Icehotel Holidays

Experience the coolest hotel in the world – the Ice hotel Sweden. Swedish Lapland’s Icehotel remains famous the world over as the original, and simply the best, hotel made entirely from ice and snow. Located 200km north of the Arctic Circle, it is one of the most amazing hotels in the world.

We fell under its spell when it first emerged beside the Torne River in the village of Jukkasjarvi back in 1990. Set in a pristine wilderness of snowclad pine forests and frozen lakes, the Icehotel is the ultimate winter wonderland.

We’re proud to be its leading worldwide partner, offering an unrivalled collection of Ice Hotel holidays including our best-selling three-night winter break and action-packed northern lights adventure. Extraordinary accommodation combines with thrilling activities and fine dining.

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Popular Icehotel Holidays

About the Icehotel

The Concept

swedish lapland jukkasjarvi village and icehotel aerial ak

The ingenuity of the design and construction has to be seen to be believed and, with an interior temperature kept at a constant -5°C, it really does take your breath away. Over 1,000 tonnes of ice and 30,000 cubic metres of ‘snice’ – an ingenious mix of ice and snow – are harvested each winter from the nearby Torne River before being crafted into the original ice hotel. Come late April and the seasonal building simply melts back into the river. Each year heralds more inventive and even quirkier designs by artists from all over the world, no two designs are ever the same.

Opened in December 2016, Icehotel 365 is a permanent structure, offering the experience of sleeping on ice year round. Maintained at sub-zero temperatures by solar power during summer its domed roof is covered in wild flowers, while in winter, it blends seamlessly with the adjacent winter structure.

History of the Ice Hotel

swedish lapland building ice hotel

Back in the Autumn of 1989, friends Par Granlund and Yngve Bergqvist had a vision to build an igloo, in the Inuit style but bigger than ever created before…

But it was to be much more than a building made out of ice and snow. It was to be a work of art and creative design, a meeting place which would cross-cultural boundaries and symbolise local traditions, nature, history and the environment. The little town of Jukkasjarvi, which actually means ‘meeting place by the lake’, has been a centre for trade and commerce amongst the native Sami for around 400 years – now it would attract ice artists and visitors from all around the globe.

Their vision has been brought to life, year after year, on the banks of the frozen River Torne. The first igloo, a simple art gallery had just 50 square meters of floor space, visited mainly by curious locals. Growing in size annually in a never-to-be-repeated design, ice rooms were included in the late nineties for those wishing to stay longer, seek inspiration and to admire the building and its stunning location.

Icehotel in Numbers

sweden lapland icehotel icebar iceglasses

The first and original Icehotel was built in Jukkasjarvi, Swedish Lapland in 1989 and took just two weeks to complete.

  • 2500 blocks of ice are harvested in March each year
  • Each block weighs 1.6 tonnes and measures 210 x 100 x 80 cms
  • Almost 1 million ice glasses are produced each year.
  • It takes 48,000 hours over a 12-week period to build the seasonal hotel
  • 6.5 million snowballs could be created with the ‘snice’ that is used for one individual suite at the Icehotel
  • Around 26,550 cocktails are drunk in the Icebar in Jukkasjarvi each winter
  • The interior temperature is  around –5°C to -7°C

We had a fantastic holiday at the Icehotel, one that will stay in our memories for life, it was not so much a holiday but more a life experience never to be forgotten.

Louise Gallagher ,

Icehotel Break

When to visit the Icehotel

Until 2017, the Icehotel was entirely a winter hotel opening its doors late in December until early April when it literally melted away. However, the creation of Icehotel 365 means that guests can now experience sleeping on ice at any time of year. For many though, the Icehotel is at its best during the winter months when it is blanketed in snow, the air outside is crisp and cold and the northern lights are might make an appearance.

swedish lapland winter sunlight over forest rth

  • December and January are the darkest months in Swedish Lapland. The sun never fully rises but from around 10am to 2pm it casts a blue subdued light known as ‘kaamos’. Temperatures are generally lowest and can plunge to -30° or lower. Festive celebrations add extra magic from mid-December to early January.
  • Daylight hours start to creep up in February but the temperatures remain well below freezing. This is probably the most popular month to visit.
  • In March daylight increases markedly and a few warmer days begin to creep in. Increased solar activity around the spring equinox means more active aurora. Early March is also when the ice is harvested for the next season’s build. Blocks of ice weighing around two tonnes, are cut and lifted from the River Torne before being stored in a giant freezer. An annual Harvest Festival marks the event with winter games, guided tours of ice production and live music. In 2020, this is held on 8th March.
  • The summer months from mid-May until the end of July showcase a very different landscape and with that, activities such as rafting, hiking and fishing under the midnight sun.

The Icehotel and the Aurora

Sitting well above the Arctic Circle in the tiny village of Jukkasjarvi, the Icehotel is in a great location for viewing the aurora borealis. During the evening, aurora watchers head down to the frozen river to gaze at the night sky in expectation of viewing the northern lights – possibly after enjoying a cocktail or two in the Icebar.

Alternatively, there is a range of enticing excursions from husky safaris to snowmobile tours operating in the evening deep into the wilderness that offer excellent chances to view the aurora, if the cloud conditions permit.

However, if seeing the northern lights is your priority, we recommend combining your Icehotel experience with an overnight stay in Abisko National Park visiting the Aurora Sky Station. Deep in the heart of Swedish Lapland, the Sky Station has one of the best track records for northern lights sightings on earth. The reason being a quick of climate and the local prevailing winds which keep the skies overhead almost always cloud-free. This is also one of the driest areas in Lapland and creates the ideal weather conditions for viewing the aurora.

