Igloo Village – The Coolest Village On Earth?

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igloo village-sleeping igloosAs I ducked my head and stepped into the first corridor of the igloo village I noticed it was warmer than outside.  Soft pink and blue lights illuminated skiers downing shots before they ventured out into the cold again.    “OK, yes it’s cool, let’s stay, have a drink but skip the tour,” J.P. hopefully suggested.   He should know better by now.  Two minutes later we were on a tour of the rest of the igloo village which is only open to guests or via tour-guide.

igloo village igloo bar outside
Guests can enjoy the views from outside the Igloo Village while enjoying a drink.

Alpeniglu is an igloo village consisting of 18 igloos, located at SkiWelt in Wilder Kaiser, Austria.  It’s constructed entirely of ice and snow.  Guests can show up for one of the tours offered every 30 minutes, book an evening program which includes a fondue dinner or choose to spend a night in an igloo.  We choose the 20 minute tour.

Fondue dinner is served on an ice table
The restaurant  where the evening fondue is served.

My favorite part of the igloo village were the ice sculptures which are carved by artists from around the world.  Every year the theme is different.  This year’s theme was a journey back in time and featured dinosaurs, Romans and knights.

Snow sculptures line the walls
The snow sculptures were my favorite part of the Igloo Village.
Snow sculptures
The sculptors come from around the world and there is a variety of styles on display.

If a tour is too tame for you, consider getting married in the Igloo Church, or even holding a baptism there. Although our guide admitted that baptisms are not done very frequently at the Igloo Village.

Church inside the igloo village. Weddings are popular here.
Weddings and baptisms at the Igloo Village are a unique option for the cool crowd.

I was surprised to learn that the igloo village is only -2C which seemed practically balmy compared to the -14C outside.  I am constantly freezing (yes I know that’s odd since I come from Canada), but even I’ll admit that the sleeping igloos and the sleeping bags looked quite warm in the sleeping igloos.  Our guide agreed and said guests found they were was warm – except for their noses which stuck outside of their sleeping bags.  But I decided on the spot that while sleeping in an igloo would be an experience, it would not be a romantic one.  “Why not?” J.P. asked, eager to convince me to sleep in an igloo.  “Because there are two mummy sleeping bags and it’s cold enough that we would each be zipped up so that cuddling – let alone anything else wouldn’t be an option. ”  “Hmmm…Maybe I don’t want to sleep in an igloo,” he concurred. Men!

The rooms come with very warm separate sleeping bags.
Cozy? Yes. Romantic? Not so much.

But besides the lack of romance, there was a bigger problem, “Where do you go to the bathroom?” I inquired.  Our guide smiled, as she told us the bathrooms were located outside, as in outside in the freezing cold.  That did it.  I’m happy to  dive with sharks, and have a pretty adventurous bucket list, but leave my igloo to go pee outside in the middle of the night?  Forget it!  Even I have my limits!  You can find me in the igloo bar!

Would you sleep in an igloo?

Enjoying mulled wine at the bar.
Enjoying mulled wine at the Igloo Bar.

Logistics of Getting to the Igloo Village
The igloo village of Alpeniglu is located on the ski hill at Brixem im Thale, Austria.  It is easily reached by a tram.  We choose to hike which takes between 1:00 – 1:30 hours.    Hiking to the Igloo Village results in walking along a road for most of the way, which is not terribly exciting for hikers, but there are good views and few cars.  Note there are no signs, so get good directions from the tram staff before heading out.    I would highly recommend checking out Alpeniglu if you were already skiing, but as a day trip, it’s a long way to go for the 20 minute tour (5€/person ).  In my opinion, it would be worth it if you were doing the evening program or staying overnight, and don’t mind paying the 95€/person or 185€ person (not igloo) respectively.  For more info check out Alpeniglu’s website at www.alpeniglu.com.

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About Author

Laurel Robbins is the founder of Monkeys and Mountains Adventure Travel. She's passionate about getting outdoors as often as possible and helping travellers do the same on their vacation in a sustainable way. She's Canadian and grew up in the Canadian Rockies but now lives in Munich, Germany. You can find her skiing or hiking in the mountains most weekends, hanging out with her cat or with her nose in a good book.


