Welcome back to our Lapland series! As mentioned in the first article, we want to now share some more specific aspects of our trip. It is important to us that all the information we have is shared and that you get as many details as possible! So, here are some tips and tricks for planning your trip and enjoying it to the fullest while being on a budget. Lapland on a budget is possible! And here we will take you through the accommodation and tours available when visiting Kiruna’s area.
As we started to research about Lapland and going up North, we got quite surprised by the price of… everything! So, in order to give you some guidance for your next trip, we are detailing the costs that you might come across.
Note that the purpose of our trip might be different than yours! For us, it was mainly to relax and take time off. We wanted to be in nature and enjoy views, winter and new landscapes. There are a lot of cultural activities you can do as well as various tours that might not be mentioned here below.
As we began our search for “where to stay in Kiruna” we started to look at Airbnb options. It is, in fact, one of the easiest options available as we were not planning on renting a car nor traveling around. However, our search was quite disappointing. Not only there were not many options left, and for the ones left they were either very small, shared or quite far away from the city.
We do enjoy booking Airbnbs when traveling as we feel we are free to do what we want, including cooking! So hotels are rarely our first choice. But when checking the availability, in November, we were surprised to see that 75% of all accommodation was already fully booked.
So after some more research, we decided to look into camp options. We have used the website of Swedish Lapland which gathers a lot of good recommendations and found Camp Alta. To visit Lapland on a budget, camps are the best option! We could book a private cabin, for the 2 of us, just by the lake for 500 SEK per night. This price includes the 50 % discount we got when booking a tour too – more details below. The camp offers different types of cabins based on the number of visitors, but also saunas, a shared kitchen, and bathrooms.
As none of the 2-persons cabins were available for our dates, they offered us a 3-persons cabin but for the price of a 2-persons one. So, we booked it! Our cabin wasn’t big, but it was more than enough for us. We had bunk beds, an additional bed (which we used as a storage/closet for bags and clothes), a fridge, kettle, microwave, and a table.
When researching about the camps, we saw that most of them, as well as other types of accommodations, are offering tours. Initially, we were not super up for it as prices were quite high, but we have had the option of booking a tour with Camp Alta which would give us a discount on the accommodation. At this point, it made sense to get a tour through them as the cost would be reduced. And since it would be all on-site, and we did not need to travel by our own means to get there.
In general, regardless of the accommodation type, there are 3 main types of tours:
- Northern Lights Tours
- Dog-sledding Tours
- Snowmobile Tours
We did not want to book a Northern Lights tour as we knew that the camp was a great place to see them already and so we would rather experience something different. So, we’ve had two options left and we decided to go for the snowmobile tour. Mainly because by booking this tour, it would take us to a Sami family, the ice hotel and driving all over the frozen lakes.
The snowmobile tour
Visiting the Sami family was really interesting for us. They are formally nomadic people from the northern part of Scandinavia, and we felt like we could learn more about the culture and be in touch with locals. We got to feed the reindeers (which was really cool) and enjoyed a traditional meal with them while discussing all kinds of things, including the impact of technology on their traditional lifestyle.
We continued the tour and rode all the way to the world-famous Ice Hotel. There, we’ve had a limited time but still enjoyed walking around the site. And, to answer your question, we decided not to go inside. The entrance price was roughly 300 SEK (30€) each, which we thought was expensive for not being able to stay in as long as we wanted.
After the Ice Hotel, we drove back to our camp! The tour started at 9.30 AM, where we got dressed with the equipment provided, safety briefing, etc. and we came back around 16.00. Basically, a full day of fun!
Food & Groceries
Since we decided to stay in a camp, we have had to plan for our groceries. Mainly because there is no supermarket around the camp, but also because we did not want to depend on anyone to get food.
In the camp, there is a common kitchen, which can be used by all residents. The kitchen is quite large and fully equipped, with tables if you want to eat there. We usually got breakfast in our cabin to enjoy some peace and quiet, but for lunch or dinner, we would eat in the kitchen. It is much more convenient as there is no sink in the cabin and since it’s -20 degrees, you don’t really want to go back and forth all night long!
For the groceries, as the camp told us that they would meet us by the supermarket, we went to ICA, which is one of the first grocery stores you’ll see on the way. There, the prices are relatively similar to what we are used to in Stockholm. We planned our meals beforehand not to waste any time there. And we decided to go for easy to cook meals, namely pasta, stews, wraps, etc. and we could find everything we wanted in the store.
Note, that as you are traveling within Sweden, there is no alcohol to buy in the airport duty-free. So either you need to have checked-in luggage, or you need to buy “light alcohol” from the supermarket (less than 3,5% alcohol).
Transport wise, there are 2 things we can mention.
- The flights from Stockholm to Kiruna
There are direct flights, every day, from Stockholm to Kiruna. We decided to fly with Norwegian as the dates and times for the flights were fitting us better. Otherwise, SAS also flies there on a regular basis.
- Local transportation from Kiruna airport
When arriving at Kiruna airport, you can find taxis or the airport bus which can take you directly to the city center. This bus has several stops on the way.
We have arranged with the Camp that they would come to pick us up at the supermarket after doing our groceries. So, we did take the airport bus for just a couple of stops. The bus is really reliable and convenient but costly for the short ride.
Now that you know all the details of our trip to Lapland, let’s dive into some numbers. Here below we are breaking down the costs for a 3 days trip to the Swedish Lapland.
Note that we were there mid-February so right in the peak season. You might find cheaper deals if you go there at another time.