Tromsø Ice Domes is the newest addition to the already impressive list of unforgettable things to do in Tromsø in winter. Surrounded by beautiful mountains in Tamok Valley in Northern Norway just next to the Finnish Border, Tromsø Ice Domes might look like a regular snow igloo at first sight. But appearances can be misleading. The moment you open the door you step into a true winter wonderland…
Tromso Ice Domes were first opened this winter (2017/2018) and the project was a big success from the start. So it looks like it’s there to stay and will be opening every winter. The first edition features a huge igloo complete with two ice bars, an ice restaurant, a cinema, and one hotel room. In the future they are planning to have more hotel rooms and turn the Ice Domes into a real Ice Hotel.
Since it has to be rebuilt from scratch every year, I assume that Tromso Ice Domes will look somewhat different every winter. The focus this winter season was on the ice art that reflects the unique bond between local Sami people and nature. I’ve seen several ice bars and ice hotels before, but I can tell you that none of them even compares to what I found in Tromso. So let me take you on a short tour inside this winter wonderland and inspire you to go and visit Tromso Ice Domes for yourselves there’s also a short video below).
Update: Based on the questions and comments I got, I want to clarify that you don’t have to stay in the ice hotel in order to visit it. The tour I took was just a half day trip from Tromso and everybody can do it. It costs just a fraction of the actual hotel stay, and you can admire this beautiful place just as well.
I visited Tromso Ice Domes as part of my winter trip in cooperation with Visit Tromsø and would go back in a heartbeat!
Tromso Ice Domes
After a 1,5hr drive through spectacular scenery along the fjords we reached Camp Tamok where the Tromso Ice Domes are located. There we were greeted by a guide who took us on a tour inside the Ice Domes. She told us the story about how the whole project started. Apparently, the owner had a dream of building the Ice Domes, but couldn’t get a loan from the bank, because you know – who would lend 160,000EUR to build a place that will melt 6 months later. However, he was so passionate about the idea and confident in its success that he decided to sell his own house in order to fund the project.
It took 5 weeks to build the place and apparently most time and money went into interior decoration of the igloo. They hired some of the world’s best ice artists from China and the result is simply incredible. Let’s take a look inside.
The first room we entered was a beautiful ice bar where visitors were offered an ice shot (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic options are available). Just hold your glasses tightly or they will slip out of your fingers because, yes you guessed it… the glasses are made of ice!
While you have a drink and listen to the stories about the local Sami culture, you can admire the stunningly detailed ice carvings on the walls. And just in case you think you see a Santa Claus here, look closer – it’s actually a Sami person riding a reindeer-pulled sleigh. Now you know where the image of Santa’s reindeer comes from.
Our next stop was an ice cinema where we watched a short film showing the beautiful surroundings as well as the construction process of the Ice Domes. It’s really impressive to see how it’s all done!
As I said, at the moment Tromso Ice Domes only have one hotel room with plans to expand to 7 rooms next year. But what a room it is! Everything is made with so much attention to detail. Who wouldn’t like to spend a night here…. And no, the mattress isn’t made of ice, so you can get a really good night’s sleep.
The price tag of such a stay is really high though, but if you have 1.250EUR to spare, this fairytale-like bedroom is all yours for one night. The guide told us that the prices will probably be lower next year as they open more hotel rooms. So let’s hope it becomes more affordable and more people can enjoy this unique experience of spending a night in an incredibly beautiful ice hotel.
And in case you wonder how cold it is, the igloo has a pretty much constant temperature of -5°C (23°F). So nothing to worry about; and they provide you with a good sleeping bag.
The last room we visited was an ice restaurant. You can have a hot meal here (needs to be booked in advance), or order some drinks if you like.
Practical information for visiting Tromso Ice Domes
- Tromso Ice Domes are open in winter season from 10 December to 31 March.
- You can visit Ice Domes with a tour that is run by Destination Tromso. It departs from Tromso city centre twice a day (10AM and 2.30PM) and takes about 4hrs in total.
- You can also visit Tromso Ice Domes individually by car. See the map below for the exact location. Please note that it’s a long drive (96km-60 miles) and the roads can be really slippery – they were completely covered in ice when I visited. If you decide to go by car, it’s best to call them in advance and inquire about the best times to visit. At the moment they run guided tours at 11AM, 1PM, and 3PM. It’s a little bit cheaper than taking a tour, but not worth renting a car just for that.
As promised, here is a short video of Tromso Ice Domes as they look in winter 2017 – 2018.
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