Shop my Scandinavia guide with 200+ tips and map

Experience the arctic: Swedish Lapland adventures on a budget

Swedish Lapland adventures on a budget

Experience the magic of Swedish artic winter with a Swedish Lapland tour to Kiruna and Jukkasjärvi. 90degreesnorth AB offers authentic Swedish Lapland adventures and customizable itineraries on a budget. Whether you’re dreaming of dogsledding in the arctic, riding snowmobiles across frozen lakes, or taking a cold dip in a frozen lake, keep reading for all the best things to in Swedish Lapland.

Ever since I moved to Sweden, visiting Swedish Lapland in the winter has been at the top of my bucket list. I always imagined would be complicated, expensive, and inconvenient, so I kept putting it off. Now nearly four years later, I’ve finally made it to Lapland and it was truly one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ travel experiences – exactly how I imagined it would be.

After doing a lot of research about the best way to visit Lapland, I quickly realized that taking a Swedish Lapland tour was essential to get the best experience possible. 90degreesnorth AB is an affordable tour company offering group and custom trips to Lapland on a budget, as well as other northern destinations in the Nordics. They make visiting Lapland both affordable and accessible by arranging customizable trips for you to experience Swedish Lapland.

Keep reading to discover more of my Lapland tips, and to learn more about 90degreesnorth and Lapland tour offerings.

This post is in collaboration with 90degreesnorth AB, but as always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Camp Alta in Swedish Lapland
Snowmobiling in Swedish Lapland

Swedish Lapland tour: About 90degreesnorth AB

90degreesnorth is a company founded by former students whose goal is to make Swedish Lapland adventures both affordable and accessible for everyone. They offer both customizable group and private tours to Lapland on a budget, and other northern Nordic locations, to help you experience the unique local cultures.

You can read more about their offerings here.

Where to stay in Swedish Lapland

If you’re planning to visit Swedish Lapland in the winter, staying nearby either Kiruna or Jukkasjärvi provides a great base for all the best Lapland experiences.

Where to stay in Kiruna: For a local and affordable accommodation in Kiruna, I’d recommend staying at Camp Alta. Here, you can stay in a small cabin and there are accommodation types for different budgets, ranging from budget cabin with shared facilities, to larger cabins with private facilities. Onsite at the campsite, you can enjoy free amenities like a sauna and ice fishing, and they also offer rentals for winter activities like cross-country skiing, as well as clothing rentals.

Camp Alta, Kiruna
Camp Alta, Kiruna

Things to do in Swedish Lapland in the winter

Take a snowmobile tour in Kiruna

When you visit Swedish Lapland in the winter, the best way to get around is the way the locals do – by snowmobile. Getting anywhere in the winter by car can take time, but with a snowmobile you can drive across frozen lakes and through forests, experiencing the barren landscapes of arctic winter.

The best way to experience this is through a snowmobile tour. While in Lapland, 90degreesnorth arranged for us to take a snowmobile tour from Kiruna to Jukkasjärvi and back. With only three hours of daylight in December, we took off in the morning over a frozen lake and through forest trails toward Jukkasjärvi where we spent time exploring the town. In the afternoon, we headed back to Kiruna in the dark through the snow-covered forests. It was really magical.

Snowmobile tour in Jukkasjärvi
Snowmobile tour in Jukkasjärvi

Visit the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi

You can’t visit Swedish Lapland without seeing the famous Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi – the first Icehotel in the world. Year-round you can visit the Icehotel 365 which features rooms in a temperature-controlled environment. Here you can tour the different rooms, learn about the artists, and have a drink at the Icebar.

From December to April, you can also visit the Icehotel Winter, which is a temporary seasonal installation built completely out of snow and ice from the Torne River. At the end of the season, this installation melts back down into the river, to be reconstructed again the following winter season by new artists.

Tours to the Icehotel are open to the public. While visiting Jukkasjärvi on a snowmobile tour with 90degreesnorth, we were able to purchase tickets and were given time to tour the Icehotel.

Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi
Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi

Learn about Swedish Sami culture at Nutti Sámi Siida

Nutti Sámi Siida is an open-air Sámi museum where you can learn about the culture and traditions of the Swedish Sámi people. On the museum grounds you can visit and feed the reindeer and learn about herding traditions. And then head into the traditional onsite restaurant to enjoy a delicious reindeer burger with local flavours like cloudberry.

