Venture to the top of the world in search of Mother Nature's greatest spectacles, including the famous aurora borealis. This Arctic Circle adventure takes you through the wilds of northern Sweden and Norway, including Lappland, where you'll alternate snowshoeing and dogsledding with relaxing soaks in hot tubs and saunas and enjoy a three-course dinner right on the tundra. In between chasing the northern lights, you'll bed down in a real-life ice hotel—one of the only such accommodations on Earth.


  • Brave the Arctic wilderness in Sweden's gorgeous Lappland region
  • Embark on Arctic Circle activities like dogsledding, snowshoeing, and ice fishing
  • Indulge in sauna culture with relaxing spa sessions and soaks in Jacuzzis
  • Spend time with the Sámi Indigenous community and meet their prized reindeer
  • Go whale watching in the icy waters off Tromsø, Norway's "Gateway to the Arctic"

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Luleå (Sweden), Northern Lights Sled Tour Luleå
Day 2 Dogsled Tour, Swedish Hot Tub & Sauna Experience Luleå
Day 3 Snowshoe Hike on the Lemmel Trail, Northern Lights Hunt Luleå
Day 4 Snowmobile Tour, Arctic Dining Experience Luleå
Day 5 Transfer to Kiruna, Icehotel & Northern Lights Kiruna
Day 6 Kiruna City Tour, Northern Lights Dinner Kiruna
Day 7 Sunrise Dogsledding, Snowshoeing & Ice Fishing Kiruna
Day 8 Sámi Culture & Reindeer Tour Kiruna
Day 9 Transfer to Narvik (Norway), Cable Car Tour Narvik
Day 10 Narvik Tøttadalen Valley Day Hike Narvik
Day 11 Transfer to Tromsø, Northern Lights Dinner Cruise Tromsø
Day 12 Tromsø City Tour, Northern Lights Trip Tromsø
Day 13 Silent Whale Watching, Museums of Tromsø Tromsø
Day 14 Depart Tromsø   

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Luleå (Sweden), Northern Lights Sled Tour

Luleå is famous for its historical landmarks and natural beauty

Welcome to Sweden! This Arctic adventure begins in the far north region of Lappland (or Sápmi to the region's Indigenous Sámi people), which also encompasses parts of Finland. You'll arrive in Luleå, a small coastal city just below the Arctic Circle on the Gulf of Bothnia. A charming university town brimming with history, it's also an ideal base for excursions into the wild north, particularly for dogsledding, snowshoe hiking, and hunting for the northern lights. At the airport, a driver will be waiting to take you to your hotel.

There are truly one-of-a-kind lodging options in this part of the world. As such, you'll either stay in a real-life treehouse or in a hotel made entirely out of ice. After checking in, receive an introduction to Swedish Lappland in the form of a sled tour to spot the aurora borealis (northern lights). This two-hour experience begins when, along with an expert guide, you hop in a snowmobile-drawn sled and set off across the tundra in search of this spellbinding phenomenon, which only occurs at the Earth's poles. That's why this part of the Arctic Circle is the perfect place to spot it.

Day 2: Dogsled Tour, Swedish Hot Tub & Sauna Experience

Meet your furry friends, who will take you across the tundra

Spend the morning with some adorable four-legged friends as you embark on a dogsledding trip around Luleå. After meeting the dogs and a quick safety briefing, you and a partner will learn to take the reins of the husky team and set off along a scenic forest and lake trail. As you make stops to experience the most dazzling areas of the course, you'll hear about the life of a husky musher in the frozen north, learn about the dogs, and gain insight into the winter wonderland around you.

After the sled tour, you'll transfer by vehicle to Mörön, located 18 miles (30 km) outside Luleå, where an outdoor hot tub and sauna experience awaits. Experience a warm bath in a wood-burning hot tub, an invigorating dip in an ice tub, and a relaxing sauna session. Surrounded by snow and ice, this experience immerses you in the wild Nordic landscape—you might even get lucky and glimpse the northern lights dancing in the sky. After your soak, enjoy some snacks and drinks at the bar before returning to your hotel in Luleå in the evening.

