Download GPX file for this article
67.850020.2167Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Kiruna (Sami: Giron) in Norrbotten County is Sweden's northernmost city and home to 18,000 citizens. It is the centre of Kiruna Municipality, Kiruna kommun, which also includes several small villages, resorts and settlements scattered around a large wilderness area.


View over Kiruna from 2006, before the moving of the city centre

Kiruna houses the largest underground mine (iron ore) in the world, and is also known for the space research (the space centre is beyond Jukkasjärvi), 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.

At N67°49'48'' latitude, Kiruna is about 145 km north of the Arctic Circle, making it possible to experience the midnight sun and polar night there; the sun shines 24 hours a day from roughly the last week of May until the middle of July. From the first week of December until the second week of January, the sun never rises above Kiruna's horizon.

Kiruna's iron mine makes up a piece of the 500-kilometre-long Norrbotten Megasystem. The mining has caused subsidence near the town. As of the 2020s, old buildings are abandoned and demolished, and a new central district is being built 3 kilometres to the east – the town is "moving".

In 2013 some of the infrastructure for the new centre was ready and the last train left the old train station, in 2018 the new town hall was ready and the old town hall demolished in 2019. A park between the mine and the new centre will serve as a buffer.

Tourist office


Get in


By plane


SAS has direct flights from Stockholm (Arlanda) and Umeå. Also Norwegian Air Shuttle has direct flights from Arlanda.

The small 1 Kiruna Airport is a few kilometers outside the city centre. An airport bus service to the city center serves all arrivals and departures at the airport. Another option is a taxi, which should be reserved, otherwise you risk waiting a long time. Another, more hardcore option is to walk 3 km from the airport (there is only one road) until you reach the E10 highway, and take bus 501[dead link] from the stop 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


Vy operates two daily night trains, from Gothenburg and Stockholm, continuing north along the Baltic coastline, 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 the scenic route to Abisko and 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 2 Kiruna train station moved in September 2013 and is no longer in the city centre, but several kilometres away. Free shuttle buses are available to and from the bus station, with times fitted to train timetables and advertised at the bus station, the train station, and the municipal website [dead link]. The bus station is very close to the town centre. At the train station, information boards inform about the region but neither a ticket vending machines nor Wi-Fi are available, so you either have to buy tickets via mobile network or before going to the train station or for a 55 kr higher price on board.

By bus


Long distance buses serve towns and cities in Norrbotten County, such as Luleå, Gällivare, Jokkmokk, and Haparanda. Regional buses connect to Kebnekaise and Nikkaluokta, and other places.

  • 3 Kiruna bus station (near the city centre).

By car

See also: Driving in Sweden, Winter driving

Kiruna is on the E10, which is considered to be one of Sweden's most scenic roads.

It is possible to rent a car and drive to Kiruna, but it is very far away from all other major cities, the roads are quite narrow, and 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 km, Narvik 178 km, Luleå 344 km, Umeå 600 km, Stockholm 1240 km.

Get 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.

As of 2019, roads are occasionally blocked for building relocation.


Kiruna kyrka (Kiruna Church).

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.

  • 1 [formerly dead link] Hjalmar Lundbohms­gården, Ingenjörsgatan 2, +46 980-701 10. Hjalmar Lundbohm was the first manager for the mining company LKAB that is the reason why the city of Kiruna was built in the first place. This museum in his old office and home is dedicated to the early days of Kiruna and the startup of LKAB and the building of the rail road Kiruna-Narvik. 30 kr.
  • 2 Kiruna kyrka (Kiruna Church). Daily 11:00–15:45. Kiruna Kyrka is one of Sweden's largest wooden buildings and is famous for its special tent like structure. It was built 1907-1912 by architect Gustaf Wickman and was voted Sweden's best-looking church and the foremost Swedish pre-1950 construction. Free. Kiruna Church (Q1742908) on Wikidata Kiruna Church on Wikipedia
  • 3 Kiruna stadshus (The City Hall). Open daily. Stadshuset is another landmark of Kiruna, it houses the local government and often hosts various exhibitions. It also has a small but quite well renowned art collection of famous Swedish artists. Free entry.
  • 4 [formerly dead link] Samegården, Brytaregatan 14, +46 980-170 29. This hotel also hosts a small museum about Sami culture.
  • Sámi theatre (Giron Sámi Teáhter), Thulegatan 24B, . Professional theatre working based on the Sámi culture and identity, promoting the Sámi languages by raising current issues.
  • 5 Luossavaara (Walk (2 km from midtown) or bus to Föraregatan bus stop). A hill with a beautiful view over Kiruna and the mountains. In winter and spring alpine skiing with ski lifts.



