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Ice hotels
Travel

Europe’s Ice Hotels or how to have a luxurious winter adventure

Staying in an Ice Hotel is a once in a lifetime experience. You get to live something out of the ordinary, adventurous, and somehow luxurious at the same time. It is a combination of elements that is just perfect in my opinion.

Each ice hotel is also an art exposition, with creative ice designs made by artists worldwide. Every year, the seasonal hotel is rebuilt, and so are all the sculptures inside it. Their temporary nature makes the experience unique and so precious at the same time. You will also find an Ice Church, an Ice Bar, and all kinds of ice creations for different brands or events in most locations. Quite amazing, I might say.

This is one of my bucket list activities that I didn’t get the chance to do just yet. I made a list with all the Ice Hotels in Europe to check out if you happen to have the same wish as I have: to have an out of the ordinary winter experience, to nurture your curiosity, and to try something totally new and different.

1. ICEHOTEL Jukkasjärvi, Sweeden

Location: Marknadsvägen 63, 981 91 Jukkasjärvi, Sweeden

This hotel dates back to 1989, and it is the first one that was ever created in the world, and it is also the largest to this day. The snow and ice needed to build the seasonal winter hotel come from the Torne River. This is one of the purest waters in Sweden and also a national river.

The winter hotel is available from December to April. Starting with 2006, the hotel also has a section that is available all year long. Currently, the hotel is open for the 2020/2021 season.

It has around 150 warm and cold beds, an ice church, an ice bar, an ice sculpting studio, and a pillared hall.  

Photo credit : ICEHOTEL Jukkasjärvi, Sweeden

2. Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, Norway

Location: Sorrisniva 20, 9518 Alta, Norway

The hotel was the second in the world and the northernmost ice hotel. It started with 6 rooms in 1999. Today there are over 26 rooms that offer a whole Nordic experience for their guests. It is situated next to the Alta River and has an ice bar and chapel. It will open its gates for visitors on the 20th of December 2020.

For the moment the location provides only cold accommodation. Starting with autumn 2021, the Arctic Wilderness Lodge will be ready to receive its guests, providing an all year round accommodation facility. 

Photo credit: Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel

3. Snowhotel Kirkenes, Norway

Location: Sandnesdalen 14, 9910 Kirkenes, Norway

This amazing hotel is situated in Northern Norway, right next to the border with Russia and Finland and 8 km away from Kirkenes town. Kåre Tannvik founded the hotel in 2005 and since then it offers its guests one-of-a-kind Arctic Adventure. Spending a few nights here is an unforgettable experience.

The hotel has a restaurant, sauna, ice bar, parking, and one of the largest husky kennels in Norway that is not less than 180 Alaskan huskies. The year’s high season starts on the 1st of December and will last until the 30th of April.

4. Arctic Snowhotel & Glass Igloos, Finland

Location: Lehtoahontie 27, 97220 Sinettä, Finland

Situated next to Lake Lehtojärvi, the Arctic Snowhotel is a family business that started in 2008. It also received Tripadvisor’s Traveler Choice award in 2020. The location is right on the Arctic Circle, next to Rovaniemi in Finland.

This fine hotel has an ice restaurant, an ice bar, and a church, and is open for the 2020-2021 season. Yay! 🙂

5. Hotel of Ice, Romania

Location: Balea Lac, 117040 Cîrţişoara, Romania

This is the only ice hotel in South-Eastern Europe. Since 2005 it is built near the glacial lake Balea up in the Carpathians mountains at over 2000 meters in altitude.  Inside the rooms, you will find beautiful ice sculptures, different each year depending on the theme.

Moreover, the location of this beautiful accommodation is exceptional. The guests can reach the hotel only by cable car, and it is very close to the Transfagarasan Road, one of the most epic mountain driveways in Romania. During wintertime, this road is closed for cars, but the views are quite amazing.

There are 16 rooms available in this hotel, an ice bar, restaurant, and church, and it is functional for the 2020/2021 season.

Photo credit: Hotel of Ice, Romania

6. Alpeniglu village, Austria

Location: Filz 1 – 6364 Brixen im Thale – Kitzbühel – Austria

Just imagine yourself in the Austrian Alps, staying at the ice hotel right next to the ski resort Hachbrixen. You will admire an ice sculpture exhibition, ICE LAND, that you can visit accompanied by a local guide. Usually, you can have some fun at ice parties in the open with DJs and colorful lighting.

