To Abisko National Park by train
The most popular way to get to Abisko and the start of the Kungsleden hiking trail is by train. The Kungsleden starts only a 100 metres from the trainstation, so it can't get any more perfect than that.
The night train is how I travelled here and I was quite pleased with it. The train leaves late afternoon from Stockholm and arrives around 1 o'clock in the afternoon the next day Abisko. This train is popular, so make sure you make reservations in advance! The sleeping cabins are fully booked every night, and sleeping in a normal chair on a busy train isn't so comfortable (although cheaper).
Note: that train is run by Connex not by the main railway company SJ. Give them a call! They helped us with several good tips!
Contact Centre: +46 771-26 00 00
Another website I like to use when planning trips in Sweden is : http://www.resplus.se/
This website is available in English! When planning your trip on this site you can see which bus or train you need to take and how many stopovers you will need to make. You can choose which is the best combination for you. Downside: you can't book 'special' tickets here, like for the sleeping hut on the train; only normal tickets.
By helicopter to Padjelanta National Park
For the ones that don't have the time or energy to walk the whole Padjalantaleden, there is an alternative. There are helicopter flights on a daily basis that fly from Kvikkjokk or Ritsem to Staloluokta in the middle of Padjelanta National Park on the edge of the beautiful lake Virihaure. They even make a stop at Tarraluoppal or Kutjaure if you wish.
The costs for a flight (2008) are
Kvikkjokk - Staloluokta:
850:- SEK (Children under 12 years of age: 600:- SEK)
Ritsem - Staloluokta
850:- (Children under 12 years of age: 600:- SEK)
Kvikkjokk - Ritsem
1.530:- (Children under 12 years of age: 1.080:- SEK)
The maximum luggage is 20kg and for children under 12 it is 10kg. If this is not enough, you can arrange to take more with you in advance. Every additional kilo will cost you 20kr. Although do bare in mind that you have to cary those additional kilo's on your back as soon as you arrive.
You can read much more information and see the timetable of the helicopter service on the website of Lapplandsflyg. Unfortunately the website is only in Swedish, but the time table is rather clear, even without understanding any Swedish.
For me one of the absolute charms of Padjelanta is not only the amazing nature within the park, but also the fact that its location is so remote; far far away from the hectic modern society. The only 'real' way into the park is by foot, using a helicopter feels wrong somehow. But then again, who am I to judge? What I do know that the walk into the park is a part of the hike that I wouldn't have missed for the world, a hike that is beautiful in its own right! It takes more time and energy, but it feels so good to slowly leave the 'world' behind with every step you take, with every hours that goes by. And the reward is to finally take that step into Padjelanta and be hugged and surrounded by its beauty.
Boat over Teusajaure
While hiking the stretch on the Kungsleden from Teusajaure to Vakkotavare you will need to cross the Teusajaure. There are two ways to cross this stretch of water:
1. Row yourself. (which is for free). The rowing boats will be put in place after the ice has melted on the lake, which is after Midsommar (around 20th of June). The boats will be removed again when the winter cold sets in, which is around the 20th of September. There are three rowing boats, and there should always be at least 1 rowing boat at each side. This means that when you are out of luck there is only 1 rowing boat on your side and there are two rowing boats on the other. In practice this means you need to cross the lake 3 times:
- first time: to get to the other side of the lake
- 2nd time: to tow a row boat back to your side of the lake, so at least one boat is on each side
-3rd time: for final crossing to the other side.
The rowing lane is marked with buoys and is approximately 1 kilometre long. It can get very windy on the lake which makes the crossing strenuous and one should be aware of rough/high waves.
2. By motor boat arranged by the STF mountain hut. The boat goes when the ward of the mountain hut is home (the mountain hut is located on the north side of Teusajaure). We asked him when we could cross and agreed upon 12:00 (which was about 30 minutes waiting time).
