In My Heart

Stay the Night In an Ice Hotel.
Or What About Marrying In One?

An ice hotel is something very special. What makes someone use a month to carve a whole hotel out of snow and ice knowing that it will disappear gradually as the April sun starts warming the air? You can use it from only January till April....

Can you imagine a hotel built of ice and snow? Today there are several ice and igloo hotels in Lapland.At all of these hotels in Lapland they offer a wide variety of winter activities.

How to survive in an ice hotel

As the tempeture always is between minus 4 and minus 7 Centigrades in the hotel, you have to have proper gear to be able to enjoy a whole night, or more, in there. You are advised to use woolen underwear. It is also wise to use a night cap whenever sleeping.

The hotel matresses are covered by reindeer skins. And they provide you with sleeping bags that stand minus 30. This makes you comfortable all night.

The Jukkasjärvi Ice Hotel in Swedish Lapland is probably the best known and the oldest of them. It is also the largest. Kirkenes Ice Hotel in Norwegian Lapland on the Russian border is one of the youngest in the class.

Jukkasjärvi Ice Hotel

Jukkasjärvi Ice Hotel

So far the most famous is the village of Jukkasjärvi, 200 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle in Swedish Lapland. You'll find it here.

For the Jukkasjärvi hotel they take much of the ice for the art, architecture and design from the Torne river. The pure water of the river gives a very clear ice for the artwork.

Go and see for yourself what they say about themselves at Jukkasjärvi ice hotel

Ice hotel Kemi

Kemi Snow Castle

Another famous building made from ice and snow, is the Kemi snow castle at the city of Kemi in the southern part of Finnish Lapland. You'll find Kemi in this map

Photo courtesy: Kemi Snow Castle

On the Russian Border

The Kirkenes Snow Hotel is unique in many ways. It is situated just on the Russian border and the Varanger fiord. This gives you the opportunity to visit the nearby Russian city of Murmansk.

The hotel is just in the middle of the Gabba reindeer park. They have used Finnish snow sculptors for the design. They use around 30 tons of ice blocks just for the art and ice furniture.

Or you may partake in catching the now famous - and even infamous - Red King Crab which is a real delicacy of the Arctic Ocean.

You'll find Kirkenes and Murmansk here.

Just take a look at what they have to offer at the Kirkenes Snow Hotel

In the City of the Aurora Borealis

As you open the hotel door you see the colour of the ice and the chilly athmosphere. Blue. Everyhting seems to be blue. The entrance door is insulated with reindeer skin to keep the cold inside and the heat of the april sun outside.

We find the Alta Ice Hotel at Sorrisniva 20 kilometres outside the Aurora Borealis city center. The low edifice which merges with the white surroundings, is not very resplendent. Thus it is difficult to detect the hotel edifice if you don't know where it is. The surroundings are white as the hotel.

The building itself plus the interior are made from ice and snow. The rooms, the beds and the sculptures. You even take your drinks in the bar with glasses made from transparent, bluish ice.

The hotel has 30 common rooms and two suites. One of them being a wedding suite.

There is even an ice chapel which is approved by the Lutheran bishop. The local Alta priests join together 15-20 Norwegian and foreign couples every year. They also arrange one church service during the season.

Close up to the ice hotel there is a nice service building with a large restaurant and saunas and everything you need for a pleasant stay at Sorrisniva.

Facts about the hotel
  • -It takes 250 tons of ice and 6000 cubic metres of snow to build the hotel.
  • -This was the first ice hotel in Norway. It still is the largest.
  • -It was first built in 1999.
  • -10-15 people need 4 - 6 weeks to build it.
  • -At Sorrisniva they have their own ice and snow experts who do the building and the decor.
  • -There are 30 double and triple rooms + 2 suites (one wedding suite)
  • -The inside temp is between -4 and -7 Centigrades
  • -The season is normally from middle of January till middle of April - depending on what temperatures God gives them

And they offer all kinds of winter activities. Take a look at their web site.....At Alta Ice Hotel they have many activities. Take a look at their own web site.

At the Ski Resort of Saariselkä

Here at Saariselkä you can stay the night in snow or glass igloos. When sleeping in the glass igloos you can even look at the amazing aurora borealis and the stars from your bed. And experiencing a snow blizzard from your bed? Learn about the igloo village at Saariselkä

What About An Ice Chapel Wedding?

At all the ice hotels mentioned in this article they can arrange for your wedding. This will, of course, be the experience of your lifetime. The ice chapels are beautifully decorated. The season for this vary, so you'll have to check it. But often January - March is a good period for this.

ice hotel alta wedding chairs
They have bridal suites and many kinds of winter activities connected to the wedding itself. They will arrange everything, both the formal and the informal things connected to a wedding. The formalities of your own country in connection with a marriage are the only things you have to organize before coming.

The temperatures in the ice chapel and in the hotel is between -2 and -5 centigrades. But you need not worry about suitable winter clothing and gear. They have it all. Just ask them. The picture to the right shows wedding chairs at Alta ice chapel. (Photo: Olav E. Johansen)

How Does an Ice Hotel Work?

Ice, snow and igloo hotels are built in Lapland and also other places on the northern hemisphere, not only in Scandinavia. The further north you get, the longer the season for these shortlived buildings.

If you want to learn more about how they make an ice hotel, please look for the cold stuff here. Here you can even read about how to make an igloo.

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Where the Reindeer Roam