The train ride with the night train from Stockholm (Sweden) to Narvik (Norway), is said to be one of the most impressive trips in all of Europe. It takes 18 hours to get through the incredible nature of middle Sweden, up to the north of Lappland and across the mountains to Norway. Especially in the summer months, when it’s bright all day round, you can perfectly enjoy the beautiful nature from your train window. The overnight train stops in Gällivare, with connection to the Inlandsbanan in the mining city of Kiruna, as well as in Abisko, the northern starting point of the long-distance walking trail, Kungsleden. Even on my first Interrail trip over 20 years ago, it was my dream to ride along this route. Ever since, I keep taking it over and over again, because it is super convenient, if you are traveling around Scandinavia by train – either with an Interrail pass, or with an ordinary ticket. In this blog, I will explain everything there is to know about the route from middle Sweden up to the north: The stops, times, and where you can buy cheap tickets. Of course, also the different categories, from inexpensive seats, to couchette coach and sleeping car.
Where to buy tickets
I bought my SJ sleeper train ticket at ACPRail, which has been selling tickets, including budget tickets, online for the Swedish SJ trains. Purchasing my ticket on really short notice, it cost around 160€ for a berth in the sleeper car. Not really cheap, but after all, I didn’t have to spend the night in a hotel, which is also quite expensive in Scandinavia. Buying your ticket via ACPRail, you are supporting rail.cc, with the price staying the same for you. With contributions like this, we can finance free content, like the one you are reading right this second. Of course you can buy your ticket as well directly on the SJ website.
Video of the night train from Stockholm to Narvik
The different types of compartments in the sleeper
There are three different compartments you can choose from.
The sleeping coach holds a maximum of 3 people per compartment, but I recommend traveling with a maximum of two, because it can get pretty cozy. During my trip, I had booked a sleeping compartment for myself. Personally, I prefer that, and tend to spoil myself for an 18-hour train ride, including the indulgence of the scenery. Of course, it is also a more convenient way to write a travel report. In the sleeper you will find a key card for your compartment, which enables you to leave for the dining car without worrying about your luggage – although, I always keep my valuables with me in a small backpack. There are two toilets in the hallway, but my personal highlight is the spacious and clean shower, which can also only be used with a key card from passengers in the sleeper compartment. In the shower, you will find plenty of towels and a small heater, in case it gets too cold.
In other Swedish trains, you can even book a sleeper compartment with en suite bathroom. Please note, that Swedish sleeper trains are currently undergoing modernization, even though I personally think that they are already really good. So here you can see the “old”, yet still current version of the compartments.
The couchette coaches hold a maximum of six people and seem to be pretty spacious. Luggage can be stored under the seats or in the hallway.
Using standard seats you can travel comfortably and cheap. There is nothing wrong with the cozy seats, if you’re looking to save some money. I, myself often travel like this, especially during low season, you will always be likely to find a spare seat next to yours, so you can stretch out and get comfortable. Of course, it is easier to socialize with other travelers as well.
Generally, the train leaves Stockholm in the evening and arrives after roughly 18 hrs of travel time in Narvik during the afternoon. If you are traveling the other way round, you start in Narvik in the afternoon and arrive in Stockholm in the early morning hours. You can find the exact timetable of the direct night train here:
Stockholm – Narvik
Narvik – Stockholm
As well, as on SJs and ACPRails website.
Departure in Stockholm
The central station holds two supermarkets, where you can shop for a normal price. I recommend buying some supplies, like drinking water and some snacks. Thanks to my first class Interrail pass, I was able to wait in the SJ Lounge, but even in the station itself, many seating options can be found. Around 40 minutes prior departure, the night train was ready, which made the boarding process pretty relaxed.
The route from Stockholm to Narvik in the night train
Since the travel time stretches over 18 hours, you have plenty of time to enjoy it to the fullest. After departure, I am having a peek into the dining car, before I’m heading towards dawn in my couchette. Eventually, I am having a hot shower and go to sleep. After roughly 8 hours of a good night’s sleep, the train arrives in Boden. Starting from here, the route gets especially exciting. During daylight hours, we head towards Gällivare, where you can catch a connecting train to the route of the Inlandsbanan – equally recommended for train-lovers. You can read more about it in my other post about the Inlandsbanan. We are heading further on towards the Torneträsk lake, until Abisko. Here you can admire the Lapporten (gate to the Lappen), the region’s most famous landmark. Shortly after Abisko, the train is arriving at the Norwegian border. The border control is efficient and relaxed and the travel continues over the mountains toward Narvik, the final stop of my trip.
