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Our dear friends @proximaparadaelmundo take us today to Kiruna, a fairy tale place with maples, dog sleds, ice hotels…and northern lights!
We have fallen madly in love with Kiruna (even without knowing this destination) thanks to the great text and the fantastic photos of today’s article. How about a trip this winter? We are already looking at the landscapes, thanks guys for telling us about your experience!
Kiruna is a destination that would have probably never occurred to us to visit and even more so if we considered that they are usually at 25 degrees below zero in winter. But Javi had completed his Erasmus (European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) in Stockholm and he already knew about it. He told us it was beautiful, so we decided to organize a 4 day trip to the Swedish Lapland.
We decided to go in February, precisely the weekend after the annual Kiruna Snow Festival. With this, we made sure that there was enough snow to do everything we had planned to do, but with the advantage that the prices were lower.
Kiruna is Sweden’s northernmost city and is an hour and a half from Stockholm by plane. We spent the night in Stockholm and flew the next day to Kiruna on the first plane in the morning, there was no time to lose! The views from the plane were of a white mantle full of snow-covered forests, beautiful!
As we got off the plane we put on coat upon coat while we waited for the cars to be given to us at the airport. With the best clothes to endure the cold that awaited us outside, around 26 degrees below zero, we began the adventure.
The first thing that caught our attention and which of course is an adaptation to those harsh winters, is that the cars have a heating inside in the copilot zone that is activated when you park, plug the car to the poles that are in practically all the car parks as if it were an electric car. This prevents the car from freezing while parked, and believe me when I tell you, it’s better to plug it in if you want it to start.
Our days in Kiruna were going to be incredible, everything was white and covered by snow, they looked like woodlands taken from a Christmas story, it was cold, yes! but well wrapped all that remained was to enjoy the wonderful scenery.
Our plans in Kiruna were to visit a Sami village, we did it with Nutti Sámi Siida, there we could see reindeer up close and feed them, get to know their customs, and taste their delicious gastronomy (reindeer meat and vegetable cream) to the heat of a good bonfire inside a typical teepee.
In addition, this town is close to our next stop which was the Ice Hotel or ICEHOTEL.
This hotel is a work of art carved in ice altogether, you can stay in it, but be prepared to pay a good amount of money if you want to do so in the ice rooms and get a little cold despite the tough skins and thermal overalls that make you sleep. Although if you are still thinking of staying there but don’t want to get cold they also have a “hot” area with normal rooms, not as nice as any of the ones you can visit on ice.
Among the activities that we had planned to do, if the weather allowed it, was to see the Northern Lights, and although we were not very lucky since the 2 nights were cloudy, if we could see them in some areas which were not so dense with small clouds reflections of them but without the bright colours. The best area to see it in Kiruna is in the mountain station of Atisbo, although we have to inform you of the weather conditions before going because if there is a lot of wind ( like it happened to us the day we went) they don’t open the station. The area is high and beautiful and they also have a hotel where you can order a dinner plan and aurora sighting.
And for the end we left one of the activities that all of us wanted to do, which was to use the means of transport that they used and in some areas they still use; to enter a sled pulled by dogs.
Since we promote responsible tourism, we tried to find a company that respected animals and took their animals into account not as a means of transport but as living beings which they are, and we came across Snowdog.
The activity with them was incredible and we met the owner himself, a crazy lover of his work and in love with his dogs as well as his staff, volunteers who had decided to work at low temperatures but in the heat of their furries.
We made a trip through the forest and an icy lake that was one of the best routes I have ever made through snow. In the sled there were two people and 5 dogs, at first we were scared because we didn’t know if it was going to be easy and unaware on how to drive these sleds without having a lot of experience, but before starting they showed us how to drive it what you should and shouldn’t do, and above all what you have to be careful so that your dogs don’t suffer.
Result. An unforgettable experience and beautiful photos to remember.
And to complete our trip, we followed the instructions of our friend from Snowdog in pursuit of moose. And the best thing is that we found them! We managed to see 5 specimens through the woods. It was a rush of intense adrenaline to find them wild, quietly, eating whatever grows under the snow.
My camera froze and I wasn’t able to take pictures with it, so the only picture I have is with my cell phone.
Recommendations. If you want to enjoy yourself, don’t hesitate to wear the right clothes, the Decathlon boots which they say can resist up to -16ºC are not good enough, if you really want to be warm and not feel your feet freezing, rent clothes there or take advantage of the offers available at the outlet of good brands and wear boots which can resist up to -30º. We got a Columbia for 45€ that saved us from freezing, it’s worth including it as a travel expense, in the end it’s the difference between enjoying or being at home and in the car all the time.
What we would recommend you to buy in the Decathlon are some hand warmers, you can also buy them in pharmacies. They are usually disposable and can be worn inside the glove to keep the hands warmer.
Another suggestion is that if you are doing the sled activity please look for a responsible tourist spot, they are living beings, not inert cars. They feel, they suffer, they get hurt, … please pay attention to the instructions.
Thank you very much.
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