STF Mountain Station Abisko and Aurora Sky Station

Great night for the lights!

Great night for the lights!

Abisko, Sweden is located 195 km north of the Arctic Circle in the middle of the auroral zone and is considered the best place to see the Aurora Borealis. It’s in the middle of nowhere, so the air is clear and there’s limited artificial lights. Additionally, the sky is typically free of clouds, thanks to the rain shadow created by Lake Torneträsk and the surrounding mountains. All these conditions set the stage for active Northern Light spotting.

Traditional Sami tent with aurora in background

Traditional Sami tent with aurora in background

We stayed at STF Mountain Station Abisko, one of the only lodges in town. We stayed in the main building, which had basic but comfortable rooms, cozy lounges, a simple bar and a good restaurant specializing in organic breakfasts. There are also self-catering cabins and chalets.

Looking toward the lake

Looking toward the lake

Many activities such as dog sledding, ice climbing, snowshoeing and, of course, aurora borealis watching, were offered. Most of the activities were fully booked by the time we checked in, but we had pre-arranged an aurora outing and a dinner at the Aurora Sky Station.

Aurora Sky Station sits atop this mountain

Aurora Sky Station sits atop this mountain

Cloudy aurora atop the mountain

Cloudy aurora atop the mountain

The Sky Station sits atop the highest mountain and is an ideal spot from which to view the lights. There’s an enclosed restaurant/lounge with an educational area and an observatory platform. Rather than stick close to the station, we hiked a short distance toward the top of the mountain, which was an incredible, special experience; we were surrounded by pitch-darkness and total silence in the cold with wind whipping around us and the sky lighting up overhead.

Mountain Station cabins

Mountain Station cabins

The only way to reach the station is via chairlift. I’ve only been on chairlifts during the day when there are people skiing below, so riding up in the dark and silence was a bit surreal.

Looking down onto Abisko

Looking down onto Abisko

More aurora

More aurora

We enjoyed a four-course dinner at the restaurant, which included plenty of wine and special liqueur. Since there is no electricity, all power runs off a generator and all the food and beverages are brought up on the chairlift. The only downside is that the lack of running water means the restrooms are (very cold) outhouses.

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