Kiruna: Sweden’s northernmost city

FR FlagDE FlagFR Flag

For Sweden fans who want to experience the Northern Lights, Kiruna is the perfect destination. The northernmost town in Sweden is located in the Swedish part of Lapland, has around 18,000 inhabitants and is the ideal starting point for tours by snowmobile, dog sled or to marvel at the Northern Lights. The Norwegian North Cape can be easily reached from here as well.

Why go on holiday in Kiruna?

If you haven’t heard of Kiruna before, you’re probably wondering why you should travel to this small town in the north of Sweden. But there are many reasons: first and foremost, the impressive nature of Lapland. Kiruna is an excellent base for dog sledding tours or trips to see the Northern Lights. For nature lovers and Scandinavia fans, the small town is definitely worth a visit.

Where is Kiruna located?

Kiruna is located around 250 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. Therefore, you can observe phenomena such as the Northern Lights from there. Over a period of 2 to 6 weeks, you can also experience the polar day and polar night. Abisko National Park is located in the municipality of Kiruna and is about 90 kilometres away by car. The North Cape is about 9.5 hours away by car, whereas Narvik on the coast can be reached in just 2 hours and 20 minutes.

Kiruna: weather

The weather in Kiruna is subpolar, which means that it lies in the transition between the temperate and polar climate zones. Thus, the summers are rather short and the winters long and dry. The change of seasons is not as noticeable as in the UK, for example. Although it gets significantly colder in winter, the summer is more like a spring day in the UK.

When is the best time to travel to Kiruna?

The best time to visit Kiruna is in the summer months, between June and August. At this time of year, the average daytime temperature is between 13° and 16° Celsius. However, if you want to see the Northern Lights, you should visit Kiruna in winter, or in autumn and spring, where they are particularly easy to see.

Kiruna: Best time to travel
Travelling to Kiruna has advantages in both summer and winter.

Kiruna: sights, tours and activities

It’s not just sporting activities and adventure expeditions that Kiruna has to offer. Culture is also not neglected when travelling there. The Kiruna Kyrka, or Kiruna Church, is an outstanding example of northern European architecture. Its construction originates from national romanticism and was planned and realised as a mixture of an American wooden church and a Norwegian stave church with elements from the Sami culture.

If you want to find out more about mining in Kiruna, you should visit the LKAB:S Visitor Centre. Here you can visit a mine at a depth of up to 1365 metres. You can also take part with a wheelchair, as long as it is foldable. Forty kilometres northwest of Kiruna is the Esrange Space Center (SSC). Research rockets and balloons take off from there.

The Samegarden Museum is a must for those interested in culture. There you can find out about the Sámi people, who have populated Lapland, or Sápmi, for thousands of years and were exposed to severe discrimination in the past. They are the native population of northern Scandinavia.

Kiruna: activities for your trip

Kiruna: activities
Sled dog tours are a popular activity in Kiruna.

The most famous activity that brings most travellers to Kiruna is watching the Northern Lights, which is easily possible from September to April.

Other popular activities in Kiruna include dog sledding and snowmobile tours. Reindeer and moose expeditions are also interesting activities that can be organised from there.

Other popular activities are of a sporting nature: winter sports in the Loussbacken ski area, for example, as well as hiking (with or without snowshoes in winter) and horse riding.

Like other destinations in the north, Kiruna offers typical Scandinavian activities such as saunas and ice fishing.

Whether fast-paced or relaxed – there is something to be found for everyone in Kiruna.

Kiruna: the best accommodation

There is a large selection of hotels, holiday homes and flats in Kiruna. Many people choose the option of a holiday home, especially to watch the Northern Lights. A holiday home in the breathtaking scenery of Lapland, from whose windows the northern lights can be observed at night, is a dream for many. But Kiruna can also be experienced comfortably in a hotel or guesthouse.

The world’s largest ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi

ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi

The ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi is about a twenty-minute drive from Kiruna. It dates back to the 1990s and is particularly famous because it is the largest ice hotel in the world. The structure is made entirely of ice and snow, which is done every autumn so that the ice hotel can be opened to tourists in winter.

Over 100 people are involved, working with over 1000 tonnes of ice. The temperature in the hotel is between -5 and -8° Celsius. Guests sleep on a bed of ice covered with a reindeer skin.

Additionaly, there is a “survival course” in the evenings on how best to brave the cold. The sleeping bags handed out at reception are designed for temperatures down to -25° Celsius. In the mornings, hot cranberry juice is served and guests can visit the sauna.

Kiruna: arrival

Most people travel to the northern Swedish town either by plane or car. If you only have a short amount of time, a flight is recommended. For a road trip to the North Cape, for example, a car is recommended. If you want to stay in Kiruna and only book day trips from there, the night train from Stockholm can be a good alternative to a domestic flight.

Travelling to Kiruna by flight

There are flights from different cities in the UK to Kiruna, so travelling there by plane is no problem. However, these are mostly with stopovers and not direct. Thus, it is a good idea is to combine the flight with a short city trip to Stockholm, for example.

Travelling to Kiruna by car

You can also reach Kiruna by car, which is particularly suitable if you are planning a road trip. Especially if you want to visit the North Cape, Sweden’s northernmost city is a suitable stopover. However, this type of journey is significantly longer and only suitable if you have enough time available. You should plan with at least 14 hours travelling time from Stockholm.

Kiruna: Travelling by car
Kiruna can also be travelled to by car.

Kiruna: Travelling by train

Travelling to Kiruna by train is another possibility. It takes 15:10 hours from Stockholm. You travel in comfort in the couchette compartment and have an excellent view of the Swedish countryside in daylight. You even have a shower at your disposal.

SCANDICookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner