Kiruna, the famous town far up north at the polar circle! What the North Sea oil is for Norway, is the Kiruna iron mine for Sweden. Kiruna is a mining town by heart, with an intricate social structure. The town is currently being re-designed to a new location due to the mine’s progress under the town. Kiruna has a technical college, an ESA satellite control station, mining firms, the European car industry’s winter car test facility on the frozen Kiruna lake, and just 20km down the river in Jukkasjärvi, the famous Ice Hotel. In short, Kiruna is set to be a place for meetings, conferences and sales trips when you’re in research, or the mining, car electronics or space technology business.
What to do
- Nordic skiiing.
- Husky trips.
- Get on top of Sweden’s highest mountaintop.
- A round of sightseeing in the Ice Hotel.
Where to stay
- Cottage and sport hotel Ripan, right on the world cup nordig skiing track. You’ll get a cottage part of your own, two minutes from the skiing track. Skis for rent at the reception. Just in case you’re skiing – sunset is at 14:00, the 16km loop takes a while, you should bring a headlamp and chocolate bars, and unfortunately, the shortest way through the racing track labyrinth in front of the hotel is the world cup racing tack, which will teach you how to use your nordic skis in a rather alpine setting, both ways up and down.
- In the Ice Hotel. It’s the original. It’s expensive. It’s cold. But actually the normal package is one night on the ice, and the rest of your time you’ll get your personal cottage, with a glass roof to watch the northern lights dance. Excellent cuisine and choice of wine. Sauna facilities inclusive for all guests.
- Walk. There are a few communal busses, too. And taxis, mainly shutteling to the airport or to Jukkasjärvi.
Where to eat
- The place of choice is the Irish Pub – O’Learys Bar & Restaurant in Föreningsgaten 11. Pretty much the only place to hang out at late in the evening. Burgers served while watching TV sports with the locals.
- If you’re up for some serious (and expensive) cuisine, then check the Ripan hotel’s restaurant. They serve reindeer steak with shitake mushrooms grown in the mine.
- Even more serious cuisine is served in the Ice Hotel’s restaurant. Scandinavian caviar on ice plates, followed by several courses of northern specialties, along with a matching wine pack.
- There is a kebab/pizza booth on Vänortstorget.
- There is a nice coffeplace in a wooden house in the lower Geologgatan. Cakes served!
- On the southern end of Vänort sqaure, you’ll find a supermarket.
- Remember the alcohol prohibition. The monopoly wine and brandy shop is called Systembolaget. Opening hours more or less like the town hall, or the post office. Earlier is better.
What to bring home
- The original plush trout (“RETURN Forelle”) is available at the reception of Hotel Ripan.