When it comes to winter wonderlands, Kiruna might just be one of the best places to experience it. Nestled near the arctic circle, deep in the North of Sweden. Although it seems like a place like that would be deserted, it’s not. It’s a pretty active but small mining town in Lapland, with a population of 17,000. It’s quite the hustling and bustling city, one that we had always looked forward to visiting!
In this post, we’ll be doing a complete rundown of our trip to Kiruna and what it’s really like, going all the way to the arctic circle.
We wanted to experience winter in its full glory in Kiruna, and since winters can be particularly harsh here, it’s important to plan and book everything way ahead of time. We contacted Kiruna AB Tours around 4 months before our travel dates. Got in touch with them in September, and the tour was set for late December. It’s important to book well in advance, so there aren’t any problems throughout the trip!
Day 1 (25 Dec): The Journey to the Starting line
Our journey began at Halmstad, which is in the South of Sweden. So, we took SJ railways’ sleeper train and then began the journey from Halmstad all the way to Kiruna train station.
The adventure honestly starts at this point. Throughout the train ride, you can see the landscape change, and it’s a really special sight. Plus, because it’s a sleeper train, you’re going to be traveling through the night and can actually get some rest before things kick into high gear once you get there!
Day 2 (26 Dec): Arrival at Kiruna
Once we arrived at Kiruna, the touring company had arranged our transfer from the Kiruna Train Station, which just made things a lot more convenient because we didn’t have to worry about finding a ride or the way to the hotel right in the middle of the winter wonderland. Plus, we got warm clothes for the stay to keep us from freezing over.
We got to our first location here, the “Ice Hotel.” This began our journey of “firsts.” Our room was an ice room, and this wasn’t an understatement. The room was literally ice! It got down to -5C! Despite the icey-feel, the room was comfortable and great, and we slept like babies in our sleeping bags!
The best part here was the fact that we also got access to the ice church on the premises and the private sauna with snacks (with a fee) for 2 hours. We were able to really relax and get our bearings that way as we’d been under freezing temperatures for over a day at that point. It made for a great night!
Day 3 (Dec 27): Intro to the adventure
We didn’t really come all this way to sleep and stay in a sauna, so Day 3 was all about getting out there and experiencing what the whole place was all about! So we had breakfast and checked out by 9:30; by 10:00, we were already at the Dogsled Lapland experience!
That was one of the most whimsical experiences ever! We got to go right through the forests and lakes in the area. What made the experience even more special was that the dogs were even more excited than we were! Plus, we also got to have amazing bread and stew in the middle of nowhere. Probably the best we’ve ever had!
After we were done, which was around 19:00 by then, we got a transfer to the Igloo Camp, which was our hotel for the night, and checked in.
There, we got the Aurora Colosseum tour and had an amazing dinner in the riverside dining room, both of which were incredible experiences, even though they didn’t involve much adventure. We also had the chance to use the log sauna all to ourselves.
During the night, we slept in an igloo camp, which was also a super fan experience because it got to -17C because of the frozen river Torne. We had our thermals and slept on reindeer mats, so we were still warm through the night, but if you’re claustrophobic, you might not have that great of a time inside the compact igloo, so keep that in mind.
Day 4 (Dec 28): The adventure continues
By day 4, we were locked and loaded to get going. So we got breakfast at the igloo hotel and then checked out.
By 9:15, we were on our way to the city again!
It took us until 10:00 to get to our snowmobile tour. With that, we got to check out the frozen lakes and the hills and basically made our way through the Laplands in the best way you possibly could!
After that, we had lunch at the grill hut as the place where we salmon stew was served – classic!
Later in the day, we checked into Hotel Spis and had dinner in the restaurant there – the food was nothing short of sumptuous. You don’t really need a reservation here; you can just pay on the spot, which is what we did too.
This was a particularly chilly day since we spent most of it on snowmobiles, but the room at the hotel was so warm that we didn’t even feel like we were staying in the middle of a wonderland!
Day 5 (Dec 29): Winding it up
We got up a little late because it was just far too cozy to leave the room in the morning, but we got up just before breakfast hours ended. We had the most delicious breakfast and checked out about an hour later.
This was our last day in Kiruna, so we just hung out in the area, taking in the views, getting some last-minute photos, and just making those last memories that we wanted to without having the “next place for the day” on our minds.
By late noon, we got ourselves a couple of hot chocolates and got our transfer to the Kiruna Train station, where we took another sleeping train back out of the city!
Day 6 (Dec 30): Going Home
Once our train ride ended, we got our flight back home and made it back by the end of day 6! We were exhausted by the time we got home, but the memories we made along the way were so worth the effort.
The Dream Trip to Kiruna
This vacation was unlike anything we had ever done before, and because of the extremely remote location and weather conditions, we couldn’t have done it ourselves. I’m really thankful to AB Kiruna for setting up everything, so we just had to get there and have a grand time, and that’s exactly what we did!