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Discovering the Swedish Aurora: A Campervan Adventure Under the Northern Lights


Evelina Hjortskog


∼ 8 min. read

Image by Vincent Guth

Photo by Vincent Guth on Unsplash

The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, is a phenomenon that is an out-of-this-world experience. To see the sky light up in colours of green, purple or red is one of the most jaw-dropping sights in Sweden and the world in general. If you are planning to travel to Sweden to witness the Northern Lights, you are in luck! Sweden has some of the best spots in the world to experience this phenomenon. Travelling through Sweden in a campervan to seek out this natural event gives you a front-row seat to the lights and the freedom to explore this breathtaking landscape at your own pace. This comprehensive guide will help you plan your journey, from understanding the phenomenon to selecting the perfect viewing spots.

The Science and Magic Behind the Aurora Borealis

Although perceived as a magical event, the Northern Lights have a scientific explanation for when and how they occur. Understanding the phenomenon can make it easier to plan your trip for the biggest possible chance to see them. 

The Aurora Borealis occurs when electrically charged particles from the sun collide with gases in the Earth's atmosphere, creating stunning displays of colorful lights. The colors—typically greens, purples, and sometimes reds—are determined by the type of gas particles involved. While this natural light show can be seen in various parts of the world, Sweden's high latitude and dark winters provide prime viewing conditions. The best viewing times are from late September to early April, when the nights are the longest in Sweden.

It is important to remember that while you can do all the things mentioned above to try and ensure a spot of the lights, it is a natural event, and you can never guarantee a sighting, no matter how hard you try. 

Credits: Fredrik Larsson/

Safety and Etiquette in Northern Sweden 

Before we provide you with the best locations for Aurora watching in Sweden, we need to walk through some safety and etiquette rules that are important to know and consider when visiting northern Sweden. 


The Northern Lights are best watched in remote locations since the closer you are to a city, the more light pollution in the sky, which can block your vision of the lights. The lights are also most visible during the winter months in Sweden, which means it might get cold, like really cold. Snow and ice are common road conditions, so driving slowly and carefully is recommended. If in doubt of your own ability to navigate the winter roads, please take caution. Check the weather forecasts closely and study up on Swedish road safety. Have a backup plan for shelter, just in case, and keep an emergency kit in your vehicle. 

Navigating the remote and wintery parts of Sweden with a campervan takes some preparation. Make sure that your van is stocked with sufficient fuel, food, and water supplies, as the distances can be far in the northern areas. The campervans of Småland Campers are all equipped with parking heaters to ensure that you can stay warm, even when the motor isn’t running. 

When camping in Sweden, please practice good etiquette by keeping noise to a minimum and leaving no trace at your viewing spots to preserve the stunning environment.


Credits: Hjalmar Andersson/

The Best Locations for watching the Northern Lights in Sweden

Abisko National Park

Abisko is known as one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights. The surrounding mountains create a microclimate that helps to keep the skies clear and reduce light pollution. Abisko is a National park and has some beautiful nature to explore. Famous for the midnight sun and hiking in the summer, it’s also renowned for its Northern Lights and skiing in the winter months. 

When visiting Abisko to watch the Northern Lights, you can take a lift up to the Aurora Sky Station, where you can have some fantastic views of the lights. At the Aurora Sky Station, you can enjoy a lovely dinner surrounded by the colorful display of the night sky. If you want a quieter view of the lights, we recommend going to the Harbor, where you can usually park your van and watch the lights over the lake with a view over the surrounding mountains. 

Location: Abisko is located around 100 kilometers northwest of Kiruna, far up in northern Sweden. 

Best time to visit: Mid-November – Mid-March is the ideal time to visit for the Northern Lights. 

Campsites nearby: Björkliden CampingCamping Lapland Resort


Credits: Lola Akinmade Åkerström/


Kiruna is one of the northernmost cities in Sweden, only 200 km from the Arctic Circle. Due to its location, Kiruna is a great place to watch the Northern Lights. In contrast to Abisko, which is a bit more remote, Kiruna also offers other activities to enjoy while trying to catch the lights. Kiruna is home to the world’s largest iron ore mine, and the city is currently being moved due to the mining. Another famous place to visit in Kiruna is the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi. 

Kiruna offers beautiful nature and a cute city all in one, so you can choose which place to catch the Northern Lights from. However, remember that the less light pollution, the brighter the colors will be. 

Location: Kiruna is located far north in Sweden

Best time to visit: You can see the lights already at the end of August and throughout the winter months until mid-April. 

Campsites nearby: Motorhome pitch Kiruna / Camp Ripan


Nikkaloukta is only a short drive from Kiruna, so if you are staying for a few nights, you could try your luck in all three locations. Nikkaluokta is a calm and serene place in nature, where the lights will be almost as visible as in Abisko. The difference is that there will be a lot fewer people here. Abisko is famous for being the best place for the Northern Lights, but not many people know that they are just as strong in Nikkaluokta. 

Apart from watching the lights, Nikkaloukta also offers some beautiful nature to stroll around in. 

Location: An hour’s drive from Kiruna, towards the Norwegian border. 

Best time to visit: September - mid-April provides the best opportunity to see the Aurora. 

Campsites nearby: Nikkaluokta Sarri AB


Jokkmokk is a stunning city in the north of Sweden. The proximity to nature is very prevalent, and the villages feel stuck in time in the most charming way. Apart from experiencing the Northern Lights from/in your campervan in this area, you can also experience an incredible husky, dog-sled aurora adventure. During these trips, you go on dog sledges across the forests, and if the lights are out that night, you will see it from the back of a dog pack pulling you through the snow.

Due to Jokkmokk being a smaller city which is very integrated with nature, the light pollution is minimal, and the Aurora is very prevalent. 

Location: Approximately 2,5 hours drive south from Kiruna

Best time to visit: September – March.

Campsites nearby: Arctic Camp JokkmokkSkabram Camping & Stugby

Tips for Capturing the Northern Lights on Camera

Although we highly recommend spending as much time as possible in the present while watching this stunning phenomenon, taking a few pictures to immortalise that moment is definitely worth it. However, the lights are not always easy to get a good shot of. It’s similar to trying to capture the moon; we all know that feeling. We recommend using a wide-angle lens, a tripod to stabilise your camera, setting a long exposure, and using a remote shutter if possible. If you have photographing experience, you can experiment with different settings since the intensity and movement of the aurora can vary. However, a good starting point is a wide aperture (f/2.8 or lower), a slow shutter speed (5-30 seconds), and a high ISO (1600 or more). 


Credits: Anders Tedeholm/

Now that you have a list of the best places to watch the lights, the camping spots nearby and some tips and tricks for staying safe and making the most out of your trip, you are ready to go. Our campervans are waiting for you to jump aboard and take them on what we believe will be one of the most beautiful adventures you will ever experience. The Northern Lights are a true reminder of the beauty of nature. Sit back, put on some road trip music, stay safe and ENJOY!

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