One of the best experiences to have whilst on holiday in Lapland or Scandinavia is staying in an Ice Hotel. It is one of those unique experiences the world and one very worth having. There are a number of different Ice Hotels throughout Lapland and Scandinavia, ranging from ones in Norway, Sweden and Finland. Obviously these kinds of hotels are only around when it is cold, so there isn’t always a guarantee, but you can normally see and stay in them around the months of January to April.
What Are Ice Hotels?
Its all in the name really, Ice Hotels are hotels which are built from ice. This involves many blocks of ice being stacked up, much like brick, to build walls. Packed snow is also used throughout the building. The great thing about ice is that we are able to easily sculpture it and this is why they normally have some great architecture going on. The blocks made out of ice and snow is then held together with a substance called Snice, which is a mixture of ice and snow.
With so many hotels like this being around in the months of January to April there is a wide range of options available to you. Some hotels offer large areas where you can stay, just like a normal hotel, although the temperature is normally a bit lower, with averages around 0 to -5 degrees. Otherwise you may want to stay in a smaller location, where the hotel normally offers small igloos as rooms, however the temperature are still very low here.
What Else Do I need To Know?
Well the main thing you need to know is that it is very cold and because of this you will have to take along something to keep you warm. The hotels provide thermal sleeping bags so that you have somewhere warm to sleep, but remember that you may need to get up in the middle of the night! So make sure you have some warm cloths, preferably thermal cloths which will make sure you are warm at all times. As well as this remember that these types of hotel are normally there for the novelty factor and because of this you won’t find people spending more than two nights there, the rest of the time they will be staying in normal, warm hotels. So make sure you don’t book your whole holiday in one!
Ice Hotels in Norway
The Ice Hotel in Hunderfossen
This hotel should actually be called a Snow Hotel, due to it being made mainly from snow instead of ice.
Open in late December and is open until the end of March. This depends highly on the weather though. It can hold about 25-30 guests at a time, depending on the year, due to there being less snow sometimes. As well as this, if you happen to know 10 people who want to go away with you, you can even rent the whole hotel out.
There are many activities around the hotel, with an ice bar, fairytale castle and even an ice cathedral for weddings. You can also participate in winter sports nearby, including skiing and snowboarding. If you would like, there are also guided tours to go on.
Temperatures in the rooms of the hotel vary from about 2-10 Celsius. To keep you warm in the night the hotel provides sleeping bags and a sheep skin to sleep on, there also add to the comfort of the bed. All in all, you should be able to stay relatively warm during your stay.
The Ice Hotel is located in Hunderfossen, which is located north of Lillehammer, Norway. To get here a main Norwegian rail line runs through the town, which you can get on from any of the major cities. This will allow you to fly into a big city and then take the train to the Ice Hotel.
The Kirkenes Snow Hotel
One of the main features of going to this Snow Hotel is that you will be able to experience the Polar Nights which occur in the area. These normally happen from the end of November to the end of January. The Snow Hotel itself is open from the middle of December through to the end of January, giving you plenty of time to visit.
The Hotel offers 20 individual rooms, which go by the name of ‘Snow Suites’. These rooms come with the norm, which includes sleeping bags and a mattress, allowing you to get warm in the night and snuggle up and have a good nights sleep. After a good nights sleep, you can walk down to the lake to warm up, as next to the lake are the saunas.
As well as proving a place to sleep, the Snow Hotel has also tried to provide some other activates. All around the location of the Hotel you will find activates to entertain all, take a look at the winter activities which may be occurring. Also, they have a Snow Bar where you can fill up on some great good and drink. Finally there is a restaurant called ‘Gabba’. Here you will be able top feast on Fresh salmon, whitefish, Molter, and other delicious food from the north.
The Kirkenes Snow Hotel is located in the north east of Norway, in the town of Kirkenes. You can travel there by plane to the local airport, which has flights from main Norwegian cities such as Oslo and Tromso.
The Alta Igloo Hotel
Back to Norway today with the Alta Igloo Hotel, which is one of the bigger ice hotels which we have covered and because of this has many different features to it, including; Guest rooms, an ice bar, a chapel and a large ice gallery.