In general the motor boat crosses the Teusajaure (2009 times):
19/6-12/7 between 08.00-09.00, 17.00-19.00 and at 21:00
13/7-19/8 between 08.00-10.00, 17.00-20.00 and at 21:00
20/8-13/9 between 08.00-09.00, 17.00-19.00 and at 20:00
Keep in mind when planning your trip that with rough weather all crossings are cancelled!
The prices for a crossing are 80 SEK when you are not a member of the STF (Swedish Tourist Association) and 60 SEK when you are a member (please do not forget to bring your member card with you!). Note: As a member of Hostelling International you pay members’ prices at STF. For children between 6 and 15 it costs 25 SEK. You can pay cash or use your credit card at all STF locations (amazingly even in the most remote mountain areas like here in Teusajaure!).
More information on transportation in the Fjällen area: STF website (in Swedish)
Boat between Nikkaluokta and Kebnekaise
Although this boat trip is absolutely unnecessary for your hike from Nikkoluota to Kebnekaise it is a nice and comfortable way to shorten your total hike by 6 kilometres. The total stretch to Kebnekaise is 19 kilometres, so shortening it to a comfortable 13 is something that appeals to many.
The path between Nikkaluokta and Kebnekaise is one of the most used trails in the Mountain area which shows through wide trails and seeing lots of people when hiking this stretch. For me this part of the trail is more of a 'transportation section' to get into the wilder and quieter areas. So for me the boat was a lazy alternative to move through this area in a quick way. Don't get me wrong though, it is not only about getting from A to B. The views from the boat over lake Laddjujavri towards the Kebnekaise are are stunning and worth while in their own right and I enjoyed this little boat trip thoroughly.
The boat goes daily between the 19th of June and 20th of September (in 2009) and takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
Departure times from the lower boat landing (Nikkaluokta side in the direction of Kebnekaise) are at 09.30, 10.30, 12.00, 14.00 and 17.45. If you are munching on your reindeer burger at LapDånalds they will wait until your done eating before the boat leaves, so no need to stress too much. This is the Fjällen area where daily live goes in much more relaxed tempo :-)
Departure times from the upper boat landing (Kebnekaise side towards Nikkaluokta at 10.00, 11.15, 12.45, 15.30 and 18.15.
A one way ticket costs 160 SEK. For children up to 15 year and accompanied by their parents the boat trip costs 80 SEK.
Hiking to the boat landing
The hike towards the lower boat landing (from Nikkaluokta) is about 6 kilometres long on an very easy, flat and wide hiking trail. So you can walk on a relatively high speed on this part of the trial. The hike from the upper boat landing towards Kebnekaise is about 8 kilometres long, also an easy trail, but it requires a bit more energy as you have to conquer some height differences.
As alternative to the boat you can hike the trail that follows the lake side for 6 kilometres and ends up at the boat landing at the other end.
Boat Kvikkjokk to the Padjelantaleden
When you hike the Padjelanta trail you will need to take a boat to the start and at the end a boat crossing. The boat from Kvikkjokk (south side of the trail) to the Padjelantaleden is a nice and small boat (see photo). This made the little boat trip even more enjoyable as we were the only passengers on board.
The boat times from Kvikkjokk to the Padjelantaleden (2006):
09:30 (1/7 - 15/9)
13:30 (1/7 - 15/9)
17:30 (10/7 - 20/8)
Boat times from Padjelantaleden to Kvikkjokk (2006):
10:00 (1/7 - 15/9)
14:00 (1/7 - 15/9)
18:00 (10/7 - 20/8)
There is a sign at the waterside with the telephone number of the boatsman. The times are a bit flexible, it is only a small boat and a short tour, and the boatsman waits until everyone from the bus has arrived. So you don't need to worry right away if the bus has a slight delay.
The boat costs 100 SEK per person, one way (prices 2006).
To get here you can use all measures of transportation, when you are already here, you will need good shoes and the best part of this region is its great nature.
There is airport in Kiruna as well as train & buses, but as I was on a road trip I used my car, best option of course as you can stop in all those of the beaten paths on the way.
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