Visiting Nutti Sámi Siida requires purchasing a museum ticket. While on our snowmobile tour to Jukkasjärvi with 90degreesnorth, we were given time to visit the museum and have lunch.

Another spot that should not be missed in Jukkasjärvi is the Jukkasjärvi church, which is a beautiful traditional Sámi wooden church built in the early 1600s.

Sami museum in Jukkasjärvi
Jukkasjärvi Church

Go dog sledding through forests in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden

Dogsledding is one of the best experiences you can have in Swedish Lapland and is a big part of the local culture. However, when visiting the area, knowing where to go to dog sled is important to make sure you have a good experience. While in Kiruna, 90degreesnorth arranged a tour for us to visit ­­­­­­­Jukkasjärvi Vildmarksturer AB to go dogsledding through the Swedish forest.

Here you have the option to either go dogsledding on your own or with a guide. And you can learn all about the dogsledding traditions in the area. The owner, also called a musher, of Jukkasjärvi Vildmarksturer told us all about how he competes across Lapland with his dogs in races up to 150 kilometres. He introduced us to his dogs, telling us their names, roles, and what makes them each unique. The dogs were so excited to run as we sledded through the forest at sunset.

Dog sledding in Swedish Lapland

Take a cold dip in the lake – and then hop in the sauna

Taking a dip into an ice-cold lake is a must while in the arctic. If you’re staying that the Camp Alta campsite, where 90degreesnorth arranges accommodations for visitors, you can do this right onsite in their sauna. The feeling is exhilarating!

Instead of carving a hole in the lake at Camp Alta, they have a floating sauna atop the frozen lake where they have constructed an opening in the floor. In the hole lies a chamber where you can safely take a cold dip and submerge yourself directly from inside the sauna. 

Cold plunge in Swedish Lapland
Sauna in Swedish Lapland

Go on an Abisko northern lights tour

One of the highlights of visiting Swedish Lapland in the winter is the chance to see the northern lights. While seeing the lights is never guaranteed, there are some things that you can do to increase your chances. One of the best things to do is to book a local tour guide. These guides have knowledge of the best viewing spots, and can also provide you transportation needed to get to these viewpoints.

90degreesnorth arranged for us to take a tour with Polara Arctic Adventures out to Abisko National Park. While we were in Lapland in December, it was quite cloudy where we were staying in Kiruna. However, Abisko is a microclimate which meant we had a higher chance of seeing the lights from there. Our tour guides drove us out to their favourite viewpoints in Abisko, and with a little patience, we were able to see the northern lights dance across the sky.

Northern lights in Abisko

Try out arctic winter sports

Winter in Swedish Lapland is the best time to try out winter spots, like cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. While many places across the region off equipment rentals, we were able to rent cross-country skis from our campsite and try them out of the frozen lake.

Cross-country skiing in Lapland
Snowmobile tour in Jukkasjärvi

Swedish Lapland packing list

Are you wondering what to wear in Swedish Lapland in the winter? It isn’t a secret that Lapland is cold in the winter, which means that having the proper clothing is key to help you stay warm. Here’s my Lapland packing list:

  • Base layers: Ideally in breathable merino wool, including a long sleeve shirt, long johns, and socks
  • Insulated waterproof boots
  • Wool sweater as a second layer
  • Durable tights or pants
  • Wool socks
  • Waterproof gloves
  • Warm hat and scarf
  • Insulated waterproof jacket and snow pants
  • Headlamp help you navigate in the darkness

If you’re like me and don’t have all these items in your wardrobe, there are plenty of options for equipment rentals in Swedish Lapland. For some activities, like dog sledding or snowmobiling, you will often have the possibility to rent or loan warm outer layers.

The great thing about visiting with a tour company is that they can help arrange for you to rent warm clothing. I focused on packing warm base layers and 90degreesnorth connected us with Camp Alta for clothing rentals, including warm boots and a snowsuit.

Coat for Swedish Lapland

Looking for a map of things to do in Scandinavia?

I have spent over three years exploring hidden gems all across Sweden, Denmark and Norway, tasting the best of Nordic cuisine, and inspiring others to visit the Scandinavia. Inspired by my slow, sustainable Scandinavian lifestyle, here you’ll find almost 250 of my top tips to help you explore my home a bit deeper and more authentically.