When the opportunity arose, and when we could fit it into our travel budget, we jumped at the chance to head to the Ice Hotel in Kiruna Sweden for an extended weekend. And even though it was over 10 years ago now, I still remember it like it was yesterday. We were excited and curious to know if we could survive a night in the ‘The Ice-Hotel’ Kiruna Sweden.
After a day of travelling through Scandinavia, across the Arctic Circle via the night train, we finally arrived in Kiruna (Sweden). Upon stepping off the train, the cold temperature hit me straight away & I was already wondering how I was going to make it through the night in a room made of ice.
Preparing for the day
After a 10min bus ride from the station, we arrived at the ‘Ice Hotel’, which was situated next to the Torne River. We were given our room number and organised our activities: dog sledding and chasing the Northern lights on Skidoo were on my agenda.
We then headed over to the “Warm House” (adjoined to the ice-hotel) to be given our locker (for our belongings for the duration of the stay in the ice room) and to change into our purposely made ski clothes, gloves & shoes (optional but it is highly recommended).
Once we were in our suits, we were given a small talk about the hotel, the facilities, the history and the artists who sculpted the rooms. Then it was our time to explore the hotel and surrounding area in the limited daylight. Apart from it being -20c, it was one of the most beautiful places that I had seen, everything was pure white covered in snow and very still. It was just so peaceful and for a moment I forgot where I was.
Exploring the Rooms & Hotel
First stop was to visit the themed rooms and check out the amazing ice sculptures in some of these rooms. It was such a surreal experience, all the artist’s rooms were different, there was everything from Dragons to giant chessboards. I felt like a kid again playing chess & pretending to ride a dragon!
After the rooms, we visited the church (you can organise to get married here) and then the ice-bar for a drink before heading off to do our activities that we had booked (review to come).
How about meeting Santa in Lapland for the day? See, how I was able to do it.
The Overnight Experience
Once our activities were over, it was time to do what we came here for and spend the night in our ice room on an ice bed. We headed over to the warm house to collect our sleeping bags and to change into our thermals/Pjs Once changed, it was time to head to our room for the night.
Whilst walking there, it was the first time I had felt the cold apart from when we first arrived and realised just how good those purposely made suits were during the day. As I got comfortable in my sleeping bag (tucked up with my Beanie over my head) a hundred things started running through my mind while I drifted off to sleep. Will my water freeze in the middle of the night; what would I do if I need to get up for the loo – will I freeze; how will I go sleeping on a bed of ice.
The Morning After
The next thing I knew it was morning and I was being woken up by one of the lovely hotel staff bringing me warm berry juice. I had made it, and all that worry was for nothing. Instead, I had one of the best night’s sleep in a while and was nicely surprised about how warm and comfortable it was to sleep on deer skins.
As we prepared for our departure back home & checked out of our room, we were given a certificate to congratulate and remind us that we had just spent the night in a -9c temperature room.
About the Room
There are 3 main types of ice rooms that you can choose from depending on your budget & what suits you. Art Suites (themed rooms created by artists), Deluxe 365 (also themed but are available all year around ) and Ice Rooms (standard double bed – the one that I stayed in) I think it was the cheapest option but the experience is definitely no different.
All the beds are made of Ice with Reindeer skins on top of them. You sleep in a specially made sleeping bag and can choose from either a single or a double.
If you do not think that you could handle staying in the Ice rooms or you are wanting to stay an extra few nights. Then you have the option of staying in one of the heated accommodation available, either Kaamos, Nordic Chalet or Arctic Chalet.
They are situated next to the hotel and even though I never stayed in one they looked very warm and comfortable.
Ice Bar by Ice-Hotel
You can’t go all the way to the Ice-Hotel and not have a drink at the Ice-bar. It is such a cool novelty, being in a bar made of ice, drinking out of a glass made of ice, while sitting on the ice furniture. If you are going as a family that is not a problem, as children are allowed to be in the bar.
Opening Hours – 12 am – midnight
- If you are not keen on drinking out of ice cups there are warm drinks available and soft drinks for the children.
Some of the Activities Available
There are a number of actives that are available at the Ice-Hotel like dog sledding, chasing the Northern lights, horse sledding, even learning how to Ice Sculpture. You are best to book these in advance to save disappointment, especially if there is something particular you really want to do. As there is usually a limited number of spaces on the activities and there is only a couple of restaurants in the town.
Northern Lights Safari on Snowmobile
One of the activities I was really looking forward to doing was the Northern Lights Safari because like most, seeing the Northern Lights was a bucket list item. Unfortunately, the Northern lights are a natural phenomenon and we did not see the lights that night (Don’t worry I saw them the night after.
However, I still had a wonderful time speeding along the ice lake and through the forest on the snowmobile. When it became too cold for us, we would stop off in one of the purposely built huts in the forest where the fire was roaring and we were served berry juice to warm up again.
- Wear plenty of layers, as you get cold when you are zooming along on the snowmobile with the fresh air hitting you.
What is provided
You are given a medium sized locker, which will not fit a large suitcase. It would fit a medium backpack, ski coat, thermals and personal belongings. You don’t need much anyway as you are provided with the suits/shoes/gloves and hats when you arrive.
