Journey the northernmost area of Europe on one of many greatest rail journeys in the world: the Arctic Circle Prepare and see Lapland by practice.
Touring Lapland on the Arctic Circle Prepare
Extending for a whole lot of miles above the Arctic Circle, Lapland is one of many final remaining wildernesses in Europe. For a lot of, this northern excessive is a thriller – the place the midnight solar shines endlessly in summer time and the gorgeous Northern Lights dance within the sky through the lengthy, polar winter nights. Huge and rugged, Lapland is a big area that stretches throughout 4 international locations and bounded by three completely different seas within the northernmost a part of Europe.
One of the simplest ways to discover this huge wilderness space is by practice, particularly the Arctic Circle Train. Referred to as one of many greatest train journeys in the world, the Arctic Circle practice brings vacationers alongside gorgeous fjords, close to frozen glaciers, underneath icy waterfalls and whisk you previous fairytale cities. It provides gorgeous surroundings of Lapland and allows you to see lots of the rural components of Scandinavia that aren’t accessible by vehicles. The Arctic Circle Prepare can also be a good way to get from one Arctic city to a different and also you would possibly even have the possibility to identify the Aurora Borealis out of your practice window.
Highlights of the Arctic Circle Prepare
Armed with some ultra-thick winter gear, we hopped on board the Arctic Circle Prepare and weaved our means by the sugar-coated wonderland. Over two weeks, we skilled three completely different components of Lapland and drank within the spectacular landscapes and pristine nature that the realm needed to provide.
As our practice labored its means across the edges of the mountains, we admired slender fjords, steep mountain slopes, and random clusters of Nordic villages. The Arctic Circle practice journey was simply essentially the most stunning scenic route on our complete journey in Lapland.
Our voyage began in Rovaniemi, the capital of the Finnish Lapland, and a serious gateway to the northern excessive. It was a superb launching pad to discover the encircling wilderness. There have been so some ways to get out and about – we sledded with husky-dogs, rode on snowmobiles and even glided by the Luosto forest on a reindeer caravan. Ice-fishing on a frozen lake was exceptionally enjoyable as was snow-shoeing within the darkness.
That mentioned, Rovaniemi itself is kind of a cute, charming metropolis. Moreover the array of excellent resorts, eating places and bars, there’s additionally the Artikum Museum which tells tales about Lapland, its historical past, tradition and nature. In Rovaniemi, we additionally had the chance to cross the Arctic Circle, which lies 8km north of city. This space can also be the official residence of Santa Claus, and his put up workplace. For extra Christmas goodness, we additionally advocate the theme restaurant Santamus for a style of excellent Lappish meals and dance.
Then we hopped again onto the Arctic Circle Prepare and crossed borders into Sweden, the place our subsequent cease was Abisko. With our base at Abisko Mountain Lodge, the 75-square-kilometre Abisko Nationwide Park was simply steps away and the gorgeous Lake Torneträsk within the close to distance.
We packed our schedule with enjoyable winter actions, reminiscent of snowmobiling by the nationwide park (the place we virtually fell into the frozen lake), a safari on dog sleighs, and a chairlift journey as much as the Aurora Sky Station. We additionally made a day-trip to the unique ICEHOTEL the place we wandered by its attractive artwork suites and sipped cocktails from ice glasses. Read my review of the ICEHOTEL.
One of many important targets of this journey was to see the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. We’d heard that Abisko is the driest place in Sweden and is sheltered by the encircling mountains from winds, which makes it one of many best places in the world to see Northern Lights. We had been fortunate sufficient to look at the sky dance and dazzle, and the aurora lighting it up with beams of sunshine yellow and inexperienced.
Whereas Abisko is a tiny city with a inhabitants of simply over 85, its tranquility and quiet location additionally meant that we had been actually within the coronary heart of Lapland. As in comparison with the opposite two components of Lapland, this was our favourite spot.
Our ultimate cease was Narvik in Northern Norway, the place the Arctic Circle Prepare journey ends. This was by far one of the best a part of the journey. The views had been essentially the most spectacular: slender fjords ran alongside us, mammoth mountains loomed within the far distance, and frozen lakes stretched for miles beneath our toes. In case you can solely select one part of the practice path to take, this ought to be it.
In distinction with the different cities in Lapland, Narvik virtually feels like a cosmopolitan metropolis regardless of its humble inhabitants of 18,500. Tall buildings rise from the town middle, whereas the port extends all the way in which to the water’s edge and numerous alpine homes stand on the hill slopes overlooking the town. Positioned on the fringe of the Ofoton fjord, Narvik is enveloped inside a fantastic bay, surrounded by the ocean, mountain slopes and ski pistes.
Whereas the characteristically Lappish huskies and sleighs are lacking in Narvik, there’s nonetheless a slew of actions obtainable to the dare devils. We ventured as much as the slopes of Narvikfjollet and challenged ourselves to an impediment course that bought us swinging, leaping and hanging like monkeys. Proper after conquering our fears, we headed as much as the height for a panoramic view of the encircling fjords and it made the duty properly value it. By evening, we headed to Tinja Mountain Farm, the place we met a local Sámi senior, listened to his childhood tales, dined on connoisseur Nordic delicacies, and went trying to find the Northern Lights – it was an ideal solution to finish our Lapland journey.
Different Stops on the Arctic Circle Prepare:
The Arctic Circle Prepare formally begins in Stockholm and there are in complete 12 stops alongside the journey to Narvik. You may select to cease as many occasions as you need when you have a practice cross (extra information within the subsequent paragraph). Moreover the locations I discussed above, listed below are a number of different stops that could be value visiting:
Kiruna is likely one of the hottest locations within the Swedish Lapland to see the Northern Lights. It is usually the place to go canine sledding and cross-country snowboarding by forests and alongside lakes, to go to Esrange, Europe’s largest civil house centre, or witness the historic relocation of Kiruna.
The subsequent worthwhile cease alongside the Arctic Circle line is Björkliden. A number of hikes start and finish right here – or you may stroll again to Abisko alongside a part of the Rallarvägen path. This path edges the practice line and was initially utilized by the lads who constructed the railway, however is now a well-liked route for hikers and cyclists.
After Riksgränsen, the northernmost ski resort in Sweden, the practice continues by a fairytale panorama of steep mountains, previous the greenish waters of Ofotfjorden, one in all Norway’s many fjords. Right here one of the best views start and you may’t assist however need to preserve travelling west in direction of the wild Lofoten Islands.
How you can E book the Journey:
You may simply ebook tickets instantly on the Scandinavia Rail website. A one-way journey from Stockholm to Narvik (which takes 18.30 hours with out stops) prices round 99euros per particular person. In case you are trying to make a number of stops, you’ll want to purchase separate tickets for every leg of the journey. I like to recommend getting a cross because it’s far more inexpensive and worthwhile.
The Eurail Pass covers the Arctic Circle Prepare journey and no reservation is required. All you want is leap on the practice and present your Eurail Move when the conductor comes. In case you don’t intend to get a Eurail Move, the Swedish Nationwide Railways provide the Arctic Circle Pass, which is a versatile three-day ticket that means that you can hop on and off as a lot as you want (364 SEK or US$44). The worth is superb, contemplating how costly issues often are in Scandinavia.
In case you’re not concerned about navigating your personal means round Lapland or in taking a practice, I like to recommend reserving an Arctic tour that may convey you throughout the entire of Finland, Sweden and Norway. That means you get to see the three international locations totally and still have a better probability of catching the Northern Lights.
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READ MORE: Norway In A Nutshell