The northernmost igloo hotel in the world, Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, has come a long way since it opened with just six rooms 20 years ago. The frozen spectacle in the mountainous pine-covered Sorrisniva now comprises 26 bedrooms, four suites, a chapel and an ice bar – all lavishly decorated with hand-sculpted art.
Every year is a new theme for the hotel, and in the past the ice walls have been carefully carved away to reveal Vikings, mythical creatures, Nordic legends and arctic wildlife. Step outside and you may be lucky enough to see mother nature’s best art display too, as the hotel is in a prime location for viewing the northern lights.
An Arctic Wilderness Lodge, 24 suites, is open all year round.
Around 20 million kilos of snow and 350,000 kilos of ice are re-designed every year to create the ever-changing Snow Village in Finland. In previous years, the snow suites, chapel, ice restaurant and bar have been decorated with a Game of Thrones-inspired characters and sculptures.
The impressive snow suites drop to lows of minus five degrees Celsius to prevent the gigantic sculptures from melting. If you fancy something a little warmer, opt for a cosy cabin. There are plenty of outdoor activities to get your blood pumping too, such as dog-sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, northern light trips and ice-sculpting classes.
Every year, the sparkling Snowhotel Kirkenes melts back into the Arctic Fjord, seamlessly re-joining the natural world that surrounds it. When the colder temperatures return, so does the hotel, with ice sculptors from around the world bringing its 14 rooms and ice restaurant back to life.
Each year brings a new motif, but the sculptures never lose their Nordic touch. The artwork of every room is different, but they all share the same intricate detail – so you will never tire of studying the ice sculptures as you drift off at night.
Warm up in the restaurant at dinner, then slink off to your room. With romantic suites designed for honeymooners alongside bigger spaces carved out for families, there’s something here for everyone.
Not only is Rovaniemi home to Santa, but winter is made all the more magical by the Arctic SnowHotel that pops up here every year. The cave-like entrance leads to various snow-lined tunnels covered in ice carvings; the bedrooms hold solid, see-through ice beds draped in reindeer furs; the candle-lit restaurant serves traditional Finnish food such as roasted elk; and the outdoor Jacuzzi is a great place to relax in nature. For a real treat, relax on a warm wooden bench in a sauna made from ice, then stay in one of the suites: you will feel like you’re in your own frozen palace.
There’s plenty to keep you busy outside the hotel – such as snowshoe hikes, snowmobile safaris, snow sculpting, ice fishing, and visits to local homes to learn more about life in Finnish Lapland. You can also request an ‘aurora alarm’ to make sure you don’t miss an appearance of the northern lights.
On the edge of one of Finland’s largest national parks, Urho Kekkonen, is Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. Along with log chalets, glass igloos and a traditional house, you'll also find accommodation for more adventurous visitors.
Snow igloos are nestled under snow-sprinkled pine trees. Armed with a down sleeping bag, you’ll spend the night tucked up in one of these snug shelters, protected from outdoor noise and in temperatures as low as minus six.
Popular daytime activities include husky, reindeer and horseriding safaris, while after dark you can take a snow tank safari – on which you can see the northern lights.
Impressed with the ice creations? Have a go yourself...