Ice Hotel Sweden - Everything you need to know before you go
The Ice Hotel in Sweden is famous for its magnificent art and icy experiences.
Every year artists from around the world line up to display their craft, and create a magical experience made entirely from ice.
To be part of this winter wonderland, there are a few important things you should know when planning your trip, including things nobody ever shares.
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Where is the Ice Hotel and how to get there
People, and most information online, call it the Ice Hotel in Kiruna, which is only partially true. Kiruna is both a city in Swedish Lapland, but also the name of the larger community.
The Ice Hotel is actually located in a small town called Jukkasjärvi, which is part of Kiruna community, but around 15-20 minutes drive outside of Kiruna city.
There are different ways to get to the Ice Hotel.
Fly to Kiruna airport
Coming from outside of Sweden the most convenient way to visit the Ice Hotel is to fly into Kiruna airport.
SAS and Norwegian offer several flights a week from Stockholm Arlanda airport to Kiruna airport, and the flight takes only 90 minutes.
Take the train to Kiruna
Kiruna is quite a hub in northern Sweden, so lots of trains from other main destinations go there.
From within Sweden, you can take an overnight train from Stockholm, or catch a 4 hour train ride from Lulea.
You can also visit the Ice Hotel by train from Norway, taking a VY train from Narvik to Kiruna.
Getting from Kiruna to the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi
Once you’re in Kiruna, it’s easy to get to the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi.
From the airport, Kiruna Central station or Kiruna bus station you can take a taxi or bus (number 501); a taxi takes around 15-20 minutes, the bus around 30.
Or rent a car and drive (not recommended if you’re not familiar with driving in A LOT of snow).
Ice Hotel also offers transfers via shuttle bus (you need to make a reservation for that at least 3 days in advance), or dog sled (90 minutes from Kiruna airport to Ice Hotel)!
When to visit the Ice Hotel
Visiting the Ice Hotel is possible year round, because it’s made up of 2 sections:
Ice Hotel 365 which is a permanent building that’s open all year, and Ice Hotel Winter that’s build from scratch every year in October, and open December to April.
The 365 exhibit features the Art and Deluxe Suites, larger rooms made entirely from ice, created by artists from around the world, and with different themes for each suite.
Ice Hotel Winter includes the standard cold rooms, also created entirely from ice but they all look more or less the same. They are the least expensive ice rooms you can book.
Things to do at the Ice Hotel in winter and spring
During December to April, the yearly ice hotel is a popular destination.
Winter activities like dog sledding, driving a snow mobile, enjoying a traditional Swedish sauna, and watching the Northern Lights are the main reasons people visit the ice hotel during this time of year.
It also means rooms sell out fast, and activities are more expensive around Jukkasjärvi.
Things to do at the Ice Hotel in summer
Since the Ice Hotel 365 is open year round, you can also enjoy the beautiful ice art in summer.
Even though it’s a popular winter destination, Swedish Lapland offers a lot of outdoor activities like hiking, traditional Swedish sauna (a year round favourite), kayaking on Torne river and more.
Visit the Ice Hotel for a day
You can also visit the ice hotel for a day, explore all the art, and have a drink at the ice bar. This is a great budget-friendly way compared to staying the night.
Prices and opening times for the ice hotel:
December 12 – April 15: 10am – 6pm
Adult SEK 349
Student/Senior SEK 249
Children 7-15 years SEK 125
Children 0-6 years are free with 1 adult
Ice Bar opening times: Dec 12 – April 15, 12pm – 6pm
How to sleep in the ice rooms at the Ice Hotel
You can choose between cold and warm rooms. The cold rooms are the ones made of ice, without bathrooms or electricity. When staying in one of those, you get a sleeping bag which is tested for extreme temperatures and will keep you warm over night. All you need to wear are thermal underlayers, a hat, warm socks and a light sweater.
The ice rooms in the Ice Hotel Winter are open to the public between 10am – 6pm, which means even though you can check in, you won’t have the room to yourself until 6pm. The temperature inside is around -5°C to -7°C.
Since the ice rooms don’t feature any storage, bathrooms or electricity, you’ll be given a locker where you can store all your belongings during your stay. There is also a heated reception hall which is open 24/7.
Art suites and deluxe suites at the Ice Hotel
In addition to the Ice Rooms, you can also book a night in one of the 18 Art or Deluxe Suites.
When sleeping in the Art Suites, the amenities are similar to the standard Ice Rooms: shared bathrooms, showers and sauna in the main reception hall, sleeping bags for the night, and lockers to store personal belongings.
If you want access to a private, heated bathroom you can kick it up a notch and pay the extra $$ for a Deluxe Suite. They come in 3 different types: with private, separate heated shower and toilet room (called Johka), with shower, toilet and sauna (called Hilla), or with shower, bath tub, toilet and sauna (called Jauvre).
All ice rooms are open to the public between 10am and 6pm, December 12 to April 15, so even if you don’t stay in one of the more exclusive rooms you can still visit them and enjoy the art.
What to pack for a stay at the Ice Hotel
The temperatures inside the Ice Hotel are kept at around -5°C to -7°C, so dressing warm is key.
When you’re visiting in the winter, make sure you’re wearing layers of warm clothing, best made of wool or other breathable materials.
Here’s a quick list for all the essentials you’ll need to stay warm in the Ice Hotel, and Swedish Lapland in general:
- Thermal underwear
- Warm socks (wool is best)
- Warm hat that covers your ears and neck
- Waterproof gloves that let you move your fingers
- Water- and windproof outer layer (snow pants and jacket)
- Waterproof boots (1 size bigger than normal shoes, to fit 2-3 layers of socks)
During the night in one of the ice rooms at Ice Hotel, thermal underwear, a hat, warm socks and a light sweater will be enough.
Food and drinks at the Ice Hotel
The Ice Hotel features multiple dining experiences, depending on your needs and budget.
The main restaurant “Icehotel Restaurant” is located across the street from Ice Hotel and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“The Veranda” serves a 12 course meal prepared in front of the guests while the chefs share information about the local ingredients they use.
You can also make dinner reservations at “The Old Homestead”, a rustic barn close to the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi.
The “Icebar” is located inside Ice Hotel 365, where you can enjoy champagne and cocktails in glasses made from ice.
For light snacks and drinks in a warmer environment, visit the “Lounge” behind the main lobby.
So if you’re visiting the ice hotel in Swedish Lapland, make sure to plan ahead, pack the right clothes and budget appropriately.
It’s a once in a lifetime experience, enjoy it!
Hi, I’m Nadine
Part-time traveler with full-time wanderlust.
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