A small and unexceptional far-northern coastal town and port for most of the year, Kemi (320 mi/520 km northwest of Helsinki) hosts the extraordinary SnowCastle from January until April—or until it starts to melt. The castle is a fantasy in ice and snow, with elaborate ice sculptures, an ice stage for concerts, a snow chapel—popular for weddings—and a bar serving vodka in glasses made from ice. It's possible to stay in the Castle's Snow Hotel, too, although there are typically snug hotels available in the town. Visitors often combine a night in the Snow Hotel with a four-hour cruise on the Sampo, a retired icebreaker. Passengers can even bathe using special suits in holes in the ice below the ship.

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