Our adventure begins in Stockholm. Built on 14 islands, Stockholm is often called "the Venice of the North" and is one of Europe's most beautiful capitals. Our hotel is near Gamla Stan, the medieval part of the city with narrow cobblestone streets and the Royal Palace. While in Stockholm, we will visit the renowned Vasa Museum with the beautifully restored Vasa, the mightiest battleship of its day, which sank at its launch in 1628. We will also visit the charming and picturesque Skansen Open-Air Folk Museum to better understand Swedish culture and history. We will also take a day trip by ferry to Grimla Island, a nature reserve laced with beautiful hiking trails overlooking the Baltic Sea.
We fly to Kiruna, Sweden's city in the arctic, then take a short train ride to the start of our hike in Abisko. Our route passes through an expansive landscape of birch forests, hidden glaciers, powerful rivers, reindeer herds, wide-open tundra and the highest mountains in Sweden, rising more than 6900 feet. This is the arctic at its finest!
Although popular with Scandinavians and other Europeans, few Americans travel to this far corner of Europe. For seven days, we will traverse the most northern section of the Kungsleden from Abisko to Nikkaluokta.
While the Arctic terrain is rugged, there's a certain civility to the Kungsleden. Sturdy suspension bridges span dangerous rivers, and comfortable huts, some with saunas, welcome us at the end of each day's hike. Saunas are a deeply ingrained part of Swedish culture and provide a rejuvenating experience not to be missed! Each location has multiple huts, and each hut typically sleeps 4-8 people per room and has a fully equipped kitchen for us to prepare our meals. A small store at each location provides snacks, beverages, and limited groceries. Our last night on the trail is at Mountain Station Kebnekaise, a lodge with an excellent restaurant featuring local Sami cuisine.
We rate this as a moderately strenuous trek. There are few major climbs and the trail is well maintained. You will not need any camping gear other than a sleeping bag, but each person will be required to carry a portion of the group's food. Our trek is within the capability of reasonably fit hikers. Join us on this arctic hiking adventure of a lifetime!
Day 1: Arrive in Stockholm Sweden. Transfer to Hotel. Introductory meeting and evening walking tour of Stockholm.
Day 2: Visit to the internationally-renowned Vasa Museum and the picturesque Skansen Open-Air Folk Museum. Hotel accommodations. Meal provided: B.
Day 3: Ferry through the Archipelago to Grimla Island, a nature reserve laced with hiking trails overlooking the Baltic Sea. We will hike 5 miles and have dinner on the island before returning to Stockholm. Hotel accommodations. Meals provided: B, L.
Day 4: Fly to Kiruna, Sweden's northernmost town, 90 miles above the Arctic Circle. The entire town is in the process of relocating several miles due to the expansion of the world's largest underground iron mine. In Kiruna we will procure our supplies for the trek. Hotel accommodations. Meal provided: B.
Day 5: Our trek begins! We take the morning train from Kiruna to Abisko to begin our hike in Abisko National Park. Abisko to Abiskojaure, 9 miles. The trail follows along the Abeskoeatnu River through birch forest in full autumn splendor to a large lake. Our hut is at the far end of the lake. Sauna available. Meals provided: B, L, D.
Day 6: Abiskojaure to Alesjaure, 12 miles. We continue west alongside the river before veering south through a small mountain pass. We leave the birch forests behind and enter the tundra where we remain for the next four days. The trail parallels a very large lake with impressive mountains as a backdrop and a Sami village on the opposite shore. Reindeer are frequently seen in this area. Eventually we reach the Alesjaure Mountain Hut with its welcoming sauna. Meals provided: B, L, D.
Day 7: Alesjaure to Tjäkja, 8 miles. We follow a long valley which rises gradually to the Tjäkja hut, beautifully situated on the other side of a mountain stream. Meals provided: B, L, D.
Day 8: Tjäkja to Salka, 7 miles. We climb over the highest point of the trail, Tatja Pass with stupendous views. We continue steeply down the other side to the Tjaktjajakka Valley, then follow this valley to Salka Mountain Hut. Sauna available. Meals provided: B, L, D.
Day 9: Salka to Kebnakaise Mountain Station, 14 miles. Numerous waterfalls plunge from the surrounding mountains as we ascend a pass and wind past Kebnakaise, Sweden's highest mountain. Our route then slowly descends out of the tundra into a dwarf birch forest. Eventually we reach our overnight stop at the Kebnekaise Mountain Station, a true mountain oasis complete with store, bar, restaurant, and sauna. Our dinner features local Sami cuisine. Meals provided: B, L, D.
Day 10: Kebnakaise to Nikkaluokta, 12 miles. Our trail leads through colorful birch forest as we travel down the Nikka Valley to Lake Laddjujavri and the end of our trek at the village of Nikkaluokta. Here we connect with a bus that takes us back to Kiruna. Hotel in Kiruna for the night. Meals provided: B, L.
Day 11: Flight back to Stockholm with hotel accommodations near Arlanda International Airport. Optional evening visit to downtown Stockholm. Meal provided: B.
Day 12: Return home.
- Double occupancy accommodations for hotels and Kebnekaise Mountain Station. Single supplement will be added if single accommodations are requested at hotels. Accommodations in the trailside huts are variable with as few as two and as many as eight or more per room.
- All accommodations and meals as stated in the itinerary.
- Guide services.
- Ferry to Grimla Island.
- Admissions to Vasa Museum and Open Air Folk Museum.
- Bus from Stockholm to airport for flight to Kiruna.
- Round trip flight from Stockholm to Kiruna.
- Train from Kiruna to Abisko and bus from Nikkaluokta to Kiruna.
- Hut fees.
- Group taxi fares.
- Travel insurance/ trip cancellation insurance.
- Flights to and from Stockholm (except Kiruna flights mentioned above).
- Personal gear (see equipment list).
- Meals not listed in itinerary.
- Transportation from Arlanda airport upon arrival.
- Excess baggage charges.
- Private excursions.
- Alcoholic beverages.
Click on an image for a larger view.
- Hotel: 6 nights, private bathrooms. Luggage is stored at hotel in Kiruna for hiking portion of trip.
- Huts: 4 nights. The huts are comfortable but basic and have 20-80 beds (rooms with 4-10 beds, male/female mixed). There is no electricity or running water in most of the huts, and bathrooms are outside. Each hut provides bunk beds, mattresses, pillows and blankets, and you will need to bring your own sleeping bag.
- Kebnekaise Mountain Station: 1 night, double occupancy, shared bathroom. Rooms at the Mountain Station are heated and have electricity.