Imagine getting off a flight in Norway to be greeted by a wardrobe of weather-appropriate clothes to transfer you to your iced igloo hotel – via husky. Here’s one way to do a snow hotel and the Arctic Circle with kids with a very cool twist. 

Searching for the Northern Lights is an amazing bucket list activity, but the Northern Lights with kids in reality can be long hours of waiting in the dark and cold listening to a lot of complaining. Especially if you are unlucky enough to miss them. [For more family travel tips on how to see the Northern Lights with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.] A good way for everyone to enhance the experience is to stay in an ice hotel – and the sheer delight you will create when you opt for an ice hotel with kids is guaranteed to be something no one is going to forget. Kirkenes Showhotel in Norway offers this in the form a giant igloo with multiple rooms inside – almost a guaranteed way of ensuring a brilliant family holiday.   

As well as the unique experience of sleeping inside the ice, there are loads of activities to do around the hotel such as snowmobile riding, ice fishing, husky safaris and, of course, staying up to see the Northern Lights.

But perhaps the best part of the adventure – especially if you are traveling with kids – is that you can arrange for the hotel to pick you up from the airport via husky. The dogs and their drivers will be there to collect you with warm clothing for the whole family and will drive you through the snow back to the Snowhotel. Then it’s a super fun 45 -minute ride through the Norwegian wilderness. Only two people are allowed per sled and it is extremely pricey (NOK2800 per one way transfer per person), but it will definitely be the, well, icing on the cake of the whole snow experience.

The Practicalities

Like most snow hotels, you do not actually sleep on the ice – space for a mattress is carved into the snow bed. You sleep inside an insulated sleeping bag with huge ice carvings looking down at you from above. Because it is minus 4 degrees Celsisus throughout the hotel you will need to be appropriately dressed at all times. This is especially true of the husky sled airport transfers which run in all weather unless it is below minus 30 degrees Celsius.

There are showers and bathrooms outside the Snowhotel and if your kids are fussy sleepers you should know that they do not turn the lights off at night. There are no doors to the rooms either – just curtains – to allow for ventilation.

The entire hotel is self-contained so you eat in the one hotel restaurant and all your activities are associated with the hotel.

Obviously because this is a bit of a gimmicky experience, it probably makes sense to stay for just a short time for the novelty before moving on to see other sights (and more comfortable surrounds).

In the summer the hotel is dismantled and the huskies don’t run sleds, but you can still experience the king crab fishing expeditions.

The hotel is open from 20 December to 20 April annually and only allows children aged 7 and above. There are no babysitting services available on the premises. 

For more travel tips on another ice hotel in Germany, see the suitcases&strollers story here