Visit the Special Ice Hotel with the Northern Lights

January 31, 2023 | Posted by misfitwanders | Adventures, Sweden, Travel, Traveling

A snowflake lands on the ground to the already snow-covered ground next to the ice hotel with the northern lights surrounding it, making it the best ice hotel to see northern lights a picturesque view. Winter is here, but the weather has been changing to warmer climates. But it doesn’t affect northern Sweden as much. There lies a magical structure made of pure ice! Ice sculptures decorate the inside and outside of the Ice Hotel leaving you in amazement. If you want, you can rent a room inside or in one of the cabins that’s near this one-of-a-kind architecture.

Where is it Located?

This lovely Ice hotel with the northern lights above has been in northern Sweden since 1989. It resides at Marknadsvägen 63, 981 91 Jukkasjärvi and to drive from Stockholm, it would take around 14-16 hours (depending on which way you choose). There’s even a bus that you can take. But be prepared, the bus ride is around 20 hours. You can either take E4 or E45 to this destination with some turns and little roads beforehand.

Since you’re in northern Sweden, you’re at the best ice hotel to see northern lights. Besides that, it’s common to see reindeer wandering near the roads and it’s also common to see the Sami people and their culture. These are the indigenous people to the country. Plus, the ice hotel is 17 km (11 miles) from Kiruna, which is the northernmost city in Sweden that has unforgettable views of mountains and is home to the Kiruna church with its bell tower and resemblance to the Sami people’s traditional huts.

Ice hotel and northern lights

The Tallest Mountain, Kebnekaise

The northern part of Sweden has an abundance of beauty. Besides having the ice hotel and the northern lights, there’s a few national parks and the tallest mountain in Sweden, Kebnekaise. If you’re an adventurer and you enjoy taking on a mountain, then I suggest hiking this. I ventured up it with my hubby right after COVID got better in June. You can learn more about our hike and the different things that are offered there here.

History About the Ice Hotel

One day the snow pelted down, and a man came with the idea to build. So, he took a block of ice and created the first ever ice hotel in the world in 1989. Now, every year this Ice hotel with the northern lights surrounding it is rebuilt into a new masterpiece. As you walk through the building, it feels as though it’s something from a fairy tale. A cold freshness is in the air and every sculpture will leave you astonished as the whole place brings you to another world.

The ice hotel with its northern lights was first opened in 1990 and each year is rebuilt from December to April. Blocks of ice are taken from Torne River and are also used to recreate the chairs and beds which establish a different feel from the decoration made in every room. On top of that, there’s a bar that serves drinks in glasses made of ice and the oh so famous place for couples, the ice chapel. To keep this structure from melting, they keep it below freezing at around -5°C (23°F).

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What to See at the Ice Hotel

If the best ice hotel to see northern lights isn’t enough for you to want to visit, then don’t forget the ice chapel that I mentioned above. Or there’s options for places to sleep if you’re a bit hesitant on sleep in an ice building. They have a permanent hotel called, Ice Hotel 365, which is a regular structure with rooms not made of ice. Plus, there’s wilderness camping if you want to be immersed in nature.

They offer some package deals as well that can peak many people’s interests to visit. One of the packages is for someone’s birthday! It’s for two nights that includes one night in the best ice hotel to see northern lights and the other in the permanent traditional hotel. This comes with breakfast and an excursion of your choosing. Plus, you can’t forget, a bottle of champagne will be waiting for you on the first night in the ice hotel room with its ice art sporadically spread throughout.  They have a few other packages as well. So, check them out to help you decide if you want to experience a night or two at this unforgettable place.

ice hotel

Northern Lights

Once the darkness overtakes the sky, colors explode over the night sky. The ice hotel with the northern lights are spectacular sights to see. Greens and blues look as though they’ve been painted there as a background that moves with the ice hotel standing tall and mighty as the centerpiece. Since you’re in the northernmost area in Sweden, it’s also one of the best places to see the northern lights. If you’re curious to learn more about the northern lights and some of the best spots to see them in Sweden, then check out The Best Places for the Northern Lights in Sweden.  

Northern Lights in Sweden
Northern lights in Abisko National Park, Sweden Photo by David Becker on Unsplash

Best Time to Go

Every season has pros and cons when it comes to visiting the ice hotel. I break it down a bit more below, so you can get more of an idea how the weather is and what time is the busiest. This will help you decide your trip and know how to pack! But, no matter the season, always bring sunscreen when there’s sun!

