I’m on a mission to take each scenic practice journey in Europe, and it began with the Narvik Night Train. In late November of 2022, I traveled to Tromso, Norway, seeking the Northern Lights. I discovered a cheap flight to Helsinki however nonetheless needed to discover a path to get to the Northern Lights Capital of the World.
While I may have taken a flight from Helsinki to Tromso and been there in a couple of hours, that’s not what I did. I consider that the journey is extra necessary than the vacation spot, so I made a decision to take the scenic route.
I took an in a single day ferry throughout the Baltic Sea from Helsinki to Stockholm after which took the 19-hour Arctic Circle practice from Stockholm as much as Narvik, Norway. From there, I hopped on a fast flight to achieve my vacation spot in Northern Norway.
This practice journey was one of the crucial magical experiences I’ve ever had, and I’m so glad I did it. I’m thrilled to share my expertise that can assist you plan your personal Arctic journey.
What Is The Arctic Circle Train?
The Arctic Circle Train is a scenic train ride that runs via Sweden earlier than heading over to Narvik, Norway. It can be referred to as the Narvik night time practice.
The practice departs from Stockholm and travels for 19 hours via Swedish Lapland. It’s recognized to be one of the crucial stunning practice rides on the earth. As somebody who has taken this journey, I can affirm!
It makes a number of stops alongside the best way, together with Kiruna. We’ll chat extra about Kiruna in only a second, however this Arctic city is house to the most important iron ore mine on the earth.
It’s right here (nicely, technically Boden) that the railway joins the well-known Iron Ore Railway, which can take you all the best way to Narvik. This portion of the journey is essentially the most scenic.
The Iron Ore Railway was constructed across the flip of the twentieth century to move iron ore from Kiruna’s mines over to the ice-free ports of Narvik and Luleå. From there, the iron ore can simply be transported through ships.
Narvik’s port in Northern Norway is awfully deep, so ships of all sizes can simply entry the port of Narvik. Its location and ice-free availability made Narvik a strategically necessary metropolis through the Second World War. More on that in a bit.
Since there isn’t a railway to attach Bodø and Narvik, this line makes it straightforward to go to Narvik through practice. Well, it’s the one approach to go to Narvik by practice. This distinctive railway is Sweden’s northernmost railway, and the Norwegian half is the northernmost railway in all of Western Europe.
How To Book The Arctic Circle Train
The costs for every compartment vary from $75 to $300+ and range in accordance with the season. December and January are the height winter months, and the height summer time months are from June to September.
Tickets change into obtainable as early as six months beforehand. Make certain you get tickets upfront – the sooner you ebook, the higher your charge can be.
Best Time Of Year To Take The Arctic Circle Train
The practice is obtainable year-round. The summer time months at these latitudes carry 24 hours of daylight. If you’re the kind of traveler who thinks there are simply not sufficient hours within the day to see every thing, then taking this journey underneath the Midnight Sun is true up your alley.
On the flip facet, winter months carry nearly full darkness. Polar Night is the Midnight Sun’s counterpart, and when you might solely have a couple of hours of daylight, the solar by no means rises above the horizon.
While which will sound like a turnoff, I can guarantee you that you just’ll be met with among the most magical “sunrises” and “sunsets” you’ve ever seen. Since the solar doesn’t really rise/set, it’s not a standard dawn or sundown. You’ll be surrounded by sensible shades of pink, reds, and oranges earlier than darkness takes over.
Plus, you’ll want darkish skies to have the ability to see the Northern Lights, and also you’ll have loads of darkness to extend your odds!
I took this practice journey on the very starting of Polar Night, and as you possibly can see from the pictures I took, you’ll nonetheless have a blinding view of Swedish Lapland all the best way into Narvik.
What To Expect On The Arctic Circle Train
The practice is operated by SJ. The particular practice, SJ Nattåg 94 (practice 94), makes every day departures from Stockholm Central Station. It additionally makes every day departures from Narvik to Stockholm, so you possibly can journey the railway again if you’d like.
The practice leaves Stockholm Central Station round 6 p.m. after which travels via the night time. There’s not a lot to see because it’s darkish exterior, so you possibly can simply snuggle up and catch some z’s.
When you get up, you’ll be within the coronary heart of Swedish Lapland! There are loads of home windows to observe the spectacular views from, and also you’ll even have a window in your sleeping compartment, too. In the opposite path, the practice from Narvik (Vy Nattåg Night Train 93) leaves round 3 p.m.
Since this can be a sleeper practice, you’ve a couple of choices:
- Seating Carriage 2 Class: These are the standard seats you’d discover on trains. While these are the most cost effective choice, they’re sometimes extra fashionable with vacationers who aren’t taking your entire 19-hour journey.
- Couchette 2 Class: Couchette’s have six beds, and vacationers can choose between male, feminine, or combined compartments.
- Sleeping Compartment 2 Class: Three beds with the choice to select from male, feminine, or combined compartments.
- Sleeping Compartment 1 Class: Two beds plus a personal bathe and toilet. Compartment 1 Class additionally features a complimentary breakfast and entry to the SJ Lounges in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö.
