• Sweden edition
 
Mad tourist rush to see Sweden's northern lights

Mad tourist rush to see Sweden's northern lights

Published: 28 Nov 2012 15:13 GMT+01:00
Updated: 28 Nov 2012 15:13 GMT+01:00

With northern lights viewing hitting its prime, tourists are flocking to Sweden's far north to catch a glimpse of night skies awash in dazzling blues, greens, and violets.

Winter tourism in northern Sweden has exploded in the last few years, especially at the STF Mountain Station and hostel in Abisko, located nearly 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle.

After a record northern lights viewing season last year, officials say bookings for this season are already up 130 percent.

For the first time ever, tourists are willing to brave the area's bone-chilling winter temperatures are set to outnumber those who come during the balmy white nights of summer.

RELATED GALLERY: Sweden's Aurora Borealis

Local tour guides and staff have even enrolled themselves in a northern lights training course organized at a local spaceport.

According to STF Branch Manager Hans Norén, heightened media attention has helped fuel the ever-increasing popularity of viewing the northern lights.

“We have been much more visible in the media around the world. We have had people staying here, shooting photos and videos, and some of those images have made it into big publications like National Geographic,” he told The Local.

With the exponential growth of winter guests in recent years, staff members at the remote hostel have been forced to change the way they prepare for winter.

“Ten years ago we didn't have any tourists this time of year. The whole place was locked from the end of September to March,” said Norén.

But now those who work in the tourist industry in Sweden's far north are spending the early days of winter earning about what causes the northern lights and how best to photograph them.

So far, 35 people from Abisko, as well as the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi have taken the course, which will help them offer tips to tourists hoping to capture unforgettable winter memories.

And while northern Sweden may be considered the ultimate destination for northern lights fans, Aurora Borealis enthusiast Jonatan Bengtsson told The Local that it’s just “a common myth” that the lights can only be seen inside the Arctic Circle.

He saw the lights in late October as they passed over Tobo, a town just over 100 kilometres north of Stockholm, and made the time-lapse video below.

“I can’t wait for the snow though,” he added.

“Then it gets even better.”

Images courtesy of Johannes Rüttermans

Though Norén admitted it's possible to see northern lights closer to the Swedish capital, doing so is rare.

”If it is really strong, you can even see the northern lights in Europe, but it has to be extremely strong," he explained.

"But you can see the northern lights in Abisko almost every night.”

For advice on how and when to best catch a glimpse of the northern lights, Norén provided some short but sweet advice:

”Be outside. Between 9pm and 1am they are most common and make sure to be somewhere where it’s dark.”

Sanne Schim van der Loeff

Related links:

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

16:14 November 28, 2012 by skogsbo
what the tour guides don't probably say is that you don't need them, look here http://www.spaceweather.com/ for predictions on when you'll see them and how big they'll be.

Google solar storm preppers if you want to worry.
11:56 November 29, 2012 by Alohart
I find http://www.gi.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast/Europe/ to be easier to interpret. You can even look ahead a few days for future aurora forecasts.
15:11 November 29, 2012 by Puffin
Saw it from my house in central Sweden a few weeks back
Today's headlines
Elections 2014
Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote
The Green Party is one of only two parties devoting their websites to the EU elections. Here campaign manager Emma Rung presents the party's posters. Photo: Leif R Jansson/TT

Most Swedes lack info ahead of EU vote

The majority of Swedes feel the country's political parties are not doing enough to inform them about the upcoming European Parliament elections. Only two of the eight parties have dedicated their homepages to the May 25th polls. READ () »

Fatal Norrköping Brawl
Local church tried to stop Norrköping murders
Swedish police on the scene following Monday's fatal brawl. File: TT

Local church tried to stop Norrköping murders

The Syrian-Orthodox Church in Ektorp had tried to quell tensions between two rival families just hours before bad blood spilled into a massive brawl and two brothers lost their lives. READ () »

JobTalk Sweden
'Foreigners don't need to show banks Swedish ID'
The bridge that connects Sweden to the European continent. File: L.E. Daniel Larsson/Flickr

'Foreigners don't need to show banks Swedish ID'

The Swedish agency that helps Europeans fight impediments to the EU principle of free movement has revealed an increase in complaints, including one from a foreign citizen unable to open a bank account in Sweden. READ () »

Eurovision 2014
Pig heart shatters in Sweden's Eurovision clip
Sanna Nielsen in the new clip. Photo: YouTube (screenshot)

Pig heart shatters in Sweden's Eurovision clip

Sweden's Eurovision hopeful Sanna Nielsen released the official video for the song Undo on Wednesday, a clip featuring leather, slow motion destruction, and a frozen pig's heart and some violence. READ () »

Software robot pinches Swedish flats in seconds
Swedish apartments. File: The Local

Software robot pinches Swedish flats in seconds

A Swedish landlord suspects that a property fixer has set up a software robot to sign up for new flats on the market within seconds, and is charging house hunters to use the service. READ () »

Swedish zoo fire 'kills only the spiders'
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Swedish zoo fire 'kills only the spiders'

Twenty-five fire fighters were on hand on Wednesday night when a fire broke out in a southern Sweden animal park. The vast majority of the animals were unharmed, but the cluster of spiders wasn't so lucky. READ () »

Sweden Investor group posts sharp profit drop
File photo: Simon Cunningham/Flickr

Sweden Investor group posts sharp profit drop

Swedish investment giant Investor on Wednesday said its first-quarter profits slumped by a quarter, underlining Sweden's vulnerability to international instability. READ () »

Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden
Michael Boatwright (R) and Medieval knight re-enactors.

Florida 'mystery knight' dies in Sweden

The "motel mystery" American who baffled US authorities by only speaking Swedish when he woke up from a coma last year has passed away, Swedish media reported on Wednesday. READ () »

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king
Photo: Bertil Ericson/TT

Swedes open coffin of 850-year-old king

UPDATED: Scientists pried open the 850-year-old casket of King Erik the Holy on Wednesday, hoping to find out more about the king, his crown, and his eating habits. READ () »

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop
TeliaSonera CEO Johan Dennelind. File photo: TT

TeliaSonera announces first-quarter profit drop

Stockholm-listed telecom operator TeliaSonera on Wednesday said profits had fallen in the first quarter, but hoped offering customers more data solutions in the future would turn things around. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 23
TT
Gallery
Inside the 850-year-old king's coffin
Features
Sponsored: South-eastern Sweden offers Öland beaches and more
Gallery
Swedish underwear shop puts staff in front of the camera
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The Local's Property of the Week - Täby
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - India Unlimited
Features
Sponsored: India+Sweden Week - A film, food, and finance feast
National
University applications rocket to record high
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 18-20
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
Advertisement:
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

720
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com