Unfortunately, because of the COVID situation, there will not be such events this year, nor overnight accommodation possibilities. However, guests will still be able to visit the ice exhibition and ice bar.  

Photo source: Alpeniglu village

7. Iglu Lodge, Germany

Location: Nebelhorn 1, 87561 Oberstdorf, Germany

Situated at 2000 meters above sea level, the Iglu Lodge in Germany is being built every year since 2009. It is located right next to the paragliding area in Allgäu. This means that yes, you can try tandem paragliding over the ice frozen Alps if you choose to stay at this hotel, among other activities. 🙂

You will find here 10 igloos, 2 suites, an ice bar, an ice restaurant, and an ice church. The hotel is open, having specific COVID-19 safety measures list published on their website.

Photo credit: Iglu Lodge, Germany

8. Snowcastle of Kemi, Finland

Location: Lumilinnankatu 15, 94100 Kemi, Finland

Built for the first time in 1996, this hotel was called “one of the 9 hotels to sleep in before you die” by CNN in 2018.

Unfortunately, the Snow Hotel is not available for the 2020-2021 season because of the COVID-19 context. It will open again in 2022. However, you can make a reservation and stay in the Seaside Glass Villas at the snow castle. The Snowcastle of Kemi is situated next to the Bothnian Bay, where you can visit or take a cruise on the gigantic Sampo Icebreaker.

Photo credit: Snowcastle of Kemi, Finland

9. Hunderfossen Snow Hotel, Norway

Location: Hunderfossen Adventure Park,Fossekrovegen 22, 2625 Fåberg, Norway

Situated in a Winter Adventure Park in Norway, this is the perfect place for children to explore a winter fairyland. This is Scandinavia’s southernmost snow hotel. When you arrive at this destination, you literally enter a world where fairies and trolls are walking among you.

The ice hotel has the capacity to accommodate 24 visitors. They will be amazed to see the beautiful ice sculptures inside the rooms and the colorful lights surrounding them, creating this fairytale atmosphere. The location also has an ice cathedral and an ice bar for a complete winter experience.

For the 2020/2021 season, the hotel will be opened starting with the 21st of February.

10. Tromso Ice Domes, Norway

Location: Tamokveien1386, 9334 Øverbygd, Norway

Fully surrounded by mountains, in the beautiful Tamok Valley, this ice hotel is probably Europe’s newest built. It was created for the first time in the 2017/2018 season. There are available two Ice Bars, an Ice Restaurant and Ice Cinema and the hotel rooms, of course. In the COVID-19 context, the hotel is functioning at reduced capacity, on a 200 m2 surface, instead of 600 m2. The Ice Bar and Ice Cinema are functional, and there are 7 suites available.

I was so impressed by the ice sculptures’ level of detail here; it looks pretty amazing.

Photo credit : Tromso Ice Domes, Norway

BONUS:

Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Finland

Location: Kiilopääntie 9, 99830 Saariselkä, Finland

This resort is not exactly a classical Ice Hotel, but it was too awesome not to share it with you. 🙂 In addition to that, it is also open for this season. You will find it on the road to the Arctic Sea, right near the Urho Kekkonen National Park, the largest National Park in Finland.

The Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is famous for its emblematic Glass Igloos. If you arrive at this location you must see the igloo village. The village is made of hemispherical tents like those built by the Eskimos. Some of them are built using snow, and some of them are made of wood and concrete, but with a glass roof.

The underground glass igloos have thermo-glass ceilings so that you can enjoy a unique view of Finland’s northern lights. All 40 igloos are built far apart, so you have a sense of being completely alone in the wilderness. I let you imagine how it feels like spending a night in such an incredible setup.

You will also find here Santa’s home, which is open for the public to visit. There is also Santa’s Celebration House, Finland’s largest log building that can accommodate over 250 guests.

Photo credit : Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort, Lapland, Finland

If you wonder what all these wonderful places have in common, probably it would be that they offer you a complete winter experience, rather than just an accommodation service. There are so many activities that you can try in each of these locations, which make your visit even more memorable.

Have you ever visited any of these places? Let me know in comment below.

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