Ice Hotel Review: Kirkenes Snow Hotel in the Arctic

Kirkenes Snow Hotel — This Arctic hotel was totally the coolest hotel I’ve ever stayed in! Wondering what is it like to stay in an ice cabin? Let me share it with you.

I went on an expedition cruise with Hurtigruten in the Arctic region of Norway. I was so excited about it as it was my first ever cruise and this is not just your ordinary floating hotel-type cruise. This cruise has character, is eco-friendly and promotes sustainable travel. So that alone was cool! In addition to that, this was an Arctic expedition cruise.

Where is Kirkenes?

Kirkenes is located further north than the mainstream winter destination in Scandinavia — Lapland.

So, when we visited this Northernmost town of Norway we were literally at the top of the world here! See these amazing images to inspire you to visit Norway in the wintertime.

If you need a visa to visit Norway, you can check out my guide on how to get a Schengen visa.

Let me share with you my stay and hotel review of the Kirkenes Snow Hotel in Norway:

During Our Stay

Ice Hotel Review: Snow hotel Kirkenes in the Arctic Region of Norway
Entrance to the Snow Hotel Kirkenes Ice bar

I was welcomed by the staff and owner of the Kirkenes Snow Hotel upon arrival in one of the Northernmost towns in Norway. My stay in this arctic hotel was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. A mixture of excitement, a personal challenge if I can survive the cold weather and the novelty of the whole experience sunk in when I arrived at the hotel.

I was travelling with my fellow journalists & bloggers, and we were briefed and greeted by the reception staff and the owner of the hotel as to what to expect during our stay. The staff of the Snow Hotel were attentive and helpful to all the guests.

During our dinner, they served fresh Norwegian food, all locally sourced. We also had a little presentation about the history, info about Kirkenes and full instructions to have the best night’s sleep you will ever have in the Arctic Circle inside the ice cabin.

Tips on how to survive and enjoy an igloo hotel. 

Hotel Review: Snow hotel Kirkenes in the Arctic Region of Norway
Sleeping with the Polar Bears in the Ice cabin

The hotel will provide you with a sleeping bag that can keep you warm up to -30 Celcius, a balaclava, woolly socks and linen as an extra layer and hygiene while you’re inside the sleeping bag. The staff of the hotel will assist you and give you full instructions on what to do.

For your safety, it’s advised not to have a shower before going to bed (for obvious reasons). I found it difficult to sleep that evening as I can’t believe that I’m in an igloo! You can read this blog post that I wrote on How To Stay Warm in an Ice Hotel.

Amenities & Facilities

The facilities in the snow hotel were suitably perfect for its purposes.

As an ice hotel, the ice cabins were beautifully carved with different scenes or characters and has a double bed. The Snow Hotel has three restaurants plus an ice bar. The restaurants offer a selection of local dishes which I would recommend that you should try!

It was my second time trying reindeer meat, this time it was sausage (the first was when I was in Iceland).

The Gabba Restaurant in the Arctic Hotel
The Gabba Restaurant in the Arctic Hotel
Inside the Arctic hotel
Inside the Gabba Restaurant
Inside the Ice bar
Our welcome drinks! Crowberry juice, a local fruit that can only be found in the Arctic region
Inside the Ice bar
Sculptures Inside the Ice bar

The Ice cabin was an incredible experience! It’s definitely something that you should include on your bucket list. The only thing that you can find inside the ice cabin is the bed and pillow.

The staff will give you an appropriate sleeping bag, socks, a balaclava and a flat sheet.  The ice carving is unique in each cabin and the design is changed annually. I slept in Cabin number 6, which had a polar bear ice carving on the wall!

Hotel Review: Snow hotel Kirkenes in the Arctic Region of Norway
Sleeping with the Polar bears in the Arctic region, why not?

If you think you are not up to sleeping inside the Ice cabin, the Snow Hotel Kirkenes also has a wooden cabin option.

Hotel Review: Snow hotel Kirkenes in the Arctic Region of Norway
Kirkenes Snow Hotel – Wood cabins

The wooden cabins are en-suite and were cosy. The cabins are equipped with eco-friendly and sustainable materials and technology. They are fully Arctic weatherproof.

Inside the Arctic hotel in Norway
Inside the wood cabins of Kirkenes Snow Hotel

Just imagine yourself in this warm cabin while watching the Northern Lights! Oh, heaven! You can also stay in the Snow Hotel Kirkenes during the summer season, however minus the ice cabins.

What’s Around The Area

The hotel is surrounded by beautiful lakes, which are linked to the Baltic Sea. The town of Kirkenes is also close to the Northern part of Finland and Russia.

Wintertime activities at the Kirkenes Snow Hotel:

Snow Mobile on the frozen Arctic lake

Kirkenes Snow Hotel: Snowmobile in the Arctic Lake
Snowmobile excursion on frozen Norway landscape

King Crab Safari

Kirkenes Snow Hotel: King Crab Safari Excursion
King Crab Safari in Arctic Norway

Dog Sledding

Hotel Review: Snow hotel Kirkenes in the Arctic Region of Norway

Check Hotel Reviews and Prices in TripAdvisor


Kirkenes Snow Hotel is the most unique hotel I’ve ever stayed at.

I think the only comment I have on this hotel is their luggage room, during our stay, our luggage is located in one massive room to which all the guests have access to. Given the icy circumstances, it’s understandable, however, A luggage locker or cubicle will be a great plus extra safety amenity.

If you’re someone like me who values experience this definitely should be on your travel or life bucket list. I definitely recommend this unique hotel to anyone at any time.

Hotel Review Snow Hotel Kirkenes in the Arctic Review Norway


Ryazan Tristram EverythingZany Author Bio

Ryazan Tristram

Travel Writer & Photographer

Ryazan has a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism and Hotel Management. She also has more than 10 years of work experience gained from working in the hotel and travel sectors in Asia and Europe. Her work has been featured and published on Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Discovery Channel, World Travel Guide, MSN, CNBC, GMA, Daily Mail UK, Lonely Planet and many more. She is currently living in the UK as a dual citizen (British – Filipina). Join her in travelling around the UK and beyond with a mission to promote sustainable tourism and share travel guides, travel tips, foodies, history and culture.

13 thoughts on “Ice Hotel Review: Kirkenes Snow Hotel in the Arctic”

  1. Seeing the Northern Lights is my dream and this experience looks incredible. Just one problem, I do not deal with the cold very well at all. Do you think I could handle the snow hotel?

  2. Gosh what an amazing experience – I’d love to stay in a snow hotel, though I am not sure I’d be brave enough! Did you really stay warm?

    And, I have yet to see the northern lights, let alone go sledding so, I am very jealous

  3. How lovely! Never been to Norway and seeing the northern lights and sleeping in an igloo is one of the dreams. I have done snowmobiling and it’s real fun. Looking at your pics I just want to fly there NOW.

  4. What a fabulous experience. I love winter destinations and snow hotels are such an adventure. Kirkenes looks like it’s right up my alley as do the winter activities. I didn’t realise there were crabs in the region at this time of the year though.

  5. wow! that’s a giant king crab. One of these days I’m going to actually do an Arctic tour. Every year I plan one but then chicken out at the thought of being really cold.

  6. Whoa! Amazing! I have read about this hotel. They have executed a brilliant idea and I can understand why tourists get there.
    Hopefully I can too some day! That crab scares me.


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