Recently Tuomas and I were invited by Lapland Hotels to stay at their Ice Hotel in the Snow Village in Ylläs, Finland. This post is in partnership with Lapland Hotels, we wanted to share our enchanting experience with you as well as some tips to make your stay magical as well.
I would without a doubt describe sleeping in an Ice Hotel and eating in the Ice Restaurant as a once in a lifetime, it’s really cool (no pun intended) and it gives you a sense of accomplishment once you have successfully slept through the entire night in freezing temperatures.
You can read more about Tuomas and I (Jasmin) at this end of this article and why we just had to stay the night at the Ice Hotel and visit the Snow Village in Ylläs. As well as the Finnish perspective on the entire experience.
Before you plan your trip there are some things you should keep in mind.
How Does the Ice Hotel at Snow Village Work?
Every year the Snow Village begins construction once the temperature drops below zero and is open to the public From December to April.
Every year the Snow Village has a different theme, during the year we went it was Best Known Tourist Attractions, the theme felt much needed since a lot more people were allowed to travel this year.
Can You Visit the Snow Village Without Staying the Night?
You can visit the Snow Village without staying the night in the Ice Hotel, tickets are around 19€ for adults and 11€ for children ages 4-14 years old.
What Should You Wear to the Ice Hotel at Snow Village?
As a person who usually runs hot, I didn’t think I would need as many layers as I did, but trust me you will have a more enjoyable experience if you are overdressed than underdressed.
When dining in the Ice Restaurant we wore; a wooly socks, a wool baselayer, a midlayer, and a top layer, as well as a beanie, scarf, and our thick winter jackets. Anything less and you might not find the experience as enjoyable.
The same attire is recommended when walking around inside the Snow Village, that way you can take your time and enjoy all that is there.
The art in the Snow Village is so detailed and beautiful that you want to take your time soaking it all in and be comfortable while exploring every room.
Eating in the Ice Restaurant at Snow Village
As of the time of writing this article you are only allowed to enjoy a meal at the Ice Restaurant by booking a stay at the Ice Hotel.
The hotel does this in order to ensure that the customers staying at the Ice Hotel get the full experience icey experience.
Of course you can also eat in the Log Restaurant if you would prefer to be in a warmer environment. I have noticed that this is the best option when traveling with kids.
Furthermore, the Log Restaurant offers an ala carte menu if you would prefer to not have the three course meal experience.
Since the Ice Restaurant is very cold around 0 to -5 degrees Celsius, sometimes kids get tired and cranky more easily because of the cold.
Additionally, you’re sitting on ice for the whole dinner, and as a former kid myself you couldn’t get me to sit still on anything, especially ice.
The dinner itself was amazing, you were served a three course meal (which lasted around an hour). I strongly recommend getting warm berry juice or tea as your drink, that way you will stay warmer for longer.
We also got the Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, which was mouthwatering delicious and the Reindeer Two Ways and Fried Arctic Char as our main.
We opted for the creme brulee dessert because we weren’t interested in the idea of having ice cream after feeling all nice and warm on the inside.
Sleeping in the Ice Hotel at Snow Village
Prior to sleeping in the winter proof sleeping bags, the hotel will give you a detailed tour and explanation on how the Ice Hotel works as well as how to best prepare for a comfortable night.
As previously mentioned, I usually run hot, so all I had was my wool layer and wool socks, but halfway through the night (after I got up to pee 😆) I ended up putting on my midlayer as well and continued to sleep comfortably.
Tuomas slept through the night without waking up, he woke up early in the morning because he was cold.
But honestly, he’s been through the Finnish Army so he can sleep through anything.
Furthermore, there is a lounge area that is only accessible to guests staying the night in the Ice Hotel, in that lounge area there is a shower, sauna, and toilets.
Where To Go to the Bathroom in the Ice Hotel
I don’t know why it was so hard for me to find information about the bathrooms before visiting the Ice Hotel in the Snow Village but, the whole time that question was in the back of my mind.
Because I knew without a doubt I would wake up in the middle of the night needing to go pee, which in the end, became a self fulfilling prophecy for me. 😂
There are two places to go to the bathroom, one was in the main lobby area, which is open throughout the entire night. The other is the warm lounge area that only guests staying in the ice hotel can access.
Depending on which room you are staying in, the bathroom may be closer than the other, so be sure to check the map that the hotel provides you and the route before you go to sleep.
What If the Ice Hotel is Too Cold For Me?
The only time I felt too cold was right before going to sleep, my nose was so cold and it was just annoying. So I ended up putting my beanie on and unwrapped it so it would cover my nose, and after that things worked out and I went straight to sleep.
The hotel staff tells you that if the night is really too unbearable you can sleep in the lounge area, but there is only one couch in there. So if someone else is already there, you’ll be sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor.
I would just recommend having all the layers with you in your sleeping bag so you can add them or remove them as you see fit throughout the night.
What Was the Morning After Sleeping in the Ice Hotel Like?
You can set up a wake up time with the front desk, when the hotel staff wakes you up they will bring you warm berry juice. Which was so refreshing after the cold night.
Additionally, in the lounge area there is a community sauna and shower room where you can slowly warm yourself back up.
Afterwards a warm breakfast buffet is provided in the Log Restaurant.
