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The Kirkenes Snow Hotel is one of the famous ice hotel in Norway and one of the unique Kirkenes hotels. Read more of this post as I share with you my tips on how do you stay warm in ice hotel in the arctic circle of Norway.

How to Stay warm in the ice hotel
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How cold are ice hotels?

Ice hotels usually have a constant and more controlled temperature of  0 degrees Celsius (32 Fahrenheit)  to  – 6 degree Celcius (21.2 Fahrenheit).  These constant temperatures will maintain the temperature inside the ice cabins even with the use of lighting all the time inside the rooms and the hallway.

Each ice cabin has different designs on its wall. My ice cabin’s ice carving was polar bears! So sleeping in an igloo (ice cabin) in the Arctic region with polar bears! It can’t get any better than that! Plus, the magical northern lights displayed an incredible show that evening.

Are there bathrooms in the ice hotels?

Yes, there are bathrooms in the ice hotel. The bathrooms are typically equipped with heated floors, common shower room (with dividers) and toilets.  The bathrooms are located outside of your ice cabin and typically located in the common areas indoors.

northern lights in the ice hotel
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Photo Credit: Runar Larsen

It was a cold winter morning in Oslo; I rushed to the airport to catch the 2-hour flight to the Kirkenes, one of the most northern towns of the Norwegian Arctic Circle for a week cruise exploration.

The serenity of the place and the surrounding was filled with snow as far as your eyes can see was just mind-blowing.  The sub-zero temperature was ignored due to the adrenaline of excitement.

After I’ve been welcomed and transferred, there was a small briefing about what to expect during our stay in this Kirkenes hotel. We were ushered to the wooden Norwegian/Scandinavian style lounge restaurant of the ice hotel to settle in before we started our afternoon activities.

Our adventurous afternoon exploring the frozen fjords on a snowmobile and a quick stop for a King crab safari was a blast! We were not far from the boundaries of Russia and Finland, where you can be in 3 different countries all at the same time!

Check out this great Moscow, Russia travel guide

Snowmobile in Kirkeness Ice hotel
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Have a fantastic winter wonderland stay in an ice hotel (Kirkenes Snow Hotel)

After our activities, we went to warm up in the arctic cabin style restaurant of the hotel.

They served us the arctic beer and the homemade reindeer sausages that we needed to roast in the little fire in the middle of the cabin. It was tasty! After our little snack inside the cabin, we were ushered to the ice bar of the snow hotel. It was incredible!

Another welcome drink was served; this time it was crowberry juice. Crowberry is a fruit almost similar to berries, but this is can only be found in the arctic and sub-arctic regions.

After our dinner, the staff of the snow hotel gave us very detailed instructions on how to keep warm in ice hotel and get the most comfortable night sleep in the ice cabin. After all, this will be a night to remember!

Sleeping arrangement inside the ice cabin
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Here are some tips on how to have the most comfortable stay and how do you stay warm in ice hotel.

1. Wear layers of clothing

To tackle the sub-zero temperature inside the ice cabin, you need to wear layers of clothing. This will give you great comfort and insulation throughout the night.

In case you feel that you feel too hot, you can just quickly strip off a layer of your clothing. I prefer to use thermal clothes, as it helps retain your body heat. The snow hotel will provide you with woolly socks, balaclava and gloves (or you can use your own gloves).

2. Skip the shower

For your safety, to avoid hypothermia, it is strongly advisable to skip the shower. Water obviously will get frozen overnight.

The outside temperature that evening was -30 degrees centigrade, and inside the ice cabin it was -6 degrees Celsius. I’m sure you can now picture how bitterly cold it felt that night.

Also make sure to empty your bladder, as it would be a pain to get out of your comfy and snug sleeping bag to go to the toilet.

Ice cabin design
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3. Courage to stay in the ice cabin

Not everyone is a fan of the cold surroundings, especially staying in an ice cabin might not be an ideal scenario.

You have to make sure that you want this personal challenge on your travel bucket list and enjoy the novelty of staying in an igloo. If you feel that you can’t stand the cold temperature, the hotel staff will give you an alternative sleeping arrangement.

4. Make sure you are not claustrophobic

During this epic night in the ice cabin, you will be sleeping in a sleeping bag.

The hotel will provide a sleeping bag that can withstand up to -30 degrees’ centigrade temperatures, so you can rest assured that you will be warm and snug the whole night in your ice cabin.

A flat sheet will also be provided as an extra lining and for hygiene purposes while you are in the sleeping bag.

5. Buddy up

Sharing your room with a buddy is a great option to heat up the ice cabin even a tad bit. Moreover, it’s going to be an awesome way to share this experience with a friend or loved ones.

I had an incredible night sleep in the ice cabin. These tips will help you to keep warm in an ice hotel.

It’s worth it and a night to remember!

Here is a great Norway winter travel tips guide in case you are heading up north!
If you would require a visa to visit Norway, check out this Schengen visa guide.

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