When I first announced (to myself & everyone else) that I was going to Sweden for the winter break; most people automatically assumed I’d be in Stockholm, since the rest of the country that time of year is pretty frigid. The rest, unfortunately, undermined my plans of the great escape into the wild, saying it was not something a solo female traveler from another country was capable of doing. Everyone’s reactions to the news that I was heading into the Arctic Circle in the dead of winter were totally warranted – it is cold, and it is windy, and the nighttime hours are double the daylight hours; but there are plenty of pros too. And the one that topped the list for me was the greater chance of sighting the elusive northern lights.
I’ve always traveled on a budget, and Sweden is rightfully notorious for being a destination that will cost you an arm and a leg in Kronor, much before it costs you those in frostbite. But even a girl on a budget’s got to dream – and I was dreaming big. I wanted to see the Northern lights in Abisko, a rather tiny little hamlet in northern Sweden.
In true type-A fashion, and as I always do; I laboriously researched the best place to see the Northern lights in Sweden, and Abisko kept coming up as the best one. Statistically speaking, scientists agreed that the Abisko Northern lights are among the most reliable in the world, with an 80% success rate of seeing the lights if you stay in Abisko for three nights or more. So, I settled on Abisko for two reasons - one, thanks to atmospheric conditions affected by the surrounding Lake Torneträsk, the Aurora Sky Station in Abisko has a pretty good track record for aurora sightings even when the weather isn’t optimal, and two, the Abisko National Park looked absolutely gorgeous in photos, so I knew even if I didn’t get lucky enough to see the lights; my trip would still have been worth it for the outstanding scenery alone.