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  • Writer's pictureKim Kooter

By train to Lapland

To Lapland by train, how cool is that!!

Going to the far north of Sweden: Lapland. A five-day bucket list trip, which is probably also on your list. You can go there by plane, but also by train! In this blog you can read our experience of our first train journey to Lapland, with all the tips and tricks that may come in handy.

Train tickets

A train journey naturally starts with booking the tickets. We chose to fly to Stockholm, and from there take the night train to Kiruna. Our flight was in the morning, we landed at 10:30, and in the evening at 18:15 the train left for Kiruna. Enough time for a few hours in the beautiful city of Stockholm!

We booked our tickets directly with SJ, the Swedish train company. There are different types of tickets. You can book a seat, this is the cheapest option. Take a good travel pillow with you!! Tickets are available from € 100, - the earlier you book, the cheaper. And the more luxurious, read more privacy, the more expensive the ticket becomes

Then you have a couchette, a sleeping compartment. That is a coupe with 6 seats, which can be transformed into beds in the evening. We chose this option. Of course you never know in advance what kind of people will join, but we thought that added something to traveling. We love to meet other people and exchange beautiful stories.

Of course you can also be unlucky, and have grumpy less fresh-smelling people, but we took that risk into the bargain.

There is also a third option, which is the most expensive option, and that is booking a private sleeping compartment. You will then not be 'bothered' by other travelers and you will be alone with your travel group.

Booking the tickets was quickly arranged via the SJ website. We received the tickets via email and that was that! There is a handy app: SJ, which you can install in advance and log in with the details of your ticket. Your ticket is immediately displayed on the app and you can track where you are on the route, and you will immediately know about any delays and details.

Food and drink

Before the train journey started, we did some shopping. A meal salad, some Swedish polar bread, with shrimp cheese spread (our favourite), something to drink, and some snacks. For the morning we bought some fruits.

There is also a dining car where you can eat or get something to eat. In the morning we bought our diesel there to start the day: Coffee!

Did you know that it is normal in Sweden to ask for a second cup of coffee? You do not have to pay this. A typical Dutch tip

The journey

Our train was to leave at 6:15 PM, and we were on time at the platform, where the train was already waiting. A friendly conductor tells us where to go, and soon we found our compartment. We were the first in the compartment, so our suitcases could be placed on the luggage rack above the door. There was also room to store the suitcases in the hall. We slid our hand luggage under the seats.

We both had the upper beds. Tensionnnnd. But soon we wondered how to get in there, because we couldn't find any stairs. So we went to investigate. After examining the entire coupe 40 times (for our feeling) we gave up and decided to ask. But first unfold the middle beds to see what that would look like.

hey! Behind the lower bed, a piece of ladder stuck out! So there it was!

Then we wouldn't have to bother the conductors anymore. Funnily enough, however, the conductor soon came to harass us.

She was surprised that we were still only together in the compartment, because the train was about to leave, and four people were still booked.

Maybe they would get on at the airport in Arlanda. We'd see.

The train left 15 minutes later than planned because another train had to pass first, and there was only 1 track so that was a bit tight otherwise. Woohoo! We were off!

Almost 1000 kilometers through the beautiful Swedish landscape ahead. (In the dark, that is.)

We passed the stations, Arlanda, Uppsala, and still no other travelers joined us. So we had the whole coupe to ourselves! However, this doesn't happen often.

Jan spotted an elk. The poor animal was halfway up his body in the snow, that's how high the snow is.

We were quite tired from flying, discovering Stockholm, and the Abba Museum, so after dinner we had a small drink, and at 20:30 we crawled into the upper beds. If more travelers were added, that was at least possible.

The rhythm of the train made us quickly fall asleep. We had both packed a travel sheet, but it was not necessary. There were fresh sheets and pillows ready, so that was fine! Each sleeping place had its own socket for charging the mobile and a reading light.

However, every time the train slowed down or had to brake, we woke up a bit. You then have the idea that you are rolling out. Which is not the case, by the way. And if you do threaten to roll out of bed, there is a kind of safety net that should prevent that if all goes well. We didn't need it, so we weren't able to test it.

The next morning around 7 o'clock awake again, in a snow-white world. Yep, we are in Lapland. Quickly get coffee, and stare out to see if we see a moose!!

And yes, Jan spotted an elk. The poor animal was halfway up his body in the snow, that's how high the snow is. Did you know that a moose can grow to be as big as a big car? A reindeer and a moose are not the same. There are an estimated 260,000 reindeer in Sweden and about 300,000 moose. Only moose are a bit more shy than the reindeer, so you see them less often.

Unfortunately for Kim, she had just gone to the toilet and brushed her teeth when the moose showed up. Hopefully better luck on the return trip!! (A year later Kim did spot a moose during the train ride)

We took down the cots again, and gathered the suitcases and bags together, because Kiruna was quickly approaching. Make sure you dress warmly enough before you get out, because it can be minus 17 just like that. We were lucky and it was only minus 11, but we were happy with the snow boots, extra scarves and ice cap and gloves, and that we had already put them on on the train.

We arrived at the station an hour later than planned. Which is of course very neat on a journey of almost 1000 kilometers. From the station there is a free transfer bus to the center of Kiruna, and the holiday fun can begin!

We thought it was super cool and wonderfully relaxing to travel this way, and we are very curious about the return journey, on which we travel a large part during the day! We definitely recommend train travel! Arrive relaxed and rested at your destination, wonderful!

Have you ever taken a long train journey? We are curious about your experience.

Regards Kim & Jan

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