Continuing our Scandinavian adventure we are looking at Sweden this week.
Built across fourteen of the 20,000 islands that shelter the city from the Baltic Sea, Stockholm is quite a revelation.
Fishermen cast for salmon in the waters below the Royal Palace; small ferries are often the best way to reach the attractions, like Skansen, the world’s oldest open air museums. Gamla Stan, the old town, is a colourful mediaeval maze.
To give you an idea of distances within Scandinavia, Gothenburg to Stockholm is three hours, Helsinki to Stockholm is 16 hours and Copenhagen to Stockholm is five hours 20 minutes.
Every December for the past 20 years, in the far north of Sweden, an entire hotel is constructed of blocks of snow and ice, weighing up to two tonnes.
Located inside the Artic Circle, in the tiny village of Jukkasjarvi , in Swedish Lapland, this unique property offers a range of accommodation in either “modern and comfortable warm rooms” ( available all year) or “cold rooms” which are constructed entirely from blocks of ice and snow (open from December to April).
The nearest airport is an 11-and-a-half hours flight from Stockholm and a shuttle then transports guests to the hotel in 15 minutes or, if you prefer, you can choose to travel the short journey by snowmobile or dogsled instead.
We would suggest a stay of one night in a “cold room”, where you are provided with thermal sleeping bags and hot lingonberry juice in the morning, followed by a couple of nights in a “warm room”.
The Icehotel is a unique construction designed anew each winter by a team of artists and engineers from around the world. A stay here is an experience in itself – or a great addition to a break in Stockholm.
Of course the Icehotel is a great base from which to experience some of the Artic’s best phenomenon – such as the Northern Lights, or driving snowmobiles in search of moose and reindeer in the forests.
Flights from the UK include airports at Heathrow, London City, Birmingham, Stansted and Gatwick.