- Make sure that you take your thermals for extra warmth.
How to get there & Location:
There were only two main options of getting to Kiruna when I went over 10 years ago. Now there is a direct flight available from London to Kiruna (I am unsure of the price) during the peak season.
Option 1: You could fly to Stockholm, and then take a direct flight to Kiruna.
Option 2: You could fly to Stockholm then take the overnight train to Kiruna (this is the option that I took).
- If you are stopping in Stockholm and you would like to downsize your bag, there are large lockers at the main train station (also where you take the night train from) that are available and safe to use.
- All iced bedrooms are open to the public until 6 pm every day, and then guests are allowed to retire to their chosen room.
- Unless you have a large budget, definitely make sure that you plan accordingly otherwise you will end up spending a small fortune on the additional extras
- During the winter months, there is only a couple of hours of daylight per day.
- If it gets too cold for you, or if you want to relax in the warmth, there is a warm house (where your belongings are kept) available that also has a sauna and showers for you to use during your stay.
- Guided tours at 12 and 4 pm in English (10 am and 2 pm in Swedish).
- Price Range – Expensive but worth it
- Wifi – Free in all areas
- Breakfast – Buffet breakfast included
Would I recommend the Ice-Hotel Kiruna
This was a big bucket list item for me and I am so glad that I have now been able to tick it off. I would highly recommend staying at the Ice-Hotel, as it is a once in a lifetime trip and an experience that you will never forget. Hopefully it is even more special and you get to see the Northern lights dancing through the sky above the hotel.
Be aware though that it is not cheap, but if you have the chance and can afford it, then start planning your trip as you won’t regret it. If you are unable to make it to the Ice-Hotel but would like to have a similar experience, you can visit the many Vodka Ice-Bars that are around the world.
Thank you for reading my article ‘Surviving a night in ‘The Ice-Hotel’ Kiruna Sweden’, I hope it helped you to decide in going there. This is still one of my favourite experiences and would definitely go again in a heartbeat.
If you are interested in discovering more adventures Winter Adventures, then please feel free to check out my other articles on The Italian side of the Matterhorn, Breuil-Cervinia Ski Resort Italy or Why Morzine Ski Resort France should be your next Ski destination.
Have you Stayed in the Ice-Hotel before?
I would love to hear it 🙂 Please feel free to share your experience in the comments below.
Disclaimer: I paid to stay in the Ice-Hotel Sweden over 10years ago. All views are my own and based on my own experience.
45 thoughts on “Surviving a night in The Ice-Hotel – Kiruna Sweden”
I love this post Mel – I really wanted to do this but after Iceland last November – that was my first and last cold holiday !
Thank you very much, Natasha I am glad you like it so much. Next time you will have come along with me 🙂
Fantastic pictures of the rooms! I really like the bed that looks like it has glowing eyes! It’s nice that the Ice Hotel offers you the alternative to warm you up if you get too cold. The furs add a nice touch.
Thank you Tamie, I appreciate it. Those furs you can seen are deer skins and they were on the bed to protect you from the cold ice. They were super comfy
Love this post!! We married in the Ice Hotel Church and it’s wonderful to read other people’s encounters! You are only the 2nd person we have “met” who have been here so this is wonderful and brings back lovely memories. Looking forward to reading more of your adventures!
FeetDoTravel, glad to have met you today and looking forward to sharing stories with each other. A very big congratulations again on your wedding at the ice-hotel.
I’m still not convinced! I would however like to go to Iceland.
I promise the next time I go, I will take you along and show you how warm it is 🙂 As long as you take me to Iceland
Wow, what an experience! Definitely one for my bucket list. If only they would have family rooms available… Will check it out!
There was a few kids when I was there, so I think they may do family rooms. If they don’t, they have adjoining warm cabins which I sure would do. I would love to go back again
This is something I would love to do! It sounds amazing!
It has definitely been a highlight in my travels, I would love to go back again one day.
Love this post! What a fabulous once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Ah thanks very much, it was so much fun and I still rank it up there as a favourite. Let me know if you ever go and I will be happy to share my tips. 🙂
Okay, I’m definitely adding an ice hotel to my bucket list! This looks so…. cool 😉 Pun intended. Great photos and post, thanks for sharing!
lol…very good 🙂 Definitely add this to your bucketlist, it is such an amazing experience. You better make sure you save your pennies though as it is super expensive 🙂
It is in the Arctic circle and very cool place to go very. It looks surreal when you are there. Let me know when you go and i will be happy to share any tips with you.
Would love to stay in the Ice Hotel! I’ve been to one of the Ice Bars in London which was good fun but I bet it’s nothing compared to this.
