Join an Arctic journey to the remote regions and dramatic coastline of Northern Norway. Here the influence of the Gulf Stream creates an immense ice free polar coast. Your winter adventure starts with two nights in delightful Tromsø, after which you board the Hurtigruten ferry and travel north from Tromsø to Kirkenes, a voyage of two nights. On arrival in Kirkenes you'll spend the night at the famous Snowhotel, in either a Snow Igloo or a cosy Gamme Cabin. Plus there is a Hunt for the Northern Lights in Tromsø, an excursion to the North Cape from the ship, and a King Crab Safari in Kirkenes. The whole of your tour takes place above the Arctic Circle, so your chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights are greatly improved!
Day 1 Tromsø Arrival and Day at Leisure
Upon arrival in Tromsø make your own way from the airport to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure for you to explore Tromsø. This university town has a lively atmosphere and friendly locals. Perhaps visit the Arctic Cathedral for it's daring architecture, 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. Overnight at a 4* hotel in Tromsø.
Day 2 Tromsø: Day at Leisure and Evening Hunt for the Northern Lights
Breakfast at the hotel and day 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 with guided tours that take you through 130 years of beer brewing history. In the evening, make your own way to the downtown meeting point of tonight's excursion, a chase for the magical Northern Lights. During the evening your guide will tell you interesting information about the Northern Lights, both the science and the folklore, and will take you out to that night's best spot for hunting the lights. You may also (depending on how far away you have gone in search of the lights) stop for a visit at a lavvo or traditional Sami tent and enjoy sitting around the bonfire, roasting marshmallows, before returning to the downtown area. From here make your own way back to your hotel. 2nd overnight in Tromsø.
Day 3 Tromsø: Hurtigruten Departure and Overnight On Board
Breakfast at the hotel and time at leisure in Tromsø. Late this afternoon make your own way to the wharf to board the Hurtigruten ferry, departing at around 18:30hrs. Your voyage will take you on the spectacular northbound route along the Norwegian coastline, from Tromsø to Kirkenes. The ferry sails past remote settlements and small islands, and through varied waterways. Relax and enjoy the views from the vessel's Panoramic Lounge or from on deck, and don't forget to look out for the Aurora as the ship sails through the Arctic nights. Two nights on board in a standard, unspecified outside cabin including dinner and breakfast.
Day 4 Hurtigruten: The North Cape and 2nd Overnight On Board
Breakfast on board. After a short stop in Hammerfest, your vessel will continue to Honningsvag, to arrive at around 11:45hrs. From Honningsvag join an excursion to mainland Europe's most Northerly point, the North Cape. This is a wild and windswept headland where the cliffs rise dramatically 300m from the sea, and you can gaze out across the water to the frozen wastes that lead to the North Pole. Dinner and 2nd overnight on board.
Day 5 Kirkenes Arrival: King Crab Safari & Snowhotel Overnight
While you sleep the ship continues sailing east along the Varanger peninsula, past Batsfjord and Vardo. Breakfast on board. At around 09:45hrs arrive into the sheltered harbour of Kirkenes - this town in the very far north of Norway is just 10km from the Russian border. Disembark from the boat and time at leisure. At 13:00hrs meet your local fisherman host for your exciting King Crab Safari. Your host will supply you with boots, warm outer clothes and mittens to wear. Watch as your host catches the crabs, then enjoy a true feast of these freshly cooked Arctic delicacies, served in the home of one of the fishermen. After the safari transfer to the fabulous Kirkenes Snowhotel, for a very memorable overnight. Enjoy a traditional dinner in the warm restaurant. Tonight just step outside and look up, to search for the fabled northern lights. Being so far away from light pollution, this is a wonderful place to seek this magical sight.
You can choose between overnight a Snow Igloo or in a warm Gamme Cabin.
Snow Igloos are wonderful displays of snow architecture and Arctic nature, created each winter from local ice and snow, with ice sculptures, ice carvings and more. In your Snow Igloo you will sleep on a bed carved from ice, snuggled warmly in a thermal sleeping bag and blankets.
Gamme Cabins are charming wooden cabins, inspired by the traditional hunting and fishing Gamme huts of the Artic and Sami areas. The cabins are like small jewels and have every comfort including air conditioning, underfloor heating and a snug bathroom with a separate aurora glass wall. Best of all, the cabins have a large panoramic window and lounge chairs covered in sheepskins, so you can gaze out in warmth and comfort, as you look for the Northern Lights.
Day 6 Kirkenes Departure
Breakfast at the Snowhotel, then transfer back to Kirkenes town, and end of arrangements.
2023-2024 departures: regular* departures 01 December to 31 March
*departure dates subject to the Hurtigruten schedule.
You can add extra nights in Tromso, in Kirkenes or at the Snowhotel - please ask us for details.
Please note the Snow Igloos do not have running water, bathrooms or electricity. Showers, saunas and toilets are in a separate warm building nearby. Warm sleeping bags are provided as well as extra clothing and hot water bottles. Your luggage is stored in the luggage room.