Beautiful winter scenery and a cosy cabin – sounds like the perfect winter holiday, doesn’t it? I am not talking about a typical ski trip though, I am talking about a very special winter vacation where you will snuggle up in icy surroundings. Pretend to be Elsa in her snow castle and invent Frozen all over again if you like… ;) Here you will find a complete compilation of the world’s best ice hotels!
Unforgettable Winter Holidays
In the deepest winter, you would imagine anything but sleeping in ice, however ice hotels all around the world start to open their doors for visitors. These icy winter adventures are a really popular choice among holiday makers. The good thing is you can find these unique lodgings not only in the far north, but closer than you would imagine. After you have seen these icy treasures, I’m sure that some of you will even think about holidaying here! Although I personally prefer to stretch my legs on a warm beach, I definitely want to see these hotels with my own eyes. Looking forward to hearing what you say about this!
Sweden: The Birth of All Ice Hotels
There are a huge number of ice hotels in Scandinavia, near the polar circle. For example, you can find the biggest and oldest ice hotel in Icehotel Jukkasjärvi in Sweden. Also, impressive ice hotels in Norway and Finland attract visitors from all around the world every year. The oldest of them all is an ice hotel in Sweden’s Lapland, about 200 kilometres north of the polar circle.
In 1989, the first ice hotel was born when the community of Lapland organised an ice sculpture exhibition as a way to create something special for tourists. As the exhibition was so successful, they organised one the following year with the addition of a giant igloo, and thus creating the ice hotel.
From this, an entire hotel complex arose from the snow and ice, featuring 60 rooms for up to 140 people. That’s not all, you can say your prayers in an ice church and admire attractions like the ice version of London’s Globe Theatre. When you’re feeling thirsty, head to the ice bar where you’ll enjoy a cool glass of ice vodka, tasty!
Cosy Nights Despite – 7ºC
While it may be a little smaller, the Sorrisnava Igloo Hotel in Alta, Norway is just as impressive. You can stay here from the end of January to the beginning of April. Apart from their “normal” rooms they also offer special igloo suites as well as accommodation in a chapel made of ice with a private ice bar. For those who love spa treatments, a special bath in a warm outdoor whirlpool feels extra special when the air around you is icy cold!
Another popular destination is the Snow Hotel Kirkenes in the little town of Kirkenes, 10 minutes away from the Russian border. Built in 2006, this hotel has 20 snow suites with no two the same; each furnished in a unique fashion. Guests can rest assured that rather than laying on complete blocks of ice, there are comfortable mattresses that are covered with special warming overlays.
Since we are already in Scandinavia, we can take a closer look at Finland. Here we can find some more spectacular ice hotels, such as the Arctic SnowHotel, which is located approximately 30 kilometres from the polar circle. This hotel welcomes guests from December until the end of April, offering accommodation in fantastic igloos made of glass. Its popular attractions are the impressive church only made of ice, an ice restaurant and a sauna made of ice. It is the only snow sauna in whole of Scandinavia. Take a look at these glass igloos, they are amazing, what a view!
Scandinavia is home to two more of these ice beauties. One of them, the very fascinating Snow Village in Finland’s Kemi, is open as a tourist attraction as well as a hotel. It takes 1.5 million tons of snow and 300,000 kilos of ice to build this hotel every year.
Last, but definitely not least, is Lumi Linna Snow Castle, the biggest snow castle in the world located at the northern point of the Gulf of Bothnia. It has a beautiful suite designed for honeymooners, with an ice chapel catering for wedding ceremonies. That’s taking a winter wedding to a whole new level.
Canada’s Fairytale Castle Made of Ice
Scandinavia isn’t the only place you will find these impressive ice hotels. Hôtel de Glace in Québec, Canada, is the only ice hotel in the whole of North America. It took five weeks of construction before the hotel was ready to welcome its firsts guests. The hotel also has a cool ice bar where guests can chill out with an ice drink. Surprisingly, rooms contain a fireplace or if you upgrade to a suite you will be stunned at the beautiful carvings in the snow walls and enjoy exclusive access to the private sauna area.
However, despite the sauna and fireplace, this isn’t the traditional hotel where you can just arrive and make a booking. As the temperatures can drop to minus 15 degrees, guests have to attend a crash course on how to survive in the cold before they can check into their rooms. This ice adventure will teach you survival tips for the harsh winter, such as how to warm up in your sleeping bag and how to prevent your glasses from freezing on the dresser. Ernest Shackleton will have nothing on you after this.
Switzerland & Andorra
Other places to warm up in the cold can be found across Switzerland; in Davos, Engelsberg and Gstaad. In the city of Davos-Klosters the accommodation provides a whirlpool and a sauna. Tempting, huh? In Andorra you can discover the beautiful Igloo-Village Grandvalira. It is located only two hours away from Barcelona, an interesting combination with high potential, if you like it hot and cold :) Who wouldn’t want to have a bath here…
Which of these fascinating ice hotels is your favourite? It is hard to decide, I couldn’t make the choice. However, if it’s something you’re interested in maybe I can find you a nice bargain? Let me know!