Visit an Ice Hotel
Surely the most unique vacation spot on the planet has got to be an ethereally beautiful ice hotel that melts in the springtime every year. Well, almost unique: there are actually a few of them, in Scandinavia and in Quebec Canada.
Sweden's ICEHOTEL is built by a river in the village of Jukkasjarvi in Swedish Lapland, 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. Creating the ice hotel each winter takes 10,000 tons of clear river ice, plus 30,000 tons of snow. The ice hotel has an ice sauna, ice chapel, and an Absolut Ice bar that's different every year. Guests sleep in special sleeping bags on beds made of snow and ice and covered with reindeer skins. Warm winter clothing is provided. Several cabins with bunk beds are available, and "warm accommodation" is available, too.The season for the ice hotel lasts from early-to-mid December to mid-to-late April. Guests can also take cool (no pun intended) outings, such as a Northern Lights Tour to the Esrange Space Center.
Wondering how to get to Jukkasjarvi? The Scantour company sells Ice Hotel packages to handle all details of a visit including airfare to Stockholm. Note: while kids can visit the Ice Hotel, the "ICEHOTEL is not especially adapted for children". There are no kids' activities, and the sculpted ice is regarded as artwork, not to be climbed or played upon!
Quebec's Ice Hotel
Not to be outdone in the frozen-north category, Canada's province of Quebec offers its Ice Hotel (Hotel de Glace) which has a convenient location just 10 minutes from downtown Quebec city. 15,000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice are heaved and shaped into the ice hotel which has ceilings as high as 18 feet. Thousands of families come to tour the beautiful Ice Hotel which has a fun ice slide for kids*, colorful themed suites, and at least one ice bar where kids can get hot chocolate and grownups can sample a cocktail served in a glass made of ice.
Read more about the Quebec Ice Hotel and see Photos of the Ice Hotel. Quebec City is a great destination for family travel. If you're visiting in winter, you can time your trip with the family-friendly Quebec Carnival, and also add on a day's skiing at nearby Mont-Sainte-Anne.
More Ice Hotels in Scandinavia
The Jukkasjarvi ice hotel isn't the only place to find freezing-cold (in a good way!) accommodations in Scandinavia: Norway has a Snow Hotel, Finland has a Snow Village with ice hotel and igloo bedrooms -- see these and more Ice Hotels at About.com's Scandinavia Travel site.
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