Northern lights draw throngs of tourists above the Arctic Circle

5:13 min

To see the northern lights is on many people's bucket lists, and the small Swedish town of Abisko, north of the Arctic Circle, claims to be the best place on Earth for witnessing the aurora borealis.

In fact, word is getting around. Thousands of tourists from across the globe are turning up at the Abisko tourist station during the long, dark, polar nights to catch the two-kilometre cable-lift ride up to the Aurora Sky Station.

After thawing out with a hot drink, visitors are led outside to catch the northern lights - cloudless skies permitting.

"You have an 80 percent chance of seeing the northern lights from up the top of the Aurora Sky Station, so that's a very good chance," Sky Station manager Mattias Hellgren tells Radio Sweden.

The reason for the mainly cloud-free skies, though, is down to geography.

"We have a blow hole over Abisko. The air comes in over the Atlantic, then over the Norwegian and Swedish mountains and then it dissolves over Abisko."