Find out more about the northern lights »

Frequently Asked Questions about the Icehotel

Is everything in the Icehotel made of ice?

The Icehotel itself is made out of ice from the river Torne. Inside you will find almost everything imaginable in a normal hotel, but made out of ice – from shimmering ice sculptures and artwork to glittering ice chandeliers, ice chairs, ice suites, beds sculpted from ice and even a hotel bar made out of ice! There are a few exceptions, however, the Icehotel complex actually consists of a number of different buildings – there is a warm dressing room area with showers and sauna for use when you stay in the Icehotel, and warm hotel rooms or cabins for the remainder of your stay.

swedish lapland icehotel365 ice chandelier main hall 1617 ih

Why is the ice so clear?

The ice which is used to build the Icehotel is a particular feature as it is crystal clear. Some say this is due to the mystical properties of the river, others say that the river Torne is usually so free-flowing that it ensures few bubbles are trapped within it, leaving a crystal clear ice once it is frozen. The sight as you open the main reindeer-skin clad doors is simply breathtaking – a grand, ice pillared hallway illuminated by a spectacular crystal clear ice chandelier.

sweden lapland icehotel ice sculptures

 

How cold is it inside the Icehotel?

Kept at a constant -5°C to -8°C, the interior actually feels quite pleasant, especially when outside temperatures can drop to around -37°C! Walk past several ice sculptures and imaginatively lit ice art towards one of the most popular rooms – the Absolut Ice Bar. With its vaulted ceiling, plenty of ice block seating (thankfully covered in reindeer skins) and see-through bar, it serves an impressive range of colourful vodka cocktails, naturally served in chunky ice glasses! Hot cocktails are also served and provide an instant form of central heating, but be careful not to stand them on the bar, for obvious reasons!

How do you sleep on ice?

In all types of cold room the ice beds consist of a large block of illuminated ice with a thick mattress and a layer of reindeer hide on which you lay a cosy polar sleeping bag. You only need to sleep in a single layer, usually your thermals, as you snuggle down inside the bag. Warm socks and a hat are also recommended. The snow walls are very sound-isolating so you can be sure of a peaceful night. You will be awakened by one of the hotel guides and served hot lingonberry juice in bed.

You change in the adjacent warm Riverside Lobby, which has a comfortable lounge area with a log burner plus warm showers, toilets, sauna and lockable storage facilities.

sleeping bags at the icehotel rth

What do I wear at the Icehotel?

On arrival at the Icehotel you’ll receive a one-piece thermal suit to wear over your own clothes whenever stepping outside and for participating in excursions. Icehotel also provides guests with mittens, balaclava and snow boots.

Tip: opt for a size larger boot than you normal so you have plenty of room for extra pairs of socks

What you wear underneath the provided snowsuit is determined by you as an individual and of course the weather during your visit. Temperatures in Swedish Lapland during winter can range from around -10°C to -40°C, so layering is the most efficient way to dress. Layers trap the air between, which helps to keep you warm and insulated against the cold.

swedish lapland icehotel snow angel pf

Icehotel Combinations – Multi-centre Holidays

Combine a stay in Swedish Lapland with time in Northern Norway or with Iceland.

Explore the charismatic Arctic city of Tromso, dubbed the ‘Paris of the North’. Surrounded by mountains and sea, this lively city is an ideal complement to the wilderness of Abisko and the Icehotel. The dramatic peaks and colourful fishing villages of Norway’s Lofoten Islands provide a different perspective again. A scenic rail journey across the top of Scandinavia connects the two.

Iceland doesn’t have an ice hotel of its own, but it is possible to combine with a stay in Sweden’s Icehotel. Explore volcanic wonders, waterfalls and vibrant Reykjavik before heading to the world’s coolest hotel via Stockholm.

Remaining in Sweden, a night in the Icehotel makes a memorable footnote to the wilderness adventure mushing your own team of huskies through the trails around Jukkasjarvi. Of course, if you’d prefer to experience Swedish Lapland under the midnight sun, you can pair your break with a stay at the Treehotel.

Why Visit the Icehotel with Discover the World

Our close working relationship with ICEHOTEL has meant that we often have availability, even when the hotel is otherwise fully booked. We have devised a collection of breaks that showcase this magical creation to the full and our clients are assured the best experience possible. We also operate the UK’s only direct flight to Kiruna – getting you straight to there in just 3.5 hours.

Icehotel Direct Flight

Our exclusive direct flight from London Heathrow to Kiruna gets you to the Icehotel and Abisko quicker

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Blogs you may like

Q&A with ICEHOTEL’s Michelin Star Chef: Alexander Meir

We spoke to Icehotel's chef, Alexander Meir; the Michelin-trained head-chef of the twelve-course Chef's table at the Veranda, Icehotel The Chef’s Table is much more than just a dinner, it welcomes guests to a unique exquisite food experience with the local food culture.  
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Wednesday, 7th November 2018

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Maddie’s Guide to the Icehotel

We caught up with Maddie, our very own on-the-ground Icehotel representative, for some top tips on planning the perfect Icehotel break this winter...
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Saturday, 7th July 2018

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5 Things To Do With The Time You Save By Flying Direct To The Icehotel

Add up to 5½ hours to your holiday by flying direct to the Icehotel - here are a few ideas of what you could do with this extra time.
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Tuesday, 1st September 2015

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Cool Combinations: 7 Ways to Experience the Icehotel

Combine the magnificent Icehotel with other memorable destinations such as Stockholm, Norway or Iceland for the ultimate winter adventure.
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Sunday, 3rd September 2017

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