Experience the world's most unique hotel made of ice - ICEHOTEL Jukkasjärvi
Located in Jukkasjärvi in northern Sweden, the Ice Hotel is the world’s most original ice hotel made entirely from snow and ice. The 5,500 square metre Icehotel Sweden is situated approximately 11 kilometres from Kiruna and has over 65 warm and cold rooms that are constructed annually using ice from the nearby river. In 2016 the hotel expanded its facilities and introduced the IceHotel 365 as all year-round accommodation that offers luxury suites and art suites. Aside from cold and warm rooms, this unique hotel in the Swedish Lapland also has an ice bar, ice cinema, two heated restaurants, 2 wilderness camps, 4 conference rooms, ice sculpting studio, and even an ice chapel. But before you start packing your bags and heading out to the igloo hotel in Kiruna, Lapland, make sure you read our comprehensive guide featuring everything you need to know about one of the best ice hotels in the world.
Some interesting ICEHOTEL Sweden facts
Sweden’s IceHotel is the world’s first ice hotel founded in 1989.
All the ice used for the IceHotel comes from the nearby Torne River as its crystal clear water has almost no impurities.
The entire hotel is constructed using snow, ice, and snice, (a combination of water, air, and snow.) In total, 20 million snowballs complete the structure and the air in between the small ice crystals not only provides insulation but it also makes the building look as white as snow.
The equipment used for building the Ice Hotel includes chainsaws, sharp chisels, and tractors.
Every April, the seasonal hotel melts back into the river, except for the IceHotel 365, which stays open all year round by maintaining sub-zero temperatures using solar power.
The Ice Hotel was the source of inspiration for the Ice Palace in the James Bond movie, Die Another Day.
The Ice Hotel rooms
The IceHotel and IceHotel 365 offer 4 types of cold rooms and 4 types of warm rooms. IceHotel 365 is a permanent structure with luxury suites as well as ice bar and ice gallery. You can either book a double room or a suite. The Deluxe suites are more preferable as they offer private luggage room, and some even have their own bathroom and sauna in IceHotel 365. All the beds in the cold rooms are made out of ice blocks with a wooden base and a mattress covered with reindeer hides. Here are the different types of cold rooms at the IceHotel:
Ice rooms come with double, triple, or quadruple beds, free entry to sauna and breakfast are included as well as guided tour of the hotel. You will get a storage locker for your belongings.
Cold rooms Deluxe Suite
The largest rooms are the 40 sqm Deluxe suite featuring en-suite bathroom, sauna directly connected to the bedroom, double bed, changing and storage room. All the suites are individually designed by artists from around the world. In the morning, you will be greeted with a hot cup of berry juice and a sauna session before breakfast.
These individually themed art suites come with double, triple, or quadruple beds. The 27 sqm suites have WiFi, communal changing rooms and luggage storage room. Communal toilets and saunas for men and women are available in the warm part of the hotel. Breakfast is included.
Art Suite 365
The 27 sqm suites have two beds, private changing and storage room, WiFi, and breakfast is included. Guests have free entry to sauna and guided tour of the hotel is included.
Essential tips about the Ice Hotel Kiruna
You don’t have to stay in a room at the Ice Hotel to see what it is all about. The hotel is open to public during the day so you can visit every type of room they have without having to book a room for the night. While it is a fun experience to spend one night in a cold room – you won’t want to stay any longer than that. It would be more interesting to explore the hotel itself, its rooms and their individual themes, the hotel’s unique artworks, or even take a 30-minute guided tour to the Ice Hotel and learn everything about it.
It is not worth staying in a warm room at the Ice Hotel. These rooms are overpriced, and more importantly, you will find yourself surrounded by too many tourists. If you don’t mind the large crowds of people, then it’s a nice place to stay at for one night. The great thing about this hotel is that it conveniently offers all the activities to take part in so you won’t have to go anywhere else. It also has a sauna, 2 excellent restaurants with delicious food, a gift shop, and café. On the other hand, if you prefer to experience the Lappish wilderness and nature, then you should consider staying at a quieter and more secluded accommodation.
The best time of the day to explore the Icehotel is right after you wake up early in the morning and had your breakfast. That’s the best time to take photos of the place and explore its rooms as later on in the day, lots of visitors will arrive and the hotel will get busy.
If you are visiting Kiruna for 1 week, for example, you should book your one night’s stay at the Ice Hotel either on your first day of arrival or the last day of your holiday. You might prefer to stay at the hotel on your last day as a final highlight of your holiday, especially if you have to get up early the next day to catch your flight.
