Each year in Norwegian Lapland – or Finnmark as its otherwise known – the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel is built entirely from scratch. Teams of ice artists are flown in to carve everything from the beds to the cocktail glasses out of the region’s most plentiful resource – ice. The effect is nothing short of magical with towering sculptures and wall reliefs set aglow by designer lighting. This unique winter break is ideal if you're looking for peace in a snowy and serene setting or an action-packed holiday spent on snowmobiles and dogsleds on the hunt for the Northern Lights.
Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel & Alta Holiday
Day by day itinerary
Day 1 » Alta
Fly into Alta via Oslo, the gateway to Norway’s northern tip where you’ll overnight before travelling on to your remote ice hotel. A fishing town, Alta is perhaps best known for its ancient petroglyphs – rock incisions – that tell the story of a hunter-fishing people that lived in the region some 7,000 years ago. There’s also the ultra-modern Northern Lights Cathedral, whose titanium-clad spire and window slivers spiral skywards – it’s a true showcase of Scandinavian fine design. Just outside the city limits, you’ll find an arresting landscape formed by fjord slashes and canyon cuts, making for picturesque walks.
Day 2 » Sorrisniva
You’ll have the morning to explore the town; perhaps visit the rock carvings at the Alta Museum or head to the surprisingly green Sautso-Alta canyon whose once-glacial giant ‘U’ is now carved by a twisting river set on both sides by evergreen forests. In the afternoon, you’ll be transferred to Sorrisniva, roughly following the Altaelva River inland to the hotel’s waterside location. The world’s most northern igloo hotel is 2,500 square metres in size, featuring 30 rooms and suites alongside an ice gallery and chapel, all decorated with ice art throughout.
You’ll then have dinner, payable locally, under the wooden dome of the hotel’s Restaurant Laksestua where only in-season, regional ingredients are used to prepare dishes such as smoked reindeer and freshly caught arctic char. You’ll then have a guided tour of the hotel where, as you admire the giant statues, you’ll be given practical information about your stay. While the temperature varies between -4°C and -7°C, you’ll spend the night in a thermal sleeping bag, cosy under reindeer fur.
Day 3 » Sorrisniva
After your night’s stay, warm up like a local in the hotel’s traditional Norwegian sauna, preheated each morning at 7:00am. Then, after breakfast, you might wish to take part in one of the highly recommended optional excursions. Seasonal snowmobile safaris, snowshoe walks, reindeer sleighing, dog sledding, ice fishing, riverboat trips and toboggan runs all take you to explore the Finnmarksvidda plateau. For longer stays, Northern Lights viewings on frozen rivers, outdoor Jacuzzi sessions and Sámi storytelling trips make the most of the evenings. Otherwise, simply relax by the fire with a good book or enjoy a drink in the ice bar. In the evening, you’ll transfer back to Alta to spend the rest of the day at your leisure, perhaps taking advantage of a Northern Lights expedition in chase of those ethereal greens and reds.
Day 4 » Departure
After breakfast on your last day, make your way to Alta’s airport to meet your flight back home, via Oslo.
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