Opening in January to around April each year, depending on the weather, the Alta Igloo Hotel offers some great attractions. There are 30 rooms to stay in and means you can chose your room and also get a holiday which isn’t too isolated. Each room has sleeping bags so that you stay warm, as well as this you will be sleeping on fur, to add to the cosines. This is all needed sue to the room temperature at the ice hotel being in the region of -4 to -8 degrees Celsius, which is approximately 20-25 degrees Fahrenheit.
One thing which is important to remember if you are interested in going to this ice hotel is that it is better to go earlier in the season, due to this being the time of year when Polar Nights happen. These are when it is dark for a full 24 hours. If you chose to go when it isn’t like this, then don’t worry, because there are plenty of other things to do, such as checking out the impressive Ice Gallery and also the Chapel. If these aren’t for you and you would rather do something a bit warmer, then head down to the hotels hot tubs and saunas. After warming up why not go down to the Ice Bar to get a nice drink? There are plenty of activities to do at the hotel.
The Alta Igloo Hotel in Norway is located near the Alta River, which is known for its beauty, this is about 15km from Alta in the municipality of Finnmark. There is an airport in Alta which serves flights directly from Oslo, as well as this there is a port in the area, so there are plenty of available transport routes.
Bjorli Ice Lodge
Moving on from Lapland today and into the surrounding areas today sees us look into The Bjorli Ice Lodge, which is located in Bjorli, Norway. This is a very scenic area, with it being a national park and having the river Rauma flowing passing the hotel and the mountains which surround the Ice Hotel.
Open from January to April each year, depending on the weather, The Bjorli Ice Lodge offers a luxury ice hotel in which you can stare at the walls for hours finding new details which make this hotel so special. Another feature which makes this place so special is how in touch with nature the surrounding area is, if you go against the advice that the Lodge gives you, “light sleepers should bring earplugs to block out the creaking of ice and howling of wolverines.”, then expect to be prepared to listen to the howls and really get in touch with the surroundings. There are friendlier animals around too tough, so don’t be too intimidated, this includes many reindeer, to get that Christmas feeling and also moose. As well as this there are plenty of birds in the trees, fish in the river and many more animals which you will be able to discover when staying in the ice hotel.
Like the other ice hotels we have been talking about in this series (links are at the bottom if you missed them), then if you want to have a bit of fun, then why not head down to the local ice bar, which serves up some amazing ice drinks. If this is a bit too chilly for you and you would just like to warm up, and then you could alternatively take a trip to the nearby fire hut.
Again, as with the other ice hotels, you won’t be staying there every night you are on holiday, instead you will be in one of the other nearby hotels. This means you can have the experience you have been looking for, but also means you’ll be warm for the majority of your stay, as one night in an ice hotel will probably mean you get very cold.
The Bjorli Ice Lodge in Norway is located in the village of Lesja, which is in the municipality of Oppland. Because of the great links, such as from the Raumabanen, you can easily travel to the ice hotel in a couple of hours from Molde or Trondheim.
Ice Hotels in Finland
The Igloo Village in Saariselkä
We have a different type of Ice Hotel for you today, as instead of an actual big building, The Igloo Village, as the name suggests, is a collection of Igloos. It is quite a popular destination with Finnish travellers. The Igloos are part of the Hotel Kakslauttanen. This means that you don’t just have to stay in the igloos, one night should be enough to get the feel of the place, after this you can stay in the hotel.
The Igloo Village has three types of accommodation, giving everyone a different experience. There are 20 snow igloos, 32 log cabins and 20 glass igloos, which are a lot warmer than the normal ones. These glass igloos allow you to watch the Northern Lights from the comfort of your own bed. As well as this there is an Ice Gallery, Bar made of Ice, Ice Chapel and World’s Largest Snow Restaurant for 150 persons.
The igloos are made for 1 to 5 guests, meaning they are fine for a family trip, as well as just a romantic get away. The temperature inside Snow Igloo stays always between -3c and -6c (21-27 degrees Fahrenheit) so that you can stay warm. After the night in an Igloo you get to have some time in a Sauna. The saunas and showers next to the Igloo Village are open every morning. You can even jump into a cold river, which will shock you but make for a great wake-up call.
The glass igloos offer a unique experience where you can watch the stars and northern lights from the comfort of your bed. These igloos are made from a special thermo glass, which means that the temperature is always normal room temperature. It also stops the glass from getting frosted.
