Iglu-Dorf Village

Live like an Eskimo would for a day, but with a luxurious twist. The German company Iglu-Dorf is in the midst of opening their annual igloo villages along the Alps and Pyrenees, offering a unique winter getaway experience for all ages. From the outside, the igloos appear to just be a big pile of snow, but walk through the icy entrance to find a frozen paradise.

Swiss architects and artists sculpted 3,000 tons of snow to create igloos for guests to stay in, featuring unique ice sculptures of animals and snow art hand-carved into the walls. By the end of the month, seven igloo villages in various locations will be open to the public, each with a different art theme. Zermatt’s Igloo Village is currently open —the only one until December 25 due to warm temperatures— with a kingdom of the polar bears theme, presenting a freestanding polar bear sculpture for visitors to admire.

Igloo villages are popular destinations for private parties. In addition to snug sleeping quarters, large groups can take advantage of a built-in Jacuzzi, the outdoor igloo bar serving cheese fondue, and snowshoeing adventures in the surrounding area. Couples can plan their wedding day at the village, holding their ceremony in a church made of snow, and rent out the newest feature—a romantic igloo for two called the love nest.

Get in touch with your inner Inuit by booking your stay at one of the Iglu-Dorf Igloo Villages. But be warned, there is limited space because of limited time. Usually once April rolls around, the snow-made structure is as good as melted.

Nicoletta Richardson is a researcher at Travel + Leisure