I thought that I would, as the final article in my Kungsleden series, share my experience in getting to and from Abisko and Kiruna and some other practical info. This is for information purposes only. I’m not saying that you should do this. Maybe the info can help someone.
Firstly, I joined STF Swedish Tourist Association. I used my membership on the first night when I camped near the Kårsavagge mountain hut. After that I only used it when I stayed at the Kebnekaise mountain hut for my accommodation and when I booked at the Kebnekaise restaurant I received something like a 100 kroner discount as well. It is also possible to get a 10% discount on the SJ Swedish Railway tickets with STF membership too. The STF membership is not free. Please check their website for prices.
I e-mailed SJ and asked them to create a login for me so I could attain a SJ Prio membership. You can only do this yourself online if you have a Swedish identification number. Membership is free. With the SJ Prio membership you can receive a 15% discount on two single journeys. However, they send out promotional e-mails all the time and there is always some sort of discount code with them. So I purchased train tickets from Copenhagen to Malmö to Stockholm to Abisko with a 15% discount summer code. When I was on the night train from Stockholm to Abisko and when I purchased my evening meal I only paid for the drink. Apparently there was a menu campaign for exactly the meal I choose so I got it for free. I think that I can remember receiving this e-mail but I just deleted it and thought no more about it. You show your SJ Prio membership number onboard when purchasing from the bistro shop. Also, the e-mails are all in Swedish so you need to Google translate it all. The next morning at breakfast I used my SJ Prio points, which you can see on a downloaded App or login to your account, and I only paid for one item using my SJ Prio points for the rest. You get 1000 points when you join and more points for your purchases. So it is worth attaining a SJ Prio membership if you are traveling by train. I shared a cabin with two Swedish lads and I can say that I slept fine. I am a light sleeper and wake up at the slightest noise. The SJ Prio membership is free.
If you are hiking southbound from Abisko to Nikkaluokta, then when you get into Nikkaluokta you can take the bus (Nikkaluokta Expressen) to Kiruna. I ordered my bus ticket online here Nikkaluokta Expressen and saved 50 kroner I think it was. I reserved my bus ticket for a Thursday but used it on a Tuesday; it doesn’t matter what day it is. You have to check their website for the timetable. I downloaded the timetable before I left which was a good thing because I couldn’t get service on my mobile at Nikkaluokta and there are no timetables at the bus stop. They refer you to the timetable on their website. If you can get service in Nikkaluokta, some other people could, then you can buy online and receive the ticket via SMS. When I got on the bus there was very good and fast WI-Fi.
You can either stay in Kiruna until your flight leaves from Kiruna airport or take the night train back to Stockholm. I reserved a hotel on hotels.com in February 2018. However, when I was there in August 2018 and on the bus traveling to Kiruna, I searched for prices again and for the same hotel. The result came back with the same hotel but 300 kroner a night cheaper. So I cancelled my original reservation and booked 3 nights at the same hotel. I wasn’t leaving until the Friday so I needed 3 nights.
While I was in Kiruna I visited the Kiruna Iron Ore Mine. It is well worth the visit. You can book a tour here. It is is the world’s largest, most modern underground iron ore mine. The bus drives all the way down to the Visitor Centre at level 540 metres underground.
I carried my trekking poles on board as “carry on luggage”. This was permitted. I asked before going through security at Kiruna Airport and they said it was fine. I really thought that they would not be allowed. I landed in Stockholm and I was there for about 4 hours. Then after the flight being late I flew to Copenhagen. Even though I didn’t go through security again in Stockholm, no one questioned me about my trekking poles.
On my way home I flew with Norwegian Airlines from Kiruna to Stockholm to Copenhagen. When you arrive at Kiruna airport there is a bench area on the right. Here you can wrap tape around your backpack and tie on some name tags. I had packed a standard supermarket garbage bag and cheap travel bag strap only for the flight home to protect my pack from damage. I had some duct tape with me but it only covered the bottom section of my pack where the straps were so the additional tape was great. When I picked up my pack after the flight home it was in tact and no damage was done.
When traveling to the Kiruna airport you can use the same bus company that runs the Nikkaluokta Expressen. I sent them an e-mail the night before to check what time they were passing by my hotel. However I wanted to get to the airport a little earlier so I could finish “packaging” my backpack for the flight home and I wasn’t sure if I could get onboard with my trekking poles, so I ordered a taxi instead. I was happy that I did that because when the bus arrived with all the passengers there were a lot of people. The conveyor belt stopped because of the load and it took a long time for them to sort it out and get all the people through security etc. It is only a small airport. The webite is the same as the Nikkaluokta Expressen
If I think of anything else I’ll update this post.
Thanks for reading