Winter in Kirkenes in northern Norway is a magical time for everyone who loves snow and winter activities. Must-visit hotel in the town is the magical and totally enchanting Snowhotel Kirkenes; so much more than just a beautiful snow and ice hotel, it offers guests the total winter adventure package.
The hotel is located 8km outside of the fascinating town of Kirkenes which is a melting pot of cultures with influence felt from both Finland and Russia as well as the Norwegian and indigenous Sami people. The town lies in right by the Russia and Finnish Lapland borders at the very tip of the northernmost point of Europe. The area is all about the beautiful, raw and diverse artic landscape and the wildlife that call it their home. There are few people, it’s all stunning mountains, dense pine forests and literally thousands of lakes, plus, of course, the long winter months bring lots and lots of snow covering everything in a beautiful, thick white blanket which shapes everything you do when you visit.
Character, Facilities & Service
The hotel is a magnificent snow hotel, rather than canvases on the wall, the art here takes the form of unreal ice sculptures and carvings. A stay here is all about discovering an artic wildness with a rustic beauty that is felt inside as well as out. The excellent service from the very friendly and knowledgeable staff might well include a welcome from 180 huskies! And reindeer graze behind your chalet; it’s a special place. The hotel is slap bang in the middle of the Northern Lights zone too so there’s a high chance that your visit to northern Scandinavia will give you more than a glimpse of the famous Northern Lights.
To truly give you an experience to remember, Snowhotel Kirkenes run a huge range of tours in both the winter and summer. Your summer adventure might consist of hiking, fishing and king crab rafting but the winter is all about the wonderful snow and of course the Northern Lights. For a totally unique fishing adventure, try the King Crab Safari where you are taken out on the fjord ice by snowmobile and sleigh to find the great beasts, helping the fisherman pull the traps from the deep through the ice. A Snowhotel Kirkenes Husky Safari is an absolute must and is most popular and reputable husky ventures north of the arctic circle. There’s no better way to take in the majestic artic landscapes than being pulled by traditional dog sleds. The Northern Lights Tour by AuroraExpress Bus takes you far from any light pollution to the best spot for the Aurora Borealis on that day. It’s a lovely way to see the area as well as the chance to see one of the most incredible sights in the world.
You have a very tough decision for your accommodation, luckily you don’t have to choose and it’s more than possible to stay a night or two in each! The gorgeous Gamme Cabin Village was designed by Swiss architects with Nordic inspiration and literally looks like a charming hobbit land! Here you stay in a luxurious Gamme Cabin, inspired by the traditional hunting and fishing hut of the Sami. This is not your average wilderness lodge but one even the most discerning luxury traveller will approve of. Think air conditioning, underfloor heating, natural tiles, an exclusive Villeroy & Boch bathroom and huge windows to let you gaze on the Aurora Borealis. In the winter, you can (and must!) also stay a night in the magical igloo Snowhotel which is completely made of snow and ice and is rebuilt each year. Inside there are 20 incredible rooms uniquely carved by master ice sculptors from around the world. Despite temperatures of -4°, snuggling down in your super-cosy thermal sleeping bag is almost guaranteed to give you a wonderful night’s sleep!
Food & Drink
Dine in true artic style at the stunning Høyloftet Restaurant with its fjord view , unique farmhouse Låven Restaurant with its beautiful glass façade art or huddle by the huge fire at Gabba. All the cuisine features local specialities such as reindeer, lamb, arctic fish and king crab with an added flair like local wild herbs or cheese from a local farmer.
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