It's worth booking a room that comes with its own luggage storage facility as all the the basic rooms only have lockers, which can be rather inconvenient. You can get changed in your own luggage room (instead of going to the bathroom) plus you will have much more space and can leave your luggage open.
What it's like to spend a night at the Ice Hotel's cold room
Staying in a cold room at the Ice Hotel is an experience you don't want to miss and a must-do even if you only visit it once in your lifetime. You get to sleep in a “room” completely made out of ice - in fact the entire building is made out of snow and ice. The bed is a big block of ice with a mattress on top and plenty of reindeer hides to keep you warm. I never felt the chill as I was given a special arctic sleeping bag to keep myself warm. The sleeping bag had a liner in it for hygiene reasons. The only part of your body that might feel the cold will be your face. For this, you can always rent a face mask from the hotel’s reception.
Since the temperature inside the cold room is -5 degrees Celsius, you won’t be able to bring your luggage in the room with you. Every guest is provided with a locker at the neighbouring building. You can either get a basic storage locker or a small storage room to place your luggage in, depending on which room type you book. I preferred to have my own storage/changing room and the Deluxe suite offered just that with much more space than the basic rooms. You can leave all your belongings in the room without constantly going in and out every time you need something. There is also a bathroom for men and women in the same building, with waterfall showers and a sauna. This is the only sauna in the Icehotel, but you can only use it for free if you have booked a cold room. The Ice Hotel warm rooms don’t have sauna access. At the hotel itself, there is a heated bathroom for everyone to use, and since the temperature inside the heated bathroom is 20 degrees Celsius, you will probably end up not wanting to leave this room!
The next morning, the staff woke me up around 7-8am with a hot cup of lingonberry juice. I was told to check out of the room shortly after because these rooms are open to public visits during the day. This is the reason why you can only check in after 6-7pm. Before checking in, the hotel staff will explain everything to you in a brief guided tour. Having to check out early in the morning can be hard, especially if you’re not used to getting up so early, but if you’ve had enough of staying in the cold room like I did, then you will be quite relieved to leave. A big advantage of leaving the hotel room early in the morning is that you will have the opportunity to explore the Ice Hotel and its rooms since most visitors don’t come for visits this early. You can have the place to yourself and take some great pictures. After all, the hotel activities won’t start until 9.30-10am so you’ll have a couple of hours to explore, enjoy breakfast, and keep warm. There is a nice café at the reception where lots of people hang out to pass the time.
Ice Hotel restaurants
The Ice Hotel has 2 restaurants with breakfast and buffet lunch served in the main restaurant. At the award-winning IceHotel restaurant, all the ingredients like reindeer, moose, and bramble berries are sourced locally. You can have a choice of 3 themed dinners: ice dinner, chef’s table, or wilderness dinner. The ice dinner experience offers a taste of the local produce from the river valley and the food is served on ice plates as part of a 5-course meal. The wilderness dinner theme is a 3-course meal served in the woodlands. You are taken to a secluded wilderness camp in a boat or minivan by a guide. Breakfast is served from 7am to 10am, lunch is from 11.30am to 2.30pm, and dinner from 6pm to 9pm.
For a gourmet dinner, you can book a Chef’s Table on The Veranda for the ultimate fine dining experience. You will get to know what’s like to stay in a typical Swedish home - Just don’t forget to take your shoes off before entering the dwelling.
For a more rustic dining experience, Jukkasjärvi Homestead is a traditional restaurant under the IceHotel umbrella, but is located away from the actual hotel next to a church. The restaurant, which overlooks Torne River, is an old timber building that dates back to 1768 and is also a museum. Its menu consists of comfort foods like burgers, steak, and salmon.
What to do at the Ice Hotel
Here is a list of all the exciting Ice Hotel activities that take place during winter months:
Ice sculpting class
This fun activity allows you to get in touch with your artistic side and create something beautiful out of an ice block. The intense ice sculpting class is a must when you visit Ice Hotel. The instructor will brief you on how the ice is harvested from Torne River before showing you how to use the tools to create your own ice sculpture.
A 3-course wilderness dinner
An exclusive 3-course dinner in the woods is prepared and served by your guide. This experience takes place in a secluded wilderness camp and is an especially great activity for couples.
