Norway tour: Lands of the Northern Lights

Glass or Snow Igloos , Escorted, Northern Lights
From Oslo to Rovaniemi - a true Winter adventure
16 days
Dec - Mar
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A truly unique guided experience in Northern Norway and Finland!  This grand journey starts in Oslo then takes you to Harstad, Svolvaer in the Lofoten Islands, Tromso, Alta, Saariselka, Kirkenes, Kemi and Rovaniemi, so you can explore the very best of Winter in Lapland.

Highlights include an evening walking tour of Oslo, cruising the coast of Norway through the magnificent Lofoten Islands on a classic Hurtigruten coastal ferry, a wildlife safari by RIB boat, a Husky Safari, a visit to see the Arctic animals at the Polar Park, a visit to the award-winning Alta Museum and the Northern Lights Cathedral,  a visit to the Arctic Snow Hotel with overnight in a Glass Igloo, a King Crab Safari, reindeer farm visit with sled ride, a snowshoe walk, Husky farm visit with sled ride, a visit to Rovaniemi and the delightful Santa Claus Village, a wonderful day on the Sampo Icebreaker cruise with ice swimming, and (weather permitting) a visit to the Kemi Snow Castle.

Plus you can add some great evening optional activities.

Day 1: Oslo Arrival and Evening Walking Tour + Optional Gourmet Tour
On arrival in Oslo make your own way to your hotel and time at leisure.  Tonight meet your Tour Leader and fellow travellers before an evening 1 hour walking tour, starting with a stroll around the amazing Opera House with it’s stunning views across the fjord. Then continue along Karl Johan Street, with the Royal Palace at the end, and on to Aker Brygge where the walk ends. This is a bustling area of outdoor cafes, bars and restaurants, and an ideal place to enjoy dinner. Return to the hotel on your own and overnight at Thon Opera or Thon Bristol Hotel Oslo or similar.

Or this evening perhaps indulge in an optional 2hr/2km Oslo Gourmet walking tour. This delicious excursion gives you a taste of new Nordic cuisine, Norwegian style, and includes 4 to 5 different tastings.

Day 2 Oslo - Harstad and Optional Aurora Borealis Tour
Early breakfast at the hotel, then transfer to Oslo Airport for your flight to Harstad/Narvik Evenes Airport, then  transfer to your hotel in Harstad (about 1 hours drive, with some great views on the way). Time at leisure and overnight at Scandic Hotel or Thon Hotel Harstad or similar.

Tonight start your search for the Northern Lights with an optional Aurora Borealis excursion. Travel by snowmobile sled to Solli Mountain and the Aurora Summit Lodge, 535m above sea level. Here you can search for the dancing Aurora Borealis, sitting cosily inside the summit lounge and keeping warm by the big bonfire, enjoying a supper of traditional Norwegian snacks.  (Please note you do not drive the snowmobile but ride in a sled drawn by your guide’s snowmobile)

Day 3 Harstad – Svolvaer by Coastal Ferry
This morning your luggage is transported in the coach while you travel on the Hurtigruten ferry from Harstad to Svolvaer - sit back and relax, enjoying the beautiful scenery from the panoramic lounge, or on deck.  On arrival in Svolvaer at around 18:30hrs, check in to your hotel and time at leisure. Overnight at Thon Svolvaer or similar.

Day 4 Svolvaer: Wildlife Safari by RIB Boat on Trollfjord, Svinoya Village & Dinner at Borsen Spiseri
This morning enjoy a Wildlife Safari by RIB boat on Trollfjord, one of the most dramatic fjords of Norway. Admire fantastic views of the magnificent Lofoten Islands as the boat sails up the strait of Oyhellsundet, and look out for local bird life including eagles, and for seals. We also pass the island of Skrova with its charming harbour.

This evening we visit Svinoya, the oldest part of Svolvaer and a fishing village since 1828. Our local guide tells us about fishing 100 years ago, Norwegian rural village life and the “Battle of Trollfjorden” in 1890. Included is a 3 course dinner at Borsen Spiseri, a charming restaurant in an historic quayside warehouse dating back to 1828. 2nd overnight in Svolvaer.

Day 5 Svolvaer – Tromso and Polar Park Visit
Our journey continues by coach from Svolvaer to Tromso. On the way we stop at the famous Polar Park, the world’s northern most animal park. Here you can see many Arctic animals including wolves, bears, deer, elk and reindeer, on a guided tour of the Park. Then on to Tromso where the evening is at leisure. Overnight at Radisson Blu Tromso or similar.

