With its faux-drawbridge, looming watchtowers and ramparts topped with Finnish flags, the Lumi Linna Snow Castle of Kemi would be impressive even if it wasn't built entirely of snow and ice, but knowing that the architectural masterpiece is completely demolished each spring and rebuilt each winter is remarkable. Most mesmerizing is the attention to detail—elaborate sculptures stand in the hallways, archways are decorated with intricate carvings and the suites come complete with "thrones" and four-poster beds carved out of glistening blocks of ice.
Many visitors to the Snow Castle opt to spend a night in the on-site Snow Hotel, which offers rooms and suites for up to 48 guests, but non-guests can still explore the castle, dine in the Snow Restaurant or attend the grand opening ceremony and fireworks display. Before you leave, be sure to take a tour of the castle interiors, climbing the ramparts for a view over the snow-covered grounds, visiting the Snow Chapel and whizzing down the many snow slides.
Lumi Linna Snow Castle is located in Kemi on the coast of the Gulf of Bothnia in Finnish Lapland, 75 miles (120 km) southwest of Rovaniemi. The castle is open from late December through April with daily admission from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.