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. Some other activities are also available. Pollution of the wilderness (and the city) is not appreciated; 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.

All year

  • 1 Folkets hus, Lars Janssonsgatan 17. A community centre with a cinema and a theatre.
  • 2 Kiruna mine (LKAB Visitor Center), Kiruna (the tour starts at the main square at the tourist information centre). Almost 3-hour guided tour to the iron mine takes you to the mininge company's (LKAB) visitor centre 540 metres underground. The history, as well as ongoing mining operations and Kiruna town moving due to the mine subsidence, effecting large parts of the city, is discussed. The tour can be booked in the information centre or online. The mine is part of the Norrbotten Megasystem, a 500-kilometre long industrial cluster. 410 kr per person.
  • Cinema
  • Dancing
  • Bowling
  • Gym
  • Swimming
  • Wilderness safaris





Special events



  • Stora COOP, Österleden 12. Daily 08:00 - 22:00. The biggest food store in Kiruna. Includes a pharmacy, an electronics store and a burger restaurant. (These shops are separate, with more limited opening hours.) Quite a walk from the city centre. Few local buses are available.
  • [dead link] ICA Kvantum, Österleden 2 (Quite a walk from city centre. Local buses are an option.). Daily 08:00 - 22:00.
  • ICA Nära Östlunds, Hjalmar Lundbohmsvägen 72. M-F 08:00 - 20:00, Sa Su 10:00 - 20:00. Small local store, but with a good selection. The closest food store from city centre and the camping grounds.
  • Several smaller COOP and ICA stores spread out around the city.
  • Several gas stations with long opening hours
  • Sport shops like Höjdmeter or Intersport (the store in the city centre is limited to clothing while the one next to COOP has the full range) sell (and some also rent out) alpine, cross country or backcountry ski equipment as well as equipment for other sports and clothing - especially useful if you did not bring along (enough) for the rather cold winter temperatures. Also tour operators like Camp Ripan (see in section "Sleep") or Kiruna Guidetur rent out ski equipment and very warm winter clothing they do not need for their guests. The choice is quite good for a small town.



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.



Let's face it, the nightlife in Kiruna is hardly award winning in any way. It is a rather small city that does not offer great variety. The crowds going out are most usually 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 face. 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 waterholes include Bishop Arms, a lively pub with good food and a wide selection of beer, and Landströms, a more upscale restaurant that turns into a younger crowd bar late Friday and Saturdays.

Night clubs

  • 1 Royal, Föreningsgatan 9, +46 980-185 00. For the younger crowd and thus often a little bit noisier. Sometimes they also have 30+ nights.
  • 2 Scandic Ferrum, Lars Janssonsgatan 15, +46 980-39 86 00. Used to be the main nightclub in town. These days limited opening times, with a separate smaller bar and a pool table, open daily, inside the Ferrum hotel lobby.



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


  • 1 Camp Ripan, Campingvägen 5, +46 980-630 00. Cabins, caravan parking, restaurant, activities.
  • 2 Yellowhouse, Hantverkaregatan 25, +46 980-137 50. From 170 kr/night.
  • 3 [dead link] Tommys House, Lars Janssonsgatan 2, +46 70 691 35 61. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. 3 rooms, kitchen, livingroom, WC and bathroom. 200 m from city centre. Walking distance to all the shops, restaurants and attractions. 275 kr/night, students 250 kr, bed linens for 50 kr (no sleeping bags allowed).




  • 7 Hotel Arctic Eden, Föraregatan 18, +46 980-611 86, . Offers sauna, massage, outdoor hot tub. Has restaurant and bar. Wi-Fi included.
  • 8 Scandic Kiruna, Stadshustorget 11. A hotel which opened in 2022 to replace the dismantled Ferrum hotel.

Go next

Routes through Kiruna
NarvikAbisko  NW  SE  GällivareLuleå

This city travel guide to Kiruna is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.