Day 3: Snowshoe Hike on the Lemmel Trail, Northern Lights Hunt

Venture into the Lappland wilds on a snowshoe trek

Strap on the snowshoes because this morning, you're off on a cross-country trek along the famous Lemmel Trail. Over about three hours, you and your guide will explore this 9.3-mile (15 km) trail, which leads through snow-covered forests, across frozen lakes, and beneath towering peaks.

Along the route, you'll stop at viewpoints to admire panoramic views of the surrounding wilderness with its icy rivers and silent forests stretching as far as the eye can see. There will also be a break to make a fire right in the snow and prepare some fresh-brewed coffee or tea using melted snow. Afterward, you'll return to your hotel.

But the day isn't over yet. At 8 pm, you and your small group will hop in a car and continue hunting the northern lights. Your experienced driver/guide will determine the most optimal location for the hunt on the ride outside the city to an area free of light pollution. If you do glimpse the ribbons of dancing lights in the sky, there will be ample time to take pictures and enjoy a Swedish fika (coffee break). During the tour, your guide will also provide information about the northern lights and the myths surrounding them.

Day 4: Snowmobile Tour, Arctic Dining Experience

Zip around Lappland on a snowmobile

After breakfast, you'll leave your hotel and travel into the wilds around Luleå on a guided snowmobile adventure across the frozen wilderness. This half-day ride showcases the beauty of Luleå's snow-covered forests and frozen lakes as you zip around well-marked trails. As you go, your guide will reveal fascinating details about the region's nature, Indigenous culture, and history.

Return to the hotel after the tour and enjoy a few hours to relax. In the evening, you'll transfer to an Indigenous tent in the countryside. There, gathered around a crackling fire and seated on reindeer skins, you'll enjoy a three-course Arctic dinner. While the menu varies, you can expect fare typical of the region, which includes game meats like elk and reindeer, and fish like Arctic char and salmon.

Day 5: Transfer to Kiruna, Icehotel & Northern Lights

The entrance to the famous Icehotel, near Kiruna

All aboard! Leave early on a four-hour ride to Kiruna, located at the very top of Sweden, close to the border with Norway. The town has a rich mining history, but what draws visitors nowadays is the Icehotel in the nearby village of Jukkasjärvi.

Opened as a hotel/art installation in 1989, the structure is rebuilt each winter with actual ice and snow. See for yourself, as you'll be overnighting in an ice room on an ice bed. The hotel also features a grand ice hall, an art gallery displaying hand-carved ice sculptures, and an ice restaurant and bar where you can sip cocktails from ice-carved glasses.

When the sun goes down, you'll set off yet again in search of the northern lights. This excursion combines the best of previous tours in that you'll be seated in a dogsled pulled along by enthusiastic huskies. It's a half-day tour during which your guide will lead you to optimum vantage points to spot the aurora. After a break to warm up around a crackling fire and enjoy a traditional Swedish drink and treat, you'll return to your hotel.

Day 6: Kiruna City Tour, Northern Lights Dinner

Set down for dinner amid the spectacle of the northern lights
Plan your trip to Norway
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Immerse yourself in the rich history and deep culture of northern Sweden on a brisk tour of Kiruna. You'll learn about the town's roots as a mining town as well as see how it's undergoing an urban revitalization to bring it into the 21st century. Over about 1.5 hours, your guide will lead you to some of the town's most beautiful buildings, including the newly inaugurated Town Hall and the century-old church, which is one of Sweden's tallest wooden buildings.

In the evening, you'll take a 1.2-mile (2 km) chairlift ride up into the Abisko Mountains to the Aurora Sky Station. At the top, enjoy sweeping views of Torneträsk, the largest mountain lake in Scandinavia, and Lapporten, Sweden's most depicted mountain motif. There's also a mountaintop restaurant where you'll sit down at a table by a crackling fire to feast on Lappland cuisine while searching the skies for the aurora borealis. At the end of the meal, ride the chairlift back down to Jukkasjärvi and return to the Icehotel.

