- See the highlights and hidden gems of Stockholm
- Venture to the far north in search of the northern lights
- Go dogsledding and ice fishing
- Hike through national parks and go on a moose safari
|Day 1||Arrive in Stockholm, Wildlife Safari||Stockholm|
|Day 2||Fly to Luleå, Northern Lights Driving Tour||Luleå|
|Day 3||Dogsledding in Lappland, Hot Tub & Ice Bath||Luleå|
|Day 4||Snowshoe Hike, Snowmobile Northern Lights Tour||Luleå|
|Day 5||Transfer to Jukkasjärvi, Stay in the Icehotel||Jukkasjärvi|
|Day 6||Ice Fishing in Abisko, Icehotel Activities||Jukkasjärvi|
|Day 7||Transfer to Bjorkliden, Visit Abisko National Park||Bjorkliden|
|Day 8||Morning Hike in Abisko National Park||Bjorkliden|
|Day 9||Moose Safari on Horseback||Bjorkliden|
|Day 10||Sámi & Reindeer Experience in Jukkasjärvi||Bjorkliden|
|Day 11||Transfer to Kiruna||Kiruna|
|Day 12||Fly to Stockholm, Private Tour & Spa||Stockholm|
|Day 13||Full-Day Viking History Tour||Stockholm|
|Day 14||Depart Stockholm|
Day 1: Arrive in Stockholm, Wildlife Safari
Welcome to Sweden! You'll arrive in the capital of Stockholm, a city with a long and storied history dating back to its founding in 1252. Besides the rich history, the location is attractive as well. Spread across a Baltic Sea archipelago of 14 islands, it's easy to see why Stockholm has acquired the nickname "Venice of the North.” The waterways fronting the city skyline are nothing short of breathtaking. Upon arrival, you'll ride the Arlanda Express airport train into the city. Then you can head out and explore.
You'll find that Stockholm is easily walkable, with public transport connecting various districts, each with its own identity. For example, Södermalm has a laid-back vibe, while Östermalm is the picture of refined elegance. Between them is commercial Norrmalm, and farther south is the Gamla Stan (Old Town). Popular attractions include City Hall, a model of Sweden's National Romantic architecture; the 17th-century Drottningholm Palace; museums like Vasa, home to a 17th-century warship, and Skansen, the world's largest open-air museum.
In the late afternoon, you'll meet your guide and leave the city to discover Sweden's other highlights: its nature and wildlife. You'll drive to a forest and lake outside Stockholm, and when the sun goes down, your guide will lead you on a nocturnal safari. Hiking through the forest, your guide will point out various animals—like moose, beavers, and deer—and offer insight into their behavior and habits. There will be a break for dinner, followed by more hiking. When the tour is over, you'll transfer back to Stockholm.
Day 2: Fly to Luleå, Northern Lights Driving Tour
In the morning, return to the airport and catch a 1.5-hour flight north to Luleå. This small coastal city is located in the northern Lappland region of Sweden (or Sápmi to its Indigenous Sámi people), just below the Arctic Circle. It's a charming university town with a well-preserved history in the form of wooden houses and old churches dating to the 15th century. Moreover, it's a good base for excursions into the wild north, particularly for dogsledding, snowshoe hiking, and hunting for the northern lights. You'll do all three here, but today you'll focus on the aurora borealis.
When you arrive, check into your hotel, then, at around 8 pm, you'll head out on a three-hour driving tour outside Luleå. Your driver/guide will lead you on a quest to spot the famous northern lights, which are visible from Nov-Mar. It's a group tour that will take you to remote areas free of light pollution and with clear skies. These are the optimum conditions to see this incredible optical phenomenon caused by solar storms interacting with the Earth's magnetic field. Afterward, you'll return to your hotel.
