One of the world's most unusual hotel experiences is to be able to bunk down on a bed of ice and be completely comfortable, yet this is what staying in an Ice Hotel allows you to experience. Here, our specialists round up the top ice hotels in Scandinavia and the Nordics.
ICEHOTEL, Swedish Lapland
The best? Maybe. The original? Certainly. Sweden’s ICEHOTEL, which is pieced together jigsaw style from huge ice blocks sourced from the frozen River Torne near the village of Jukkasjarvi in Swedish Lapland, a cool 125 miles north of the Arctic Circle, offers guests the chance to stay in a room carved entirely from ice, from the walls to the chandeliers, furniture, intricate sculptures and even the beds. A three-night stay includes one night in an ice room, two further nights in warm accommodation, and the chance to indulge in all manner of winter activities, including snowmobiling, reindeer safaris, ice driving, Northern Lights hunts, husky tours and wilderness dinners. End each day with a drink in the 45-foot ICEBAR, where the drinks are served in glasses made from, you guessed it, ice.
Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, Norway
Where Sweden’s ICEHOTEL prides itself on being the first and largest snow hotel, Norway’s Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel has a more intimate feel. Each year, this designer igloo is built from scratch out of ice and snow and decorated with wonderfully ornate ice sculptures. The hotel features a superb restaurant and two outdoor heated whirlpools, where you can sit and soak beneath the Northern Lights. Inside, temperatures range between -4 and -7 degrees and guests sleep on reindeer mattresses inside toasty sleeping bags. Days in Sorrisniva are spent dog sledding and snowmobiling through the surrounding winter landscape.
Kirkenes Snowhotel, Norway
Despite being in only its ninth year, the wonderful Kirkenes Snowhotel has already made it into the top 25 of National Geographic Adventure’s ‘World’s Best New Adventure Travel Trips’. Located close to the Finnish and Russian borders, on the frozen shores of the Barents Sea, Kirkenes is the most northerly snow hotel of them all, and features an Ice Bar, beautifully sculpted ice beds, intricate pieces of snow and ice art and its very own resident reindeer.
Arctic SnowHotel & Glass Igloos, Finland
This stunning hotel, hidden away in the snowy forests near Rovaniemi, combines two Scandinavian innovations – a snow hotel and glass igloos. At the SnowHotel itself, up to 70 guests at a time are treated to spectacular carvings in a collection of beautiful ice-sculpted rooms, all judiciously lit and furnished with an ice bed topped with reindeer furs. Days here are spent in the wild outdoors, on excursions which range from snowshoe hikes and ice fishing trips to winter classics such as snowmobiling and husky-sled tours. The dining is excellent, with menus informed by the season's produce, all served in the cosy Kota Restaurant. There's an ice bar, of course, and, after a night in the freezer, you'll have the opportunity to swap over to a heated glass dome for private views of the starry sky and, with luck, the Northern Lights.
Snow Village, Lainio, Finnish Lapland
Located in the heart of the beautiful Finnish fells, Snow Village, located in the remote village of Lainio, is built each year using 1,000 truckloads of snow and ice. Covering an area of 20,000 square metres, this vast complex consists of a restaurant, bar, lobby, hotel rooms and suites, along with a range of outdoor buildings with ornate walls, slides and sculptures. Located 200 kilometres above the Arctic Circle, Snow Village offers guests the chance to indulge in a range of exciting winter adventures, enjoy hearty local cuisine in the spectacular IceBar restaurant or even tie the knot in the hotel’s very own ice chapel. All stays at Lainio Snow Village include a guided tour of the site. The hotel also offers a different theme each year, with the latest iteration based on the hit TV series – Game of Thrones.
Tromso Ice Domes, Norway
Adding to Scandinavia's growing list of ice hotels, the Tromso Snow Domes offer the chance to pair a night on ice with the magic of Norway's Northern Lights capital. Rooms, halls, a bar and even a cinema are carved to perfection by some of the world's leading ice artists, while a range of tours take in the surrounding forests and snow-clad mountains. Expect dog sledding, snowmobiling and delicious dinners in the wilderness before returning for a night in your ice room. There's also a restaurant on site, serving up a selection of tasty Arctic tapas. best of all, though, it's only a short hop from Tromso itself, creating a perfect winter pairing. There's even the option of a special New Year's package, including sparkling wine and a husky-friendly firework display.Book our Tromso Ice Domes break