By Lucy Mann, International Year at Uppsala University, 2021-2022
If you’re off to Sweden for a semester or international year abroad, I guarantee there’s one place you need to add to your bucket list and that is Swedish Lapland. Rosie and I who study at different Swedish universities, organised a trip together to visit Kiruna first hand in the snowy month of December. Wanting to get the most out of what Kiruna has to offer, we booked a 3 day wilderness tour with Taube Activity.
The adventure started with the journey from our respective universities, for Rosie this meant a 4 hour train from Lulea, and I taking the 14 hour night train from Uppsala. Although it seemed a distance to travel, the efficient and direct trains made it remarkedly easy to get to such a remote area. Upon arriving in Kiruna to a beautiful sunrise, we stepped off the train and got picked up by our tour guides, ready to be taken into the wild!
Getting to camp included a 20km journey being towed on sledges by snow mobiles and a brisk paddle across a semi-frozen river. This really gave us a perspective to what we would be facing for the next few days! When we arrived, we were told how the camp worked such as getting water from the river as there was no running water, to how to chop wood for heating the cabins and sauna. We stayed in a mixture of wooden and traditional Sami cabins which was good to experience. On top of activities to help keep camp running, we had free range in the surrounding area to do what we wished, all equipment provided. We spent the daylight hours walking through the forests with snow shoes to try spot moose and reindeers, although unfortunately didn’t see any and cross country skiing. In the dark hours, we sledged down the hills and relaxed in the sauna hoping for the Northern Lights to make an appearance. All food was provided by the hosts, with a taste of a few traditional dishes whilst listening to stories from the guides.
This experience certainly pushed both of us out our comfort zones, from travelling across Sweden to living in the middle of nowhere in freezing conditions. However, we both really enjoyed the experience, especially the ‘wildness’ part and the stunning scenery. When you search ‘what to do in Kiruna’ we may not have ticked all of Trip Advisor’s top picks, but we felt like we experienced a tiny aspect of Swedish Lapland in its true glory which we would really recommend you visit.