Wild Camping in
Stockholm and Helsinki.

The Ice Hotel in summer.Our first real stop in Sweden, heading south, was at the site of the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi. The hotel itself does not exist during the summer (it melts) but the Ice Hotel Phenomenon is there to admire all year round.

The Ice Hotel is built each year from snow and ice from the river Torne. So that they can start building as soon as possible they store 4000 tonnes of ice blocks from one year to the next. Apparently getting one metre blocks of clear, bubble free, ice is very difficult and the conditions are just right in the very slow moving river Torne.

They also export "Ice Bars" (in collaboration with Absolute Vodka) complete with inflatable refrigerated buildings. When we were there they were preparing one to be shipped to Brazil!

The helical ice wall behind Pat is 400mm thick and is part of an Absolute Ice Bar within the refrigerated warehouse used to store ice for next year.

Inside the LKAB Iron-Ore mine at Kiruna.The other rather odd highlight of northern Sweden was the LKAB Iron-Ore mine at Kiruna.

The working level of the mine is now over 1000 metres below ground level but the 540 metre level has been converted into a "visitor centre" on a grand scale, complete with 300 seat lecture theater, museum and vast mining machinery.

Access to the mine is, rather disappointingly, by bus rather than by lift, even for workers at the 1000 metre level. The main access tunnels are 8 metres wide and there are over 400 kilometers of them!

The ore being mined is in the form of an inclined slab of magnetite (~65% iron) about 80 meters thick, 4 kilometers wide and at least 2 kilometers deep. The diagram shows how to set explosive charges to bring the roof down.

Map showing Skeppsholmen Island.Wild Camping in Stockholm.

We were unable to find a free, secure, convenient and beautiful wild camp site in Stockholm, but three out of four is not bad!

The most convenient place to park for central Stockholm is round the periphery of the island of Gamla Stan (the old city). Unfortunately parking here is very scarce, very expensive and noisy (charges are $4.00USA per hour in the day time and $0.60USA per hour at night, giving $76USA per day, the parking meters take American Express!)

But if you leave the island of Gamla Stan by the Strombron bridge in the north east corner and turn right passed the Grand Hotel you come to the single track bridge to the island of Skeppsholmen. This bridge looks as if it is closed to tourist vehicles and the traffic lights controlling the bridge remain at red. But if you approach the bridge closely the lights will change and you can drive onto your own "private" island with very few people, beautiful views and plenty of quiet parking (59.32417°N 18.08426°E). Alas there is a charge for parking up till 22:00 of $2.00 an hour but just look at the view below!

View of Stockolm from Skeppsholmen with Mog.

There are several museums on the island as well as some interesting boats moored at the north west corner. You can also take a very short ferry trip to the stunning Vasa museum (a 17th-century warship that sank on its maiden voyage), strongly recommended.

Wild camping in Helsinki.Wild camping in Helsinki.

We were able to find free wild camping in Helsinki (thank you Les). Not quite as beautiful as in Stockholm but pretty good and within walking distance of the city center.

If you follow the road passed the Viking ferry terminal to the eastern end of the Katajanokka "peninsula" you come to a free "24 Hour" car park next to a little used car ferry to the island of Suomenlinna. The site is very convenient for the nearby youth hostel (with laundry and Internet access) and is at the east end of the number four tram line.

Stephen Stewart.

Home - This page last changed on 2003-08-19.