Back to the Arctic for Christmas.
On a previous visit between Sweden and Norway I took the Iron Ore line between Luleå and Narvik, The main stop on the line is Kiruna, which is a town in Northern Sweden well over 100 miles from, well, anywhere.
Kiruna exists because of the iron ore mine. Most of the employment in the town is linked to the mine, with town infrastructure and tourism following. Tourism still seems like a young industry in Kiruna but given the geography, it’s a great place to visit in winter. Whether that’s at the beginning of the season or during the polar night depends on how well you tolerate the cold and fancy seeing daylight.
Aside from existing because of the mine, Kiruna is also a town on the move. Literally. The town centre is under reconstruction, a couple of miles from its current location, and is in the process of being moved due to the mine. There’s a new city hall being built, to be followed by shops, offices and houses, and the railway station (again).
Kiruna isn’t a town to visit to stay in the centre. For accommodation it has some choice, and for eating and drinking there’s enough choice for a few days. Kiruna is a place to visit for the great outdoors; for the aurora, for dogsledding, snow mobiles, hiking, for nature.
I had six days in Kiruna which was during the Polar Night. This is a period where the sun doesn’t rise, which lasts for around two weeks here. The location means it doesn’t include total darkness all day and instead has a few hours of twilight from around 10am-2pm each day, which starts and ends with a long “sunrise” and “sunset”. Much of daytime in Kiruna during my trip was under stunning skies.
Taking in a Northern Lights trip with a photographer, an Aurora “chase”, a trip outside of the town to see some moose, and a dogsledding trip with my first time as a musher, it gave me exactly what I was looking for from Kiruna. Living in a city centre and spending most of my time in cities due to work, it’s fantastic to properly escape into remote parts. And the Arctic region is the best place for it.