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Kiruna Travel Guide

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The church in Kiruna © Bermax

Sweden's northernmost city and home to around 20,000 people, Kiruna is located in the Lappland province and has gained recognition as the closest city to Jukkasjärvi. Indeed, Jukkasjärvi is the location of the world-famous Ice Hotel which is perched on the edge of the Torne River and attracts thousands of tourists from across the world each year.

The city is also home to the famous Kiruna Church, which was built in a Gothic Revival architectural style. Interestingly, the altar reflects an Art Nouveau design. It was constructed in 1912 and is one of Sweden's largest wooden buildings, even voted the country's best looking church.

What was once a sleepy mining town has now become a bustling hive of activity during the winter months when Kiruna hosts the annual Snow Festival, Although the city's population has not grown dramatically over the last few decades, it still sees throngs of travellers and tourists passing through each year to enjoy the festivities. This is in addition to the annual summer Kiruna Festival and, of course, the famous Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi.

Located 124 miles (200km) inside the Arctic Circle and seven and a half miles (12km) from Kiruna Airport, the amazing Ice Hotel was first opened in 1990. The hotel is built anew each year, usually around mid-November, when ice is collected from the Torne River and moulded into magnificent bricks, sculptures, ice furniture, and a bar. The Ice Hotel is open to day visitors throughout the winter season.

Visitors can enjoy winter activities like dog-sledding and hunting in Kiruna and the surrounding countryside, as well as experiencing the local Sami culture. Kiruna is also one of the best places in Sweden to see the Northern Lights. Summer in Kiruna offers a host of outdoor activities, including hiking, canoeing, river-rafting, cave exploration, and expeditions to view the famous Midnight Sun.

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