Kiruna MunicipalityKiruna (Sami: Giron) in Norrbotten County is Sweden's northernmost municipality, Kiruna kommun, with 23,000 inhabitants. The administrative centre and only urban settlement is Kiruna.
Kiruna is known as "the world's largest city", covering a large wilderness area, approximately the size of Slovenia, stretching as far as 130 km north of the city. While most inhabitants live in Kiruna itself, the outskirts of the municipality contain many of Sweden's greatest natural wonders, as well as the Jukkasjärvi Ice Hotel.
KirunaSweden's northernmost city (stad), with 18,000 citizens, built on top of an iron mine
JukkasjärviFamous for the Ice Hotel and the Esrange space port
KaresuandoSweden's northernmost settlement of any size, with border crossing to Finland
RiksgränsenSweden's northernmost ski resort
Kebnekaise and NikkaluoktaKebnekaise is Sweden's tallest mountain
The railway between Luleå and Narvik was completed two years later, and in 1915 it became one of the longest electrified railways in the world.
The mine has become the largest underground mine in the world, and the municipality contains a space centre, the Ice Hotel and several wildlife resorts.
At N67°49 latitude, Kiruna is located about 145 km north of the Arctic Circle, making it possible to experience the midnight sun and polar night there; the sun shines 24 hours a day from 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.
By planeKiruna Airport has direct flights from Stockholm-Arlanda airport (SAS and Norwegian) and Umeå (SAS). It is a few kilometers east of Kiruna, and unfortunately the connections are kind of bad during off-season, when 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 (besides hitchhiking), but that can be very expensive. In high season, airport coaches are frequent.
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 outskirts of the municipality are near other airports. From Karesuando, the nearest airports are those of Enontekiö and Kittilä, Finland. From Riksgränsen, the nearest airport is Harstad airport, Norway.
By trainSJ 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 is 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 relocation of Kiruna, the city has a temporary rail station in the north-western part of the city. 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 busLong distance buses serve towns and cities in Norrbotten County, such as Luleå, Gällivare, Jokkmokk, Haparanda, etc. (Länstrafiken Norrbotten).
Kiruna is on the E10, which is considered to be one of Sweden's most scenic roads.
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. Due to weather conditions and the frequency of wildlife such as hares, reindeer and moose on the road, the trip can be a bit more interesting than bargained for.
The hazards of driving a car in the north during the winter should not be underestimated. A breakdown in the middle of nowhere can be life-threatening due to the cold. The cellphone coverage can be quite sparse so warm blankets, extra clothes etc. for emergencies should always be stored in the car during winter. Use major roads where it 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.
Between these places, public transportation is very limited. In summer, driving is a practical way to get around. In the cold and dark winters, prefer to stay in one place, or to travel with a tourist group.
There are many hiking trails.
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.
TreriksrösetThe tripoint of the borders to Norway and Finland is 10 km from Kilpisjärvi in Finland, reachable by car via Karesuando. Hiking trails lead there from Abisko via Norway, a trek of some 180 km. In winter there is also the Victorialeden snowmobile route via Karesuando to the tripoint.
In Kiruna City
phone: +46 980-720 00Offers guided tours
- Esrange Space Center, 20 km from the village centre, 45 km from Kiruna
- Tynnyrilaki of Pingisvaara fells, part of the Struve Geodetic Arc, about 30 km from Karesuando along road 99.
Indoor activities such as bowling and pool swimming are available in Kiruna.
- The nearby space-facility Esrange offers guided tours.
- Take a tour to the mine - Infomine
- Wilderness Safaris
- Northern Lights tours. Alternatively to the paid tours, a short walk into the forest away from the city is enough to observe auroras without light pollution.
- Snow mobile excursions
- Dog sled tour
- Cross country skiing
- Downhill skiing at Luossabacken, the city's old abandoned mine. The slope is 30 minutes walking from the center, and local buses drop you 5 minutes away from it. Skiing is mostly free except for one of the lifts, and the ski equipment rental costs 200 kr per day.
- Abisko on the Malmbanan railway is in Abisko National Park, and is the trailhead to the Kungsleden trail and a stop on the Nordkalottleden trail
Kebnekaise is the highest mountain in Sweden, 72 km west of Kiruna centre. It can be reached from Kebnekaise fjällstation, close to Nikkaluotka, some 65 km from Kiruna, and to the Kungsleden trail
Special eventsThere are certain dates when special things happen in Kiruna:
Eat and drink
Kiruna has a few fine dining venues, as well as a range of restaurants and bars typical to a Swedish town. Outside Kiruna, dining and nightlife are limited to the resort villages.
Due to long distances and lack of competition, fresh groceries tend to be more costly than in southern Sweden.
There are many opportunities for wilderness camping, by the right to access; it is however very challenging at winter. There are cabins along the hiking trails, with at least emergency rooms open off season.