Day 3: Dogsledding in Lappland, Hot Tub & Ice Bath
After breakfast, you'll leave the city again on a full-day tour of stunning Lappland. This region enjoys UNESCO World Heritage status for its unspoiled wilderness of mountains, primeval forests, and beautiful lakes. The Sámi people have inhabited Lappland for thousands of years, and their traditional culture and heritage are written in these remote landscapes. You'll know them by their brightly colored gakti (traditional clothing) and their prowess at reindeer herding.
You'll travel north of Luleå to the outskirts of the Lule River Valley and check into your unique accommodation: a luxury treehouse hotel. After getting settled, you'll embark on a common mode of transit in these parts: dogsledding. This two to three-hour tour begins in the hut of the dogsledding farm, where you'll receive safety instructions. After harnessing the dogs to the sled, you'll hop on (two people to a sled), and you and your companion will take turns driving. It's a fun and scenic ride as the powerful dogs race along forest trails. Afterward, there will be plenty of time for photos with the dogs (plus a few hugs).
Day 4: Snowshoe Hike, Snowmobile Northern Lights Tour
Transfer to Mörön this morning, a coastal village about 11 miles (18 km) outside of Luleå. In the wilderness just outside of town, you'll embark on a three-hour hike. Of course, this being Lappland, you'll need the right footwear—namely, snowshoes. During this guided group tour, you'll enjoy the beautiful northern scenery and have opportunities to spot moose, reindeer, and other endemic wildlife. Dress warm, and keep your camera handy!
At the end of the hike, you'll have lunch and then return to your hotel in Luleå. Spend the afternoon however you like, then, when the sun goes down, you'll head out on another hunt for the northern lights. Rather than driving in a car, this time, you'll speed along the remote landscapes on a snowmobile. Riding one of these off-road vehicles is the best way to reach remote areas where you'll have the best chance of glimpsing the spectacle. It's a fun group tour that lasts approximately three hours, and along the way, you can stop for a traditional Swedish fika (coffee and snack break).
Day 5: Transfer to Jukkasjärvi, Stay in the Icehotel
After breakfast, your driver will pick you up for the 4.5-hour ride to Jukkasjärvi. This tiny village (it has fewer than 1,000 residents) is located at the northernmost end of Sweden, well above the Arctic Circle. While it may be lacking in people, it makes up for it with spectacle. Jukkasjärvi is a great place to see the northern lights, but it's also home to the famous Icehotel, one of Sweden's most unique landmarks.
Opened as a combined hotel/art installation in 1989, each year during the winter, the structure is rebuilt with actual ice and snow. That means you'll be overnighting in an ice room on an ice bed. Beyond that, the hotel features a grand ice hall, an art gallery displaying hand-carved ice sculptures, and an ice restaurant featuring a gourmet five-course menu. There's even an ice bar where you can sip cocktails from ice-carved glasses.
Day 6: Ice Fishing in Abisko, Icehotel Activities
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Start this morning with a 1.5-hour excursion north to the small village of Abisko. Located on Torneträsk Lake across from the Norwegian border, it's a great place for ice fishing. Upon arrival, you'll ride a snowmobile out to a fishing site on Torneträsk. If the ice here hasn't fully hardened, you'll transfer by minibus just outside of town to a smaller lake with a solid surface.
Wherever you end up, your guide will show you how to create a hole using an ice drill. Then you'll drop a line and try to catch the famous Arctic char. This coldwater fish is part of the salmon family and is full of vitamins and fatty acids like its relative. At the end of this two-hour experience, your guide will start a fire, and you can cook your catch over open flames while enjoying a warm beverage. Once you've eaten, you'll return to Jukkasjärvi and the Icehotel. Spend the remainder of the day enjoying activities like cross-country skiing, landscape photography, or a visit with local Sámi people and their reindeer.
Day 7: Transfer to Bjorkliden, Visit Abisko National Park
This morning you'll bid farewell to the Icehotel and transfer 1.5 hours north to Björkliden. This mountain village is a famous ski resort, but it's also a good base for nature excursions into the adjacent Abisko National Park. After dropping off your bags at your hotel, you'll venture into this 30-square-mile (77 sq km) protected area, which boasts soaring mountains, crystalline lakes, and thick forests. Within this ecosystem is a diverse array of flora and fauna, including alpine flowers, rare lichens, and various bird and mammal species like moose, reindeer, lynxes, wolverines, and bears.
The park offers countless opportunities for outdoor adventures. On a day trip here, you'll get to marvel at the full scope of Abisko's beauty on a ride up to Aurora Sky Station. A chairlift will carry you 2,952 feet (900 m) up Mount Nuolja. At the top, you can enjoy the panoramic views from the comfort of Sky Station's café as you enjoy a pastry and warm beverage.
Day 8: Morning Hike in Abisko National Park
Wake up early and head back into Abisko National Park for more exploration. There are many outdoor activities on offer here, including hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and scenic boat rides on one of its many lakes. Another key attraction of Abisko is its rich cultural heritage. The park is home to the Sámi people, who have lived in the region for thousands of years.
Today, though, you'll enjoy a two-hour morning hike. A range of trails in the park cater to different ability levels, and your guide will lead you down one of them. This is a 1.8 to 2.5-mile (3-4-km) excursion that will take you through ancient birch forests and up to viewpoints offering sweeping vistas of the Abisko River Delta. You'll likely spot some local wildlife, like moose, reindeer, mountain hares, and foxes. After the hike, you'll have the rest of the day to enjoy more activities in the park, cultural exchanges with the Sámi, or relaxation back at the hotel.
Day 9: Moose Safari on HorsebackAfter breakfast, you'll transfer to a horse farm, where you'll mount up and embark on a full-day ride into the birch forests of northern Sweden. Experience the natural beauty of this wilderness from the back of an Icelandic horse. Moreover, this is the natural habitat of one of Sweden's most majestic creatures: the moose. With luck, you'll catch a glimpse of this "king of the forest" up close. The adventure concludes with a delicious lunch back at the farm, after which you'll return to Bjorkliden.
Day 10: Sámi & Reindeer Experience in JukkasjärviIn the morning, you'll drive back to Jukkasjärvi and spend the day with the Sámi people at Nutti Sámi Siida, an open-air museum. Here, you'll meet community members, visit traditional Sámi buildings (like the lavvú, a teepee-like structure), and learn about their Arctic lifestyle. The Sámi culture is inexorably linked to reindeer. They're known for their prowess in herding these animals, leading them on the annual migration between wintering grounds and summer pastures. A visit with the Sámi means you'll get to spend time with reindeer, too. Afterward, you'll return to Bjorkliden.
Day 11: Transfer to Kiruna
It's time to turn south today, as you transfer about 1.5 hours from Bjorkliden to Kiruna. Located near Jukkasjärvi, it enjoys the distinction of being the northernmost city in Sweden. Not only is Kiruna yet another great place to spy the northern lights, but it also boasts Sweden's highest mountain, Kebnekaise (6,876 ft/2,096 m). This will be your overnight stop on the way back to Stockholm. While here, you can opt to make one more trip to see the aurora borealis.
Day 12: Fly to Stockholm, Private Tour & Spa
In the morning, you'll transfer to the airport for the 1.5-hour flight back to Stockholm. After checking into your hotel, meet your personal guide for a half-day tour of some hidden gems around the city. Even better, this private excursion is tailored to your interests, so you can focus on the neighborhoods and cultural highlights that most pique your curiosity. It's a perfect tour for individuals, couples, and families with children.
In the afternoon, head to the city center and Sturebadet Spa. This luxury spa dates to the 1800s and offers a range of services and amenities, including an indoor pool, Turkish baths, massage services, and more. Feel free to spend the remainder of the afternoon here, enjoying a bit of pampering and relaxation after your Arctic adventures.