Let me just start by saying that traveling to the Arctic is INSANELY awesome. It’s definitely not for the faint of heart, and yes, as expected, it is very, very cold. Sweden has got to be one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever had a chance to visit. As you might could guess, it was a totally different climate than I am used to. But you know me, I love new adventures so I was really excited to get out there and experience this icy wonderland.
First, we traveled to Kiruna, one of the most northern cities in Sweden (and actually probably the world). It was filled with gorgeous icy tundra and miles and miles of very white snow. There were tons of pine trees dotting the landscape and quaint log cabins scattered around. We stayed at the famed Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi (about 20 min from Kiruna) which is made COMPLETELY out of ice. Yep, completely. It’s the only hotel in the world of it’s kind – you can read more details about how it’s rebuilt from scratch year after year here. It was pretty amazing, and really made us appreciate all the artistic talent that goes into designing each ice room and sculptures.
We spent most of our first afternoon enjoying the scenery and touring the hotel, checking out all of the different ice rooms and learning more about how to “survive” the night in our own -4 C ice room. We received thermal snowsuits and boots, and two thermal sleeping bags – literally everything we needed to camp out in the Arctic. Later that afternoon, we stumbled into the Ice Bar (so freezing and awesome) and ordered cocktails, served in thick glasses made out of ice. We figured we may need a few if we were going to be camping out in an igloo all night.
Finally it came the time to actually sleep in the ice room. The most important thing when traveling this far north (especially if you are going to be staying out in below-freezing temperatures for a long period of time) is to dress properly and as warmly as you can. We wore specialty-thermal clothing which helped a ton. The insulated boots were lifesavers. Fortunately, the Ice Hotel provides guests with many of these items (mittens, beanies, full-on snowsuits, snow boots, and more), so we were pretty well covered most of the time. It’s super important to stay hydrated as well, because you don’t realize how much energy your body is using to keep itself warm in such cold weather.
Additionally, a lot of people have asked us if we were able to sleep, or how cold the ice room actually was. The truth is – yes, we were able to sleep pretty decently! But, we both figured it was likely because we were super exhausted after our long 12-hr flight(s) and trekking around in the snow all afternoon. The morning was harder, and I was definitely cold and ready to get out of our cave and into our warmer cabin. Overall, such an insane and awesome experience, I kinda can’t believe we really did it!!
Want to read more about my Sweden adventures in the Ice Hotel and Stockholm?
Part 2 is available HERE and the Stockholm guide will be coming sometime next week so stay tuned! Questions? Leave a comment! Tons of love.