Welcome to a world of ice and snow! That is what you can expect during the winter in Jukkasjärvi in the far north of Sweden. Just a short drive from Kiruna, this is where you find one of Lapland’s most famous attractions and so much more.
A Short History
The name Jukkasjärvi has its origin in the Northern Sami language meaning something similar to a meeting place at the lake. This is one of the oldest villages in this part of Sweden and dates back to the 17th century. The first resident settlers in the 17th century spoke Finnish and they adapted the original name Čohkkirasjávri to one that sounded more Finnish.
For a long time of the village’s history, its only inhabitants were the families of the priest and the bell ringer. The church dates back to 1726 and it is one of the oldest buildings in the village.
The village’s main occupations during its history have been fishing and trade. Tourism has grown in recent decades and is what the village is known for today, the main attraction is the Ice hotel which was first opened in 1989.
According to the site Kiruna in Swedish Lapland, there is currently 800 inhabitants in Jukkasjärvi, but 1000 dogs.
Things to do and see in Jukkasjärvi
Jukkasjärvi might be small when it comes to population, but it has a high density of sites for visiting travelers to explore. The famous Ice hotel is just one of several attractions.
Jukkasjärvi Ice Hotel
It is hard not to start with the Ice Hotel when writing about attractions in Jukkasjärvi. The hotel is one of the most famous sights in Sweden and is the world’s first and largest hotel built of snow and ice. Each room has been created by an artist with sculptures and a bed made out of the same material as the rest of the hotel. Since its opening in 1989, it has been rebuilt every winter with new artwork.
They have more recently opened what they call Icehotel 365. This is similar to the original ice complex, but it is inside what could be considered to be a large freezer. This makes it possible to offer the ice experience all year round.
Well, this is a place that is even too cold for us to stay at during a visit. If you plan a visit, check out their webpage for further information >>
The homestead, in Swedish Hembygdsgården, is where you get up close with the history of Jukkasjärvi. Here you find some of the oldest timber buildings in the village as well as a restaurant.
Nutti Sámi Siida
After all, this is Sapmi, so there might be a need to get an understanding of what that actually means. The Nutti Sámi Siida is a Sami camp located at the outskirt of Jukkasjärvi. It was established in 1996 and is centered around the reindeer management of the Sami people.
For more information, visit their webpage >>
The church in Jukkasjärvi is the oldest still-standing church in Swedish Lapland. It is also one of the oldest buildings in Jukkasjärvi. The first parts were built already in 1607. the church was rebuilt in 1726 when the major parts were added.
The church belongs to the Church of Sweden and the Jukkasjärvi congregation is a part of the Diocese of Luleå.
How to get to Jukkasjärvi
- Flights: Kiruna Airport (KRN) is located outside nearby Kiruna and has both domestic and international flights.
- Car: The highways E10 pass by Jukkasjärvi and connects the town with Gällivare and Luleå to the southeast and Kiruna and Narvik to the west.
- Train: There is no railway station in Jukkasjärvi. In nearby Kiruna, there are a few trains per day connecting the area with other towns, especially Gällivare and Luleå. Longer routes are available to Stockholm and Narvik.
- Bus: There are regional buses connecting Jukkasjärvi with Kiruna – from where further connections are possible.
The driving distance from 5 major Swedish cities, according to Google Maps:
- Stockholm – 1229 kilometers (13 h 42 min)
- Gothenburg – 1573 kilometers (17 h 52 min)
- Malmö – 1837 kilometers (19 h 28 min)
- Linköping – 1424 kilometers (15 h 31 min)
- Kiruna – 19 kilometers (20 min)
Find out more about other destinations in Sweden by visiting our page Exploring Sweden