ICEHOTEL's top 10 winter excursions

  • Published: 21 Jul 2020
  • Author: David Ward

While a stay at the original ICEHOTEL is an experience in itself, what makes it even more special is the excursions you can take during your days and nights in Sweden's far north. You can add these to any of our ICEHOTEL itineraries, but our classic short break is a great place to start.

Classic ICEHOTEL Break

1. Dine in the wilderness

Heading out to a forest wilderness camp, you’ll be treated to a warming predinner drink in a tipi-style Samí tent. Here, you’ll learn about the Northern Lights and wild animals of the region. A three-course dinner of local dishes is then served with thoughtfully paired drinks, taken around a fire in the rustic cabin.

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Wilderness dinner at ICEHOTEL
Wilderness dinner

2. Explore the winter wonderland by dogsled

A team of huskies pulls you across the pristine landscape around Jukkasjärvi, taking you close to nature like never before. Settle into a seat in the sled and enjoy the enthusiasm of the dogs yapping and howling in expectation, followed by silence all around as you journey deep into the snowy surrounds.

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Dogsled ride at ICEHOTEL
Dogsled ride at ICEHOTEL

3. Meet local reindeer and enjoy a sleigh ride

A local Samí guide invites you to a remote camp to meet their impossibly cute reindeer. As well as a short sled ride, you’ll have the chance to feed the calves by hand and learn about the Samí’s hardy indigenous culture. It all finishes with a cup of steaming coffee and a signature dish of souvas – dry salted and smoked reindeer meat, prepared over open flames.

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Meeting the reindeer near ICEHOTEL
Meeting the reindeer near ICEHOTEL

4. Pair a snowmobile safari with Swedish fika

Sweeping out over frozen rivers and icy lakes, this super-scenic snowmobiling excursion showcases the ICEHOTEL’s dramatic setting at its snow-clad best. You’ll also be treated to traditional Swedish fika – the concept of enjoying hot coffee and pastries by an open fire. It’s the perfect blend of adventure thrill and blissful silence, enjoyed among the wilderness-still of the boreal forest.

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Snowmobile Excursion, ICEHOTEL (Credit: Markus Alatalo)
Snowmobile Excursion, ICEHOTEL (Credit: Markus Alatalo)

5. Dine at the Chef's Table on the Veranda

At the Chef’s Table at the Veranda, degustation delights are served up not just in spite of the ICEHOTEL’s remote setting, but because of it. Over a dozen courses, everything from reindeer tartare to sumptuous king crab is paired with curated beverages and prepared right in front of you by expert chefs. It all begins like any Swedish dinner party, with guests taking off their shoes and mingling over a drink on the cosy verandah.

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Head Chef Alexander Meijer, Chef´s table at the Veranda (Credit- Asaf Kliger © ICEHOTEL)
Head Chef Alexander Meijer, Chef´s table at the Veranda (Credit- Asaf Kliger © ICEHOTEL)

6. Combine a dogsled adventure with a night at a wilderness cabin

Live out your explorers’ fantasy by mushing out your own team of sled dogs into the Lapland remotes to spend a night in a wilderness camp. Having steered your pack over frozen rivers and along icy forest trails, you’ll warm yourself with hot drinks, a hearty dinner and the use of a traditional sauna, keeping your eyes skywards for the ethereal appearance of the Northern Lights. Then, feeling refreshed, your eager companions will then see you retrace your sled tracks back the next day.

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Overnight dogsledding adventure (Credit- Asaf Kliger © ICEHOTEL)
Overnight dogsledding adventure (Credit- Asaf Kliger © ICEHOTEL)

7. Chase the Northern Lights by snowmobile

Combining two of Lapland’s great thrills, this excursion pairs the excitement of nighttime snowmobiling with the wonders of the Northern Lights. You’ll even be accompanied by experts from the Swedish Institute of Space Physics, who’ll explain the facts and myths surrounding the celestial phenomenon. A rustic supper is served at a wilderness camp, and there are plentiful photo opportunities right through the evening.

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Northern Lights by Snowmobile (Credit- Asaf Kliger © ICEHOTEL)
Northern Lights by Snowmobile (Credit- Asaf Kliger © ICEHOTEL) 

8. Go cross-country skiing

This is your chance to both explore the ICEHOTEL’s winter-wonderland surrounds and enjoy what is a most Scandinavian activity. After being brought out across the Torne River by snowmobile, you’ll strap on your skis to head into the forest surrounding Poikkijärvi village. Your expert guide will also provide you with coffee and hot dogs, taken around a log fire. You’ll then be able to borrow the skis for the rest of the day.

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Cross country skiing excursion, ICEHOTEL (Credit: Markus Alatalo)
Cross country skiing excursion, ICEHOTEL (Credit: Markus Alatalo)

9. Search for moose by horseback

Saddling up on oh-so-adorable Icelandic horses, head out in search of the “King of the Swedish forest” – the mighty moose. A network of snow-clad trails will see you wind through the woodland before opening out into the foothills of Kebnekaise, Sweden’s highest mountain. The included lunch and gorgeous scenery are almost as delightful as the moose sightings, their antlers silhouetted against the snow.

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A moose near ICEHOTEL (Credit: Ofelas)
A moose near ICEHOTEL (Credit: Ofelas)

10. Relax with a traditional sauna ritual

In Sweden, the sauna is a place for peacefulness, relaxation and meditation. ”Kallebastun”, Jukkasjärvi Culture Sauna, is the home of the Swedish Sauna Academy, and was made an institution by enthusiast Kalle Grundberg. Now, Sauna Master Andreas Hermansson has created a ten-step sauna ritual where you gain the skills to sauna like a Scandinavian – including a river plunge and a thorough cleansing of mind and body.

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Traditional sauna at ICEHOTEL
Traditional sauna at ICEHOTEL

Inspired? Take a look at our collection of ICEHOTEL itineraries to start planning your ideal trip, or get in contact with one of our Iceland experts:

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