This fast-paced—and very active—winter tour in Norway is not for the faint of heart. Starting and ending in Tromsø, the gateway to the Arctic, you'll set course on a 15-day itinerary partaking in horseback riding, dog and reindeer sledding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and cruising the water by kayak, speedboat, and Hurtigruten. Of course, each night provides an opportunity to see the northern lights to round out your arctic adventure.


  • Kick off the trip searching for the northern lights at a remote, family-run resort
  • See the Trollfjord, one of the most dramatic fjords in Norway, on a speedboat tour
  • Spend several days exploring the scenic Lofoten Islands at your own pace 
  • Ride through the Lyngen Alps by snowmobile, followed by a whale watching safari

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tromsø, Fjord & Wildlife Cruise Tromsø
Day 2 Drive to Senja, Stay at Aurora Borealis Observatory Senja
Day 3 Free Time in Senja & Winter Horseback Riding Senja
Day 4 Drive to Svolvær, Relax in a Floating Sauna Svolvær
Day 5 Explore the Lofoten Islands Svolvær
Day 6 Trollfjord & Eagle Boat Tour, Chase the Northern Lights in Svolvær Svolvær
Day 7 Winter Kayak Adventure Svolvær
Day 8 Drive to Reine, Explore  Reine
Day 9 Drive to Svolvær, Board the Hurtigruten Hurtigruten
Day 10 Arrive in Tromsø, Snowshoeing Tour Tromsø
Day 11 Reindeer Sledding & Overnight in a Lavvu Tromsø
Day 12 Snowmobile Safari in the Lyngen Alps Tromsø
Day 13 Dog Sledding with Alaskan Huskies Tromsø
Day 14 Whale Watching Safari Tromsø
Day 15 Tromsø Cable Car, Depart Norway  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tromsø, Fjord & Wildlife Cruise

Winter view of Tromsø
A winter view of Tromsø, northern Norway's most populous city

Welcome to Tromsø, the largest city in northern Norway! Besides its lovely snowcapped scenery and rich history, the city also has a large student population and is famous for its robust music and film culture. Enjoy some free time to explore the streets and learn why it's known as the "Gateway to the Arctic."

You can also hop on a daytime cruise and discover the beauty of the Tromsøfjord and the area's wildlife aboard a silent hybrid-electric ship, which minimizes nature disturbances. At the same time, you stay warm in a lounge equipped with panoramic windows. Enjoy cruising quietly past snow-covered mountains and landmarks such as Tromsø's famous Arctic Cathedral. Along the route, you'll stop in a local fishing village and learn about many Norwegian coastal towns' fishing traditions and life.

Your guides will also share stories and knowledge about local culture, food, history, and nature while staying on the lookout for wildlife. Common species on this route include seals, dolphins, eagles, and other seabirds. You can also explore beneath the ocean's surface with an underwater drone.

Day 2: Drive to Senja, Stay at Aurora Borealis Observatory

A remote beach in winter on Norway's second-largest island
A remote beach in winter on Norway's second-largest island

This morning, you'll pick up your rental car and take a scenic three-hour drive lasting 130 miles (210 km) to Senja, Norway's second-largest island. Stop at Nordkjosbotn along the way for a snack or lunch—this tiny village sits at the end of the Balsfjorden, where the river Nordkjoselva meets the fjord. 

Once you reach Senja, check out the staggering diversity of the surrounding landscapes, with ocean views, mountains, beaches, lakes, forests, and fields within short distances of each other. Restaurants and eateries in Senja also reflect the region's scenery and nature. To get a real taste of local delicacies, keep your eye out for Arctic char, cod, and goat cheese.

For the next few nights, you'll stay at Aurora Borealis Observatory. This small, family-run resort is considered one of the world's best locations for spotting the northern lights (weather depending). When it's time for dinner, the resort offers a cozy restaurant and bar with large windows to enjoy the views. The quality menu incorporates elements of French and Asian cuisines along with local meat and fish, plus a wide range of drinks.

