Every winter since 1996 a huge SnowCastle has been built in Kemi, Finnish Lapland, using only snow and ice. Within the snowy walls, shiny white pathways lead visitors through fairytale scenes. Gorgeous snow sculptures, each more beautiful than the next, decorate the castle walls – you can even spend the night in the SnowHotel and enjoy dinner at the SnowRestaurant. It’s why the world loves Kemi in winter.
But soon visitors will no longer have to wait for the cold to set in before experiencing these icy delights. Construction of a year-round SnowCastle has begun, with the doors set to open in December 2018. Once the enhancements are complete, the SnowCastle will feature a 400 sqm cold space allowing travellers to enter a wintry world of snow and ice in the height of the summer. Included in this space is the award-winning SnowRestaurant – as well as being great fun, the SnowRestaurant also serves delicious food. Dressed in quilted overalls, diners sit at ice-tables to toast hearty meals with handmade ice-kuksas.
The Seaside Glass Villas also offer huge appeal to those heading to Kemi, whatever the season. These cosy cabins are built from glass and Finnish timber and are situated on the sea-shore besides the SnowCastle area. There is nowhere better in the world to enjoy the incredible Northern Lights than lying back in one of these cabins.
A destination for all seasons
Summer in Kemi is a world of bright blue skies and lush greenery. Although not as warm as the Mediterranean, temperatures typically hover around 20°C, making the beaches and parks the perfect places to hang out and relax. The weather is pleasant enough to enjoy a variety of activities, even in the middle of the night, as it never gets completely dark. Within walking distance of Kemi city centre are beautiful little parks where nature trails provide a chance for birdwatching and other tranquil pastimes. The Inner Harbour, with its summer cafes and restaurants provides a vibrant hub for both visitors and locals alike. Even Santa Claus has established his Seaside Office on the shores of this idyllic little marina.
Although characterised by snow and ice, there is so much more to the Arctic. It is a world of unique contrasts, with welcoming locals who are proud of their traditions. Every season has its own highlights: the midnight sun in the summer, the golden autumn forests, the extreme polar nights of the winter, and the shimmering snow banks of the spring as the sun appears again. And then of course, there’s the famous Northern Lights.
There aren’t many places in the world where the sea freezes to create a truly unique adventure park. Out on the ice tourists and locals alike enjoy the cleanest air on Earth, along with the most golden silence. During summer the forests are rich with berries and mushrooms, which are picked and stored for the winter. Summer is also perfect for cooking on open fires by the seashore.
Kemi is perfect for foodies with its array of fine dining options. Whether it is dining a la carte at a historic hotel, or al fresco on a warm evening, there is something for everyone.
Kemi is the gateway to a unique archipelago – as well as being incredibly beautiful, the islands provide a range of activities. Just a short boat ride away is the Arctic Adventure Island, where both body and mind can be rejuvenated in various saunas and outdoor tubs. First, relax in the sauna, and then plunge into the fresh sea water to increase blood- circulation. Finally, round off the relaxation with a dip into a steaming hot tub; there is nothing quite like it, especially on a crisp autumn evening,
In the winter the sea remains frozen, shipping lanes are kept open by icebreakers. Kemi is the only place in the world where you can experience an incredible icebreaker- adventure – the four-hour cruise aboard the Icebreaker Sampo is a must during any winter visit to Kemi.
Those travelling to Kemi to say their vows can also enjoy a white wedding experience in the summer. The SnowCastle is being transformed with every passing year and soon both the cold and the warm spaces will be tailored to suit a variety of occasions.
The SnowRestaurant, SnowHotel and Seaside Glass Villas have gained great attention around the world, each having achieved recognition at the World Luxury Hotel and Restaurant Awards. All year round visitors from around the world come to experience the wonderful world of Kemi, and with these major attractions soon to be open all year round, the best Arctic experience is just about to get better.