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Sweden: How to Have a Cool Adventure at the Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi


Photo by Asaf Kliger/The Ice Hotel

Imagine sleeping in a room made entirely of ice and snow, surrounded by stunning sculptures and artworks that glow in the dark.



This is not a fantasy. This frozen world can be experienced at the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden. Here, you can appreciate the beauty and the wonder of ice and snow, as well as the culture and the nature of Lapland. And if you want to explore more ice hotels around the world, you have plenty of options to choose from.


The Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi is the world’s first and largest hotel built from ice and snow, and it is a masterpiece of art and engineering recreated every year with new themes and designs. You can choose from different types of ice rooms, each with its own theme and design.


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The Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi was born in 1989, when a French artist named Jannot Derid held an exhibition of ice sculptures in an igloo in Jukkasjärvi. The show attracted many visitors, some asking to stay overnight in the igloo. The following year, the first Ice Hotel was built with 60 beds. Since then, the hotel has grown and evolved yearly, with new artists and designers creating new rooms and artworks.


Today the hotel has two sections: Icehotel Winter and Icehotel 365. Icehotel Winter is the original section that melts every spring and is rebuilt with fresh ice and snow every winter.


The Ice Hotel Winter is open from December to April when the temperature is below freezing, and the Torne River, which provides the ice for the hotel, is solid.



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How to get here

Jukkasjärvi is a small village in Lapland, the northernmost region of Sweden, where the sun never sets in summer and never rises in winter.


The village is about 17 kilometres (11 miles) from Kiruna, the nearest bigger town. You can fly to Kiruna in 90 minutes from Stockholm. Eurowings has opened a route directly from Dusseldorf to Kioruna.


The 12 to 14-hour train ride takes you through mighty nature and landscapes if you travel by train. A journey on its own, so to speak.


Finally, in Kiruna, you can take a bus, a taxi or a rental car to Jukkasjärvi. In the wintertime, you can start your adventure as soon as you have left the airport terminal if you opt for the dog sledge ride from the airport to Jukkasjärvi. The ride takes 90 minutes.



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Keep you warm

When you arrive at the Icehotel, you will get a one-piece thermal suit, mittens, balaclavas, and snow boots.

Under the thermal suit, the most important thing is to dress in layers. This means wearing several layers of clothing that can trap air between them and provide insulation and ventilation. So have tthis in mind when packing.

The layer closest to your skin should be wool, silk or polyester, which can transport moisture away from your body and keep you dry. Avoid cotton clothing, as it can absorb moisture and make you feel cold. You should pack thermal underwear, long sleeve tops, leggings and socks as your base layer.


Photo by. Asaf Kliger/The Icehotel

The next layer is the mid-layer, which should be made of fleece, wool or down. This layer provides extra warmth and can be adjusted depending on the temperature and activity level. You should pack fleece jumpers, loose-fitting trousers or joggers, and a winter jacket as your mid-layer. You can also bring a thick fleece or wool sweater as an additional layer for very cold days.


When you sleep on ice for a night, you should wear your base layer (thermal underwear, warm socks and a hat) inside the thermal sleeping bag designed to keep you warm even in freezing temperatures. You can also bring an extra jumper or fleece and put it at the bottom of your sleeping bag if you need more warmth. You will also get a wake-up call with a hot drink and a sauna session in the morning.



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Here are some more fun thing to do when there:

Visit the Icebar by Icehotel

Photo by Asaf Kliger

This is a cool place to chill out and enjoy a drink or a snack in a below-freezing environment. The bar is made of ice and snow and serves drinks in glasses made of ice. The bar also has a DJ and a dance floor, where you can groove to the music.


Join an ice sculpting workshop.

Photo by Joakim Norenius

This fun and creative activity will let you unleash your inner artist. You will learn how to use ice tools and techniques to carve your own ice sculpture with the guidance of a professional ice artist.


Go on a northern lights safari

Photo by Asaf Kliger

This adventurous and magical activity will take you to the best spots to see the aurora borealis or the northern lights. You can choose from different modes of transportation, such as snowmobile or dog sledge, and enjoy the spectacular show of lights in the night sky.



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Explore the Sami culture

This educational and cultural activity will introduce you to the Sami people, the indigenous people of Scandinavia. You can visit the Nutti Sámi Siida, a Sami cultural centre, where you can see their tents, handicrafts, and reindeer. You can also join a reindeer tour or a Sami dinner to learn more about their traditions and way of life.


Visit the Jukkasjärvi Kyrka

This is one of the oldest wooden churches in Sweden, dating back to the 17th century. It has a colourful interior with paintings and woodwork reflecting the Sami culture and history.


Snowmobile tour

Photo by Asaf Kliger

This exhilarating and scenic activity will let you experience the thrill of driving a snowmobile through the frozen landscape. You can choose from different routes and durations and enjoy the views of the snow-covered forests, lakes and rivers. You will also see some wildlife, such as reindeer, moose and foxes. Some tours also include stopping at a cabin or a camp, where you can enjoy coffee, tea and snacks. You can also combine your snowmobile tour with other activities like ice fishing or northern lights hunting.


Reindeer sledge tour

This traditional and relaxing activity will let you enjoy the nature and culture of the Sámi people, the indigenous people of Scandinavia. You will meet and feed the reindeer, learn how to lasso them and drive them with a sledge. You will also learn about the Sámi history, lifestyle and traditions from your guide.


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Other Ice Hotels Around the World

If you are fascinated by the idea of staying in an ice hotel, you might be interested to know that there are other ice hotels around the world. Here are some of them:


Hotel de Glace in Quebec, Canada

This ice hotel is a genuine work of art. Year after year, local artists carve fascinating ice drawings into the freshly rebuilt igloos and suites. Mini pine trees dot the inside of the hotel, where you’ll also find hot tubs and original ice sculptures.

Web: www.valcartier.com/en/


Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel in Alta, Norway

This classy ice hotel welcomes guests to its ice rooms and a traditional Sampi tent called a lavvo. This hotel is located about 25 minutes from the Alta airport in Sorrisniva. There’s a beautiful sauna to dip in after cold days outside, exploring the Alta region. One of the best activities around Alta is taking a snowmobile tour into the mountains.

Web: www.sorrisniva.no/


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Lapland Hotels SnowVillage in Kittilä, Finland

This ice hotel is a marvel of snow and ice architecture that changes its shape, size and design every year. The hotel covers an area of about 20,000 square meters and features snow suites, an ice restaurant, an ice bar, an ice chapel and an ice slide. The hotel also offers various activities, such as husky safaris, reindeer sleigh rides and snowshoeing.

Web: https://www.laplandhotels.com/EN/hotels-in-lapland/yllas/lapland-hotels-snowvillage.html


Hotel Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort in Saariselkä, Finland

This hotel is famous for its glass igloos that offer a stunning view of the northern lights from the comfort of your bed. The hotel also has traditional log cabins, snow igloos and kelo-glass igloos that combine wood and glass. The hotel has various facilities, such as restaurants, saunas, an ice swimming pool and a smoke sauna.

Web: https://www.kakslauttanen.fi/


Snowhotel Kirkenes in Norway

This hotel is located in a remote area near the Russian border and offers a cosy and romantic atmosphere. The hotel has 20 snow rooms with unique themes and decorations. The hotel also has a snow bar, restaurant, and chapel. Guests can enjoy king crab fishing, dog sledging, snowshoeing and aurora hunting.

Web: www.snowhotelkirkenes.com/



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