All choices have stowage areas in addition to shared lavatory amenities in every practice automotive. The sleeping compartments all have linens and pillows, and the beds are fairly snug.
The lavatory was at all times saved clear, and the bathe was extra spacious than I anticipated. Sure, the water strain isn’t like house, but it surely obtained the job carried out. There was additionally a sink in my room, which got here in useful for laundry my face, brushing my enamel, and many others.
There is a restaurant on the practice the place you possibly can seize drinks and snacks. The cafe stays open pretty late and opens again up once more early within the morning. You’re welcome to carry your personal foods and drinks on board, which is strictly what I did.
I ended up discovering my very own little nook within the caboose of the practice to observe the mountains go by, but it surely was additionally good to have the ability to stroll to the cafe automotive and sit there for a bit. Basically, you’re not confined to simply your room.
Stops Along The Arctic Circle Train
The practice makes about 20 stops because it makes its approach to Northern Norway. There are bulletins at every cease letting you know the way lengthy the practice can be stopped. Feel free to get out and stretch your legs.
One of the primary stops is Kiruna round 9 a.m. Many passengers leap off right here, as Kiruna and Abisko are the 2 hottest stops alongside this scenic practice journey. There are loads of eating places and resorts in these cities when you determine to ebook a resort and keep on this area.
There are loads of locations to remain in Kiruna, however few can prime the Icehotel. This well-known winter resort in Northern Sweden is made utterly of ice! It’s constructed each winter after which melts away each spring. It’s by no means constructed the identical method twice and makes for a really unforgettable expertise in the course of Swedish Lapland.
In the fairytale village of Abisko, outside actions are aplenty.
Arctic adventurers can take a snowmobile sled expedition via the frozen tundra, study the intricacies of ice fishing on Lake Torneträsk, attain new heights whereas ice climbing or alpine snowboarding, and a lot extra.
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The final cease of the journey is Narvik, an attractive port city tucked away on the shores of Ofotfjorden in Northern Norway. I like to recommend reserving a keep at Scandic Narvik; the views of the encircling Norwegian mountains are simply mesmerizing.
Narvik performed a big function through the early days of the Second World War. History buffs will completely take pleasure in visiting the Narvik War Museum and studying extra concerning the varied Battles of Narvik – essentially the most well-known being the battle of April 9 -June 10, 1940.
The Narvik War Museum goes into nice element about how German invasion forces have been countered by the British Royal Navy and different allied forces to maintain the coveted ice-free port from falling into the flawed arms throughout this most well-known Battle of Narvik. Thanks to the invasion of France, the Allies have been finally pressured to withdraw. The Germans responded by nearly razing the town and occupying it till 1945.
A prime choice for lodging is Narvikfjellet, the primary ski resort in Narvik. Here, you possibly can take pleasure in panoramic mountain and fjord views and go snowboarding.
Even when you don’t ebook a keep, take a journey on the cable automotive. Once you get to the highest, head over to the Mountain Restaurant for some pastries and drinks. In the evenings, ebook a Northern Lights tour in a automotive, or when you’re not bored with trains but, take the Northern Lights train ride.
I walked right down to this little park in Narvik and was gifted a magical Northern Lights present that lasted for what appeared like without end. I even had the house all to myself!
You can get to the town heart on foot, however there are additionally bus choices when you’re staying additional out. The stroll from the Narvik practice station to the town heart was about 10 minutes.
See Related: Best Places to See the Northern Lights
What To Pack For The Arctic Circle Train
Norwegians have a saying: “Det finnes ikke dårlig vær, naked dårlig klær,” which interprets to “There is not any dangerous climate, solely dangerous garments.” Truer phrases have by no means been spoken.
Even underneath the Midnight Sun, you’ll need to be sure you’re ready. Narvik is 137 miles above the Arctic Circle. This area will get colder than you may suppose (if someway 137 miles above the Arctic Circle wasn’t a sufficiently big clue).
Layers are key when touring to the Arctic Circle. Thermals as a base layer are key, and investing in some high-quality waterproof outerwear could make all of the distinction on the earth. Bonus factors if it’s additionally windproof.
Don’t overlook about your toes, both. I take nice care when buying boots marketed as “waterproof boots.” This was a lesson discovered on this explicit journey.
Unfortunately, the mountaineering sneakers I took weren’t truly waterproof, and I didn’t notice it till…nicely, I stepped right into a puddle with the boldness of somebody carrying waterproof boots solely to search out that, nope, they weren’t. Lesson discovered!
See Related: Best Winter Travel Clothes for Cold Weather
I might take this practice journey once more in a New York minute. Watching the dawn over Swedish Lapland was a life-changing expertise, and I encourage everybody to take this journey and see for your self. It impressed me to take the scenic practice from Oslo to Bergen and likewise the well-known Flåm Railway, one of many steepest railways on the earth.
Like I stated, I’m on a mission to take each scenic practice on the earth. Where ought to I’m going subsequent?