Luleå Ice Roads – Luleå, Sweden - Atlas Obscura

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Luleå Ice Roads

Explore the frozen river and take a walk to a nearby island on some of the longest ice roads in Sweden. 


During the darkest parts of the winter, most locals dwell inside. But when the sun returns and the days get longer the ice road is a perfect spot to recharge the batteries.

Sweden’s Luleå archipelago formed during the last ice age, and is made up of a group of islands in the northern end of the Bay of Bothnia. The land is still rising, the city of Luleå was once moved to a new location on land emerging from the sea. Therefore, the sea is close and the region is well suited for boat life During winter, the river and the sea is covered with a thick layer of ice. But the city makes this inconvenience into an opportunity.

To allow easy access to some of the islands, approximately 25 kilometers of ice roads are plowed every winter. Exactly when they are ready depends upon the weather and ice conditions. In central Luleå, there is an ice road that is usually open in January and February. It is a popular stretch for walks and skating excursions.

Luleå is even home to the longest ice road in the country. It starts in the port of Hindersöstallarna and connects the islands Hindersön, Stor-Brändön, and Långön with the mainland.

The city puts up shelters with fireplaces and even supply firewood. Local shop owners and the city are generous and lends ”sparks” that anyone can borrow. 

Know Before You Go

Skates can be rented in local shops.

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