Last Updated: 01/05/19 | January 5th, 2019
In the heart of Swedish Lapland, the most northerly province of the country, is the Ice Hotel. Located some 1,200km north of Stockholm in Jukkasjärvi, it has over 80 rooms and is built annually using ice from the nearby Torne River. The 30,000-square-foot hotel is located 200km north of the Arctic Circle and features an Absolut Vodka ice bar, an ice cinema, an ice chapel, ice family rooms, and ice suites. The whole structure uses 4,000 tons of ice.
In short, everything is about ice.
The hotel began in 1990 when French artist Jannot Derid held an exhibition in a cylinder-shaped igloo in the area. One night, there were no rooms available in the town, so some visitors slept in sleeping bags on top of reindeer skin, beginning the world’s first “ice hotel.”
In 2016, they expanded the hotel and there it’s now a permanent structure that is open to visitors all year round. That means that you’ll likely spend some of your nights “cold” (in an ice room) and others “warm” (in a regular room). You can decide which nights you want to spend warm or cold when you book.
Swedish Icehotel: Room Prices
The winter is far and away the most popular time to visit as you’ll not only get to enjoy the icy accommodation in its natural habitat but you’ll also get to see the northern lights during your visit (which is well worth heading north to see!).
In the winter, expect to pay around 1,600 SEK per night for a standard warm room and 4,000 SEK per night for a standard cold room. Suites will cost between 5,500-8,100 SEK per night depending on how fancy you want to get. Deluxe suites even have direct access to the sauna, although the “regular” suites also access to the sauna.
What to See and Do at the Ice Hotel
There are tons of activities that you can take part in at the hotel and in the area. Here are a few of the best things to do when you visit the Icehotel in Sweden:
- Guided tour – Take a guided tour of the ice hotel and learn about it’s past, see the various rooms, and see how the hotel is actually built.
- Ice sculpting – Try your hand at ice sculpting yourself with this fun class. Classes are around 2.5 hours and cost 745 SEK per person.
- Go snowmobiling – Available from December to April, this is a fun way to see the arctic tundra as you cruise through the snowdrifts. Tours last a couple of hours and cost 995 SEK per person.
- Moose safaris on horseback – You read that right! This tour will take you around the tundra on horseback, searching for the elusive Swedish moose. You might even see other wildlife like foxes, reindeer, and hares. This is a full day activity, which even includes a hearty three-course lunch!
Tickets are 2,100 SEK per person. Available December-March.
- Wildlife safari – Hop on a snowmobile and head out onto the tundra to spot moose, reindeer, and the beautiful scenery. If you’re a photographer, this is a great opportunity to snap pictures of Swedish Lapland. Tours usually go from 9am-3pm and cost 2,750 SEK per person.
- Hang out with reindeer – Learn about the indigenous people of Sweden, the Sami, by experiencing their lifestyle, hearing about their history, and seeing their culture. Head to a traditional Sami home and try your hand at feeding reindeer before you try to drive a reindeer sled. Tours are available from November to April and last 3 hours. Tickets are around 2,000 SEK per person, depending on the time of year.
How to Get to the Icehotel
The closest airport to the Icehotel is in Kiruna. From the airport, you can go by car, taxi, or you can book a pick up from the hotel. If you have a car, you can also get to the hotel by train from Narvik (Norway) or Luleå (Sweden). For a more unique option, you can even take a dog sled transfer to the airport (though at 6,700 SEK it’s definitely not a budget-friendly option).
Flight from Stockholm to Kiruna cost at least 1,200 SEK. A round-trip night train ticket from Stockholm to Kiruna will cost around 1,400 SEK for bed and 1,150 SEK for a second-class seat.
The popularity of this hotel has inspired imitators in other Arctic areas like Norway and Canada. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more unique hotel stay in Scandinavia, so be sure to add this to your bucket list the next time you’re in Sweden!
For more information, you can visit www.icehotel.com. If you are considering going, make sure you book well in advance as the hotel’s increasing popularity means it is often sold out.
Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks
Book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner or Momondo to find a cheap flight. They are my two favorite search engines because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned. Start with Skyscanner first though because they have the biggest reach!
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
- World Nomads (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional repatriation coverage)
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
Want More Information on Sweden?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide on Sweden for even more planning tips!
Photo credits: 1, 2 – bjaglin