A relaxing massage
There is nothing more soothing than having an essential oil massage to energise your body and mind. This is especially recommended for those who have spent a night in the cold room of IceHotel.
This traditional and long-established sauna in northern Sweden is said to have healing effects. You can take the opportunity to try the sauna just like the locals by following the 10-step ritual from washing yourself with a special soap to taking a dip in the river before warming up in the outdoor hot tubs.
A guided tour of the IceHotel
You can buy entry tickets at the reception or at the hotel’s shop counter. If you stay overnight at the hotel, the guided tour of the IceHotel will be included in the room’s price.
Dog sled airport transfers
One of the best and most enjoyable modes of transportation in northern Sweden is a dog sled airport transfer. You can choose to either get picked up from the airport at the start of your trip or dropped off on your last day of holiday. This experience allows you to sit back and enjoy the wonderful views of Lapland on a 75 minute dog sled ride. Make sure you pre-book in advance.
Visit a sled dog kennel and take a Husky ride
Kids will especially love this activity as they get to play with Husky puppies and cuddle them before taking a short ride through the forest. The guide will show you all the training equipment used for the dogs whilst you enjoy some tea or coffee with biscuits.
Sled-dog tour with wilderness lunch
This mini expedition takes you through the Lappish wilderness on a dog sled ride. Halfway through the tour, you will stop by a small wilderness cabin to eat a traditional lunch before heading back to the hotel 3 hours later.
Dog sledding with overnight stay in a cabin
You can drive your own dog sled on this tour and stay overnight in a remote cabin. There is also a sauna to enjoy and the chance to see the auroras. The tour starts from the IceHotel, where you are picked up by a snowmobile and taken across the frozen river to a Husky kennel. The guide will show you how to use the safety equipment before you head out to the wilderness on your own dog sled.
Northern lights safari
Between September and March, your chances of seeing the Northern lights become greater. The best place to see the captivating auroras in in the Swedish wilderness away from light pollution. This tour will take you to IceHotel’s Camp Aurora, where the guide will explain how the aurora lights appear and what causes the phenomenon. Afterwards, you will be served a traditional Swedish coffee around a campfire.
Listen to Sami stories under the Northern lights
Your guide will take you to one of the best Northern lights locations in the forest, where you can enjoy a peaceful walk through the reindeer lodge and listen to Sami stories and learn about their way of life. During the tour, you will gather around a fireplace with tea or coffee and if you are lucky, you will even see the auroras dancing in the sky.
Northern lights safari on a snowmobile
The local guide will take you through the stunning mountains on a snowmobile. You will learn all about the native wild animals and how the reindeer affects the climate in this region. This is a unique opportunity to capture the Northern lights and after the snowmobile ride, you will be served a 3-course lunch prepared with local ingredients.
Northern lights on horseback
You will go horse riding towards the highest mountain in Sweden; Kebnekaise. This peaceful ride through the winter wonderland takes place in the evening for a chance to see the auroras. Once you get back to the horse farm, you will be shown how to unsaddle your horse and served dinner in a Sami hut.
Moose safari on horseback
For this tour, you will be picked up from the IceHotel by bus and taken to the family-owned Ofelaš ranch, where you will have the chance to meet the Icelandic horses and prepare them for a ride. Your horseback riding venture will take you through the places where moose are likely to graze. These animals are often seen eating food during winter – but if you’re not lucky enough to spot a moose, don’t worry as the amazing views of the Swedish mountains will leave you in awe. After the ride, you will be shown how to unsaddle your horse before being served a 3-course Swedish lunch.
Northern lights photography
Your guide will teach you the basics of nighttime photography and how to capture the auroras while waiting for them to appear in the night sky. This tour is ideal for beginner photographers and includes a camera with tripod. If you choose to bring your own camera, the guide will show you how to set it up correctly. Note: you must bring your own SD card that has at least 4 GB memory.
Wilderness survival skills
Learn the basic survival skills in the wilderness with simple tips that will teach you how to survive in the forest. Your guide will show you how to find your way through the woodlands, how to start a campfire using flint, what types of foods or fruits from nature are safe to eat, and more importantly, how to find shelter in bad weather conditions.
Stay overnight at a wilderness camp
This is a snowmobile tour across Torne River. You can either drive your own or share the snowmobile until you reach the lodge. This traditional camp offers a sleeping cabin with food and sauna as well as all the basic facilities that you would need. The camp has no electricity and Internet connection so it’s a great place to relax whilst the guide prepares your dinner. You can also enjoy the wood-fired sauna before dinner and admire the starry sky. The cabin comes with bunk beds and breakfast is served the next day before you are taken back to the hotel on a snowmobile.
