Kiruna

Kiruna, Sami language Giron, in Norrbotten County, is the northernmost and one of the most unusual towns in Sweden and with its 18,000 inhabitants, the largest town in Swedish Lapland.

Settlements

Kiruna used to be called "the world's largest city"; the Kiruna municipality, Kiruna kommun, includes several small villages and settlements scattered around a large wilderness area, approximately the size of Slovenia.

Other destinations

Understand

View over Kiruna

Kiruna houses the largest underground mine (iron ore) in the world and is also known for the space research, the Sámi culture, the long winters, the modern town planning, the beautiful church and town hall, the Ice Hotel and the easy access to the wilderness and adventure of northern Lapland, including Sweden's highest mountain, Kebnekaise.

At N67°49'48'' latitude, Kiruna is located about 145 km north of the Arctic Circle, making it possible to experience the midnight sun and polar night there. This means that the sun shine 24 hours a day between roughly the last week of May until the middle of July. From the first week of December until the second week of January, the sun never rises above Kiruna's horizon.

It is a mining town, with much of the mine reaching under the current city center. To prevent a future scenario for the town collapsing down in the earth, new houses are built on the outskirts with safer ground - the town is "moving".

Get in

By plane

SAS has direct flights from Stockholm Arlanda and Umeå. Norwegian Air Shuttle has direct flights from Stockholm Arlanda.

The small airport is located a few kilometers outside the city centre, and unfortunately the connections are kind of bad during off-season where the airport bus is only going at weekdays and not very often . In the evening or on weekends a taxi (should be pre-ordered, otherwise very long waiting time) or pre-ordered coach is pretty much the only way to get anywhere (or hitchhiking), but that can be very expensive. During high season there is usually no problems since an airport bus is available then. Another option is to walk 1.2 km from the airport (there is only one road) until you reach the E10 highway, and take bus 501 from the stop located near the crossing. It runs many times during weekdays, a few times in the weekends . Hitchhiking is also easier from that spot than from the airport.

The municipality is large, and there can be other airports usable from the municipality borders. From Karesuando, the nearest airport is Kittilä airport, Finland. From Riksgränsen, the nearest airport is Harstad airport, Norway.

By train

SJ operates two daily night trains, from Gothenburg and Stockholm continuing north along the eastern parts of Sweden passing cities like Uppsala, Gävle and Boden where sometimes a change of trains are required to get to Kiruna (otherwise you'll end up in Luleå). The travel time from Stockholm is about 17 hours. Some trains continue to Narvik.

Two types of sleeping cars are available, liggvagn with six seats/beds in each compartment and the slightly more expensive sovvagn with 2-3 (softer) beds. Cheapskates might try out sittvagn, but 17 hours in a seat is not a pleasant experience. An onboard restaurant serves dinner and breakfast, it also doubles as a bar during the evening. However prices are high. Bringing your own food is allowed, but consuming alcohol is not (although the enforcement is quite lax).

Due to the destruction of the town centre by spreading of mining areas, the train station in Kiruna moved in September 2013 and is no longer located in the city centre, but several kilometres away. Shuttle buses are available to and from the bus station, with times advertised at the bus station, on the train station, and on the municipal website. The bus station, however, is located very close to the town centre.

By bus

Long distance buses serve towns and cities in Norrbotten County, such as Luleå, Gällivare, Jokkmokk, Haparanda, etc.

By car

See also: Driving in Sweden

It is by all means possible to rent a car and drive to Kiruna, but keep in mind that it is very far away from all other major cities, the roads are quite narrow and a little bit too often not in a good shape. Not totally without a reason, due to weather conditions and the frequency of wildlife such as hares, reindeer and moose on the road, can make the trip a little bit more interesting than bargained for.

The hazards of driving a car in the north during the winter when a car breakdown in the middle of nowhere actually can be life-threatening due to the cold should not be underestimated. The cellphone coverage can be quite sparse so warm blankets, extra clothes etc. should always be stored in the car during winter for emergencies. Use major roads where is more easy to get help. The road distances from Kiruna are: Gällivare (closest city) 115 km, Narvik 178 km, Luleå 344 km, Umeå 600 km, Stockholm 1240 km.

Get around

See

Kiruna kyrka (Kiruna Church).
At the Esrange rocket-facility
Icehotel (Jukkasjärvi)

The Northern Lights are regularly visible in Kiruna during winter. A small walk into the nearest forest so as to get rid of the city lights notably improves the visibility.

In Kiruna City

Jukkasjärvi

Main article: Jukkasjärvi

Elsewhere

Do

There are many things to do around the Kiruna area if you like outdoor activities and wilderness adventures. Many companies offer the same or very similar packages, here a list of popular and common activities can be found, sorted by season. There is also some other activities available. You should be aware of that pollution of the wilderness (and the city) is not liked, it's even illegal in Sweden to do so. So be sure to not leave trash behind you in the fells etc. It also keeps the environment in its best condition.

This section is under construction, as all the other.

All year

Winter

Summer

Special events

There are certain dates when special things happen in Kiruna:

Eat

Don't miss any of the local specialities consisting of various forms of reindeer meat that can be found in almost any diner; there is everything from simple reindeer kebab, and sandwiches with reindeer meat to luxurious reindeer dishes at the fanciest restaurants. Also salmon, moose, other fish and animals "from the wild" can be seen as specialities.

Sleep

Kiruna offers many opportunities for a good nights sleep despite it's small size.

Budget


Mid-range

Splurge

Buy

Drink

Ok lets face it, the night-life in Kiruna is hardly award-winning in any way. This is a rather small city and does not offer great variety. The crowds going out are most often the same people from time to time, and the chances are quite high that most locals going out already know each other, if not as friends then at least by name and/or rumour. This is both a blessing and a curse, depending on circumstances. People tend to drink quite heavily and some are reluctant to talk to strangers, but some would love to, don't give up! However this does not mean that going out in Kiruna is not fun. Sure after a few times it starts to feel a bit repetitive (which might not always be bad) but going out a night or two can often be quite fun, just don't expect too much, take it as it is, ignore things that bother you and enjoy the night!

The most popular place is currently the nightclub at hotel Ferrum mostly at room 208, which usually has an age restriction of 23. Babylon (formerly known as Arran) is for the younger crowd and thus often a little bit noisier. From time to time they have 30++ nights also. The two central bars O'learys and Caffreys can offer less crowd and a good enough environment for a beer or two after a long day. Friday and Saturday are the main days for going out, but Wednesdays ("little Saturday") can sometimes get lively as well.

Go next

In the mountainous areas to the west of Kiruna are several national parks e.g. Abisko. The railway to the port town of Narvik in Norway offers excellent views year-round.


Routes through Kiruna

Narvik Abisko  W  E  Gällivare Luleå



This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, March 17, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.