Norway is well-known for its stunning natural beauty, from the fjords to the northern lights. But did you know that it’s also home to some of the world’s most unique hotels? Ice hotels in Norway are a popular attraction for tourists looking for an unforgettable experience.
These hotels are made entirely out of ice and snow, with intricate sculptures and designs created by artists. They offer a one-of-a-kind experience for guests, with rooms that are kept at a constant temperature of around -5°C. Despite the chilly temperatures, guests are provided with warm sleeping bags and other amenities to ensure a comfortable stay.
One of the most famous ice hotels in Norway is the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, located in Alta in Northern Norway. It was the second ice hotel to be built in the world and features stunning ice sculptures and a unique design every year. Other popular ice hotels in Norway include the Snowhotel Kirkenes and the ICEHOTEL in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden (which is just a short trip across the border from Norway).
What are Ice Hotels?
Ice hotels are unique accommodations made entirely out of snow and ice. They are built each year in the winter season and offer guests a one-of-a-kind experience. Ice hotels can be found in various parts of the world, including Norway.
These hotels are constructed using blocks of ice and snow, and the interiors are sculpted into intricate designs and shapes by talented artists. The furniture, walls, and even the beds are made of ice. Guests are provided with warm sleeping bags and other amenities to ensure a comfortable stay despite the chilly surroundings.
Ice hotels are not just a place to sleep; they also offer a range of activities such as ice fishing, snowmobiling, and dog sledding. Guests can also take a tour of the hotel and admire the stunning ice sculptures and artwork created by the artists.
History of Ice Hotels in Norway
Ice hotels are a relatively new concept, and Norway is one of the countries where they have gained immense popularity. The first ice hotel in Norway was the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, which was built in 1999 in Alta, Northern Norway. It was the second of its kind in the world and was an instant success among tourists. Since then, several other ice hotels have been built in Norway, each with its unique features and attractions.
The Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel is rebuilt every year using natural snow and ice. Professional artists sculpt huge blocks of ice and shape the snow to create the hotel’s structure and all the sculptures inside. The hotel has 30 rooms, a chapel, and an ice bar and restaurant. The temperature inside the hotel is around -4°C, but guests are provided with warm sleeping bags to keep them cozy while they sleep on beds made of ice.
Another popular ice hotel in Norway is the Kirkenes Snowhotel. It is located in the far north of Norway, close to the Russian border. The hotel is rebuilt every year using snow and ice from the nearby fjord. The hotel has 20 rooms, each with a different theme, and a restaurant that serves local and international cuisine. The hotel also offers several winter activities, including dog sledding, snowmobiling, and Northern Lights tours.
The Ice Domes in Bardufoss is another unique ice hotel in Norway. It is located in the Arctic wilderness, and the hotel is rebuilt every year using snow and ice from the surrounding area. The hotel has 24 rooms, each with a different theme, and a bar that serves drinks in glasses made of ice. The hotel also offers several winter activities, including reindeer sledding and snowshoeing.
Popular Ice Hotels in Norway
Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel
The Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, located in Alta, is the world’s northernmost ice hotel. Each year, it is rebuilt with a new theme and design. The hotel features 30 rooms, a chapel, and a bar, all made entirely of ice and snow. Guests are provided with high-quality sleeping bags to keep them warm during their stay in the ice hotel. The hotel also offers a variety of winter activities, including dog sledding and snowmobiling.
Tromsø Ice Domes
The Tromsø Ice Domes, located in the Arctic wilderness, is another popular ice hotel in Norway. The hotel features 26 rooms, all with unique ice sculptures and designs. In addition to the hotel, guests can enjoy a variety of winter activities, such as snowshoeing and Northern Lights tours. The hotel also has a restaurant that serves traditional Norwegian cuisine.
The Hunderfossen Vinterpark, located in Lillehammer, is a winter wonderland that features an ice hotel, ice bar, and ice chapel. The hotel has 24 rooms, each with its own unique design and theme. Guests can also enjoy a range of winter activities, such as ice skating and snow tubing. The park also has a variety of attractions for families, including a snow castle and a troll-themed amusement park.
The Snowhotel Kirkenes, located in Bjørnevatn, is a unique ice hotel that offers two types of accommodations: rooms at the Snowhotel and outdoor Gamme Cabins. The hotel has 20 rooms, each with its own unique ice sculptures and designs. The hotel also offers a range of winter activities, such as dog sledding and snowmobiling. Guests can also enjoy traditional Norwegian cuisine at the hotel’s restaurant.
Unique Features of Ice Hotels in Norway
Ice hotels in Norway are a unique and unforgettable experience for those who love adventure and the cold. Here are some of the unique features that make them stand out:
- Artistic Designs: Every year, ice hotels in Norway are rebuilt with different themes and artwork. Professional artists use natural snow and ice to create stunning sculptures and structures.
- Temperature: The temperature inside the cold section of the hotel is usually around minus 4 or 5 degrees Celsius. To ensure comfort, all rooms come with a thick mattress, thermal sleeping bag, and reindeer hides.
- Warm and Cold Sections: Ice hotels often consist of two parts that are connected, a warm building and a cold section. In the warm building, you will find facilities like restrooms, showers, changing rooms, and lockers for your belongings.
