Kiruna, Sweden’s Arctic Lapland

1300km North of Stockholm lies the city of Kiruna. With a population just 20,000 it sits in the middle of Norrlands wilderness. Built around a mining community at the end of the 1800’s the city was designed with the time’s foremost experts with architecture and community planning. Kiruna was the first Swedish community with a city planned around the climate. The streets were designed to follow the terrain in an irregular pattern in order to curb the Arctic winds. The city is also built on the side of a mountain, which means higher temperatures. Despite its northerly location the city centre temperature rarely drops below -20.During the winter months the city is plunged into darkness as the sun barely gets chance to show itself. Even so, the city is far from dark. A combination of the moon & stars reflecting off the snow give a beautiful glow to Kiruna and not forgetting the extraordinary Northern Lights which crackle across a cloudless evening sky.Just an hour and half’s drive away is the Abisko Mountain Station considered as the best place on earth to view the Northern Lights. With its fresh clean air and its practically cloud free skies the conditions for seeing the lights are optimal. More or less aurora occurs every night but to detect it the skies have to be dark. The period from September to March is best time of year.Kiruna is also home to the unique Ice Hotel which gets rebuilt year after from the ice of the local Torne river. With its ice sculptures and fine works of art the Ice Hotel is truly an experience that should not be missed.Snow and ice are a big feature in Kiruna and there’s plenty of it! Families seeking snow, Santa Claus and winter activities need look no further, as the city caters well for people wanting to make the most of this unique and snowy landscape. With a large range of activities ranging from dog sledging, snowmobile tours, cross country skiing, wild moose safari’s, northern light tours, hunting, ice fishing, ice sculpting & the Ice hotel to mention but a few, there’s really something of interest for everyone!This is also true of Kiruna’s accommodation with many interesting types available. As well as a good choice of comfortable hotels and guest houses, Kiruna also offers a choice of original and exclusive ideas such as the Ice Hotel, Wilderness cabins, lodges, igloos and traditional wig wams.The city centre also offers a good selection of shops and restaurants, so your able to take time out from your winter activities if you wish. You’ll find a good selection of local handy crafts most of which are designed by the local Sami population, who incidentally herd all the reindeer in the area.Despite it’s location getting to Kiruna is surprisingly easy. With daily flights by SAS Airlines and an overnight train from Stockholm, it’s within easy reach no matter where you’re travelling from.