Jukkasjärvi is the first and largest ice hotel in the world. The hotel has existed for 17 years, i.e. it has been rebuilt for 17 years, because it opens in December and receives visitors and guests until April, only to melt and disappear altogether in the sun. Each year in March, 990 tons of ice is harvested from the Torne river and then, along with 27.000 tons of snow, transported to a warehouse or studio where artists will be working till November on the new design for the next season. This year for the first time, the hotel will be open during the summer. We haven’t got the foggiest idea how they’re gonna make this happen!
Almost all adventure tourists that end up in this part of Sweden don’t miss the chance to spend at least one day at the ice hotel and the Sami village. So, when in Rome, do as the Romans do!
The distance of 30 kilometers was an ideal opportunity to start the snowmobiles. If you’ve ever ridden a motorcycle, you’ll have no trouble at all, but even if you haven’t, you’ll catch the drift if you carefully listen to a ten-minute training. Hold the handlebar, hit the gas pedal and off you go! When braking, release the gas and then hit the brake, but never do it simultaneously. Keep the distance. Be a bit more careful in the beginning, and when you start to relax and get the hang of it, just step on the gas! However, these machines are and they can easily reach the speed of 100, or even 120 km/h. The feeling is absolutely amazing! The tracks crush the snow and the adrenaline just courses through your heart and brain.
It took us about 40 minutes or so to get to the hotel on bank of the frozen lake. We drove through the tundra and the snow-bound clearings. The nature is absolutely stunning and the ride itself is definitely something to talk about. We parked on the bank and moved on.
Ice Hotel in Jukkasjarvi Sweden
The hotel comprises two ice complexes and a row of small log cabins. Each guest of the hotel gets two rooms – a designer ice chamber and a small homely log cabin. After sleeping on the block of ice until your nose starts to leak, get your stuff, make a note in your journal ‘been there, done that’ and go sleep like a log in the warm cabin. The ice complex is a sort of gallery or museum and is open to visitors until 5 pm. The guests of the hotel cannot get into their rooms before 6 pm and the wake-up call is at 7.30 am.
The hotel features a sauna, restaurant, an Ice bar and a church, which is immensely popular with future brides and grooms. The hotel organizes guided tours that begin at 12 and 2 pm. Since we prefer to explore on our own rather than cling to tour groups, we bought the tickets in the form of jacket stickers and started off. The ticket allows you to visit all the designer rooms, the church and the Icebar.
Each room has a separate theme accompanied by appropriate music and light effects and each was designed by one of the ice sculptors. The variety is endless – from abstract shapes, oversized heads, jellyfish, moustaches and monocles to antic heroes and muses. A myriad of different ideas!
One of the most ingenious museum exhibitions we’ve ever seen! We tried the armchairs, sofas and beds, of course – everything we could rest our butts on. We can say without a shadow of a doubt that those who enjoy a hard mattress would be more that pleased. Joking aside, if you decide to spend the night here, you won’t be literally sleeping on ice. The frame of the bed is actually an ice box covered with a normal mattress, reindeer hide and perfectly normal linen. The temperature in the hotel ranges from -5 to -7̊C, so it is recommended that you wear a hat and thermal underwear while sleeping. You can get a sleeping bag at the hotel and they swear this will make you spend a perfectly comfortable night.
If you want to take a peek in every room, visit the church with an amazing ice chandelier and finally have a drink at the Icebar, be ready to allocate at least two hours for such a tour.
The Icebar is really cool – the music, the sound of people chatting, the bar, stools and glasses made of ice. The glasses are treated with a special polishing substance, so there is no need to worry that your mouth will stick to them. They are completely safe, both for your tongue and your lips. They’re a bit thicker, which increases the chance of spilling, but let’s not be such nitpickers. Overall, it’s a unique place to have a beer or some colourful cocktail which looks great served in an ice glass.
The only warm place in the hotel is the toilet of this bar, so you shouldn’t worry if you have more than one drink. The visit to the toilet won’t be a traumatic experience.
As an addition to Ice hotel in the vicinity of it you can find Sami hut and museum. The Sami are an indigenous Finno-Ugric people inhabiting the Arctic area of Sapmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. They are hunters and live mostly in the wild where they herd reindeer and moose. From the hotel’s reception, you should go along the main street and after about 15 minutes of walking you will see a wooden church and a hut. There is also a small farm of reindeer. You can buy the hay they like, feed them and give them a gentle stroke.
Wonderful creatures with large eyes! There are adult males with marvelous antlers, but also young calves which are rather timid. In the large wooden hut near the farm, there is a Sami restaurant and a small souvenir shop. It’s a bit morbid to be stroking a reindeer at one moment and admiring its magnificence and then get into the hut with a splendid large hearth in the middle where reindeer is prepared in six traditional ways. We’re not gonna lie to you, we tasted it… and it’s fucking good! The meat itself cannot be compared with anything we’ve tried before. It has a special flavor and a bright deep red colour.
The atmosphere in the hut is totally relaxed. There is a pack of cards on each table. Warm hides for sitting are everywhere and the irresistible smell of food is wafting on every side. This is an ideal place to make yourself warm and have a nice chatter. The prices are by no means low, but they’re not extortionate either. All in all, we heartily recommend that you visit this place.
If you ever end up in this part of the world, make sure you set aside one day and visit the hotel and the Sami people. We enjoyed ourselves immensely. So many crazy stuff and extraordinary events in the course of only one day – from the snowmobile chase, a truly artistic tour of the hotel and reindeer fondling to messing around by the fire in a wooden hut while enjoying a perfect meal. A truly memorable experience!