The dining restaurant car / Bistro
Originally, I had planned to have my dinner in the dining car, but provided myself beforehand at the station in Stockholm. Thus, I just went over for a quick visit. In a cooling shelf, there was a good overview over all different kinds of refreshments, starting with water, over lemonades to beer. There was also a big selection of sandwich-style food. I found the different mains especially interesting, because you simply take them out of the cooling shelf and hand them to an employee, who warms it up for you, using a microwave. After that, your food will be served on your table. Not freshly made to order, but different. There is coffee with free refill – don’t be surprised, after buying one coffee, you need to take a cup from next to the cashier, and serve yourself from the coffee pot. The prices are alright – the way it usually is, in the dining car. A cup of coffee costs 2€, so does the muesli, or the rolled sandwich. I did see hot food for 7€, and the choice of food is very swedish-orientated: Reindeer, fish, etc…
The sleeper car’s shower
Really nice. Clean, mold-free and with a small heater and hairdryer. Also, there are fresh towels for your convenience, that you can simply put in the box after using. You can only access via key card, that you’ll find in every sleeper. Having a shower here, is very relaxing. There is enough space, so you don’t have to squeeze in a corner. Top!
Small and functional, sleek, yet spacious. I liked it a lot. It’s also really neat and clean. The SJ is currently in the process of modernizing their sleeper fleet, so stay tuned. In this direct night train from Stockholm to Narvik, there is only one kind of sleeper car to be found. Featuring a small sink and shower and toilet can be found in the hallway. This kind of sleeper counts in Sweden as 2nd class, which means: No Lounge access and no breakfast included. In other countries, “sleeper car” equals traveling first class. There is a small folding table, a reading light, radio for headphones, and a power socket for each passenger. The sleeping coach holds a maximum of 3 people per compartment, but I recommend traveling with a maximum of two, because it can get pretty cozy. The beds are comfy and not too soft. The pillow and sheets promise a good night’s sleep. All in all, the sleeper car runs smooth and quiet and nothing’s rattling. The heating can be properly turned on, so that you won’t be cold, even in winter.
Couchette and seated car
The couchette can hold up to six people, whereas the seated car is an open spaced compartment, with lots of space for luggage and stretching out.
I get my breakfast in the restaurant car. A waffle and a coffee for roughly 2€ each.
The stop in Gällivare with connection to Inlandsbanan
If you got time, I recommend checking out the Inlandsbanan during the summer months. For more information, read our post with all details there are to know about the small regional train through the back country of Sweden – back to nature – a truly fascinating experience from Gällivare to Östersund.
The stop in the mining town Kiruna
A really interesting town that will have moved 5km east by the year 2040, to be able to continue mining iron ore. The former train station has already been closed and replaced by a temporary one. I myself haven’t gotten around to pay the mine a visit, but I would be happy hearing your information and experiences, if you’ve been there already.
The Lapporten right before Abisko
You will find the region’s landmark at level of Abisko.
Abisko and the Kungsleden
The northern starting point of the long-distance walking trail „Kungsleden“ lies in Abisko. There you can find two train stations. First, being Abisko Östra – and second, the Abisko Touriststation, where the Kungsleden starts from. Here you can also find a hostel, if you feel like staying for a few days – highly recommended!
Off to Norway
The journey goes on till Riksgränsen, from where we cross the mountain range down to Narvik.
Arrival in Narvik
Narvik is the final station of the sleeper train, coming from Stockholm. The city itself is not connected to the Norwegian train network, although, the idea once existed, but has been abolished due to being too much work, it seems. Narvik itself is pretty small. There is a supermarket about 10 minutes walking distance from the train station, as well as a bus station you can reach in at least 20 minutes. The city is your starting point for a trip further up north (from here on via bus) and to the Lofoten. To finish the Scandinavia-round, you’ll have to take the bus to Fauske/Bodö, where you will have a connection to the Norwegian train network.
Connections in Narvik
Bus to the Lofoten
From the bus terminal is a direct bus (Line 300) leaving for the Lofoten. Depending on the season and timetables connecting from the night train from Stockholm, you can catch it just in time to get to Svolvear the same night. For more information, read our blog about the Lofoten.
Further up to Nordkapp
And, of course, you can head even further north from Narvik, to Nordkapp – again, by bus. Details will follow in a separate blog post.
Taking the night train with Interrail from Stockholm to Narvik
You can also perfectly use this train with fair reservation fees with your Interrail pass. Depending on the exchange rate, a seat in the seated car costs 5€, whereas the couchette costs around 25€. This compared to the hostel or hotel prices in Sweden, it’s almost a bargain. You will find more information about the night train and the exact Interrail reservation prices for the route between Stockholm and Narvik and Narvik to Stockholm here. You can purchase your Interrail reservations directly via ACPRail or the SJ.
The night train was very clean and comfortable, while driving through unreal landscapes. Attractive savings on the tickets can be found on the websites of ACPRail and the SJ. Also with an Interrail pass, the train is easy to travel with. The restaurant car offers everything you need for the trip, and the prices are fair. Altogether, the train arrived 90 minutes late at its destination, which personally didn’t bother me at all, since my journey back to Stockholm would be in the same train, and after that I was headed further through Oslo to Bergen.
If you have any questions about the night train, simply contact us through our friendly forum, where you will always be helped. Thank you so much for reading this travel report.