visit to the Icehotel, the first in the world, is an incredible experience. But combining your stay with one of their Northern Lights Safaris turns any trip into the holiday of a lifetime. In addition to their regular package, they offer snowmobile excursions – complete with dinner in a cosy wilderness cabin – and a photography package with expert advice and equipment to enable you to snap the perfect keepsakes.

Four lavvu tent at a nature camp in Lapland. It’s a starry night in a snowy landscape and the light glows in the tents.
Sápmi Nature Camp
Sápmi Nature Camp is located just north of Porjus in Laponia, Swedish Lapland. It's a small-scale, sustainable and personal glamping site close to nature, where you can get a glimpse into traditional Sámi culture.
Photo: Lennart Pittja/Sápmi Nature/Visit Sweden


Another tiny northern village, Porjus, with merely 400 inhabitants, is a coveted spot for viewing the Northern Lights in Sweden. 60 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, Porjus lies in the UNESCO World Heritage Site Laponia on the edge of a beautiful lake. Away from the city lights, in the stillness of nature, you can rent a cabin and enjoy the dancing light show from your front porch with a warm glass of mulled wine ('glögg') in your hand. Or try the Arctic indigenous life and stay in a traditional 'lavvu' glamping tent at Sápmi Nature Camp just north of Porjus.

There are buses and trains to Porjus from major cities in the north such as Kiruna, Luleå and Gällivare.

Happy Northern Lights hunting!