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Walk on water

Just do it.

EU - European Region Development Fund

Did you know that the Gulf of Bothnia which surrounds Luleå and the Lule River both freeze during the winter? Yes, it’s really true. The sea ice turns into a gigantic events arena for winter adventures both big and small.

The ice track that is ploughed on the ice surrounding the city centre, from the North to the South harbour, is loved by everyone, locals and visitors alike. Join the people milling about on sunny winter days, when everyone goes outside to go skating, kicksledding, snowmobiling, walking, grilling sausages, sunbathing, hanging out and just enjoying life together.

In cooperation with Luleå Council, companies offer free public use of kicksleds so that you can get out onto the ice track surrounding the city. The kicksleds are lined up at the North and South harbours and there are also “kicksled parking lots” in other places where the kicksleds can be picked up and dropped off.

READ MORE: The history of the Ice track

Winter facts

Cold and depth

Lowest temperature ever recorded in Luleå: -41°c (the Swedish record is -52°c)
Greatest snow depth: 113 cm

Average temperatures

November: -4
December: -8
January: -10
February: -10
March: -5

Why does the sea freeze?

The gulf of Bothnia has brackish water, a mixture of freshwater and saltwater. The reason behind this is that eight major rivers flow out into the gulf. The gulf of Bothnia is estimated to be approximately 4/5 parts freshwater, making it the most freshwater diluted sea water area in the world. That is why the sea freezes here every year.

Ale, Atle, Frej, Oden and Ymer

Throughout the winter in Luleå, you can see the large ice breakers Ale, Atle, Frej, Oden and Ymer parked between their missions to keep a channel open through the ice for incoming cargo ships. Standing on the ice by the edge of the channel is a thrilling experience in itself.

Fatbike

Biking in winter? Sliding around on slippery city streets? No, not like that. Far from it. In recent years, Luleå has become Sweden’s fatbike heaven. In summer, visitors go cycling on our islands in the archipelago – during the winter you can also cycle between the islands. The wide, durable tyres of the fatbike means it can get you over any kind of terrain, you can go cycling on the ice to the outer rim of the Bothnian archipelago, with the northern lights above and winter grazing deer around you on the islands outside Luleå.

READ MORE: A fatbike adventure on the frozen sea

Dress properly

To feel really comfortable outdoors in winter it’s important to dress properly. Especially if you will be participating in some kind of physical activity. Think layer-by-layer, we recommend wool or some other material that keeps you dry closest to your body. A warm down jacket makes a very nice outer layer if it’s really cold outside. And don’t forget warm shoes, gloves and a cap.

Remember. Even if you're traveling by car and have no plans to spend time outside it's still important to dress properly in case of car trouble. Always bring warm clothes with you on your car journey, proper shoes, a shovel (if you get stuck in the snow) and a blanket. Safety first!