I’m on a mission to take every scenic train ride in Europe, and it all started with the Narvik Night Train. In late November of 2022, I traveled to Tromso, Norway, in search of the Northern Lights. I found a cheap flight to Helsinki but still had to find a route to get to the Northern Lights Capital of the World.
While I could have taken a flight from Helsinki to Tromso and been there in a few hours, that’s not what I did. I believe that the journey is more important than the destination, so I decided to take the scenic route.
I took an overnight ferry across the Baltic Sea from Helsinki to Stockholm and then took the 19-hour Arctic Circle train from Stockholm up to Narvik, Norway. From there, I hopped on a quick flight to reach my destination in Northern Norway.
This train journey was one of the most magical experiences I’ve ever had, and I’m so glad I did it. I’m thrilled to share my experience to help you plan your own Arctic adventure.
What Is The Arctic Circle Train?
The Arctic Circle Train is a scenic train ride that runs through Sweden before heading over to Narvik, Norway. It is also called the Narvik night train.
The train departs from Stockholm and travels for 19 hours through Swedish Lapland. It’s known to be one of the most beautiful train rides in the world. As someone who has taken this journey, I can confirm!
It makes several stops along the way, including Kiruna. We’ll chat more about Kiruna in just a moment, but this Arctic town is home to the largest iron ore mine in the world.
It’s here (well, technically Boden) that the railway joins the famous Iron Ore Railway, which will take you all the way to Narvik. This portion of the journey is the most scenic.
The Iron Ore Railway was built around the turn of the 20th century to transport iron ore from Kiruna’s mines over to the ice-free ports of Narvik and Luleå. From there, the iron ore can easily be transported via ships.
Narvik’s port in Northern Norway is extraordinarily deep, so ships of all sizes can easily access the port of Narvik. Its location and ice-free availability made Narvik a strategically important city during the Second World War. More on that in a bit.
Since there is no railway to connect Bodø and Narvik, this line makes it easy to visit Narvik via train. Well, it’s the only way to visit Narvik by train. This unique railway is Sweden’s northernmost railway, and the Norwegian part…