- Uniquely Themed Rooms: Each ice hotel in Norway has its own unique theme for their snow suites. You might stay in an ice room inspired by Norwegian fairy tales or Sámi folklore. No two rooms are ever the same and each is stunning to behold.
- Outdoor Activities: Ice hotels in Norway offer a range of outdoor activities, such as dog sledding, snowmobiling, and reindeer sleigh rides. These activities allow visitors to explore the beautiful Arctic wilderness and experience the unique culture of the region.
Overall, ice hotels in Norway offer a one-of-a-kind experience that combines adventure, art, and nature. Visitors can enjoy the unique features of these hotels while also immersing themselves in the stunning natural beauty of the Arctic region.
Activities at Ice Hotels in Norway
Staying at an ice hotel in Norway is an experience of a lifetime, but it’s not just about sleeping in a unique and chilly accommodation. There are plenty of activities to keep you entertained during your stay.
One popular activity is dog sledding, which allows visitors to explore the beautiful winter landscape while being pulled by a team of huskies. Some ice hotels offer guided tours that include dog sledding, while others have their own sled dogs on site.
Another exciting activity is snowmobiling. Guests can rent snowmobiles and zoom through the snow-covered wilderness, taking in the stunning scenery along the way. Some ice hotels also offer guided snowmobile tours, which can be a great way to explore the area with an experienced guide.
For those looking for a more relaxed experience, ice fishing is a popular option. Guests can try their hand at ice fishing on nearby frozen lakes and rivers, hoping to catch a variety of fish such as trout, salmon, and arctic char.
Finally, no trip to an ice hotel in Norway would be complete without experiencing the Northern Lights. Many ice hotels offer guided tours to view this natural phenomenon, which is best seen during the winter months.
Tips for Staying at Ice Hotels in Norway
Staying at an ice hotel in Norway can be a unique and unforgettable experience. However, it is important to be prepared for the cold temperatures and the unique environment. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your stay:
- Dress Warmly: It is important to dress warmly in layers when staying at an ice hotel. This will help you stay warm and comfortable throughout the night. You should also wear warm socks and a hat to keep your head and feet warm.
- Use the Thermal Sleeping Bags: Most ice hotels provide thermal sleeping bags that are designed to keep you warm in the cold temperatures. Make sure to use them and zip them up tightly to stay warm throughout the night.
- Stay Hydrated: It is important to stay hydrated when staying at an ice hotel. The dry air can cause dehydration, so make sure to drink plenty of water and other fluids.
- Bring Hand Warmers: Hand warmers can be a great way to keep your hands warm throughout the night. You can place them in your gloves or pockets to keep your hands warm and comfortable.
- Be Prepared for the Bathroom: Most ice hotels have shared bathrooms that are located outside of the sleeping area. Be prepared to bundle up and brave the cold temperatures when you need to use the bathroom.
By following these tips, you can stay warm and comfortable during your stay at an ice hotel in Norway. Remember to embrace the unique experience and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Magic Ice Bars
Norway is known for its unique and stunning ice hotels, but it also has a few extraordinary ice bars. These bars are made entirely of ice, from the walls to the furniture, and offer a truly unforgettable experience. Visitors can enjoy a drink in an arctic setting, surrounded by intricate ice sculptures and lighting effects.
Magic Ice is one of the most popular ice bars in Norway, with locations in both Bergen and Reykjavik, Iceland. The bars are designed by skilled ice artists who create intricate sculptures and designs that change every year. Visitors can enjoy a range of drinks, from classic cocktails to local brews, all served in glasses made of ice.
Magic Ice bars also offer unique experiences, such as the chance to dress up in traditional Viking costumes and take photos with friends. The bars are perfect for special events, such as birthdays and corporate parties, and can be booked for private functions.
Visitors should note that the bars are kept at a chilly -5°C, so warm clothing is recommended. However, the bars provide warm capes and gloves to keep guests comfortable during their visit. Overall, a visit to a Magic Ice bar is a must for anyone looking for a unique and unforgettable experience in Norway.
Overall, Norway offers a unique and unforgettable experience for those looking to stay in an ice hotel. With a variety of locations and themes to choose from, visitors can immerse themselves in a winter wonderland and enjoy the beauty of nature.
While each ice hotel has its own unique features and attractions, visitors can expect to find stunning ice sculptures, cozy accommodations, and a range of activities to enjoy. From dog sledding to snowmobiling, there is no shortage of adventure to be had in Norway.
It is important to note that staying in an ice hotel is not for everyone. The cold temperatures and basic amenities may not be suitable for those who prefer more luxurious accommodations. However, for those willing to embrace the cold and experience something truly unique, Norway’s ice hotels are a must-see.
Visitors should also be aware of the environmental impact of ice hotels. While efforts are made to minimize the impact on the surrounding environment, the construction and maintenance of ice hotels can have an impact on local ecosystems. Visitors should be respectful of the environment and follow all guidelines and regulations set forth by the hotel.
Overall, Norway’s ice hotels offer a one-of-a-kind experience for adventurous travelers. With stunning natural scenery, unique accommodations, and a range of activities to enjoy, a stay in an ice hotel is sure to be a memorable experience.