The city of Kiruna is an industrial town in Sweden, which appeared on the map in 1900. And even if it is not striking in size, numerous historical sights and warm weather, its primeval property remains pristine northern nature, clean fresh air and a measured rhythm of life.
Kiruna is the northernmost point of Sweden, located near the Finnish and Norwegian borders (Lapland, Norrbotten County). Its name comes from Giron, which in Sami means “snow-white bird.” By the way, she not only gave the city her name, but also settled on its coat of arms along with the iron sign, symbolizing a well-developed mining sector.
Kiruna is a small (15.92 sq. Km.) And relatively young city, whose age is just over 100 years, and the population does not exceed 25 thousand people. However, this does not prevent him from remaining one of the most developed and popular tourist destinations in Sweden. There is an airport, highways, and a railway connection connecting Kiruna not only with Stockholm, but also with other settlements of the country.
The main distinguishing feature of this harsh town is its close proximity to the north pole, due to which truly unique natural phenomena can be observed in Kiruna. So, from May to July, the city stays in the zone of the polar day, and from the beginning of December to the end of January, a quiet polar night reigns here, the darkness of which the northern lights dilute with amazing beauty. It is precisely because of him that thousands of tourists flock to this snowy region every year. To satisfy the needs of all comers, tour operators organize weekly tours that allow not only to see a grandiose natural phenomenon, but also to come close to the life of the peoples of the North.
Available in Kiruna and other fun. Due to the dense snow cover and stable weather, truly winter activities are especially popular here – snowmobiling, dog sledding, skiing and creating sculptures from snow blocks. If you wish, you can visit the Sami settlements, go to the space center, dine under the starry sky, drive a car along the ice track, watch wild moose or go horseback riding. Thanks to this, Kiruna is often called the winter capital of Europe. In addition, the city has several cafes and restaurants, as well as a huge shopping center where you can buy everything from groceries to souvenirs.
The city of Kiruna cannot boast of a large number of attractions, but, believe me, those that are will make you admire.
To visit Kiruna and pass by the oldest city monument is simply impossible. A wooden parish church or church, as locals call it, was built in the early 20th century in the style of Norwegian church architecture. The author of the project was the famous architect Gustav Wickmann, who decided to give the temple the shape of a tent or Sami yurt. The interior design of the shrine was handled by Prince Eugene himself, the uncle of the current king and a successful landscape painter, whose numerous works can be seen in the main art galleries of the country. But the construction of the facade “laid on the shoulders” of the Swedish football player Christian Ericsson. Today, Kiruna Kyrka is considered one of the largest and most beautiful wooden buildings in all of Sweden.
Address: Kyrkogatan 8, Kiruna 981 22, Sweden.
The frosty weather prevailing in Kiruna most of the year should not prevent visiting another city attraction – underground mines. The main brainchild of the mining concern LKAB’s Visitor Center in a day produces so much ore that it would be enough to build 6 Eiffel towers. For a year it makes 30 million tons!
But even if you do not want to personally go down to the mine, you will surely hear echoes of explosions that are heard shortly after midnight and lasting no more than half an hour. Do not be afraid, this is not the tricks of the weather and the beginning of hostilities, but just the result of the work of miners. Unfortunately, such devotion to their work could not but affect the appearance of the city – most of the streets of Kiruna in Sweden are covered with huge cracks, because of which local residents have to urgently leave their homes. And not so long ago, information appeared in the press that all houses, which are the cultural heritage of the country, will be moved to safer places. In accordance with the new plan, the move will take place gradually and will last until 2033. At the site of demolished buildings will appear a park that separates the city from industrial areas.
Address: 17 Lars Janssonsgatan, Kiruna 981 31, Sweden.
Designed by Arthur von Schma-Lenze, the Kiruna Stadshuset is considered the most famous building in Kiruna. Unlike most typical buildings, this town hall has a rather unusual interior decoration. The floor in it is made of expensive Italian mosaics, the door handles are made of birch and deer horns, and the walls are faced with Dutch handmade bricks and pine, brought from the Pacific countries.
Currently, the city administration and several permanent art exhibitions are located in Stadshuset. And here you can see the layout of the new city, which shows the approximate date of the transfer of certain buildings.
Address: 31 Hjalmar Lundbohmsvaegen, Kiruna 981 36, Sweden.
Not every tourist city can boast of having a real Ice hotel, and in Kiruna it is considered almost the most important attraction. Located 18 km from the city center, Ice hotel is one of Sweden’s most famous and most visited destinations.
The hotel, made of pure snow and ice, has about 80 rooms. Not only is each of them decorated according to an individual design project, but also the furniture here is carved by the hands of famous world artists. Naturally, the temperature inside is quite low (no more than + 9C), so visitors are given extra winter clothes.
Guests of the Ice hotel have a unique opportunity to spend the night on Carpe Diem beach, the entire territory of which is covered with deer skins. At dawn, they can move into a comfortable room with a plasma TV, cable channels, a bathroom, a dining area and free Wi-Fi. The hotel’s restaurant serves traditional Swedish dishes made with local produce.
Visitors have at their disposal a warm lounge area, where you can enjoy hot drinks and snacks, and Icebar, which offers cocktails in ice cream glasses. Among the attractions include free half-hour excursions, rafting, fishing, snowmobile tours, fishing and hiking.
The ideal time to visit the Ice hotel is from December to April. In other months, you may just not see him! The fact is that due to seasonal changes in the weather, the hotel is rebuilt every time. To do this, the best craftsmen, designers and architects come to a village lost in the vastness of Lapland. Thanks to them, ordinary ice blocks turn into a real work of art. The cost of one night stay at Ice hotel is 130 EUR. A shuttle service and a sauna with a hot tub and a wood-burning bath are available at a surcharge.
Address: Marknadsvägen 63, 981 91 Jukkasjärvi, Sweden.
Weather and climate
Kiruna has a subarctic climate, with long winters and short summers. Snow lasts from autumn to spring, but precipitation can occur at any time of the year.
The weather in Kiruna is the most wintry. Moreover, he bears the title of the coldest city in Sweden. The average January temperature is -13 ° C, but sometimes the thermometer readings drop to record -40 ° C. The warmest month is July. At this time, the air warms up to + 12- + 20 ° С.
How to get to Kiruna?
There are several ways to get to Kiruna. Firstly, in Kiruna there is an airport that receives planes from the Swedish capital, Stockholm. From there, taxis go to the city, requesting from 17 to 35 EUR, and buses arriving at the terminal upon arrival of the flight. The fare is about 12 EUR. Secondly, trains depart from Kiruna railway station to many cities not only in Sweden, but also in neighboring Norway.
The city of Kiruna is not only beautiful, but also a truly magical corner. Here, each of you will be able to feel like a hero of Andersen’s fairy tale and immerse yourself in the heady atmosphere of quiet polar nights. And let the cold weather be only a minor obstacle to a great vacation!