The Tromsø Ice Domes are located just 1.5 hours from Tromsø and Camp Tamok and are unmissable experiences! Although the packages seem expensive, we thought ours was well worth it. The bus picked up the guests in the city centre and took us directly to the Tromsø Ice Domes. Upon arrival, the staff were friendly and welcoming, and we had a great chat and learned a lot from them. Also, we were lucky to be the only two people staying in the Ice Domes that night at the end of the winter season. Although the bus had been full, most people were doing an evening activity or staying at Camp Tamok.
If I had to choose a word for when I saw the ice dome for the first time, I would say breath-taking. Every winter, the workers and artists rebuild the impressive dome structures and create all of the ice carvings! We watched a short video about the process and were in awe. The 2022-23 theme was Roald Amundsen, the famous Norwegian explorer who was in the party that was first to reach the South Pole. Later, he was also in the first verified party to reach the North Pole. The dining room carvings are of the local wildlife such as Artic hare, moose, fox, owl and brown bear. The bar has Roald Amundsen and also the boat Fram that he used for the expeditions. At the bar, we enjoyed a couple of non-alcoholic shots in ice glasses.
Each room also had a theme and these were: Fridtjof Nansen, bear with a fish, walrus, reindeer, penguins, Leonhard Seppala and his dog Togo, muskox, and foxes hunting for lemming. Our guide asked us not to touch the sculptures, and we said of course we would not. However, he told us how some guests broke off the horn of a muskox and then hid it under a pillow. Yikes! In the hallway, there is a man and his dogs arranged like they are sledding. The lighting, design and everything were amazing! The photos do not really do it justice. I hope you can go to the Tromsø Ice Domes and see the wonder for yourself!
As if the ice hotel were not enough, we also had some wonderful activities to enjoy during our stay. On our first evening, we went on a snow shoe hike through fresh snow up a hill. Our friendly guides, Frederik and Elizabeth built a bonfire and served us warm blackcurrant juice. Elizabeth’s adorable puppy Lumi also accompanied us and kept us company during dinner.
The next day we went dog sledding which was fun and also good exercise! With the fresh snow and hilly terrain, we had to jump and push the sled quite often. The winter scenery was absolutely stunning in every direction. Once we built up an appetite, the dining tent served us another tasty meal!
- Sleeping in the ice dome at -5C with beautiful carved ice art all around
- The carvings and décor in the ice dome is stunning and impressive
- Snow shoeing at night around the hills in the quiet nature, and making a bonfire
- Dog sledding in the beautiful snowy valley, and the pre- and post-cuddling of the wonderful and strong dogs
- Puppy Palace with the dog puppies who will eventually be sledding dogs
- Possibility to see the Northern lights
- Visiting the reindeer, some of which are pulling sleds and other younger ones which stay in the
- Enjoy the beautiful nature, peace and quiet all around
- Delicious and hearty Norwegian food
Before you go
- The meeting place for the bus in Tromsø has an address but is basically in the car park
- Follow the instructions for what clothing you need to bring. At a minimum you will need snow boots, thermal under layers, a good coat, hat and gloves
- You will be provided with winter clothing for the various activities
- For sleeping in the ice domes, you wear the thermal under layers. However, if you need to go to the toilets in the middle of the night then you may need to move quickly as it will be outside in the cold
- If you get hungry and need snacks, then you may want to pack some with you
- To capture photos of the northern lights, a long-exposure camera is best
- Luckily, the Tromsø Ice Domes package includes transport to and from the city centre by bus. The journey is about 1.5 hours each way. The bus drivers were both amazing driving carefully and smoothly on snowy, icy roads. The views are stunning in all directions with snowy mountains, forests and valleys.
- There is room under the bus for luggage. However, since people only stay one day, many people like us packed very lightly.
- Also, some people were going for the day to do a winter activity, then they would return on the bus later that night
- Others like us were staying overnight and returned the next afternoon
- The transport was very well-organised and comfortable
- There were three main options for accommodation: the ice domes, Arctic luxury domes with heating and a fireplace, and small heated cabins. All have shared toilet and shower facilities
- We stayed in the ice dome at -5 Celsius! Each winter, the domes are rebuilt, so the theme and design change annually
- The sleeping bags are very warm though the opening for air can feel cold. I had a hard time falling asleep as I felt constricted
- The staff dimmed the lights, but the lights are never completely off so I recommend bringing eyeshades
- There are 8 rooms with double beds, and although there are no doors, there is a privacy wall in each doorway
Unexpectedly, all of the food during our stay was excellent! We had expected very simple food out in the wilderness. First, upon arrival, our guides offered us hot drinks, either coffee, tea or blackcurrant juice. Later, we enjoyed a three-course meal in the heated building near the ice domes.
First, we had a delicious seafood soup. A local restaurant in the town nearby cooks and delivers fresh to the hotel and camp. Our guides told us that they receive large portions even if it was only the two of us guests. Therefore, we were lucky and had a very large portion of soup. Next, we had a delicious reindeer stew, very much like stroganoff. It was accompanied by mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam. The reindeer was sliced very thinly and was tender.
Finally, for dessert we had a special panna cotta topped with cloud berries. Cloud berries are a special treat found only in circumpolar regions. In Norway, there are special rules for when and where you can pick the berries.
The next morning, for breakfast we had a buffet in a cosy tent at Camp Tamok. There was a nice smoky ambience with a fire inside. We had a nice selection of bread, cheese, meat, boiled eggs, yoghurt, juice, and of course hot beverages.
Our last meal of the trip was a hearty lunch before we headed back to town by bus. For the non-vegetarians, we enjoyed lamb and vegetable stew. And for vegetarians, there was a bean and vegetable stew. Both were served with the Arctic bread, which reminded me of a puffier and slightly sweeter pitta. Also, we were offered seconds and even thirds so no one went hungry!
Q: Do I need a tour guide?
A: No, you don’t need a guide, but to book the stay at the ice domes, you need to go via the travel agency that manages the domes and the nearby Camp Tamok
Q: Do people speak English?
A: Yes, everyone speaks English
Q: Is it walkable?
A: Yes, the bus drops you off, then you can walk around the ice domes and to the nearby Camp Tamok.
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