Day 7: Sunrise Dogsledding, Snowshoeing & Ice Fishing

Meet your trusty team for a dawn dogsledding tour

Another polar sunrise is in store this morning as you meet your driver at the Icehotel and transfer to a kennel just outside of town. There, make the acquaintance of another group of friendly huskies who will serve as your guides/transport on a half-day mushing tour.

Pulled on a sled by these energetic canines, you'll traverse the snowy wilderness, passing through forests and across frozen lakes and rivers. Pro guides will be on hand to ensure you stay on track, but really, there's no need—your reliable dogs know every inch of this wilderness. Back at the kennel, you can reward your new friends with a tasty treat.

The rest of the day will be spent enjoying winter activities. This half-day activity begins with a snowshoe trek across the unspoiled tundra, followed by taking a seat over a frozen lake to do some ice fishing. If you're lucky, you might reel in some pike, perch, or Arctic char. The day culminates with a cozy fireside fika session and a light meal in a traditional Nordic tent. Afterward, you'll return to Kiruna.

Day 8: Sámi Culture & Reindeer Tour

Meet the Sámi, Northern Europe's only Indigenous group

Today, you'll get to know more about the EU's only Indigenous people, the Samí. Leave the Icehotel in the morning and visit Nutti Sámi Siida, an open-air cultural center in Jukkasjärvi. Meet your local Indigenous guide, who will lead you on a tour of Sámi buildings as you learn about their nomadic way of life. Interestingly, the Sámi have a deep, symbiotic relationship with reindeer, as they've herded these animals for centuries. Of course, part of the tour includes meeting a reindeer or two and learning from the Sámi how to herd and care for them properly.

After the tour, you'll have time to browse the center's handicraft shop for Sámi jewelry and traditional art. Then, head to the on-site café, where they serve lunch and fika treats like coffee and cinnamon buns next to a roaring fire. Other activities at the site include reindeer sled excursions, mountain hikes, and fishing trips. Afterward, return to your hotel for a relaxing evening.

Day 9: Transfer to Narvik (Norway), Cable Car Tour

Travel over Narvik's slopes on your way to a mountaintop restaurant

Get back on the road this morning for the 2.5-hour transfer north across the border into Norway. Your destination is Narvik, which sits between soaring mountains and a shimmering fjord. This Arctic town is beloved for its blend of outdoor adventure, winter-wonderland scenery, and cultural heritage. Upon arrival, check into your accommodation.

After dropping off your bags, feel free to do some ice fishing. Or opt for a late-morning hike—just outside town are some of the most spectacular hiking trails in Norway. Some of the best routes include the Tøttadalen Valley and Fjellveien, the latter of which takes less than an hour to hike. For something a little more challenging, there's the 8.1-mile (13 km) trek along the Storsteinsfjellet mountain ridge.

Later, get an eagle-eye view of Narvik and the Arctic landscapes below on a 1.5-hour tour that includes a ride in a mountain cable car. At a station in town, board a gondola lift for the ride up to a mountaintop restaurant sitting at 2,152 feet (656 m) above sea level. You can enjoy a meal or cup of cocoa surrounded by panoramic windows, which offer grand views of the surrounding mountain peaks, lush valleys, and sparkling fjords below.

Day 10: Narvik Tøttadalen Valley Day Hike

Hike up to some of the most spectacular viewpoints around Narvik

Travelers flock to this part of Norway to enjoy winter activities like skiing and snowshoeing. This morning, you'll get to explore these Arctic environs on a full-day hike through Tøttadalen Valley. One of the most popular areas in the region for a trek, this unspoiled valley features a number of hiking trails catering to every skill level. You can opt for a brisk, easy walk around to admire the scenery or challenge yourself on a more strenuous outing through lush forests, across sparkling streams, and around rugged mountains.

Other epic hiking options include summiting Mount Storsteinsfjellet (6,213 ft/ 1,894 m) or trekking across Kjeldebotn, another jaw-dropping valley filled with crystalline streams, native forests, and towering peaks. At the end of the day, you'll return to your hotel.