There are various room and apartment configurations with large windows for viewing the scenery (and potential northern lights), including luxury options with private hot tubs. Romantics might be interested in staying in the small units with glass roofs called Aurora Huts.  

Day 3: Free Time in Senja & Winter Horseback Riding

Look for the northern lights on horseback in Senja

Today you'll wake up in Senja with some free time to explore the area. If you'd like, you can join a half-day dog sledding experience led by a team of powerful Siberian huskies. After an informative briefing on how to mush a dog sled, you'll set off to enjoy Senja's most beautiful winter scenery. Back at the camp, you'll lead your faithful crew to their kennels before gathering around a warm fire for hot drinks and cookies while hearing stories from a professional musher. (If you don't partake in dog sledding today, there will be another opportunity at the end of the trip.)

Take some time to rest in the afternoon, and then prepare for an after-dark horseback riding excursion. This is a magical way to experience the remote Arctic landscapes since horseback riding allows you to get to places you would otherwise not be able to access. You and your group will be accompanied by safe, well-behaved horses from the three old Norwegian breeds. All the horses are suited for every level of experience, and skilled and friendly guides lead the tour from a local horse ranch.

Day 4: Drive to Svolvær, Relax in a Floating Sauna

Svolvær is the gateway to the Lofoten Islands
Svolvær is an excellent base for exploring the Lofoten Islands

This morning you'll drive from Senja to Svolvær, the gateway to the Lofoten Islands. During the winter months, there is no ferry connection in the area that allows for shortcuts between the two island destinations, so you'll need to follow the roads along the mainland. With good weather, the drive can take up to six hours; however, driving conditions in the wintertime can often change quickly, which may extend the trip. With that in mind, plan your drive carefully to have as much daylight as possible. It's also a good idea to ensure that your mobile phone is fully charged before departure (as a precaution). 

After your long drive from Senja, you may be interested in relaxing your muscles at a floating sauna in Svolvær, called Lofoten Sauna, located in Svolvær harbor. The sauna is open for drop-in guests, so feel free to decide on this activity once you arrive. Inside, there are separate men's and women's dressing rooms and towels for the sauna. There's also an outdoor shower with hot and cold water to rinse off after a refreshing dip in the North Atlantic Ocean.
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Day 5: Explore the Lofoten Islands

Having a car gives you the freedom to explore the Lofoten Islands at your own pace

Today you have a free day to drive around the Lofoten Islands and explore. Having your own car allows you to travel at your own pace and see as much scenery as you wish.

There are numerous options for how to spend the day. One idea is to explore the fishing village of Eggum on the seaward side of Vestvågøy Island. Or head to Unstad, a cool little village that has become an Arctic surf destination drawing surfers from all over the world who enjoy the chilled-out vibe and impressive eateries. You can also check out Bøstad and its Lofotr Viking Museum and then head to the picturesque fishing village Henningsvær, scattered across several islands with restaurants serving local cuisine—a perfect stop for an early dinner. 

Day 6: Trollfjord & Eagle Boat Tour, Chase the Northern Lights in Svolvær

Speeding through the Sea
Suit up with waterproof gear and speed through the sea on a RIB

Today you'll experience the spectacular region of the Lofoten Islands on a scenic RIB (rigid inflatable boat) tour. At the appointed time, you'll suit up with the proper gear, including waterproof wear and goggles, and take a speedboat through the strait of Øyhellsundet through the stunning Trollfjord. This is considered one of the most dramatic fjords in Norway, and you'll have a chance to admire its incredibly narrow entrance and steep mountainsides. 

The rich wildlife in this region has fascinated visitors for centuries. If you're lucky, you'll see eagles, seals, and a variety of birdlife. Your guide will also show you historical sites and beaches, plus a whaling island called Skrova with a charming harbor.

