Before we go into more detail on the world-renowned Ice Hotel Sweden, let’s take a look at what an ice hotel actually is. You may, of course, be able to guess what it is, and you are probably spot on. An ice hotel is a seasonal hotel that is made with snow or ice. Sometimes the structure is supported by a steel frame. All ice hotels are built again from scratch every year, because they require constant temperatures below freezing. Therefore they can only be visited in winter.
Ice hotels provide alternative holidays to travelers who are looking for a different experience. And there is nothing like a stay in an ice hotel. Just imagine a building that consists of only ice, its lobby and rooms filled with ice sculptures and furniture made of ice. It’s even freezing in the bar and lounge and drinks are served in ice glasses.
There are many ice hotels to be found all across the world. Norway, Canada, Japan and even Romania have ice hotels. The most famous, however, is found in the town of Jukkasjärvi in Swedish Lapland and, incidentally, was the very first ice hotel ever.
Swedish holidays in winter are not complete without a couple of nights in Ice Hotel Sweden.
Ice Hotel Sweden: History and Construction
In the winter of 1989-1990 Jukkasjärvi was the host of a snow and ice sculpture course and exhibition. The course and exhibits were held in a snow house, which had been built for this special event. There was, however, a lack of accommodation spaces. So, it was decided to accommodate people in the snow house. They were given much-needed sleeping bags, some survival advice and a free sauna in the morning to warm up again. It was an unexpected hit.
Nowadays, the Ice Hotel is rebuilt each winter with ice cut out of the frozen Torne River that runs through town. It takes dozens of builders and ice artists several months to put together a new Ice Hotel and Ice Bar. The Ice Hotel requires a stunning 1,000 tons of ice and an even more dazzling 30,000 tons of ‘snice’, a mixture of ice and snow that has the same purpose as cement in normal buildings. The hotel is built in the months November and December; it is opened to visitors from December until April when the ice starts to melt. In the meantime thousands of tons of river ice are gathered and stored in huge freezers to be used in the next building season.
Ice Hotel Sweden is located in the small town of Jukkasjärvi in Lapland in northern Sweden. About 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, the Ice Hotel Sweden is surrounded by quiet Nordic wilderness.
The largest nearest town is Kiruna, which has the local airport. It is only a short drive from the airport to the hotel. Besides the Ice Hotel there are not a whole lot of other landmarks to see in Jukkasjärvi. The landscapes and scenery are breathtaking though.
Things To Do
Offering one of the most memorable Swedish holidays, Ice Hotel Sweden has plenty of activities to keep its visitors busy and entertained.
A hugely popular activity is snowmobiling. Visitors can go on snowmobile tours or, after an introduction, go off on their own explorations. Snowmobiling is one thing; dogsledding is another. Both are the perfect winter activities in Lapland. There is nothing like seeing the pristine snow landscape on a dogsled.
Horse tours are available as well, which are great to get close to wildlife such as moose and reindeer.
Being located in the heart of Swedish Lapland, Ice Hotel Sweden also provides introductions to the fascinating Sami culture. The Sami are the original inhabitants of these northerly regions. Visitors can take part in nature expeditions with Sami people or learn more about the culture through activities.
What would be the ultimate experience when staying in an ice-sculpted hotel? You guessed it. Ice sculpting! Hotel guests can learn how to sculpt ice from professional through workshops. This is a potentially unforgettable experience.
Another experience that is without a doubt memorable is seeing the spectacular Northern Lights. And Lapland happens to be one of the best places in the world to see them. The Northern Lights are visible almost every winter night in Kiruna and Jukkasjärvi.
If you are looking for different and one-of-a-kind Swedish holidays, then Ice Hotel Sweden is probably your best bet.