The Cold Winter Bite

The most popular time to go and the busiest to visit the ice hotel with the northern lights is during the artic winter. This would be from December through February. The days are filled with darkness since these are the shortest day light time in the year. The temperatures can be a bit extreme during this time as well. In Jukkasjärvi, it can drop down to -40°C (-40°F). So, this time of the season is not for the ones who can’t handle the cold. If you do want to visit during its peak, then try booking a room almost a year in advanced.

The Soft Light of Spring

Springtime is the locals’ favorite and sunny days come with it! From March to early May, the days start to get longer, and it begins to warm up with temperatures between -10°C (14°F) to 10°C (50°F). Sounds of motors on the snowy landscape will roar to life as people take out snowmobiles or grill up tasty hot dogs over a scorching fire with laughter in the air. This is the time to see the northern lights and not have to endure the bone chilling cold as you would in the winter months. During this season, expeditions come to life even more! Dog sledding, skiing, snowmobiling, and several outdoor activities are offered.

Ice Harvest During Springtime

During this season, it’s time to harvest the ice and get ready for building the next ice hotel. Thousands of tons of natural ice are taken from Torne River and they store these ice blocks during the summer months so that they can start the process all over again. They create the ice hotel from this river, then it melts in late April and goes back into the Torne River. Thus, this cycle starts over every year.

Summertime Filled with 24 Hour Days

Since Jukkasjärvi is 200 km above the Artic circle, there’s a lot of light, 24 hours of daylight to be exact. With it never getting dark, it can be hard to sleep. If that’s the case, bathe in the night sky of sunlight or enjoy a relaxing time in a sauna. These sunny days are during mid-Mary to mid-July with an average temperature of 16°C (61°F). There are a few activities that you can take part in during these months that will leave you amazed by the beauty of the area.

The Beginning of Shorter Days, Fall Time

After a summer of life spread throughout nature, a golden mist washes over everything and prepares nature for the colder months. The days begin to get shorter during September and autumn is until November. Since the darkness is coming again, so are the unforgettable Northern lights. During this time, venture to the forests and pick some deliciously ripe berries and mushrooms. Vibrant colors engulf the forest floor and the wilderness during this time. Fall is known as the harvest season. In Sweden, all the berries and mushroom out in nature are up for grabs for anyone. But don’t forget, there is a wildlife that also eats them, and you should take only what you will use.

Best Gear for the Cold

If you’re planning on staying outdoors for longer periods of time, then it’s a must to have the right gear on. I have a few articles dedicated to gear that can be of some use to you. I have The Best Essential Winter Hiking Gear for Sweden, which many of the items can be used for any winter excursion. On top of that post, I have The Best Outdoor Gear Sweden: The Nature Country. This article breaks down the gear by season. But even if it’s summertime in northern Sweden, you will need to dress warmer since it’s not as though you’re in southern Sweden. So, dress appropriately and research how the weather is before you pack your bag for your trip.

Winter gear

Adventures in Sweden

Do you want to experience even more adventures in Sweden? Then, you can learn more about some of the unique places that I have traveled to or check out some of the fun activities that you can do in Sweden at Adventures in Sweden. In Värmland county, they have a Moose Park where you can meet them up close in personal. You get the chance to even touch them! Or you can visit one of my favorite spots for desserts with a gorgeous view of a lake, Mormor’s glas café. Try their extraordinary treats that will make anyone feel like a kid again as they take their first bite.


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Misfit Wanders

The Lost Little Dragon
The Lost Little Dragon

About Me

Misfit Wanders

Misfit Wanders

I´m a kooky girl that likes to travel. I grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA. Then moved to Northern California for about 5 years. But now, it's going on 5 years living in Sweden with my hubby and our furbabies, plus our little boy and my mom has joined our crew! Over the pandemic time, it has been hard to travel. Thus, my travel blog had been at a stand still. I started going to a University and I had a baby. Now I'm on a different kind of adventure. But my family and I plan on traveling when we can still. Traveling is something I cherish. New adventures is what keeps me moving, that and a stubbornness. I have a weird sense of humor if you haven´t figured that out from my posts. My writing can be perplexing, but I like to tell stories, and the best way is from my own experiences. So sit back and relax, as you take a spin through my hikes or enjoy following my footsteps as I wander in different countries! Most of my writings will be focused on hikes and the outdoors in Sweden.

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