Difference between revisions of "Kiruna"
Revision as of 17:21, 15 November 2012
Kiruna houses the largest underground mine (iron ore) in the world and is also known for the Satellite/Space projects, the Sámi culture, the long winters, the modern town planning, the beautiful church and town hall, the Icehotel 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 will shine 24h a day between roughly the last week of May until the middle of July. And also that the opposite happens in the winter, from the first week of December until the second week of January, Kiruna has zero hours of sunlight per day. However, this doesn't mean that it's completly dark the whole days. When the night is the longest, there is daylight/twilight for around one hour during midday.
The Kiruna Municipality includes several small villages and settlements scattered around a rather large wilderness area approximately the size of Slovenia. The biggest and most visited includes: Jukkasjärvi, Abisko, Karesuando and Vittangi.
SAS  has direct flights to Kiruna (also via Umeå) from Stockholm Arlanda. Especially students and youths (under the age of 26) can find cheap tickets with SAS. Barents AirLink (Nordkalottflyg)  has flights from Luleå.
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.
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).
The train station in Kiruna is located about 400m from the city centre so a walk is very much possible, everything from the station is uphill all of the way.
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. Speed limits are low and speeding tickets high. 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. The road distances from Kiruna are: Gällivare(closest city) 115km, Luleå 344Km, Umeå 600Km, Stockholm 1240Km
* Kiruna Taxi, ☎ 0980-12020, .
In Kiruna City
One of Sweden's oldest intact wooden buildings, it's oldest part dates back from 1607. The church and famous for its altar painting and exquisite handicrafted organ.
During Summers there is an ice exhibition in a large freeze house. However this exhibition is not open every year. In summer 2008 will be no exhibition.
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 similiar 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 enviroment in its best condition.
This section is under construction, as all the other.
There are certain dates when special things happen in Kiruna:
Don't miss any of the local specialities consisting of various forms of reindeer meat that can be found in almost any foodplace, 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.
As a gateway to northern Sweden, Kiruna offers many opportunities for a good nights sleep despite its small size.
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 most would never 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.