Date: 19/11/2019

The best ice hotels in Norway, Finland and Sweden

Author: Vanessa
Location: Finland, Norway, Sweden

With spectacular ice sculptures to marvel and sub-zero temperatures to snuggle up in, a night in an ice or snow hotel beckons with a unique combination of cosiness and thrill. Unsurprisingly, drifting off to sleep in an intricately designed ice room (deservedly) features on many bucket lists. As destination specialists, we’d like to empower travelers to go beyond the bucket list and choose the most suitable ice hotel experience based on their individual requirements. We've, therefore, selected our most memorable snowy sleeps based on the unique quirks of each wow-factor stay. 


Touchdown in Kiruna, not far from Sweden’s northernmost town one man’s dream of a hotel made entirely from ice and snow is now celebrating its 30th anniversary. The artist community flocking at the shores of the Torne River each autumn may, in fact, describe it as the hotel’s 30th reinvention. Each year, the ICEHOTEL is built from scratch with ice sourced from the frozen Torne River just a few meters from the hotel. Come mid-December honeymooners and couples looking for a truly memorable experience will be able to embrace a night in the -5 degree or 23 Fahrenheit, ‘warm’ room. Not to worry, guests can warm up on a thrilling dog-sledding adventure on the frozen river, a complimentary sauna session or a Sami reindeer experience in a cosy lavvo tent.  

Our experts recommend a stay at the original ICEHOTEL for an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience. A stay the hotel can be tailored to include a wide range of Arctic outdoor activities. 

If a slightly warmer experience is preferred, we recommend an autumn visit to the ICEHOTEL 365, a permanent installation complete with a few more bells and whistles like a sauna suite or en suite bathroom. 

Snowhotel Kirkenes 

Nestled between the Russian border and the Barents Sea, Arctic climes and warm hospitality await at mainland Norway's final frontier. The small-scale ice hotel is open year-round and a stay in the warm panoramic Gamme Cabins is a great way to round off the stay. At the hotel, guests will delight in Russian-, Frozen and Norwegian-folklore-inspired design before meandering to their own frozen lodgings.

A unique must-do at the Snowhotel is the Kirkenes king crab safari. The supersized, sumptuous crab lurks in the freezing coastal waters and is considered a local delicacy. On a small-boat tour you’ll help catch the humongous crab species. Expect to do some heavy lifting as the king crab can weigh up to 12.5kgs.

We recommend traveling to the Snowhotel Kirkenes for a personal, small-scale experience and unique Arctic adventures.

Our tip: The hotel is located close to the Finland's northern border, so why not combine an ice hotel stay with a night in one of Finnish Lapland’s dreamy glass igloos

Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel 

Welcome to the world’s northernmost snow hotel, located near Alta, Norway’s (self-proclaimed) Northern Lights city. Just outside the small Arctic town, Sorrisniva is built from nothing but snow and imagination. At Sorrisniva we recommend spending one night on a bed carved from ice, ordering a drink colder than polar bear’s toenail at the ice bar and a soul-warming meal at the hotel’s restaurant.

We find that a stop in Tromso where a wide range of Arctic adventures including reindeer safaris, snowmobiling expeditions or dog-sledding adventures await complements this Arctic journey. 

Little known fact: The hotel’s mountainous surroundings inspired the dramatic landscapes in Frozen 2. Perhaps you can recognise similiarities between the Finnmark Plateau and the mysterious autumnal landscape featuring in the movie? 

Tromso Ice Domes 

Close to the Arctic city of Tromso, the Tromso Ice Domes are the perhaps most accessible ice hotel. At the Domes, awe and adrenaline meet.  By day, the ice domes serve as an adventure hub and intricate snow carvings which can be marveled at the ice restaurant, cinema and, bar. Learn about the region’s Sami heritage, to then head off on a dog-sledding adventure.

As darkness settles in, the snowy destination turns into a peaceful retreat. Just before you go to sleep we suggest making the most of the peaceful atmosphere and lack of light pollution by joining a Northern Lights Hunt snowshoes.

We recommend staying at the Tromso ice domes as a bolt-on of an active break in and around Tromso. 

Hunderfossen- A family-friendly snowhotel 

Does Disney’s magical ‘Frozen’ movie inspire your little one’s outfit and song choices? Perhaps it is time to not only travel to Anna and Elsa’s home country but a magical palace reminiscent of Elsa’s ice castle on the North mountain. Hunderfossen theme park located north of Oslo offers a magical overnight stay in Norwegian folklore-inspired ice rooms. During the day the kids can visit a snow exhibition, meet real-life elves and ice princesses, whizz around on mini-snowmobiles or climb the North mountain in Anna-style. 

Our tip: Combine your family snowhotel adventure with a journey back in time at Oslo’s Folkemuseum. The outdoor museum just outside the capital chronicles Norwegian life over the centuries, engaging both adults and children.

Ready to turn an overnight stay at an ice or igloo hotel in a dreamy reality? Get in touch with our team of tailor-made travel experts.

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