We were in Abisko for a few days in November. All the nights were booked for Northern Light tours. We needed to fill up our day time with activities and I saw that there were seats available for a day trip to Narvik. Didn’t know what was exciting about going to Narvik, but since we didn’t have much option as other tours were booked up, we decided to go for it! And I’m glad we did.
How To Go To Narvik
You know that quote that ‘The Journey is the Destination’? Well that is so true in the case of this day trip.
To get to Narvik from Abisko is quite easy – you can take the train from Abisko Ostra station – and you’ll be there just under 2 hours. It’s just one train stop away. Another option which is a bit quicker is to take the bus which takes around 1.5 hours. But like I said – its not just about getting to Narvik – the journey to Narvik itself is the best part.
Best way to get to Narvik is to drive there and treat yourself to a couple of viewpoint stops along the way. If you don’t have a car, another option is to join a tour, which is what we did with Visit Abisko. A non-stop car journey takes a bit more than an hour.
What To See and Do Along The Route
Enjoy a Slow Drive Along Lake Torneträsk
As you start your journey from Abisko, you will be driving along the shore of Lake Torneträsk – the sixth largest and second deepest lake in Sweden. There are many beautiful spots to get that beautiful shot of the lake with Lapporten in the background.
Tip: If you go on a tour, sit on the right side of the bus.
Checkout the Reindeers
On and off, you will see reindeers on the left and right side of the road…A couple of cool facts:-
- The reindeers are owned by the Sami people.
- The herder’s/owner’s symbol is marked on a reindeer’s ear.
- Not all Sami own reindeers – only 10% of the whole population are connected to reindeer husbandry
If you want to get a complete reindeer experience – reindeer sledding, feeding and perhaps even having reindeer meat for lunch/dinner – visit a Sami camp. Check out my blogs on my visits to the following camps.
Make a Quick Stop at the Sweden-Norway Border
Yes – a very touristy thing to do…and luckily the tour included this few minutes stop by the roadside. A quick stop at the border is a must!
Both countries Norway and Sweden are part of the Schengen Area, so there are no immigration controls. Interesting fact is that Sweden is part of the EU and Norway is not. So there are custom checks along the border performed by both customs departments in both countries. Thousands of people commute to work over the border everyday. Because of the countries’ close ties, there is a high degree of trust – you will find that several border crossings are unattended.
Admire the Views from the Beach - Rombaken/Norwegian Fjord
We were here during winter, so the beach was covered with snow. Beautiful. We also saw animal tracks in the snow. Sometimes you get reindeers, foxes down here at the beach. In the far distance, you can see the Hålogaland Bridge.
This beach stopover is one of the highlights of of the tour from Abisko. So if you join the tour, they will definitely stop here for a bit.
Lookout for the Georg Thiele Wreck
This was not part of our tour itinerary. But in case you are staying longer in Narvik – in certain months, there are cruises that will take you from Narvik marina to the end of the fjord, the Rombaksbotn. What’s so special about this tour is that you will pass the the shipwreck Georg Thiele from World War II. Rombaken was the site of the naval battle during the Battle of Narvik in WW2. There were many ships that sunk here during the battle. Part of a German destroyer Georg Thile remain visible above the water in Rombaksbotn.
You can also park your car and hike closer to the wreck if you are up to it. Or if you are a licensed diver, go for a dive to see what’s below the surface. In fact Narvik is a popular diving destination, they don’t call the area a ‘ship graveyard’ for nothing. Not all parts of the wrecks are accessible for diving due to various reasons including safety from undetonated ammunitions. Read more about diving in Narvik here.
Drive Along the Rombak Bridge
As you head towards Narvik, you will pass through the Rombak Bridge, a suspension bridge crossing the Rombaken fjord near Narvik. The bridge was built in 1964 and span across 325 metres. It is of course not as impressive as the Hålogaland Bridge, its sister bridge just completed in 2018 which you will see just before entering Narvik town. The Rombak bridge was initially part of the European route E6 highway. Now that road was rerouted to the Hålogaland Bridge to shorten the distance from Narvik and the village of Bjerkvik. The reason for building the new bridge was also due to weight limitation of the Rambak bridge.
I was trying to see whether I can catch a glimpse of the Georg Thiele wreck from any point along the bridge. Answer is nope.
Check out the Hålogaland Bridge
The new suspension bridge – Hålogaland Bridge was completed in 2018. It is 1,533 metres in length making it as the second longest suspension bridge in the country. This bridge made the E6 route (previously via Rombak bridge) 18 km shorter and travel time reduced by 15-20 minutes. There is a walkway alongside the two drive-lane bridge.
What To See And Do in Narvik
Tøtta Bar (Sky Bar)
You can get the best views of the city from Tøtta Bar at the Narvik Scandic Hotel. Have a drink while enjoying the views from the panorama windows or take a breather on the roof terrace.
Narvik War Museum
Tours from Abisko will usually include tickets to the war museum. I mentioned before the Battle of Narvik in WW2. You can get a more in depth understanding of what happened here at the War Museum.
Why was Narvik a key target by the Germans? Narvik is an ice-free port built to ship iron ore from the important mines in Kiruna in Northern Sweden. In April 1940, Hitler decided he needed to take control of Norwegian coastal waters to transport Swedish iron ore via Narvik to German blast furnaces. Both sides – the Germans and the Norwegian and Allied forces lost many ships and lives in the battle that went on for two months.
Food & Shopping
Kafferiet Restaurant & Bar
Our tour included lunch at Kafferiet Restaurant & Bar. We had salmon for lunch – food was pre-ordered so the service was fast. I found the food really tasty and I would recommend the restaurant and especially the salmon dish. One of the best!
If I had travelled on my own, and had more time in Narvik, I would have liked to try a meal at the Fiskehallen just next to the Kafferiet restaurant. Fiskehallen is a fish market but they also have a restaurant and can whip up fresh seafood meals!
AMFI Narvik Shopping Mall
If you want fast food and simple stuff like Burger King, or Sushi Point – head to the AMFI Shopping Mall behind the War Museum. You can also do a bit of shopping there and get souvenirs from Narvik. One family on the tour got carried away with shopping that we almost left them there, in Narvik.
There is a nice shop across the road from the War Museum, for souvenir shopping for all things Norway – Fridge magnets, viking ships, t-shirts, all things figurines like the Norwegian trolls.
Diving the sea wrecks
Ride the Narkvikfjellet Cable Car Up to the Mountains
If you are here for a bit, you can also take the cable car up to the mountains to get beautiful panorama view of the town and the ocean. You will not have time to do this as part of the day tour from Abisko. (Sigh…)
The cable car was recently opened in February 2019 – and brings you up to the Mountain restaurant. In the winter, there are many snow activities for all ages.
Nice Break From Cold Abisko
I highly recommend doing a day trip to Narvik at least if you have a few days in Abisko. There is plenty to see along the way – and it’s a great break from the usually colder Abisko if you are there during the winter season.