The Polar Express to Swedish Lapland

The Polar Express to Swedish Lapland

This truly wonderful holiday begins in Stockholm, before taking the overnight journey by rail northwards into Swedish Lapland.

You'll love exploring Sweden’s capital city which is beautifully situated over 14 islands connected together by 57 bridges.  You'll find the city full of charm and atmosphere, old and new; for example Gamla Stan, the old city, is one of the largest and best preserved medieval city centres in Europe and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The whole of Gamla Stan and the adjacent island of Riddarholmen feel like a living, pedestrian-friendly museum, full of sights, attractions, restaurants, cafes, bars and places to shop...all with that 'olde worlde' atmosphere.  With a crisp chill in the air and fresh snow sitting on the rooftops,  there are few places more magical.

Your overnight train, or ‘norrlandståget’ (northern train), from Stockholm to Luleå is a romantic (yes, we did say romantic!) way of making your long journey northwards to Lapland.  Your train leaves Stockholm during the early evening and arrives into Luleå the following morning.  But don't worry, you don't have to sleep in your seat - we have reserved a comfortable 2-berth sleeper compartment especially for you with shower and WC either in the compartment itself or available in the corridor.  You'll also find a buffet car on board serving simple meals and drinks though we think it is more exciting to travel like the Swedes and buy your own 'train picnic' in Stockholm before departure!

This is a really lovely winter holiday adventure full of experiences.

Rail journey, 6 nights

Prices from: £1285

To book, call us on:

01274 875 199

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Day 1

Arrive Stockholm Arlanda Airport.  Take either the Arlanda Express airport train or a taxi to your hotel (not included).  You have the remainder of the day free to explore Sweden's beautiful capital city and find yourself a cosy restaurant where you can indulge your taste buds!

1 night STOCKHOLM - Clarion Hotel Sign (B)

Day 2

Another full day in Stockholm to explore before departing at 2240 by overnight train to the northern city of Luleå, beautifully located overlooking the Lule Bay and the Gulf of Bothnia.  A two-berth sleeper compartment has been reserved for your journey by 'Polar Express'.


Day 3

Your train arrives into Luleå at 1201.  Make your way to your hotel and check-in.  You now have the rest of the day to explore the city, relax in your hotel's lovely spa (charges apply) or take part in one of our featured 'Ice Road' activities.

2 night LULEÅ - Clarion Hotel Sense (B)

Day 4

Full day in Luleå to explore further and take advantage of an array of fun and exciting excursions (see Excursions tab).

Day 5

Your journey northwards continues by train, departing from Luleå at 1107.  You now cross the Arctic Circle and travel deeper into the wilderness of Swedish Lapland.  Your train arrives into Kiruna at 1509 where you are met by a representative from Ripan and transferred to your accommodation.  Camp Ripan also has a superb spa, which we thoroughly recommend, and a wide variety of optional excursions, including Northern Lights hunting (see Excursions tabl for more details).

2 nights KIRUNA - Camp Ripan (B)

Day 6

Explore the area surrounding Kiruna, the centre of the town is a short walk from Camp Ripan and will give you an insight into community life. 

Day 7

Included transfer from Camp Ripan to Kiruna Airport for your return flight to the UK.

Departure Days: Daily from the UK
Departure Dates:
December 2016 - April 2017
6 nights

Prices: based on two people travelling together and sharing a double/twin room and 2-berth compartment.

Dep. Dates Price from
per person
Dec 2016 - Apr 2017 £1285


Price includes:

  • Scheduled flights from the UK to Stockholm Arlanda Airport and from Kiruna Airport to the UK including taxes.
  • 1 night at the Clarion Hotel Sign based on a standard double/twin room including buffet breakfast.
  • Overnight rail journey from Stockholm to Luleå based on a First Class private rail compartment with shower and WC.
  • 2 nights at the Clarion Hotel Sense in Luleå based on a standard double/twin room including buffet breakfast.
  • Rail journey from Luleå to Kiruna based on second class reserved seats.
  • Transfer from Kiruna Station to Camp Ripan.
  • 2 nights at Camp Ripan based on a cabin room for two people including shower and WC and buffet breakfast.
  • Transfer to Kiruna Airport from Camp Ripan.

Clarion Hotel Sense ****

Clarion Sense Hotel, Lulea, Sweden

Stylish, atmospheric and comfortable are just a few ways to describe Clarion Hotel Sense. As its name suggests, this centrally located hotel works to heighten all of your senses: sight, touch, smell, taste and sound. Each floor is dedicated to a particular season and you will be able to see this through the tasteful decor. All rooms are equipped with modern facilities, including high-speed internet and flat screen TV. If you would like to truly indulge during your time here then head to the spa where you will be able to relax and choose from a variety of different treatments. On an evening the top floor offers a laid-back yet high quality bar and restaurant, and everyone who stays at the Sense will experience one of the best buffet breakfasts in the whole of Sweden!