Day 6 Tromso: City Sightseeing including Arctic Cathedral & Evening Aurora Safari
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 afternoon is at leisure.  Perhaps 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. Then tonight at 18:30hrs leave town and head to the Aurora Camp, where more than 300 friendly huskies are waiting to greet you, and you can pay a visit to the puppy enclosure! Then enjoy a traditional Norwegian dinner in a cosy Gamme Hut, and get ready to search for the Northern Lights - a warm fire outside will set the mood and keep you toasty. Return late to the hotel for your 2nd overnight in Tromso.

Day 7 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 8 Alta: Alta Museum and Northern Lights Cathedral + Optional Northern 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 Saariselka: Snowshoe Walk, Optional Fatbike Adventure & Optional Snowmobile 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.

An optional 3 hr Fatbike adventure is offered this afternoon. These push bikes have special “fat” tyres, so you can ride on snowy trails. Ride on trails and enjoy the silence of the tranquil forests and natural environment around you.  

This evening perhaps join the optional Aurora Snowmobile Sleigh Ride. Sit back and enjoy the view as your guide 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. (You do not drive the snowmobile, only sit in a sled drawn by the guide’s snowmobile).

Day 13 Saariselka – Sinetta: Sami Reindeer Farm & Sleigh Ride 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 14 Sinetta - Rovaniemi: Husky Safari and Santa Claus Village + Optional Aurora Camp by Snowmobile
After your wonderful overnight stay we depart late this morning and head to Rovaniemi. On the way 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. The rest of the afternoon and evening are at leisure. Overnight at Santa’s Hotel Santa Claus or similar.

This evening perhaps join the optional Aurora Camp by Snowmobile adventure. Travel to the Aurora Borealis camp 10 km from the city, to a theatre built inside a massive snow igloo, where you will watch a film about the magic and the facts of this extraordinary natural phenomenon. Then relax by the open fire in the snow observatory and admire the northern sky. Your guides have great tips on how to catch the Auroras with your camera, and tripods are available for you to use.

Day 15 Rovaniemi & Kemi:  SnowCastle & Sampo Ice-Breaker Cruise + Optional Magic of the Arctic Dinner
Today we head to the town of Kemi. First we visit to the fabulous SnowCastle*. Pure white snow walls surround the gigantic SnowCastle, the biggest of its kind in the world, and built entirely out of snow and ice, with a special snow slide and amazing snow sculptures. Then we board the Sampo Icebreaker for a cruise on this remarkable  vessel, breaking though the ice of the northern Gulf of Bothnia. This extraordinary experience includes a guided tour of the ship and a 3 course meal. Plus something very different- swimming in the middle of the largest ice field in Europe. Wearing a snug survival and floatation suit, just jump in the sea and float! You stay completely dry and a guide is with you at all times.  We return to Rovaniemi in the early evening for a 2nd overnight.

*Please note that the construction of the Snow Castle is dependent on the weather conditions and accordingly the Castle may not be open before the 19th of January

Tonight there is one last optional excursion offered – dinner and Aurora watching at Snowland, the world´s “coolest” and biggest Igloo Restaurant. Here you will feast on a delicious 3 course dinner including fresh bread & cheese, water, and coffee or tea. After dinner, sit out on the restaurant’s terrace by the bonfire, searching for the Aurora Borealis one last time.

Day 16 Rovaniemi Departure
Transfer to Rovaniemi airport and end of arrangements.

Maximum 28 persons

Departures:
28 December 2018
04, 11, 18 and 25 January 2019
01, 08, 15 and 22 February 2019
01 and 08 March 2019

Includes:  14 nights in First Class hotels in standard double/twin rooms with private facilities and daily breakfast; 1 hr walking tour of Oslo Day 1; shared transfer hotel-Oslo Airport Day 2; flight Oslo to Harstad/Narvik Evenes Airport Day 2; shared transfer from Harstad Narvik Evenes Airport to hotel Day 2; luggage transfer hotel to wharf Day 3; voyage Hurtigruten ferry Harstad- Svolvaer Day 3; 2hrs Trollfjord & Wildlife RIB Safari Day 4; 3hrs Fishing Village Walk with dinner at Borsen Spiseri Day 4; Polar Park visit with guided tour Day 5; 3hr guided city tour Tromso Day 6; 4.5hr Aurora Husky Visit Day 6; Alta Museum and Northern Lights Cathedral visit Day 8; 3-4hrs King Crab Safari Day 10; Sami Culture Centre visit Inari Day 11; 1.5-2hrs Snowshoe Safari Day 12; 2-2.5hrs Reindeer Farm Visit & Sleigh Ride Day 13; overnight in Glass Igloo at Arctic Snow Hotel Rovaniemi Day 13; 2-2.5hrs Husky Safari Day 14; Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi visit Day 14; Snow Castle Visit Day 15 (please note the construction of the Snow Castle is weather dependent and may not be completed until mid to late January); Sampo Icebreaker Cruise Kemi Day 15; 3 dinners Days 4, 6 and 13; 4 lunches Days 10, 13  and 15; 1 picnic lunch Day 14; transfer hotel – Rovaniemi Airport Day 16; services of English speaking guide; transport in modern coach Days 2-15with WiFi on board the coach; entrance fees for included excursions; use of outer winter clothing during included activities and safaris. 