Cole @ Four Jandals
February 13, 2012
Wow that is one cool adventure (worst pun sorry)! Would actually love to try it out but bet my toes would freeze haha
February 13, 2012
I can hardly bear a bit of cold, but these pictures do entice me to go to this village!
February 13, 2012
@Cole - Yeah, I could see how your toes would get cold after a while - and your nose! @Angela - It's definitely worth visiting, I just don't want to stay overnight.
February 13, 2012
The igloo church is certainly unique! Funny it's not that cold inside the igloos. I guess they trap what little heat there is?
February 13, 2012
Those icy shelters do look cool, but I'm note sure I'd actually like to stay the night.
February 13, 2012
@Zhu - There was even a confession booth, but without doors. It was a very pretty church. The ceiling is 1 1/2m thick and the walls are even thicker. I guess that's how it stays (relatively) warm. @Italian Notes - I'm so with you on that one.
February 13, 2012
The igloo bar looks pretty inviting. But I don't think I'd want to spend the night there either. "Cool" sculptures. :)
February 13, 2012
Looks like a great find and a special spot to sort of warm up,though -2C inside doesn't sound terrific for sleeping. I also hate the going outside to pee part - and of course that always happens when you're in a sleeping bag and it's a big deal to do it. I love camping - but not that part of it.
February 13, 2012
The first picture makes me think of Ice-Hobbits. Did you see any ice hobbits? I would love to try this kind of thing, but Austria seems like a weird place. In my mind it fits more in the Scandinavian realm. Although as you say it certainly gets cold enough in the Alps. I did the ice-bar in Stockholm once. I kicked myself as I stupidly didn't bring my camera.
February 13, 2012
Sculptures amazing and the entire place looks fascinating. Cannot imagine staying overnight-hate the potty runs while camping on chilly Canadian fall nights!
February 13, 2012
Haha! I'm so with you! I accept a lot as long as there's a working toilet close by and inside - especially when it's freezing out :) That village looks like a lot of fun.... would love to have a drink there. Possibly something hot!
February 14, 2012
You couldn't pay me to sleep in an igloo lol. But I loved reading about it! I agree with ou about those awesome sculptures. Unique and very cool.
February 14, 2012
How cool! (literally I suppose, haha) - love the sculptures
Christy @ Technosyncratic
February 14, 2012
Yes, this seriously is the coolest village on earth! I still don't know if I'd visit, though. ;) Thankfully I have you to share!
February 14, 2012
So, is there an actual toilet outside, or do you just pee in the snow? Either way, I'd be up for a night in a loo-less igloo... which should really be called an ig, right? It is disappointing that they don't have double sleeping bags too, because after a midnight pee you'd really need a warming snuggle!
February 14, 2012
@Cathy - Yes, I agree the sculptures are "cool" :) @Leigh - I hate that part about camping too, especially when it's cold outside. @Andrew - Sadly no ice-hobits. The theme changes every year, so maybe next year. They also have igloo hotels in Germany and Switzerland, but I haven't checked them out yet. @Sue - Funny, I was thinking about going to the bathroom when camping in summer as well, that's cold enough and me realize that overnight in an igloo is not for me. @Sabrina - Well they do have Gluewein :) @Abby - I hear ya! @Andrea - The sculptures were my favorite part as well. @Christy - It's fun and a surprisingly warm place to visit, just perhaps not to sleep. @Barbara - I'm not sure, but they're definitely not attached to the sleeping igloos, so you would have to go outside to get to them. I like that a "ig" Agreed, double sleeping bags are definitely in order.
February 14, 2012
Ha! That's exactly the hot drink I had in mind :)
February 14, 2012
@Sabrina - I can read your mind from 8000 km away :)
February 15, 2012
That is so cool! I love the detailed snow carvings.
February 16, 2012
Yes, you can :)
February 17, 2012
How fabulous! Yes I'd be all over this, it looks magical :)
February 18, 2012
I would love to stay overnight! So cool! (hah!)
February 18, 2012
That looks amazing! I think I've found another new bucket list addition...
Joe W
February 23, 2012
awesome, I'm sure that has to be a very unique experience. Loved the restaurant setting...
February 26, 2012
I'd definitely sleep here, looks like a lot of fun!! :)
February 27, 2012
I love how adventurous everyone is. If you ever do sleep in an igloo please let me know how it is - I'll be in my warm bed.
March 11, 2012
What an adventure this would be! Loved all the pics especially the little igloos and the sculptures! Nice post.
eileen ludwig
April 23, 2012
Looks fun but you are right going out in middle of night to pee in the cold is too much

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