Ice Hotel snomobile tour
This thrilling snowmobile tour is perfect for adrenaline-seekers who want to get close to nature by driving a snowmobile. You will follow your guide through the unspoiled forest and across the frozen river. Along the way, you will make short stops to take pictures and enjoy the arctic sights.
Before you head out to the mountains, you will be equipped with the right gear by your guide and instructed on how to use the best cross-country skiing techniques. This tour will include coffee around an open fire and grilled sausages.
Meet a reindeer
This is another great activity for kids as well as adults. Here you get the chance to meet a reindeer and feed them while learning more about the lifestyle of the natives in the region. You will also get the chance to drive a reindeer sled around a gated track before taking a coffee break around the fire in a traditional tent.
Wildlife and nature photography tour
A photography guide will pick you up from the hotel and take you on a minivan to the woodlands. You will be shown how to use the camera and once you’ve practiced enough, you can take a walk in the nature and look for interesting objects to photograph. The Swedish Lapland is full of arctic animals like reindeer and moose. The tour will end with a cup of tea or coffee served by a campfire.
Fishing is a way of life in Sweden and on this tour, you will learn casting techniques on land before heading out to Torne River for a spot of cod or trout fishing.
What to wear at the Icehotel Sweden
The Ice Hotel staff will provide you with special clothing to keep your warm during your stay. This includes thermal boots, thermal suit, gloves, and a fleece-lined hat. You should also bring your own warm clothes to wear underneath as extra layers. Please refer to our Arctic Clothing article for more details.
Where is the Ice Hotel in Sweden?
The Ice Hotel is in the village of Jukkasjärvi in northern Sweden approximately 17 km from the city of Kiruna.
Who built the Ice Hotel in Sweden?
In 1989, Yngve Bergqvist, the founder of the hotel, got the idea of building a hotel made of ice.
How cold is the Ice Hotel’s cold room?
The cold room holds a temperature of between -5 and -8 degrees Celsius.
How do you stay warm in the Ice Hotel?
You will be provided with a thermal sleeping bag to sleep in. If your face gets too cold, you can rent a face mask from the reception. It's best to sleep in thermal underwear like long-johns and keep your woollen hat on.
How big is the Ice Hotel?
5,500 square metres.
How many people does it take to build the Icehotel?
The construction of Ice Hotel involves more than 50 people, with an additional 50 artists who come from all over the world at the end of November to create its art rooms.
How much is it to stay in Ice Hotel for a night?
Cold rooms cost around 500 euros per night and warm rooms start from 250 euros per night.
How many visitors come to see the Ice Hotel every year?
The hotel receives between 50,000 and 60,000 visitors each year, including day visitors and overnight guests.
When does the Ice Hotel open every year?
The IceHotel is open from mid-December to Mid-April every year. However, the IceHotel 365 remains open throughout the year using solar power to maintain sub-zero temperatures.
Are there dog sled transfers from Ice Hotel to airport?
Yes, but you will need to pre-book.
Where is the nearest airport to Ice Hotel?
Kiruna Airport is around 14 km away.
How to get to Ice Hotel from Kiruna?
A taxi is the easiest way to reach the hotel from Kiruna city.
How to get to Ice Hotel Sweden from abroad?
You can fly to Stockholm Airport and catch a connection flight to Kiruna Airport, which takes 1.5 hours. From Kiruna, you can take a 10-minute taxi ride to IceHotel, or if you have already prebooked a dog sled transfer with the hotel, then the guide will pick you up from the meeting point departure.
How far is Kiruna Airport to Ice Hotel?
Approx. 14 km.
When is the best time to visit the Ice Hotel?
If you want to experience winter activities and enjoy the festive season in northern Sweden, then the best times to visit the Ice Hotel is December and January as well as February and March.
Can I see the Northern lights from Ice Hotel?
This hotel is in a prime location for aurora watching. It also organises aurora activities in the wilderness away from noise and light pollution. There is, however, no guarantee that you will see the auroras, although the longer you stay the better your chances.
Is Ice Hotel suitable for families with small children?
Yes, kids over the age of 6 will enjoy the exciting activities that the hotel offers, including ice sculpting, snowmobiling, and dog-sled tours. The hotel caters for all the family with triple and quadruple beds in the ice rooms.