• 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

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:

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
National
Sweden's benefit agency website still down
Sweden's Social Insurance Agency is experiencing problems. Photo: TT

Sweden's benefit agency website still down

UPDATED: Sweden's Social Insurance Agency website was out of action again on Tuesday, despite officials suggesting that technical faults that emerged on Monday would be fixed by the morning. READ  

Presented by West Sweden
Live Blog: West Coast lobster season begins
We'll be hoping for one of these later. Photo: West Sweden

Live Blog: West Coast lobster season begins

The Local's Oliver Gee reports live as he joins fishermen on Sweden's west coast seeking the first lobster catch of 2014. READ  

Swedish teenagers abused on Secret app
File photo: Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix

Swedish teenagers abused on Secret app

Swedish police are struggling to know what to do with a new batch of criminal reports filed by teenagers upset about a controversial app that allows users to post comments and pictures anonymously. READ  

National
Swedish man beats bus in video challenge

Swedish man beats bus in video challenge

UPDATED: A Swedish runner who filmed himself beating his bus in Sundbyberg in north west Stockholm over the weekend is now planning to a similar challenge on the capital's Metro system. READ  

Regional
Rain causes power cuts across east Sweden
Strong winds are battering Stockholm and the east coast of Sweden. Photo: TT

Rain causes power cuts across east Sweden

Heavy rain and wind have left thousands without electricity in eastern Sweden, with ferries also disrupted by the storm. READ  

Elections 2014
Budget headache for new coalition partners
Social Democrat economic spokesperson Magdalena Andersson with Per Bo from the Green Party. Photo: TT

Budget headache for new coalition partners

UPDATED: The Social Democrats have been holding talks with the Green party to try and agree on a future coalition budget. But questions remain over how they will work together on issues including defence and nuclear power. READ  

National
US runaway banned from name change in Sweden
'Wanted' photograph of David Hemler used by US Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Hemler lives and works in Uppsala. Photo: Shutterstock

US runaway banned from name change in Sweden

A US airman who deserted from the military three decades ago and moved to Sweden has failed in his bid to get his old name back, because a Swedish court says he can’t prove his identity. READ  

My Swedish Career
Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars
Sharleen in action. Photo: Sebastian Bularca

Plucked out of Canada for love and guitars

For this week's My Swedish Career we meet a Canadian who came to Sweden for love and now works in Lidköping, custom-making guitars. READ  

Regional
Flood and high wind warning in east Sweden
Stockholm experienced heavy rain on Sunday. Photo: TT

Flood and high wind warning in east Sweden

After heavy rain broke off the September sunshine in eastern Sweden on Sunday, forecasters warn more bad weather is on the way. READ  

Tech
World car record on Malmö bridge

World car record on Malmö bridge

The longest electric car parade on a bridge between two countries was formed on the Öresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark on Sunday, with environmental campaigners breaking several other world records in the process. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Finest
Gallery
People-watching: September 20th
The 'black gold' of Sweden's west coast.
National
West Sweden prepares for the 2014 lobster premiere
Society
What's on in Sweden
Politics
How Sweden Democrats went mainstream
Politics
Scandinavia and Scotland: closer links?
Blog updates

22 September

Welcome National Geographic! (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"What comes to mind when you think of the “The Arctic”? Crystal-encased cliffs jutting from the sea, baronial Polar bears scavenging over sheets of cracked ice or a lone explorer heading north into the night. The image my mind invokes is of three sparkling green lines splashed across the sky like graffiti— the Aurora Borealis— our..." READ »

 

19 September

Editor’s blog (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday readers! It sure has been a exciting week in Sweden, where we’re set to get a new Prime Minister after Fredrik Reinfeldt stepped down following Sunday’s elections. The Local blogged live from the key political gatherings across Stockholm. Why not re-visit the action by taking a look at our photos, tweets, videos and analysis? Since the..." READ »

 
 
 
Gallery
Property of the week - Eskilstuna
Sponsored Article
How to start a business in Stockholm
Society
How I became a surf blogger when I moved to Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Society
Why is Stockholm's Södermalm so cool?
Gallery
People-watching: September 11th
Gallery
People-watching: September 13th
Politics
Five possible election outcomes
Politics
Sweden elections: How do they work?
Politics
Sweden elections: Who's who?
Gallery
Property of the week - Hornstull, Stockholm
Analysis
Five differences between the UK and Sweden
Welshman Jonny Luck is now a chef in Sweden
Society
How I opened my own restaurant in Sweden's Malmö
Sponsored Article
Stockholm tech fest: relive the magic
Gallery
People-watching September 8th
Photo: TT
Politics
Feminists fight for first seats
Politics
Immigration cut push from Sweden Democrats
Sheryl Sandberg says women have "low expectations"
Tech
Facebook exec talks women's limits in Swedish business
Politics
Left Party calls for justice and equality
Politics
Green Party wants 'better world' for kids
Sponsored Article
Introducing… Insurance in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Graduates: Insure your income in Sweden with AEA
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

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 Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

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

848
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
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN