Norway tour: Arctic Christmas

Christmas , Glass or Snow Igloos , Escorted
Christmas in Lapland plus an exploration of northern Norway & Finland
13 days
14 Dec 2018
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A fantastic combination of Christmas in Lapland and an exploration of northern Norway and Finland!  This delightful winter experience starts in Tromso then takes you to Alta, Saariselka, Kirkenes, and Rovaniemi. Christmas is spent in Rovaniemi, Santa’s Home Town, and other highlights include a city tour in Tromso with the Botanical Gardens & the Arctic Cathedral, a visit to the award-winning Alta Museum and the Northern Lights Cathedral,  overnight in a Glass Igloo at the Arctic Snow Hotel, a King Crab Safari, reindeer farm visit with sled ride, a snowshoe walk, Husky farm visit with sled ride, and an excursion to the wonderful Arctic Zoo and Wildlife Park at Ranua.  

Day 1     14 December 2018 Tromso Arrival
On arrival in Tromso take the airport coach to your hotel. Time at leisure -this university town has a lively atmosphere and friendly locals. Perhaps visit the Polaria Aquarium (don’t miss the Northern Lights & Spitsbergen Arctic Wilderness films), the Polar Museum to learn about the role Tromsø has played in Arctic exploration, and the MS Polstjerna, a well preserved sailing vessel from 1949. Or take the cable car up to Mount Storsteinen and enjoy the fantastic panoramic view of Tromsø and its surroundings, visit one of the several excellent art museums, or sample some local beer at Mack Brewery, the world's northernmost brewery. Overnight at Radisson Blu Tromso or similar.

Day 2     15 December Tromso City Sightseeing including Arctic Cathedral & Optional Dinner Cruise   
This morning enjoy a 3 hr city sightseeing tour, starting with the world’s most northern Botanical gardens, then Tromso University Museum, where we learn about the nature and culture of northern Norway, and the indigenous Sami people. Next we travel around the island, passing Lake Prestvatn, and cross the bridge to the Arctic Cathedral, a  masterpiece built by Jan Inge Hovig in 1965. The cathedral reflects north Norwegian nature, culture, and faith, with a monumental stained-glass window.

The remainder of the day is at leisure and 2nd overnight in Tromso. Perhaps tonight join the optional dinner cruise – looking back at the city from the dark waters is an extraordinary sight, plus once the boat goes further out the view of the Aurora can be magnificent.  You can go on deck or stay in the boat’s cosy, warm lounge. The cruise includes a traditional Norwegian fish supper.

Day 3                     16 December Tromso – Alta and Optional Northern Lights Storytelling Tour
Today we travel from Alta to Tromso, a trip with stunning scenery that includes 2 ferry crossings. Sit back, relax and enjoy the views! On arrival in Alta, check in at your hotel and evening at leisure.  Overnight at Thon Alta or similar.

This evening you can join an optional Northern Lights Storytelling Tour. We drive out into the countryside, to an  area with no light pollution - the perfect place to maximize your chances of seeing the magnificent Aurora Borealis, in the company of your knowledgeable local guide, who will also tell you all about the local history of Alta. Return to central Tromso around midnight.

Day 4                     17 December Alta: Alta Museum & Cathedral + Optional Aurora Lights Sleigh Ride  
Today visit the award-winning Alta Museum, on the site of the early settlement dating from 11,000 years ago, with exhibitions on local culture and history. This is Northern Europe’s largest and richest rock carving site; here, you can walk on pathways arranged around 2000 to 6200 year old rock carvings, showing the life of hunters and fishermen. After a guided tour of the museum we visit the modern Northern Lights Cathedral, an elegant and modern construction with architecture inspired by the Aurora. 2nd overnight in Alta.

Tonight offers an optional horse drawn sleigh ride, at a farm in the nearby countryside. Your sleigh is pulled by a charming Norwegian Fjord horse through the forest and along the Alta River, so all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the peace and beauty all around you, snuggled warmly in blankets. Along the way, stop for a light supper served around a warm fire. Maybe the Northern Lights will appear!

Day 5                     18 December Alta - Saariselka
From Alta we head south to Saariselka, enjoying the beauty of the changing Nordic landscape. Evening at leisure and overnight at Santa’s Tunturi Hotel or similar.

Day 6                     19 December Saariselka – Kirkenes, Norway: King Crab Safari
We continue north today, to Kirkenes in Norway. On arrival, check-in your hotel then enjoy the amazing experience of a King Crab Safari. This 3-4 hr safari was rated one of the best 25 excursions in the world by National Geographic, and is great fun. This giant of the sea lives in Kirkenes Fjord and can reach up to 2 metres across, and weigh up to 15 kilos. Depending on the weather and ice this excursion might be by boat or snowmobile drawn sleigh (you do not drive the snowmobile, only sit in a sled drawn by the guide’s snowmobile). Once the king crab has been caught, transfer to a remote cabin where the crab is cooked for your delicious lunch. Overnight at Thon Hotel Kirkenes or similar.

Day 7                     20 December Kirkenes – Inari – Saariselka: Sami Culture and Optional Snowmobile Safari
Leaving Kirkenes we head to Inari, the heart of Sami culture and the centre for Sámi self-governance, culture, education and knowledge. Here we visit the Sami Cultural Centre Sajos and Parliament on the shores of Lake Inari. Then on to Saariselka, where the rest of your day is at leisure. Overnight at Santa’s Tunturi Hotel or similar.

Tonight perhaps join the optional Aurora Snowmobile Safari, an exciting evening driving through snow-covered forests and over treeless fells. With a little luck, if the sky is clear, the moon, stars and even the Northern Lights may show you the way. Dinner is served in a traditional Lappish wooden tent or Kammi. We then return to the hotel by coach. 2 persons share each snowmobile and each driver must have a full valid driver’s license.

Day 8                     21 December Saariselka: Snowshoe Walk and Optional Northern Lights Sleigh Ride
In the morning, enjoy something that literally has you following in the footsteps of the Sami. Snowshoes are one of the oldest forms of transport in the world, and wearing these you can capture the true feeling of winter in the woods. The afternoon is at leisure - perhaps try a Finnish sauna, available at the hotel.

This evening perhaps join the optional Aurora Reindeer Sleigh Ride. Sit back and enjoy the view as your sled takes you to an area of beautiful hilltop scenery, with unlimited views of the northern sky. Hopefully the sky will be clear to see the moon, the stars and even the Northern lights.

Day 9                     22 December Saariselka – Sinetta: Sami Reindeer Safari and Arctic Snow Hotel Glass Igloo
In the morning we make our way to Sinetta, just outside Rovaniemi. Along the way, enjoy a delightful visit to a traditional Sami reindeer farm. Meet the farmers who will be dressed in their colourful Sami clothing, as they tell you the importance of reindeer in Sami culture, and teach you how to throw a Suopunki (Sami lasso). Then relax  with a short reindeer sleigh ride, moving through the white landscape, where the only sound you will hear is the music of the reindeer bells. Lunch is included at the farm. Afternoon at leisure.

Tonight get ready for a truly magical experience – a night at the unique Arctic Snow Hotel, where you will check-in to your private Glass Igloo. Enjoy the warmth of your Glass Igloo with it’s glass roof - weather permitting you can watch for the Northern Lights or the millions of stars, from the comfort of your bed.  Your stay includes a traditional Lappish 3 course dinner in a magnificent wooden “Kota”, where fresh salmon is slowly grilled over the fire in a huge pit.

You might like to take an optional Snow Sauna & Outdoor Jacuzzi at the hotel tonight. The snow sauna has walls made of snow and ice - only the sauna benches are made of wood - an astonishing combination of thick steam within intimate snow walls. Afterwards jump into the outdoor Jacuzzi, and admire the Northern Lights or the spectacular starry night skies of Lapland.

For those who are feeling adventurous, tonight you can upgrade to stay in a Snow Suite at the hotel. Every year the Snow Hotel is built anew, with local artists designing and creating the ice and wall sculptures that decorate the hotel and Snow Suites. Each Snow Suite is different and offers a unique arctic experience, spending the night as the Sami once did in a snow igloo. A mattress on an ice bed with special arctic sleeping bags keeps you warm in the ambient temperature of 0 and-5 C. Bathroom facilities are located in a warm section of the hotel, just nearby.

Day 10                   23 December Sinetta – Rovaniemi
After your wonderful overnight stay we head to Rovaniemi. Check in to the hotel and then some free time - explore the town, browse the shops or perhaps visit the fabulous Artikum Museum. Tonight enjoy a traditional buffet of Lappish specialities at the hotel.  3 nights at Hotel Santa Claus or similar.

Day 11                   24 December Husky Safari, Santa Claus Village, Santa’s Visit & Christmas Eve Dinner
This morning we visit the Husky Farm - the barking of happy dogs will welcome you, and the head “musher” will tell you all about the life of these hard working Arctic dogs. Then enjoy a sled ride - riding in pairs, with 1 person driving and the other seated in the sleigh, on trails through the forest. Refuel with a traditional outdoor lunch of Lappish sausage grilled on the campfire, followed by Lappish pancakes. This afternoon we visit the wonderful Santa Claus Village, the official home of Santa Claus. Take a step into this magical world and meet the man himself, send a letter from his Post Office, step across the Arctic Circle and more.

Then at approximately 16:00, the children are invited to participate in the traditional activity of decorating the Christmas tree. At around 18:00 Santa himself will visit the hotel, to bring special Christmas wishes and to deliver a small gift for each child, followed by a Christmas Eve Gala Dinner. Merry Christmas to all!

Day 12     25 December Ranua Wildlife Park & Gala Dinner
Another day of adventure!  This morning we visit the Ranua Wildlife Park, situated 80 km south of Rovaniemi. The  Wildlife Park, established 1983, specializes in Arctic and northern animal species, and the zoo sits amid northern conifer forests, the natural habitat of most of the animals. Enjoy a guided tour of this beautiful park and visit the different animals and birds which include wolverine, deer, bear and of course the King of the Arctic, the polar bear. After lunch at the restaurant in the park there is time to further explore - visit the souvenir shops, the Fazer factory and the local wine shop with their unique selection of wines made from berries – before we return to Rovaniemi. In the evening enjoy a Gala Christmas Day dinner at the hotel.

Day 13                   26 December  Rovaniemi Departure
Transfer to Rovaniemi Airport and end of arrangements.

Maximum 28 persons

Departure:  14 December 2018

Includes:  11 nights in First Class hotels in standard double/twin rooms with private facilities and daily breakfast; coach transfer Tromso Airport – hotel Day 1; 3hr guided city tour Tromso Day 2 ; Alta Museum and Northern Lights Cathedral visit Day 4; 3-4hrs King Crab Safari Day 6; Sami Culture Centre visit Inari Day 7; 1.5-2hrs Snowshoe Safari Day 8; 2-2.5hrs Reindeer Farm Visit & Sleigh Ride Day 9; overnight in Glass Igloo at Arctic Snow Hotel Rovaniemi Day 9; 2-2.5hrs Husky Safari Day 11; Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi visit Day 11;  Visit from Santa Day 11; visit to Ranua Zoo and Wildlife Park Day 12; 4 dinners Days 9, 10, 11 and 12 ; 4 lunches Days  6, 7, 9, and 12; 1 picnic lunch Day 11; shared transfer hotel – Rovaniemi Airport Day 13;  services of English speaking guide; transport in modern coach with WiFi on board the coach; entrance fees for included excursions; use of outer winter clothing during included activities and safaris. 

Excludes:  optional excursions being 2hrs dinner cruise Day 2/ 2 hr 4 hrs Northern Lights with storytelling Day 3 /  4 hrs Horse Drawn Sleigh Ride Day 4 / 5 hrs Snowmobile Safari Day 7/ 2 hrs Reindeer Sleigh Ride Day 8 / 1.5hrs Snow Sauna & Outdoor Jacuzzi Day 9; upgrade to Snow Suite Day 9; all other meals; drinks; arrival transfer Tromso Airport – hotel any day other than Day 1; departure transfer hotel-Rovaniemi Airport any day other than Day 13; gratuities; luggage service at hotels.

All optional excursions must be pre-booked.

 

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Price per person FROM:
Double AUD$ 10020.00
Single AUD$ 13359.00

 

Includes:  11 nights in First Class hotels in standard double/twin rooms with private facilities and daily breakfast; coach transfer Tromso Airport – hotel Day 1; 3hr guided city tour Tromso Day 2 ; Alta Museum and Northern Lights Cathedral visit Day 4; 3-4hrs King Crab Safari Day 6; Sami Culture Centre visit Inari Day 7; 1.5-2hrs Snowshoe Safari Day 8; 2-2.5hrs Reindeer Farm Visit & Sleigh Ride Day 9; overnight in Glass Igloo at Arctic Snow Hotel Rovaniemi Day 9; 2-2.5hrs Husky Safari Day 11; Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi visit Day 11;  Visit from Santa Day 11; visit to Ranua Zoo and Wildlife Park Day 12; 4 dinners Days 9, 10, 11 and 12 ; 4 lunches Days  6, 7, 9, and 12; 1 picnic lunch Day 11; shared transfer hotel – Rovaniemi Airport Day 13;  services of English speaking guide; transport in modern coach with WiFi on board the coach; entrance fees for included excursions; use of outer winter clothing during included activities and safaris.

The prices shown here are adult prices. The child's price is shown under Other Prices.

Price per person FROM:
Single AUD$ 8522.00

Includes:  11 nights in First Class hotels in standard double/twin rooms with private facilities and daily breakfast; coach transfer Tromso Airport – hotel Day 1; 3hr guided city tour Tromso Day 2 ; Alta Museum and Northern Lights Cathedral visit Day 4; 3-4hrs King Crab Safari Day 6; Sami Culture Centre visit Inari Day 7; 1.5-2hrs Snowshoe Safari Day 8; 2-2.5hrs Reindeer Farm Visit & Sleigh Ride Day 9; overnight in Glass Igloo at Arctic Snow Hotel Rovaniemi Day 9; 2-2.5hrs Husky Safari Day 11; Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi visit Day 11;  Visit from Santa Day 11; visit to Ranua Zoo and Wildlife Park Day 12; 4 dinners Days 9, 10, 11 and 12 ; 4 lunches Days  6, 7, 9, and 12; 1 picnic lunch Day 11; shared transfer hotel – Rovaniemi Airport Day 13;  services of English speaking guide; transport in modern coach with WiFi on board the coach; entrance fees for included excursions; use of outer winter clothing during included activities and safaris.

The price shown here is for a child under 12 years of age sharing a room with 2 adults. 

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