We stayed at the IceHotel in Jukkasjärvi – so it was quite easy to do a quick trip to Nutti Sami Siida. The camp is at the end of the road (same road as the hotel) – about 1km walk. Very easy in the summer, may be challenging a bit in winter or late autumn if it gets extremely cold. But do-able. Along the way, you will see a Coop – where you can buy a bit of groceries (or warm yourself a bit) before you continue your walk in the cold.
If you have a car, the camp is an easy drive from Kiruna town. If you don’t have a car or not staying at the hotel or any lodging close by – you can book a tour with the many local tour companies like Explore Kiruna or you can take the bus there. You can also book tour packages such as reindeer sledding tour etc. directly with the Sami tour company at the camp – these normally include hotel transfers.
What You Can Expect
If you just decided to pop over like us with no pre-booked tours – you should expect to pay an admission fee which gives you full access to the facilities and reindeers.
In winter, you can book reindeer sledding packages where you actually get an opportunity to drive your own reindeer sled (on a short track of course). You also get to go on a tour along the frozen river Torne (in a snowmobile) to get to the reindeer corrals. I didn’t get to do this as we had just a short stopover in the area. At the corrals, you will have the opportunity to train and feed the reindeers. The tour includes a traditional Sami meal.
If you are not able to book any tours – you can still get a chance to feed the few reindeers they have at the camp. We went there during off peak season, and there was only one other couple feeding the reindeers. So the few reindeers were quite ‘focused’ on us. They are overall gentle creatures but they do get a bit excited when they see you coming with food. My daughter got a bit ‘concerned’ when a female reindeer with big antlers followed her around.
Once you are done with the reindeer feeding, there is a small open air museum or exhibition rather that you can walkthrough where you can see how a Sami home/tent looks like, learn a bit about the Sami traditional food etc. It’s not a big place so don’t expect much. What I found was interesting was that eventhough it was -16 degrees outside, when I stepped into the tent even without a burning fire, it felt relatively so much warmer.
This was the highlight for me. The cafe is like a big wooden ‘tent’ with an open fire in the middle where they do all their cooking. When we visited they had three things on the lunch menu – Arctic char, Reindeer burger and a vegan option. I would have so loved to have the reindeer burger but since it was not halal – Arctic char will have to do. I was not disappointed though, the fish with potatoes on the side were simply superb.
We were there probably about an hour and a half or so. It was overall a good experience – we came mostly to feed the reindeers. I knew that they only had a few reindeers there so I wasn’t as disappointed like a few visitors (I did my homework before coming). But I found the whole experience was still nice because we had the whole place almost to ourselves, so you can get the reindeers full attention.
I was really happy with lunch. That arctic char photo still makes my mouth water. I wasn’t expecting to eat here – so it was really a bonus! The team managing the place was very friendly – felt very welcomed. The only thing that I regret was not having time to do the reindeer sledding. So that was a bit of a downer but that was my own fault.
Highly recommended to all visitors in the Kiruna area!