Out of all the things I have done around the world, this is one of my highlights. I had such amazing time and I can not recommend it anymore 🙂
This is such a must-do. Can you believe I am from Norway and I havent stayed at this Kiruna in Sweden yet. We have a similar one in Alta in Norway. 😀 Must be such a great experience. I love staying at unusual places like this. So cool. Thank you for sharing your experience 🙂
I love Norway what a lucky girl you are 🙂 I didn’t know about the one in Norway but I would love to do there as well sounds amazing. I am definitely adding to the list
This is such a cool experience. I always wondered what it would be like to sleep in an ice hotel/bed. I would have worried about the middle of the night “loo” too 🙂 Hahhaha, good thing that didn’t happen and nice to hear you actually slept quite well.
This is definitely an experience I would do again in a heartbeat. I had so much fun and don’t worry I was glad that I didn’t neither the loo either 🙂
The fact that one can organize to get married in their (ice) church is such a crazy but unique and exotic idea! I have always been curious about these ice hotels and how people stay in them, this is the first time I read about an actual persons account of staying there! Good to know it was very comfortable!
I would have loved to have gotten married there, it looked amazing and I think it would be extra special. It is super warm and comfortable experience.
I would love to visit an Ice Hotel…. but I have to mention that I am a bit of a coward when it comes to the cold. I prefer the hot places in this world 😉 But still you should always try as much as you can. Thus I would definitely give it a chance.
You know that you don’t feel the cold when you are wrapped up in their kit. I was surprised how warm it really was. I definitely want to go back!!
Wow this sounds amazing! I’ve always wanted to stay in an ice hotel, but at the same time, I really don’t! haha. All of the excursions, however, sound amazing. I would love to dog sled, horse sled and chase the Northern Lights! I would even be down to learn some ice sculpturing.
It was such a fun experience and I would love to back again one day. It was pretty surreal. The Ice sculpturing looked like it would be a lot of fun
I’ll be honest Mel; I’m a complete cold weather wimp so not sure I could sleep here! -20 is just too cold for me, so I think I’d opt for the warmer house and chalets instead. Saying that, I’d so go for a few drinks in the ice bar, your photos are awesome! I’d still love to visit Kiruna and the ice hotel, if only for a day or two.
I was surprised that is was so warm in the special kit and sleeping bag. If you get cold you can always go into the hothouse and have a sauna.
OMG this is on my bucket list and I am not sure I will be able to tick off that very soon…as you mention it is very expensive! It must be verh special sleeping and breathing so cold air. So cool experience! One thing I am very curious about, Is there any toilet in the rooms?
It as definitely a surreal experience and I loved every bit of it. The toilets are in the hothouse where all your things are kept.
I have passed through Kiruna on a train from Narvik to Stockholm. The reason I didn’t stop is because it was a little expensive for the ice hotel. Having read about your experience I wish I had stopped the night and continued my train journey the following day. The -20 degree weather would not bother me and I couldn’t think of better conditions to enjoy a vodka in the Ice bar! The whole hotel looks so Instagrammable, especially the room. I don’t think I’d want to leave the hotel – although the Northern Lights would definitely persuade me.
The might of been the same time that I took, as I went overnight and that is when I saw the Northern Lights. It was expensive, I won’t lie but it was definitely worth every penny spent.
I’ve also had this on my bucket list but finances have been unkind towards achieving it this year. Reading about it here makes me happy and hopefully, I get to sleep in an iceroom too next year. And yes, like you, I have the Northern Light on my to-do list for sure. I’m scared of the cold and not too scared. Lol
We flew into Stockholm and do the overnight train which was cheaper. I am so glad that we went through as it as a beautiful place and is still up there up there as one of my top experiences. You don’t feel the cold when your in their suits and it is warmer that I thought
This sounds absolutely magical! An ice hotel is a bucket list item for me too, although one I haven’t had chance to cross off my list yet. Glad you managed to get a good night’s sleep – I struggle with the cold anyway so I’d be apprehensive about that too! The idea of dog sledding and watching the northern lights too is just wonderful, what an amazing experience!
You don’t feel the cold when you have their suits on and they have a great hothouse with a sauna if you want to relax.
Such stunning pictures. Glad that we stumbled upon your blog. We are planning a trip to Swedish Lapland but there are very few articles / blog posts with details. Ice hotel stay is on our wish list too and you got such lovely pictures, doesn’t feel like they are taken 10 years ago.
Ah thank you very much, I appreciate it alot especially about the pictures. I don’t think I even had a camera phone back then. I do hope that guys get to visit the Ice Hotel one day.
I hoping to venture to Sweden next Christmas and would love to check out this hotel! It reminds me of the Medieval Ages with the fur blankets juxtaposed against the ice. So dramatic! Thanks for the tip that the rooms are open to the public until 6 p.m. that could make for an awkward moment, ha!
I do hope that you get to that ice hotel that would be such amazing experience for you and Merry Christmas.
This is nuts but so cool! Literally LOL. So glad you slept like a baby. I want to do it. I take an icy cold shower here in the NE USA during winter and these days the water has become brutally cold, hitting me as I roll out of bed in the morning. Sometimes the heat is off when I wake up, augmenting the effect. Definitely the real deal as far as sleeping on deerskin and in an ice hotel.
LOL, you just reminded me of the time I went to Russia and jumped in a frozen lake… It certainly woke me up!!!! I would love to go back to the Ice Hotel is was such a cool place (literally :-))
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