Is the Ice Hotel Child Friendly?
Let’s just start this section off by saying I don’t have kids, so all I can tell you is what I observed from the children and parents that were staying here as well.
I feel like kids are naturally more defiant to putting on all the winter clothes because they are kids. But it is so important that they are dressed appropriately for Ice Hotel and Ice Restaurant.
Some of the kids slept very well and most times better than their parents, other times kids woke up in the middle of the night really upset because they were cold. I think this is one of those that depends on your kids’ moments.
Before booking a night stay, really consider and talk with your kids about what they would like to do.
The Snow Village also provides cabins that are within walking distance so if the night truly becomes too unbearable you can see your options about staying in a tee-pee cabin. Be sure to talk to hotel staff more about your options as they can provide you with the most accurate information.
At the end of the day, I am a social media content creator, and only can share my experiences, in the most honest way possible.
What is There to Do in the Area?
Ylläs is known for skiing and their beautiful landscape in Pallas-Yllastunturi National Park.
During our stay at the Snow Village we booked an excursion through Lapland Safaris Ylläs. It recommended to book the excursion before your stay at the Snow Village, that way you can better plan for transportation.
Lapland Safaris can pick you up from the hotel but depending on availability it may not always be a possibility so be sure to talk to Lapland Safaris before your trip.
That way you can budget for a taxi ride or the possibility of renting a car. When you’re enjoying your vacation in a winter wonderland it can be annoying when unexpected payments occur. So save yourself the trouble and plan ahead.
How to Get the Snow Village From Turku
The Snow Village is located in Ylläs, Finland. Once in the area the easiest way to get to the Snow Village is by taxi (which can be really expensive) or by renting a car and driving there yourself.
Additionally, you can book a tour through different tour operators in Levi and Ylläs.
Sleeper Train: Tuomas and I took a late night train leaving from Turku and switched to the midnight train in Tampere. From Tampere there is about a 12 hour train ride until you reach Kolari.
Once in Kolari, I recommend getting a taxi straight to the hotel, this can be around 140€. As the hotel doesn’t always provide a driver to pick you up from the train station.
Alternatively, you can rent a car for when you arrive to Kolari, I would recommend doing this before your trip rather than waiting until you arrive in Kolari
You can check out car rental options here on Scandia Rent’s webpage
Flight to Levi, Kiitilä Airport: Additionally, you can fly from Turku to Kolari if you want to get there faster, though you will still need to take a taxi or rent a car because the local bus system does not get you directly to the Snow Village.
As previously mentioned, there are not many options for transportation this far north, your main options are calling a taxi or renting a car.
Because Ylläs Snow Village is so far away from the city of Levi it might be best to rent a car during your stay here.
You can check out the prices of taxis here from LaplandTaxi’s Website
When is the Best Time to Go to the Snow Village?
The best time to go to the Snow Village is right after the Christmas holiday season and before March.
There will be less people there so you have more time to enjoy things at your own pace.
Keep in mind that a lot of places make the Snow Village an excursion trip from Levi, so there might be times where there is an influx of people.
What Did My Finnish Husband Think of the Experience?
If you are new to us, Tuomas and I (Jasmin) met online in 2017. We were in a long distance relationship for 3 ½ years before we closed the distance and started our lives together in Turku, Finland.
We started this blog and our social media channels ( which you can follow here) As a way to share our experiences as an international couple living in Finland, and how I’m integrating into life here in Finland.
Before Tuomas and I started dating we talked about visiting the Ice Hotel together, because I knew I would need his help to navigate through Lapland.
So when Lapland Hotels asked us to do this collaboration we of course said hell yes! It was really a full circle moment for us, something we talked about at the very beginning and were finally able to do today.
Part of being in an international relationship is asking Tuomas, who has spent his whole life in Finland to do very touristy things with me.
So now, I’ll give Tuomas the keyboard so he can share his thoughts overall on the experience we had together in Ylläs.
I have already done quite a few touristy Lapland things with Jasmin, such as sledge rides with both reindeers and huskies. Yet, the ice hotel was probably the most over-the-top touristy experience I have ever had.
At first, the sheer absurdity of the ice hotel was a bit overwhelming. Quite quickly I got settled though, and towards the evening I started to get really excited about sleeping in the freezing conditions.
One of my greatest sleeping experiences ever was in the army, when my squad had to build a lean-to and spend a night under it. The open air sleeping was amazing even if a bit short.
The night in the snow hotel reminded me a little of that. I slept very well for most of the night. Towards the morning I got a bit cold, but still felt very refreshed when it was time to wake up.
We also got to see the northern lights. Even as a Finn, I don’t remember ever properly seeing them before. We were able to witness some beautiful aurora, which alone was easily worth the trip.
The experience was unique and memorable, and definitely made me question even more why so often it’s the foreign tourists that make it to these destinations.
As a shy Finn I completely understand the thinking here. Destinations like the Snow Village are considered too touristy and made for rich tourists. Often Finns consider Lapland just for skiing and other outdoor winter activities.
I would recommend every Finn who is going to Lapland for a winter getaway to give these touristy destinations a try, as you can experience things you hadn’t even imagined and also learn why people from other countries genuinely love coming here.
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