Located in the far north of Sweden well inside the Arctic Circle is Kiruna. Kiruna is famous for a number of things, firstly an enormous ore mine, so large that the town is collapsing into the ground and secondly the Icehotel.
The hotel is about 20 mins drive from the airport in Jukkasjärvi next to the river Torne where the ice for the hotel is taken from. The website for the Icehotel is here. The idea with the hotel is that you stay in the warm accommodation for most of your stay and generally only spend one night in the Icehotel itself. The hotel is made of ice and snow and is regulated to -5C regardless of outside temperature.
As well as the hotel there is an ice church and inside the hotel is an ice bar (can you spot the theme ?).
The Art suites are sculpted from Ice and snow by visiting artists and you sleep on a bed covered in reindeer skins.
The temperature while we were there was around -10 during the day and as low as -30 at night.
So what was there to do ? Well we got up to the following (with mixed success !)
This really wasn't easy. One of those activities where going for that small improvement usually results in the ice sculpture being a lot smaller than you intended. Julie started well but following a bit of an accident managed to make a small pyramid and apparently mine had "nice forms" which I think means it was cack. So we have work in progress......
and the finished sculptures. I think you can tell that neither of us has an arts degree.......
We decided to go on a night-time snow mobiling tour to look for the northern lights. We snowmobiled through the forest and across frozen lakes for a few hours at around -20C stopping regularly to check for the northern lights and then later in the evening for a meal of moose stew at a wilderness camp.
I now love snowmobiles................
Possibly one of the most entertaining things I've ever done ! Some words of advice, firstly if the dog looks stupid, it is stupid and secondly don't pick the stupid looking dog as your lead dog as you will probably end up somewhere you shouldn't......enough said
It's a great way to get out into the surrounding area to explore, you cross frozen rivers and lakes and cross vast expanses of snow. After stopping to feed the dogs and to have more moose stew it was time to dog sled back to the hotel.
Staying in the cold !
Staying in the cold part of the icehotel was amazing, after getting changed into your thermals, hat and boots you grab a sleeping bag and then run (as fast as possible) into the hotel from the warmth. After getting the sleeping bag on the reindeer skin covered bed it's into the sleeping bag to try and sleep at -5C. It's really warm in the sleeping bag and we didn't feel cold. In the morning you are woken up with a cup of hot lingonberry juice. The room we had was "Snow Aurora Borealis" . Apologies for the poor picture quality but hopefully you get the idea.
As you can see we had an excellent time and I'd recommend a visit to the north of Sweden and especially a stay at the icehotel !
This page was last updated on 28 May 2008