Excludes:  arrival transfer Day 1 in Oslo; optional excursions being 2 hr Oslo Gourmet Food Tour Day 1 / 4 hrs Aurora Borealis tour Day 2 / 4 hrs Northern Lights with storytelling Day 7 /  4 hrs Horse Drawn Sleigh Ride Day 8 / 5 hrs Snowmobile Safari Day 11 / 3 hrs Fatbike Adventure Day 12 / 3 hrs Snowmobile Sled Ride Day 12 / 1.5hrs Snow Sauna & Outdoor Jacuzzi Day 13 / 3 hrs Aurora Camp By Snowmobile Day 14 / 3hrs Magic of Arctic Circle Dinner at Snowland Day 15; upgrade to Snow Suite Day 13; all other meals; drinks; departure transfer hotel-Rovaniemi Airport any day other than Day 16; gratuities; luggage service at hotels.

All optional excursions must be pre-booked.

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Price per person FROM:
Double AUD$ 9192.00
Single AUD$ 11668.00

Includes:  14 nights in First Class hotels in standard double/twin rooms with private facilities and daily breakfast; 1 hr walking tour of Oslo Day 1; shared transfer hotel-Oslo Airport Day 2; flight Oslo to Harstad/Narvik Evenes Airport Day 2; shared transfer from Harstad Narvik Evenes Airport to hotel Day 2; luggage transfer hotel to wharf Day 3; voyage Hurtigruten ferry Harstad- Svolvaer Day 3; 2hrs Trollfjord & Wildlife RIB Safari Day 4; 3hrs Fishing Village Walk with dinner at Borsen Spiseri Day 4; Polar Park visit with guided tour Day 5; 3hr guided city tour Tromso Day 6; 4.5hr Aurora Husky Visit Day 6; Alta Museum and Northern Lights Cathedral visit Day 8; 3-4hrs King Crab Safari Day 10; Sami Culture Centre visit Inari Day 11; 1.5-2hrs Snowshoe Safari Day 12; 2-2.5hrs Reindeer Farm Visit & Sleigh Ride Day 13; overnight in Glass Igloo at Arctic Snow Hotel Rovaniemi Day 13; 2-2.5hrs Husky Safari Day 14; Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi visit Day 14; Snow Castle Visit Day 15 (please note the construction of the Snow Castle is weather dependent and may not be completed until mid to late January); Sampo Icebreaker Cruise Kemi Day 15; 3 dinners Days 4, 6 and 13; 4 lunches Days 10, 13  and 15; 1 picnic lunch Day 14; shared transfer hotel – Rovaniemi Airport Day 16; services of English speaking guide; transport in modern coach Days 2-15with 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 for departures in January, February and March 2019

Price per person FROM:
Double AUD$ 9505.00
Single AUD$ 11981.00

Includes:  14 nights in First Class hotels in standard double/twin rooms with private facilities and daily breakfast; 1 hr walking tour of Oslo Day 1; shared transfer hotel-Oslo Airport Day 2; flight Oslo to Harstad/Narvik Evenes Airport Day 2; shared transfer from Harstad Narvik Evenes Airport to hotel Day 2; luggage transfer hotel to wharf Day 3; voyage Hurtigruten ferry Harstad- Svolvaer Day 3; 2hrs Trollfjord & Wildlife RIB Safari Day 4; 3hrs Fishing Village Walk with dinner at Borsen Spiseri Day 4; Polar Park visit with guided tour Day 5; 3hr guided city tour Tromso Day 6; 4.5hr Aurora Husky Visit Day 6; Alta Museum and Northern Lights Cathedral visit Day 8; 3-4hrs King Crab Safari Day 10; Sami Culture Centre visit Inari Day 11; 1.5-2hrs Snowshoe Safari Day 12; 2-2.5hrs Reindeer Farm Visit & Sleigh Ride Day 13; overnight in Glass Igloo at Arctic Snow Hotel Rovaniemi Day 13; 2-2.5hrs Husky Safari Day 14; Santa Claus Village Rovaniemi visit Day 14; Snow Castle Visit Day 15 (please note the construction of the Snow Castle is weather dependent and may not be completed until mid to late January); Sampo Icebreaker Cruise Kemi Day 15; 3 dinners Days 4, 6 and 13; 4 lunches Days 10, 13  and 15; 1 picnic lunch Day 14; shared transfer hotel – Rovaniemi Airport Day 16; services of English speaking guide; transport in modern coach Days 2-15with 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 for the departure on 28 December 2018.

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