Later in the evening, get ready to chase the northern lights on a private tour! You and your guide will take a fun after-dark excursion and find the best locations to view the colorful Arctic sky, away from Solvær's lights, securing perfect conditions to see and photograph this spectacular natural occurrence. Learn more about the northern lights as your guide shares local knowledge and the science behind the world-famous phenomenon.

Day 7: Winter Kayak Adventure

Kayaking in the Lofoten Islands
Winter kayaking in the peaceful Lofoten Islands

There is nothing quite like having the ocean to yourself in the offseason. During the winter months, the water around the Lofoten Islands is quiet and peaceful—and kayaking is an ideal way to experience the surroundings. This half-day adventure allows you to paddle with a local guide along the islands' pristine coastline with the sounds of soft waves and light splashing from your kayak.

In the midmorning, you'll meet your highly experienced guide on the beach at Eggum, where you'll get a tutorial on how to paddle and kayak safely (no experience necessary). Once in the kayak, you'll head northeast and around some beautiful islands while stopping for snacks and hot drinks. Look for birds or sea life while your guide shares stories about the lifestyle and nature of the Lofoten Islands.

Day 8: Drive to Reine, Explore

Spend a night in Reine and soak up the scenery

Today you'll take a scenic drive through the Lofoten archipelago to get to the village of Reine, where you'll stay for the night. The main road through the seven islands is the E10, but you'll have many chances to stop and explore the scenery along the way. If you'd like to get off the beaten track, you can take a detour just after the island of Årnøya and drive along the coast for some spectacular views. Similar detours are possible in Gimsøya and Kvalnes.

Once you arrive, plan to spend time in Reine and Hamnøy—two fishing villages on Moskenesøya Island. Reine is exceptionally breathtaking from the highway with its red and white fishermen's huts from the late 1800s—rorbuer—dotting the shoreline and surrounding peaks of granite shooting out of the Reinefjorden. It's a quiet village, but many of the best hiking trails on the Lofoten Islands are within a short distance. Stop at the co-op market and stock up on supplies if you're headed on an outdoor adventure.

Also, make sure to spend some time exploring the small but beautiful neighboring town of Hamnøy, the oldest fishing village in the Lofoten archipelago. Look for local museums and galleries that provide the history and culture of the region, as well as restaurants featuring local cod, which is in season this time of year.

Day 9: Drive to Svolvær, Board the Hurtigruten

Board the Hurtigruten from Svolvær harbor and look for the northern lights after departure

Wake up this morning and relax in charming Reine. Use the extra time to take a long winter walk or hike in the area before you hit the road for the drive back to Svolvær, where you'll catch the Hurtigruten, which departs late in the evening. 

You can also spend a few hours at the Magic Ice Museum in Svolvær. The entire permanent exhibition—even the glassware at the bar—is constructed of crystal-clear ice. Wander through the exhibition of dramatically-lit sculptures and installations with colorful LED lighting to further enhance the icy experience. This presentation arouses the senses of sight, sound, and touch while blending music and the glow of candlelight for a uniquely magical atmosphere.

In the late evening, you'll board the Hurtigruten ship to travel overnight to return to Tromsø. Enjoy a relaxing night on the cruise—if lucky, you'll even spot the northern lights.

Day 10: Arrive in Tromsø, Snowshoeing Tour

Sail into Tromsø on the iconic Hurtigruten

Today you'll wake up on the Hurtigruten, where you can relax with a leisurely breakfast and enjoy the scenery. In the afternoon you'll arrive in Tromsø. From here, check into your hotel and consider your options for the rest of the day.

If you have the energy, you can suit up and experience the fresh air and unspoiled beauty of the Norwegian backcountry during a snowshoeing tour. This small-group activity (maximum of eight people) is a mix of fun and exertion where you can experience the simple enjoyment of being outside in stunning surroundings. Your professional guide will choose the best locations based on your physical ability and share knowledge about the region and snowshoeing techniques. They will also take professional pictures of you during the tour.

Included with the activity is transportation to and from Tromsø, as well as thermal suits, snowshoes, and poles. You'll also stop for hot chocolate, cookies, and sandwiches during the adventure.

