Arctic Ecotourism – Ice Hotels
If you are looking for an unusual winter holiday experience, there is nothing better than spending your vacation in an ice hotel. You should be prepared to embrace the cold and the snow. You will learn what it feels like to sleep in an igloo. This type of holiday accommodation is available only for a few months during winter. Each year, the local people build a hotel out of snow and ice blocks from nearby rivers. Then, the hotel melts away when the temperature rises. There are many ice hotels around the world. Most of them are completely environmentally friendly because they are built from natural materials and resources found in the area. Besides, it provides employment opportunities for many local people.
Apart from harsh climate in winter, the countries of Scandinavia are also known for their environmental awareness. As a result, you can be certain of their business practices concerning environmental impacts. The most well-known and the first ice hotel in the world is in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden. The Icehotel is located 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. The hotel opened its doors for the first guests since 1990. The yearly reconstruction of the hotel uses frozen water from the Torne River. The hotel usually operates from December to April.
Many things in the hotel are made of ice and snow ranging from furniture, decorations and glasses for bar drinks. The temperature within the hotel remains around −5 °C (23 °F) while the outside temperature can be as low as -20˚C or more. In case you ever wonder how you can survive spending the nights there, the hotel arranges a “survival course” every evening in order to tell you what to wear and how to use the provided expedition sleeping bag efficiently. Once you wake up, the hot lingonberry juice will be given to you and you can enjoy morning sauna before starting your day. The hotel also has an ice church that performs weekly services, wedding, and baptism. There are many activities that you can do. You can explore the area with a snowmobile, a horse, a dogsled, a reindeer sled and learn about the local people “Sámi”.
Other countries in Scandinavia that have ice hotels are Norway and Finland. Kirkenes Snow Hotel in Finnmark, Norway, is located 15 kilometers from Russia. Igloo Hotel in Sorrisniva, Norway is the northernmost ice hotel in Europe. There are two ice hotels in Finland which are SnowCastle of Kemi and Lainio Snow Village. All ice hotels in Scandinavia are decorated and crafted by the ice artists from around the world. They are beautiful and stylish like the art galleries. Another ice hotel is Europe is Bâlea Lake Ice Hotel in the Făgăraș Mountains in Romania. You have to use a cable car to arrive there. If you live in the Americas, you can visit Hôtel de Glace in Canada. It is located just 10 minutes away from Old Town Quebec. If you don’t want to sleep in the cold, you can just buy a tour to spend the day there. The Alpha Resort Tomamu on Hokkaido Island in Japan also offers an ice hotel accommodation every year.