The Reward: Icehotel Jukkasjärvi

If you’re after an unforgettable experience in Sweden then the Icehotel Jukkasjärvi is definitely for you. It won’t be easy to get there … but the journey will be worth it.

Built each year from ice cut from the frozen Torne River in the tiny town of Jukkasjärvi (pronounced “you-kas-yayr-vi”), the temperature inside the hotel hovers at a constant of -5ºC to -7ºC.

So, yes, it is somewhat chilly, but guests of the Icehotel are given expedition-style sleeping bags to sleep on beds made of an ice bedframe and a slatted bed base with a mattress, reindeer skins and pillows.

That, along with thermal clothing, a hat, warm socks and a mid-layer jumper is enough to keep the cold at bay.

Photo: Asaf Kliger

Photo: Asaf Kliger

For some respite, there is a sauna if you are feeling the cold, plus there is Icehotel 365, a permanent structure that includes luxury suites, each with a sauna and a bathroom. “One night in a cold room and a couple of nights in a warm room is ideal,” recommends the hotel’s website.

Of course, the Icehotel isn’t just about staying in a fancy igloo, but it also offers activities such as guided northern lights tours, ice sculpting, ice fishing, husky sleighing, moose watching or a snowmobile safari.

The Hard Bit

Located in Swedish Lapland, 200km north of the Arctic Circle, it is going to be a bit of a trek getting there.

The closest airport is the northern Swedish town of Kiruna (you can also get to Kiruna by train), and from there you can go by car or taxi, or you can book a transfer through the hotel.

Photo: Asaf Kliger

Photo: Asaf Kliger

Getting There

SAA flies daily to Frankfurt from Johannesburg. From there, catch a connecting flight to Stockholm’s Arlanda airport with SAA codeshare partner and fellow Star Alliance member Lufthansa.

From Stockholm, catch a connecting flight to Kiruna with fellow Star Alliance member Scandinavian Airlines.