I'm going to visit Sweden in two weeks, landing in Arlanda (Stockholm). I'm renting a car and was thinking of spending the first weekend driving around and seeing its natural beauty. I have lived there for a year, though in the South of the country, and I have also visited all big cities such as Stockholm, Malmo and Gothenburg. For this reason, and since I like driving, I thought of checking upon some natural sites - and the North or mountains would be my preference. I understand that November is not the best month to visit: it's already cold, so the green is gone, but there won't be much snow yet. I had the following things in mind:

  1. I was suggested to visit Mora, but I guess that would make sense in Summer, and mountains for sure are not visible from there.

  2. Another suggestion was to go to Kebnekaise, and I think that would be the thing I'd love to see indeed, but that's 12 hours drive one way.

  3. I was thinking of going to Oslo, I have a friend living there, so I could drive for 7 hours to get there, stay there for two nights and spend one day driving around Oslo, perhaps there are some beautiful spots over there. I have not been to Norway.

Do you have better suggestions? I do not want to drive more than 7 hours a day, and I'd be interested in seeing some mountains/forests kind of nature. Fwiw, I'm renting a Volvo S90, so I think I'll have to stick to good roads.

  • Kebnekaise is not accessible by car. It's a few hours walk from the nearest parking to the foot of the mountain. – Tomas By Nov 6 '18 at 9:24
  • You would have to go to Östersund at least, I think, to see any mountains from a good road. So Norway is easier. – Tomas By Nov 6 '18 at 9:28
  • Could you see the Northern lights? Happy Diwali ! – Fattie Nov 6 '18 at 9:30
  • @TomasBy As someone who has lived in Kiruna for nearly 6 years, I will not agree with describing Östersund as "northern Sweden" ;-) – gerrit Nov 6 '18 at 11:22
  • @gerrit: Mora is a lot further south (as is Olso). – Tomas By Nov 6 '18 at 12:26

Do not drive to Nikkaluokta (nearest village to Kebnekaise) from Arlanda in November, unless you are experienced driving long distances in the dark on icy roads. It's not a 12 hour drive, 18 hours more likely. If you wish to visit Nikkaluokta, take the overnight train to Kiruna and rent a car from there. The Kiruna car rental will provide a car with dubbdäck (studded tyres), which you can carefully drive on snow-packed or icy roads, preferably in daylight.

Now (November) is the worst time of the year to visit Kebnekaise.

The nearest parking to Kebnekaise is Nikkaluokta, which has a tourist station. The tourist station in Nikkaluokta is closed in November. It tends to be open February to September (or February to April and June to September). Most of the parking lot will normally be buried in snow this time of year (possibly deeply already), but there is a village (2 inhabitants, no services), you will be able to park a car along the road. To get to the foot of Kebnekaise means skiing through deep winter conditions. To get to the summit this time of year requires mountaineering experience. Remember that there are only several hours of daylight per day this time of year, so prepare for long (16 hour) nights in a tent.

There are however two interesting reasons to visit Nikkaluokta in November:

  • Along the drive between Kiruna and Nikkaluokta and back (round trip around 140 km), you have a very good chance of seeing moose. Drive accordingly slowly, 50 km/h is plenty. Do not be fooled by the empty-looking road along Holmajärvi. I've driven this road twice at this time of year, and saw moose on both occasions, including once right in front of the car, fortunately I was driving no more than perhaps 40 km/h at the time and there was some daylight/twilight. I never saw moose the dozen+ times I travelled this road at other times of year.
  • If there is no snow yet: ice skating in Vistasdalen is a great nature experience. Inquire locally. Vistasdalen has a dry microclimate so is often snow-free when Kiruna is already buried in snow. You can reach many km into the valley as the lower part is entirely flat. I'm told some have reached as far as the famous Lisas stuga, which would be a very exclusive place to spend the night and tell your grandchildren about (if you survive; do not forget wilderness ice skating safety rules)
  • Haha, he is not going to visit Kebnekaise. – Tomas By Nov 6 '18 at 13:01
  • @TomasBy I agree, but this may still be relevant for future reference for anyone with a bit better local planning, "Don't ask me why, but I've found myself stuck in Kiruna in November, what can I possibly do after I've finished binge-watching all films at the local film festival and seen the northern lights?" kind of question. – gerrit Nov 6 '18 at 13:06

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