ice hotel

A Night On the Arctic Circle: Inside the Ice Hotel

Ana Barreto

Ana Barreto

Hi! I'm Ana, also known as Travellight.
I'm Portuguese, live in Lisbon and I'm a travel addict!
I've been traveling since I was a teenager and I've been around the World a few times already.
This is my attempt to share with you my experiences and the knowledge I've collected after more than 20 years of non-stop traveling. Hope you like it!
You can read more about me here.
Ana Barreto

Hello fellow travelers!

When I was a little girl my mother used to read me a tale called “The Snow Queen” by Hans Christian Andersen.

I loved the story and listened to it very carefully, and then I would daydream about the queen’s ice palace and think about how it would look like from inside.

ice hotelI was far from imagining that one day I would see a similar and equally magnificent place – The Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi, northern Sweden.

This incredible place, just one of the attractions of the Scandinavian Arctic, is built every Winter with blocks of ice taken from the frozen waters of the Torne River.

The hotel opens its doors in January, and remains open until April, when the temperature rises and it simply melts away!

To get to the Ice Hotel you have to take a flight to Kiruna – a village inside the Arctic Circle, and then make your way to Jukkasjarvi, where the Ice Hotel is located.

ice hotelThe average temperature in Kiruna is -20 degrees Celsius.  Yes, you read it well – minus 20 degrees!  But sometimes it reaches minus -35 degrees, like that time when I visited.

It’s really, really, cold my friends!!!

Stockholm - Scandinavian 'Venice'

The best way to reach Jukkasjarvi from Kiruna is by taking a dog sled.

ice hotelOn the way to Jukkasjarvi the scenery is dreamy!  You pass through a forest and through a frozen river.  It looks like you’re inside a Christmas postcard – all so white and immaculate.
Aside from the noise of the sleigh sliding and the dogs running – everything else is silent.  It’s beautiful!

ice hotel

ice hotelThe Icehotel and its rooms are works of art.  Every Winter, artists from all over the World are invited to design and carve the interior of the Hotel.  Everything inside – rooms, beds, furniture, bar, reception and chapel, are made of ice.

ice hotel

ice hotel

The temperature inside the hotel is from -5 degrees to -8 degrees Celsius.
Reindeer skins, sleeping bags, and clothing suitable for low-temperatures are offered by management to keep guests warm.

Exploring the Hotel is super fun.  No room is the same, each has a different theme.  The sculptures are wonderful.  The invited artists create impressive works.

Before bedtime one can visit all the rooms and go to the bar where… you’ve guessed it – even the glasses are made of ice!

To be honest, I’m not much of a Winter fan and I don’t like the cold weather, but I could not pass up the opportunity to find out what it would be like to sleep on an ice bed.

ice hotelThe hotel does a briefing on: “how to sleep at -5 ° C”, when it is explained that we should only use a layer of thermal clothing inside the sleeping bag because it is the heat of our body that heats the bag.  We should also wear socks, gloves and a cap and forget about using any cream on our face or we might wake up with our face frozen.

If we need to go to the bathroom we have to go running (fast) to the hotel support facilities (which are not made of ice).  I was lucky I did not need to use the bathroom because it wouldn’t be pleasant to run in the middle of the night at a temperature of nearly minus 40 degrees.  I would die before I get there!

Marstrand - The "Beautiful Freeport"

The sleeping bag provided is really comfortable and warm – so it was a unique night, but not a totally unpleasant one.

Anyone who wants to visit the Hotel and doesn’t want to sleep on the ice can sleep with all comfort in a normal Hotel that is next to the ice structure.  I spent one night there and another one on the ice, which is what most people do.

ice hotelWhile you are staying at the hotel you can participate in various activities such as snowmobiling, going on a tour to see the Northern Lights, or learning how to carve ice.

ice hotelI hope you have enjoyed reading about this unique experience, that was my visit to the Ice Hotel!


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