Camp Ripan

Camp Ripan, Kiruna, Sweden

This accommodation is nothing to do with camping! Camp Ripan is situated with the city of Kiruna on one side and the unspoilt Swedish wilderness on the other and comprises of a main 'lodge' building which houses the reception desk, lounge area, restaurant and Northern Lights bar/lounge and a number of adjacent chalet rooms which are stylishly decorated and extremely comfortable - especially after a day out in the chilly Arctic climate.

On entering the main building you first see a very large and welcoming stove fire with a number of comfortable sofas on which to relax. A flight of stairs on your left takes you up to another lounge area with huge picture windows looking at the open sky - perfect for spotting the Northern Lights. Back downstairs in the entrance area there is also a shop which sells a selection of outdoor clothing and accessories and is also where you can hire snowshoes and skis if you would like to explore independently.  Next to the reception desk you will find a fully stocked bar that leads in to their large, stylish restaurant which has something of a reputation for the high standard of its cuisine. It is here that all meals are served, including their substantial buffet breakfast.

The chalet rooms come in three styles and sizes all with en suite shower and WC; Giron (large with two bedrooms areas, the main bedroom having twin beds which can be together or separate and a separate bedroom with bunk beds, mini-kitchenette, dining table), Kiruna (sleeps 2 in a king-size bed and has a sofa bed in the same room for children, No kitchenette) and Rievssat (simple twin bedded rooms with separated beds).  All rooms have private shower and WC, cable TV, telephone and free WiFi. Cross-country skis, snowshoes, kick-sleds and warm clothing/boots can all be hired, and toboggans are available free of charge.

But it is Ripan Spa that will catch the eye of many guests! The spa has several types of saunas and steam rooms, plus massage showers, freezing-cold 'wake up' showers, foot soaks and an indoor spa bath and outdoor hot tub. Guest can choose to purchase a Sauna Bucket (please note, this is included with some of our holidays) which is stocked with a full range of organic products based on natural, local ingredients with an instruction booklet of how and when to use them as you move through the spa's various sections. Suzel and Margaret particularly enjoyed testing the spa's facilities for our guests!  The spa is located in a separate building and guests are given a towel and bathrobe when they enter the spa from the reception desk. Healthy light snacks and drinks are also available to purchase whilst lounging in the spa's relax area.

Clarion Hotel Sign, Stockholm ****

Clarion Hotel Sign, Stockholm

Stockholm's largest hotel is located in the heart of Stockholm city adjacent to the Central Station and Arlanda Express facing the Norra Bantorget Square. The hotel is brand new, built in 2008, and is a spectacular building dominated by granite and glass, leaning over the square reflecting the green park. The hotel has a wonderful restaurant, contributed by renowed chef Marcus Samuelsson. The eighth floor of the hotel holds Selma CitySpa where you can indulge yourself in the sauna, gym, spa with a spa treatment and/or in the heated outdoor pool, all with a fantastic view of Stockholm. All rooms are non-smoking and have TV, telephone, hair dryer, Internet access and some of the most comfortable beds we have ever slept in in the whole of Scandinavia! Lift to all floors.


Who is this holiday suitable for?
It is actually suitable for anyone although it will especially appeal to those who do not want to spend all of their holiday in one place but would rather explore a few places and use local transportation between them.  The three featured destinations are all rather important in their own right.  Obviously Stockholm, being Sweden's capital, is her main city and is a delightful blend of Scandinavian and Baltic.  Luleå is the largest city in Sweden's Arctic region and is the last spot of civilisation before the great expanse of Arctic wilderness.  And Kiruna is perhaps one of Swedish Lapland's most famous winter destinations, also known for it's mining history and enormous variety of outdoor snow-based activities.

Are the compartments on the overnight train comfortable?
Yes, they are very comfortable and most people will have a private shower and WC in their own private compartment or alternatively in the corridor outside.  The trains have a buffet car where you can purchase something to eat in the morning prior to arriving in Luleå.  Travelling by overnight train is rather adventurous and provides an exciting and sustainable alternative method of transportation to simply taking a domestic flight.

What sort of clothing will I need?
You will need clothes for cold/cooler outdoor weather: warm trousers, a woollen pullover or fleece sweater, a warm wind and waterproof jacket and rain pants, woollen socks and an insulated bottom layer, like thermal underwear. A hat, scarf and gloves that are made from material that will dry overnight are great protection in Iceland’s winter weather and strong winds. Sturdy comfortable (hiking) boots are necessary for walking and when there is snow and icy terrain.

Do I need to bring any sort of equipment with me?
You don't need to but we would certainly recommend the following:

  • Sunglasses and a bit of sunscreen are helpful - the air is very clear in Sweden so when the sun shines, it is very bright.
  • A camera with lots of film or memory cards. Many travelers say that they shoot twice as many pictures in Sweden than in other destinations.
  • For Northern Lights photography we recommend bringing a second battery for your camera and also a tripod.
  • A torch for evening walks and Northern Lights photography in order to operate your photo camera in the dark.
  • A good skin moisturiser that is not water-based and a lipsalve.

Are special diets catered for?
Absolutely! Just let us know at the time of booking what your requirements are so that we can inform our suppliers and ensure you are provided with delicious alternatives where appropriate.

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