Abisko National Park – Why its not only for expert hikers!

Abisko National Park

I don’t know about you guys, but we are definitely not Expert Hikers. Yeah, we walk a lot around cities and do small one day hikes, but our idea of fun its not carrying Ginormous Backpacks packed with tents, sleeping bags, food and cooking stuff for several days… If you feel like us, this post is for you!

Abisko National Park can be overwhelming, but don’t be daunted by all those super hikers out there! There are ways to enjoy the beauty of the park without going on several day treks! And its worth it! Let us show you why.

Where is Abisko National Park?

Abisko National Park is located Swedish province of Lapland near the Norwegian border, and belongs to Kiruna Municipality, Sweden’s northernmost and largest municipality (its 195 Km north of the Artic Circle). Check out our guide to Kiruna too!

It begins at the shores of Torneträsk, one of Sweden’s largest lakes where the village of Abisko is located, and has an area of 77 square quilometres.

Yeah, its HUGE!

How do you get there?

If you are in Stockholm, the best way to get there is by train (cheapest) or airplane (fastest).

You can also come by bus or by car if you are already in the north of Sweden or Norway (Kiruna or Narvik).

Either way, its a long long way (the train takes 17 hours from Stockholm just to get an idea)… We did it by train (night train from Stockholm) and booked a cabin with beds (6 beds). The ride was nice and we got to sleep.

The bonus – you cross the Artic Circle either way!

Make sure that when you arrive to the Abisko Tourist Station you check out one of the most iconic images of the park – Lapporten, the gateway to Lapland, a beautiful U shape dome made by two mountains, shaped by a glacier, that is the crown image of the park.

Lapporten – the gateway to Lapland.

Don’t be scared by the expert hikers…

So we came on the train and only found EXPERT Hikers telling you they are doing the Kugsleden, for a week, two weeks and even the full trail (about 3 to 4 weeks). For those who do not know what the Kugsleden or Kings Trail is:

  • 440 Km trail – HUGE!
  • Goes from Abisko in the north to Hemavan in the south – most people only do it from Abisko to Kebnekaise – five to seven days walk.
  • Its one of the most beautiful trails in the world, so you have people from all over the world coming on the summer to enjoy the trail. You have some lodges in the beginning parts of the trail, but as further as you go less facilities you have, so wild camping is a must.
  • Its open in the winter and in the summer, but to make the whole trail and to see the views, the summer is the best time to come.

And if you are not a super Hiker? And if you don’t have camping gear with you? Should you still go to Abisko National Park?

OUR ANSWER – ABSOLUTELY YES!! Understand why…

1. The trails around the Tourist Station in Abisko…

When you get to the tourist station ask for a flyer about the trails around the station. They have short and long tours and the level of difficulty in each one.

You can do whatever you want depending on how much time and according to your expertise.

We only had a day and a half and we consider ourselves to be at a medium level of hiking, so we chose to do four walks:

  • Canyon (1 hour);
  • Shore (1 hour);
  • Climb to Mount Nuolja (2-3 hours);
  • and the Njakajaure or Small Lake (2-3 hours).

In our first day we did the Canyon and the Shore – they are very easy walks and the views are amazing!

The Canyon Trail

The Canyon (trail number 2) is one of the main attractions and one of the reasons why Abisko became a national park.

You follow a canyon that actually has a tunnel that was man made to divert the river from the train tracks they were building (the tracks from Kiruna to Narvik) and you have little paths along the stream. The force of the water is astonishing!

The trail is even wheelchair accessible for its most part! You can cross the bridge and then catch the Shore trail.

The Canyon Trail

The Shore Trail

The Shore Trail

The Shore (trail number 6) follows the path of the Canyon when you start turning back for the Tourist Station.

It takes you to Tornetrask lake, the seventh biggest lake in Sweden. It is a beautiful walk and when you follow until the end, you find a beautiful beach by the lake.

They even have a Sauna there (it was closed when we got there) and a place where you can do your own barbecue by the lake.

The view of the mountains and the lake is beautiful. On our way back you are also presented with the views from the Gateway to Lapland.

We will tell you about the climb to Mount Nuolja after we talk about the Aurora Sky Station, since we began the walk from there.

Small Lake Trail

The Njakajaure or Small Lake walk (trail number 3) – we did it on the next day, in the afternoon and after Mount Nuolja.

This trail actually follows the beginning of the Kings Trail, so  you can see the Hikers that are coming in the south-north direction.

You follow the river until you have passed the marbled quarry (where Abisko marble was extracted) and after that you turned left (don’t worry, it is well mapped on the way, as every trail is) and you follow to the Little Lake trough Permafrost fields (there are wooden trails that help, but be ready for a lot of mud) until you return to the tourist centre.

Its also a beautiful trail, with amazing views of the river, the waterfalls and the lake.

The Small Lake Trail

2. The Aurora Station and its cable car…

Its situated in Mount Nuolja, 900 meters above sea level, an from atop you can see 360º views from Abisko National Park. It is actually considered one of the best places is the world to see the Northern Lights, for its height and because of its protection by the nearby peaks – it has good cloud free sky, perfect to see in the Aurora.

But we didn’t got the chance…

We came in mid August, so no Northern Lights (too much light at night) and no Midnight Sun (it goes dark at about 10 PM)…

So we decided to visit during the day (you also have tours at night, even dinner included trips – check out the website), but they are expensive, and after going there in the day, we recommend that you have more than just a coat to go there by night because the cable cars are open and the wind coming from the mountain makes the air really cold!

View from the cable car

The cable car.

View from the top of Aurora Train Station

Aurora Station

You can go up 900 meters with the cable car or just decide to walk up there, but it is steep! The prices for 2017 – 180Kr to go up and 220 Kr to go up and down/ each. We decided to go the comfortable way 🙂 and trust us, its worth it! Especially going down, when you go trough the cliffs and see the beautiful views from above!

Arriving at the top you have a nice, warmed cafe (with a fireplace), with beautiful views. You can relax here and take a coffee or a tea before taking the trails (with some amazing views).

Mount Nuolja

As the view seekers that we are, we thought seeing the other side of the mountain was a great idea! So we followed the path to the top of Mount Nuolja. As you start the trek you see 2 beautiful lakes atop. In the beginning it is easy to follow, but as you climb closer to the top, it gets a little steep, so bring a snack for an excuse to stop along the way – in total it took us about 1,5 hours to go up. From the top (1164 meters above sea level) I don’t even need to say it… You just have that top of the mountain experience, and you can see not only amazing views from the lake but also views to the mountains on the other side, still covered with snow even in Mid August! Enjoy a lunch at the top and just feel the moment. It was one of the most beautiful experiences at the Park.

View from the top of Mount Nuolja

3. The views

Some things are better showed than explained… Just see the photos! If this doesn’t convince you, I don’t know what will…

For all this, don’t let the SUPER HIKER scare you… You can also see a beautiful part of Abisko National Park even if you are not an expert! And its definitely worth it!

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