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Travel Guide Europe Sweden Kiruna

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Introduction

Kiruna, Church

Kiruna, Church

© All Rights Reserved Gelli

Kiruna is a city in the central north of Sweden. It is the northernmost city in the country and has about 18,000 inhabitants (23,000 in the municipality). It is the centre of Kiruna Municipality, Kiruna kommun, which also includes several small villages, resorts and settlements scattered around a large wilderness area.

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, and the easy access to the wilderness and adventures of northern Lapland.

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Sights and Activities

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.

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. Pollution of the wilderness (and the city) is not liked: it's illegal in Sweden to litter. So be sure to not leave trash behind you in the fells, etc. It also keeps the environment in its best condition.

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Getting There

By Plane

There are flights to/from Kiruna Airport with Norwegian Air Shuttle to Stockholm and with Scandinavian Airlines to Lulea and Stockholm.

The small Kiruna Airport is located a few kilometers outside the city centre, 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. During high season there is usually no problems since an airport bus is available then. Another option is to walk 1.2 kilometres 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.

By Train

Swedish State Railways 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 destruction of the town centre by spreading of mining areas, the Kiruna train station 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 Car

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 road distances from Kiruna are: Gällivare (closest city) 115 kilometres, Narvik 178 kilometres, Luleå 344 kilometres, Umeå 600 kilometres, Stockholm 1,240 kilometres.

By Bus

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

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Getting Around

The city is small, and most attractions are within walking distance. Still, be sure to dress for the season, even for a short walk.

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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.

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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! Friday and Saturday are the main days for going out, but Wednesdays ("little Saturday") can sometimes get lively as well.

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.

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Sleep

Kiruna offers many opportunities for a good nights sleep despite its small size.

View our map of accommodation in Kiruna or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet is widely stretched out in a very modern way and you can find 3G network (and soon 4G as well) almost everywhere, though in the higher northern parts and in the mountains it is of course harder or impossible.

The number of WiFi access points are growing and fast food chains, libraries, hotels, cafés and malls and others may offer free wireless internet access. Fixed terminals where you can pay for internet access exist as well, although many libraries can provide the same service for free. Some buses for longer distances have free wifi and most of the trains do have it as well but at cost sometimes.

Almost every household does have internet and it is fast and modern. You barely see any internet cafés because of the influence by high-tech phones with internet access and the cheaper and more comfortable internet at home, but there are some places like Pressbyrån that offers computers with internet access (not free).

Phone

See also: International Telephone Calls

The general emergency number is 112. Sweden's international calling code number is +46. Payphones are available (however extremely rare), with older models only accepting cards (special smartchip phone cards as well as credit cards), and newer models that accept coins. Collect calls are possible by dialing 2# on a pay phone.

Sweden has excellent wireless GSM and 3G/UMTS coverage, even in rural areas except in the central and northern interior parts of the country. The major networks are Telia, Tele2/Comviq, Telenor and 3 (Tre). Swedish GSM operates on the European 900/1800 MHz frequencies. You can choose to buy a local SIM card or bring your own cellphone. Be careful for roaming costs though and try to use wifi only.

Prepaid USB 3G modems can be bought in many shops. They are a good alternative to WiFi in Sweden. They cost around 100 SEK/week and 300 SEK/month to use. Data limits are high (typically 20 GB/month). The prepaid 3G data package of the provider 3 bought in Sweden can be used in Denmark without incurring any roaming charge. It is, however, not possible to buy refill vouchers for this products in Danish stores.

Post

Posten AB is the Swedish postal service, with fast and reliable services. They have a wide range of services including a track and trace system and different options regarding the sending of postcards, letters and parcels. There are both express and economy services and if you are not in a hurry the latter option is fine enough.

The postal service was abandoned at the public post offices in 2001. The public today deals with its postal business at Postal Service Points. Mail and parcels can now be picked up at a number of places, including gas stations, supermarkets and kiosks. Look for the blue and yellow sign above or by the entrance of outlets providing this service. You can also buy stamps and there are quite a few more services in these places, many of which stay open late in the evening and on weekends. Yellow post boxes are for national and international letters and blue for regional letters. Postal Service Centres are maintained for business clients and Svensk Kassaservice, a chain which deals with simple financial transactions but offers no postal services. There are also traditional post offices offering the full range of services. They are usually open between 9:30am and 6:00pm and may have extended opening hours once or twice a week.

One of their competitors is Bring Citymail AB, formerly privatised but now nationalised by Norway. Otherwise, for sending parcels internationally, try and use international companies lik TNT, DHL, UPS or FedEx.

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Accommodation in Kiruna

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Kiruna searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Kiruna and areas nearby.

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This is version 6. Last edited at 6:47 on Oct 12, 17 by Utrecht. 5 articles link to this page.

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