As the northernmost city in Sweden, situated close to the trailhead at Nikkaluokta, and with a population of about 20 000, Kiruna is well suited as a logistical center for trips to the Kebnekaise area.
The city lies between the two mountains Luossavaara and Kirunavaara, and was established to support mining operations there. Mining had been carried out during the 19th century, but it was not until the railroad between Luleå and Narvik was built at the start of the 20th century that the city was established and the mining got up to speed.
In 1964 the European Space Research Organisation (later European Space Agency, ESA) established the Esrange Space Center some 40 km east of Kiruna, which has provided employment outside of the mining industry.
While the space industry and tourism are also significant parts of the local economy, the city is still very dependent on the mining for its survival.
Kiruna is accessible by train, airplane and car.
Trains stopping in Kiruna are travelling Luleå - Narvik or Stockholm - Narvik. Due to the travel time from Stockholm, these trains have sleeping cars in addition to regular passenger cars. The train station is conveniently located close to the city center.
Flights to Kiruna Airport depart from Stockholm Arlanda, which is approximately a 2 hour flight. Airport coaches take you to the city, but timetables are dependent on the season; make sure to consider that in your plans, or be prepared to pay for taxi.
The E10 leads northwest to Narvik and southeast through Gällivare to Luleå and Haparanda on the Finnish border.
The town is fairly small, and most of the places you’ll want to get to are within walking distance of the train station. The exception is the supermarkets on the southeast edge of town, which are not conveniently accessible without a car.
There are several grocery stores in Kiruna, providing a fairly typical selection of food products. The supermarkets in the southeast part of town have slightly cheaper prices, but are more difficult to get to if you do not have a car.
Places to stay
If you need to stay overnight in Kiruna, there are several hotels and hostels.
Other things to see and do
The LKAB mine and Esrange Space Center have guided tours. In the winter, the Ice Hotel at Jukkasjärvi is worth a visit.
www.sj.se - Train tickets
www.sas.se - Plane tickets
www.ltnbd.se - Buss company
www.kirunatrafik.se/flygbuss - Information about airport buses
www.kirunalapland.se - Tourist information, booking of visits to the mine, etc.
www.icehotel.com - The ice hotel
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