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Let There Be Ice!

Icehotel in Sweden

The grand hall of the Icehotel. Photo by Jonathan Irish.

Jonathan Irish, director of National Geographic Adventures, just got back from mushing across the snows of Lapland to the Icehotel on our dog-sledding adventure in Sweden. Here’s what he had to say about his legendary—and ephemeral—accommodations.

By Jonathan Irish

The Icehotel is more of an art exhibit than a place to lay your head. Sure, you can sleep in the below-freezing rooms on a slab of ice with reindeer pelts and down sleeping bags to keep you warm. In fact, I slept pretty darn well during my stay in one of the beautifully carved “art suites.” But you don’t come to the Icehotel for a restful night’s sleep. You come to the Icehotel—located above the Arctic Circle in Sweden near a small village called Jukkasjärvi—to experience an incredible world of ice, snow, and art that’s recreated from scratch every winter.

Oh, and don’t forget the famous Icebar, a place where the electric blue and red drinks come in glasses made of ice, and people are dressed in their finest winter ski clothes.

room at the Icehotel

An “art suite" at the Icehotel. Photo by Jonathan Irish.

A drink at the Icebar

Drinks are served in glasses made of ice at the famous Icebar. Photo by Jonathan Irish.

When I first entered the grand hall (pictured above) I was told by our guide that all the ice needed to make the incredible Icehotel comes from just ten seconds of river flow from the nearby Torne River. As I shivered and looked around in amazement, I realized I was standing in one of the most unbelievable structures I’ve ever seen: a soaring blue world of expertly carved ice. The fact that it will melt away in just a few short weeks made it all even that much more incredible.

Experience the Icehotel for yourself on our National Geographic Adventures to Sweden.




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  1. I didn’t realize just how far north the Icehotel is – it’s so far up/out there!

    Posted by Stefanie Payne | April 12, 2013, 9:45 am

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