The Ice Hotels in Norway

9 min read

Experience the amazing ice hotels in Norway, made entirely out of ice and snow with illuminated carvings, sculptures, and art! Kirkenes Snowhotel 365 is open all year (yes, even during the summer). Sorrisniva – the world’s northernmost ice hotel, is built in Alta every winter. On top of that, there is Tromsø Ice Domes Sculpture Park which is built in the beautiful Tamok Valley each year for the winter season, offering amazing art carved in snow and ice.

The Ice Hotel in Kirkenes keeps open all year round

Did you know that the Kirkenes Snowhotel is open all year? Sure, the winters in Northern Norway are cold, but contrary to many people's perception, Norway is actually not covered in snow and ice in the summer months. So how can Kirkenes have a freezing hotel that stays open all year?

For many years the snow hotel, with all 20 rooms, melted during summer and was rebuilt every winter. But now new technology has changed things around allowing the igloo hotel to keep open even during summer.

Tromsø Ice Domes – A Snow Sculpture Park You Need to See

Just a 75-minute drive from the center of Tromso, in the beautiful Tamok Valley, you’ll find Tromsø Ice Domes. The Snow Sculpture Park consists of a mesmerizing display of snow and ice sculptures, a snow maze, and two domes. The Ice Domes have a new theme every year, ensuring that visitors will get a new and unique experience every year they visit.

The themes are displayed through different ice carvings and ice sculptures inspired by local culture and history, The Northern Lights, and local wildlife. The art is lit up in different colours creating a magical and luminous atmosphere.

Tromsø Ice Domes ice carvings and artwork
Every year, the Ice Domes and Sculpture Park has a new theme for the snow and ice art.

Building Kirkenes Snowhotel

When they had sufficient supplies of snow, they inflated a massive balloon, which was the base for the construction of the ice bar. They covered the balloon with snow, let it set for a few hours before deflating and removing the balloon. Then the ice bar was ready to be decorated.

After they finished the ice bar room, they continued with the ice suites – one balloon for two rooms. They covered the balloon with snow, let the snow set and removed the balloon. Then they continued this same process for the remaining rooms.

igloo ice hotel at Snowhotel Kirkenes
Snowhotel Kirkenes Ice Igloo

The Building of Tromsø Ice Domes

The Tromsø Ice Domes are built similarly to the Kirkenes Snowhotel, but the process is repeated every winter. They blow up a balloon and go around blowing snow on it with a machine. The snow is left to freeze for a while, and more snow is then blown on top of the frozen snow.

They repeat this process until they have created a dome, and then the balloon is deflated and removed. The domes are then ready to be decorated.

Visiting Kirkenes Snowhotel

You will find Snowhotel Kirkenes just about 8 kilometers outside of Kirkenes and offers several ways to explore or spend the night in an ice castle. But there is much more to this location than a hotel made of snow and ice.

The location is made up by "gamme" lodging complex, where you can stay for the duration of your holiday and take part in a range of Artic activities in one place. A gamme cabin is originally a mud hut used you the indigenous Sami people back in the day.

These cabins are wooden replicas of the traditional mud huts and offer a comfortable stay. Of course, if you are feeling extra adventurous you can spend one of your nights in a bed made of ice.

During your stay can also visit the reindeer and dogs at the husky farm, go for a ski trip or snowshoeing trip during winter or a hike or bike ride during summer. Wonder how you can get there?

Dog sledding Tour in Kirkenes

Whilst staying at Kirkenes Snowhotel you can take part in a wide variety of activities, such as dog sledding, Northern Lights chasing and king crab safaris in the mighty Barents Sea. Here you have everything you need for an unforgettable and cool vacation in Norway.

Spending the Night in Kirkenes Snowhotel

With a few preparations you should be able to sleep like a baby in this frozen fairytale setting. The most common mistake people make when sleeping here is wearing too much clothes. Wearing too many layers can cause you to sweat, which in turn will make you cold.

The best thing is to wear one base layer (preferably thin wool garments) in addition to wool socks and a balaclava provided by the hotel. You also get a thermal sleeping bag meant to stand -25 temperatures so you should be good to go. Should the cold still get to you, you’ll have 24/7 access to a warm lounge with toilets, showers, wardrobe and sauna at the site.

Visiting Tromsø Ice Domes – the Snow Sculpture Park in Tromsø

If you want to visit Tromsø Ice Domes you have a huge selection of day trips and combination tours for different prices depending on the package you choose. Join us for a range of outdoor winter activities and engaging storytelling at the Tromsø Ice Domes sculpture park surrounded by the pristine nature and peaceful landscapes of Northern Norway.

ice cinema, in the ice iglo at Tromsø Ice Domes
Watching the igloo hotel building process at the ice cinema

Discover the magic of the snow and ice sculptures inside the Sculpture Park! Wander around and get mesmerized by a display of snow and ice sculptures, and a snow maze, and explore our two domes. Marvel at the amazing art coming to life with light in its natural surroundings of pristine nature and peaceful Arctic landscapes.

Snow Sculpting

Wander around the Snow Sculpture Park and marvel at the amazing art coming to life with light in its natural surroundings of pristine nature and peaceful Arctic landscapes. Our professional snow carving artists hand carve all the amazing snow and ice art, and hopefully it will inspire you as you head onto your next activity; Snow Sculpting!

Inspired by the works of professional snow artists, you will get the unique chance to use your creative skills in shaping your snow sculpture!
With the guidance of an experienced instructor and divided in small groups, you can pick up your carving tools and start sculpting your masterpiece out of a large block of compressed and hard snow.

The different ice suits and the rooms at the Tromsø Ice Domes will all have different ice carvings and sculptures that light up in different colours. The art will represent the strong bond between man and nature in an artistic and unique way. As mentioned above you get a unique experience each year as the art have new themes every time the ice hotel is built.

Take Part in Exciting Activities While Staying at our Wilderness Camp

Troms Ice Domes is located in the wilderness centre Camp Tamok and the scenic Tamok Valley. During the winter period, this camp is the start and end point of a variety of activities by dog sled, snowmobile, and reindeer sled – it is also one of the best places in the world for Northern Lights observations.

Everything you need for a perfect Arctic holiday.

reindeer sledding northern lights tromsø
Camp Tamok is the starting centre for reindeer sledding and other tours

Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel in Alta

The Igloo Hotel in Alta is the world's northernmost and the first ever ice hotel in Norway. Just like the Ice Domes, it is rebuilt every winter with different themes and artwork. The structure of the hotel and all the sculptures are made by professional artists using natural snow and ice.

Take a guided tour of the hotel and experience the laminated frozen art and get mesmerized by the ambiance. Spend the night in a magical suite each decorated with a unique theme and art made by professional ice sculptors and sleep comfortably on a reindeer sheet. Take part in Arctic activities such as snowmobiles, dog sledding, and reindeer safari and learn more about the Sami culture. Here you'll have everything you need for a total Arctic experience.

If you remain unconvinced, there are always glass igloos in Finnish Lapland for a similar experience.

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