Day 11: Transfer to Tromsø, Northern Lights Dinner Cruise

Hop on another gondola for a ride up to the best viewpoints overlooking Tromsø

Say goodbye to Narvik, as this morning, you'll board a bus for the 4.5-hour ride farther north to Tromsø. It's a long but scenic journey, during which there will be stops to stretch your legs. One break is at Polar Park, which bills itself as the world's northernmost zoo. It features vast protected areas showcasing endemic animals in their natural environment, including red deer, wolves, and even wolverines.

Eventually, you'll arrive in Tromsø. This far-flung city may lie north of the Arctic Circle, but it doesn't lack culture and activities. Out of some 65,000 residents, there's a large student population here. That translates to a robust music, film, and nightlife culture. When you arrive, you'll check into your hotel and will have the rest of the day to discover the highlights of Norway's "Gateway to the Arctic" on your own. Perhaps start with a cable car ride up Mount Storsteinen. Its viewing platform is a great place to snap panoramic photos of Tromsø and the surrounding scenery.

Later, around 7 pm, you'll board a swank catamaran for a combined dinner/northern lights cruise. Take a seat in the ship's elegant dining room, where you can start the meal with a craft beer or select wine while admiring the scenery from the panoramic windows. Then, enjoy a delicious dinner catered by a local restaurant in Tromsø. As you eat, the captain will keep an eye out for the aurora borealis, and when they give the word, you can head to the deck to capture more photos of the sublime northern lights. 

Day 12: Tromsø City Tour, Northern Lights Trip

Arctic Cathedral
The Arctic Cathedral is one of the most showstopping landmarks in northern Norway

The morning is yours to explore Tromsø at your own pace. Walk down the city's historic streets, marveling at its rich culture and beautiful architecture, which includes wooden houses dating as far back as 1789. Or, meet up with a local guide and set off on a three-hour, organized tour of Tromsø.

With an expert leading the way, you'll view relics and buildings dating to medieval times. You'll also learn about the city's famous fishing culture, which was established during the late 19th and early 20th centuries when trade in Norway was at its peak. Another highlight is a visit to the gorgeous Arctic Cathedral, an iconic landmark known for its triangular glass facade and ornate mosaics. 

At around 6 pm, you'll meet another guide for a trip by car outside Tromsø to seek the northern lights. Travel as far as the Finnish border in search of locations with the best viewing conditions. When you find them, your guide will offer tips and pointers on how to snap the best low-light pics of this natural phenomenon. There will also be a snack break around a cozy bonfire to enjoy a hot drink paired with Norwegian treats like knekkebrød (crispbread) and gulrotcake (carrot cake).

Day 13: Silent Whale Watching, Museums of Tromsø

Asgeir Helgestad- visitnorway
Get right up next to humpback whales without disturbing them

It's another early start as you head to the waterfront and board a ship for a whale watching tour. Over the course of the day, you'll cruise around Tromsø's surrounding fjords on a safari to spot the resident marine life. These include humpback whales and orcas, which are most common from Nov-Jan. And don't worry—the tour company conducts responsible and safe whale watching tours in a hybrid-electric ship. Traveling in a silent vessel like this means you won't disturb the animals in their natural environment.

Back on land, spend the rest of the day hopping around the best museums in Tromsø on self-guided tours. Discover the history of Arctic expeditions and the life of Norwegian polar explorers at the Polar Museum; explore the natural history of Norway and the Arctic through exhibits on geology, wildlife, and Indigenous cultures at the Tromsø Museum; and appreciate Arctic-inspired paintings and other works at the Art Museum of Northern Norway.

Day 14: Depart Tromsø 

Sun setting over Scandinavia's far north
You've traversed wild Arctic landscapes and had memorable adventures every step of the way. Now, it's time to pack up and move on to the next adventure. After one more leisurely breakfast in Scandinavia, you'll transfer to the Tromsø Airport, where you'll catch your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Chase the Northern Lights Through Sweden & Norway - 14 Days
Map of Chase the Northern Lights Through Sweden & Norway - 14 Days