The Igloo Village is located just outside of the Finnish town Saariselkä in Lapland. This town is only 30 minuets from the nearest airport, which is the Ivalo Airport, Finland. This means that it is a very easy place to get to, and there are many flights to this airport every day especially over the Santa Flights season.
Lumilinna Ice/Snow Hotel in Kemi
Today we present you with one of the best Ice Hotels, which is said to be a great destination to visit because of the great illumination around the hotel and also the beautiful design of the place. The Snow Castle, as it is known, will be constructed starting on December 31st. The castle will be open from the 30th of January until April 5th; this does depend on the weather however.
In the Ice / Snow Hotel there are 18 rooms which are home to double and single beds. There are also two family rooms which sleep up to five. As well as this the Snow Hotel offers a Honeymoon Suite. The whole of these rooms are made from Snow. At this Hotel you can be much more prepared for the cold, as the rooms are always kept at a constant -5 degrees Celsius, in Fahrenheit this is 23 degrees.
There are many activities when at the Snow Hotel, meaning that if you want you don’t actually have to stay there and instead can just go fro a day trip. These activities include going to the Ice Chapel, checking out the restaurant, visiting the Ice Art Gallery or even going to a theatre. As well as this there is also an adventure land provided for the kids. Despite all of these activities we do recommend that you stay over in one of the rooms though, as without doing this you won’t get the true feel of the place.
In this Snow Hotel warm showers aren’t provided on site and this means every morning the hotel will take you in a taxi, price included with the stay, to a normal hotel not too far away so that you can wash and prepare for your day. The Snow Hotel also recommends that you take warm cloths so that you can stay warm at all times.
The Lumilinna Ice/Snow Hotel in Kemi, Finland is slightly further away from any airports than The Lainio Snow Village Hotel in Finland. The Snow Castle and Hotel is about an hour and a half away from the nearest airport, which is located in Oulu. You can also get to the hotel by flying into Rovaniemi, which is located about 2 hours away from the Hotel and Castle.
The Lainio Snow Village Hotel
Opened in 2000 The Lainio Snow Village Hotel in Finland features a very large hotel with a restaurant and an ice bar. Included in this hotel are 20 igloos to stay in and 7 ice suits. Not only is it a very large Ice Hotel compared to some of the other ones, but it also features the largest Ice Bar in Europe, making it a lovely place to visit. At this Ice Bar you can drink from glasses made entirely of ice and also met some great people.
As we mentioned in our original article, you need to be prepared to cope with the cold. So at night you will have to get into a sleeping bag and snuggle up. This is because the temperatures in the hotel can go as low as -5 degrees Celsius, which is approximately 23 degrees Fahrenheit. Luckily this is one of the only Ice Hotels to offer an area where guests can have showers in warm water and also sit down in front of a big fire and watch TV and chat with fellow guests.
There are also some more great features at this Ice Hotel, when you go outside there is an ice maze to navigate around and also a massive snow slide for the kids, and the child inside of you. One place which shouldn’t be missed if you intend on visiting the Ice Hotel is the Ice Chapel which has been built a matter of minutes away.
The Lainio Snow Village Hotel in Finland is located in Lapland, a region of Finland. This is in the western part of the country. The best way to get there is to fly into the airport in Kittila, as it then only takes about 25 minutes to drive to the Ice Hotel. AN alternative way is to fly into the airport in Rovaniemi, which is about 150km away from the Ice Hotel. If you follow our daily flights you will see that there are a lot of flights going to both of these airports from a lot of locations all over Europe.
Ice Hotels in Sweden
Considered one of the most places to see if you take a trip to Sweden, remember you need to go in the winter though!
This Ice Hotel is one of the warmest in the world, so if you aren’t that good with the cold, this is probably the place to go. The temperatures are from 5-10 Celsius (40-48 Fahrenheit). Around the hotel is a lot of wilderness, with some great scenery to look at.
The Ice Hotel has a bar, which is named Absolut Ice Bar, so make sure you take a trip there to drink out of ice glasses and also some nights there will be lights behind the ice to make everything sparkle. It’s a truly magical experience. The Ice Hotel also allows conferences to be held and even weddings, so if you would like to have a special day in a magical place, then this may be the Ice Hotel for you.
Located in the village of Jukkasjärvi, which is just next door to the town of Kiruna. Only about 15 minuets away from the Kiruna airport, meaning you can fly straight in and then go to the Hotel to relax.