Lapland (Lappland in Swedish) is the northernmost and biggest region in Sweden, an area covered by snow for more than 5 months of the year.
This winter paradise with arctic climate was, and still is, a place of inspiration for many artists, due to its beautiful untouched nature and experience you get in the silence of darkness.
Lapland can be visited both in winter and summer, and you will surely get two different experiences.
Winter temperatures can drop below -40 °C, while in the summertime, despite its northern location, temperatures can go up to 25°C – 30°C.
Here are some of the reasons for visiting this amazing place.
Experience Northern Lights
Shimmering Northern lights are an unforgettable experience for everyone visiting Lapland. All you need is some patience, a clear sky and some darkness.
Best way to see the Lights is by visiting Aurora station in Abisko National park. Observatory is opened for tourists from November to April, and you can reach the Park from Kiruna or Narvik.
Another way to see the Northern Lights is by going on a snowmobile safari from the ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi.
Trip takes about 4 hours and its suitable for everyone with a licence for driving a snowmobile.
Stay in the freezing ICEHOTEL
The ICEHOTEL in the city of Jukkasjärvi is the first ice hotel in the world and attracts tourists from all over the world. The hotel is built of snow and ice from the Torne river and the architecture of the hotel changes every year. Most convenient way of reaching the hotel is from Kiruna. Airport in Kiruna is just 15 minutes away with a taxi or transfer, and 20 minutes away from Kiruna train station.
Since 2017, ICEHOTEL has been open all year round with the help of cooling technology. In the hotel there is a bar, a church and rooms for over 100 guests, a total of 5 500 square meters. The ICEHOTEL has even been named as one of Sweden’s 7 wonders!
Skiing in Lapland
Riksgränsen is Sweden’s northernmost and most legendary ski resort. The most popular mountain for off-piste skiing is Nordalsfjäll, and that’s where the Scandinavian Big Mountain Championships are held every year. There are frequent flights from Stockholm to Kiruna, from where you can take a bus or train to Riksgränsen.
At Björkliden you will find Sweden’s third highest altitude, located near the Torneträsk lake, in the western part of Kiruna municipality.
Abisko – Nuolja off piste is where you can try out heli skiing! A helicopter will take you up to the peaks nearby, and you will skii you’re way down. As for the accommodation, there are some hotels and hostels in eastern Abisko, about 4 km away.
Luossabacken is a ski resort in the center of Kiruna. This location is perfect to choose if you plan to stay in Kiruna, given that it’s only 7 minutes away by car. Up on the slopes you will get an awesome view of Kiruna and Kirunavaara.
Meet Sami People
The Sámi people are an indigenous Finno-Ugric people, today they live in Sweden, large northern parts of Norway and northern parts of Finland and also Kola Peninsula within the Murmansk Oblast of Russia.
If you want to get a glimpse of the traditional Sami lifestyle, throw “lasso” or take a ride with reindeer sled, visit a Sami village! Looking for a souvenir? Then you can buy genuine handmade Sami crafts. You should definitely try their food specialties – roasted reindeer meat prepared over the open fire and also ”suovas”, a gourmet classified food.
Don’t miss out on the colourful market in Jokkmokk which has been held since 1605, starting on the first Thursday in February. The market attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world! Distance from Kiruna to Jokkmokk is about 140km, and you can choose to travel by bus or train and the cost will be around 20-40 Euros for a one way ticket.
Take a dog sledding tour
If you like outdoor activities, then you should let Siberian Huskies drive you around this beautiful wilderness. This activity fits adults, families, couples and groups. If you are lucky, you might even get to see the northern lights under this adventure – a great bonus, right? You can choose to drive your own sled or let a guide drive the sled for you, they will gladly show you how to manage the sled and the dogs, and you’re skills will improve quickly! Dog sledding is available from mid November to the end of April. These tours are available in Kiruna, Abisko and nearby the ICEHOTEL.
Explore Abisko national park and the Kebnekaise area
In Abisko national park you can see the northern lights, discover hiking trails, take the cable car up the mountain Njullá and much more. The distance between Kiruna and Abisko is 80 km, it’s easily reached by train, bus or car from Kiruna or Narvik.
In the summertime, guided tours are available for visiting Kebnekaise mountain, so you can try out some midnight hiking. From the beginning of June the sun doesn’t go below the horizon, even at midnight. Most visitors hire a guide from STF Kebnekaise Mountain Station. Here you can find one of Sweden’s finest and most visited mountain areas!
Visit Kiruna town
Thanks to the city’s closeness to the northern arctic circle, Kiruna is a winter paradise for anyone who loves to ski, try some snowboarding, go dog sledding or maybe even try some scuba diving.
If you want to go on a daytrip, you can visit Kebnekaise, the tallest mountain in Sweden, located about 100 km from Kiruna. Kiruna is not only a mining town, it’s also a spacetown! About 4 km east from Kiruna there is a space company, called Esrange.
The world’s biggest iron mine is expanding in Kiruna and the whole world has opened their eyes for this town!
Here you can find one of Sweden’s best attractions, the popular underground tours in the display mine, LKAB Visitor Center. The mine received the highest rating in the international guidebook Lonely Planet.