Day 11: Reindeer Sledding & Overnight in a Lavvu

Get up close to reindeer on this unique overnight excursion
Get up close to reindeer on this unique overnight excursion

Today you'll have the day to relax and enjoy Tromsø before joining an overnight winter excursion involving reindeer sledding, the oldest means of transportation in the north. This is done with authentic Sami guides from the family-run company, "Tromsø Lapland." 

The location you'll be heading to has little artificial light and excellent conditions to look for the northern lights. Instead of heading back to the city center, where you might miss a late-night dance from Lady Aurora, stay in a traditional Sami tent known as a lavvu, and sleep on reindeer hides in winter-insulated sleeping bags. This cultural adventure includes reindeer sledding and a hot meal served in the lavvu while listening to stories about Sami culture and history. Become one with nature and replenish your mind and soul on this overnight excursion. 

Day 12: Snowmobile Safari in the Lyngen Alps

Snowmobile in the remote Lyngen Alps

Today you'll wake up in your cozy lavvu and enjoy breakfast before taking another adventure—this time in the Lyngen Alps, which offers some of the most beautiful scenery in northern Norway. This outdoor playground is where you'll follow some approved and well-established trails on a snowmobile tour. 

Your guide will provide a good explanation of how to navigate the snowmobile. There will be two guests on each snowmobile who will have the opportunity to change seats halfway through the tour. The time on the snowmobile is one to two hours (subject to snow conditions), and safety will be a top priority. There will be time to make several stops for sightseeing, taking photos, and enjoying the fascinating surroundings of the mountains, forests, and fjords. Your guide will also use these stops to tell interesting facts and stories. 

Back at the camp, you'll be served the freshly-prepared fish soup and bread (a vegetarian option is also available). 

Day 13: Dogsledding with Alaskan Huskies

Dog sledding with Alaskan huskies
Dog sledding with Alaskan huskies

Dog sledding is one of the best ways to enjoy the Arctic landscape and this kennel, operated by Arctic Adventure Tours, is just 25 minutes from Tromsø center. The team comprises passionate and knowledgeable dogsledding professionals who care for happy, strong, and healthy Alaskan huskies.

Heading toward the farm, your driver will take you through the snow-covered highlands of Kvaløya. All necessary gear will be provided on-site, including warm suits, winter boots, woolen socks, hats, mittens, buffs (fabric covering the neck, mouth, and nose), and headlamps. Then head out on your adventure, where you get to drive a sled yourself. Two guests will share each sled, and during the tour, there will be stops where you can swap between being the driver and the passenger.

After the tour, you'll be served chocolate cake and coffee inside a comfortable lavvu heated by a fireplace. Relax and take photos with the dogs before returning to the city center.

Day 14: Whale Watching Safari in Tromsø

Winter whale watching in Norway
Join a winter whale watching tour in Norway

During the winter months, you can join Brim Explorer for a unique full-day experience at sea! Riding a quiet electric ship, you'll get a unique perspective of the area's majestic humpback and killer whales as they hunt for herring-rich fjords in Tromsø with an underwater drone and microphone. With departure to Tromsø in the morning, you'll set course for the whales during the short daylight hours of winter. You can enjoy beautiful views of winter-clad landscapes in comfortable, panoramic lounges and over several decks. You'll find a selection of food and drinks for sale on board.

The company uses a hybrid motor to reach the whales, and as you get close, your captain will switch to a quiet electric motor that allows us to get close without disturbing the whales and sharks. The team then launches an underwater drone and hydrophone that capture images and sounds of the whales working together to hunt herring. Please note that the length of this trip depends on where the whales are located and can therefore vary from 4 to 7 hours. There is no guarantee of seeing whales, but the team will always do their best!

Day 15: Tromsø Cable Car, Depart Norway

Take a spin on Tromsø's cable car before departing Norway

It's time to say goodbye to Norway! But first, you'll want to take a spin on Tromsø's cable car for excellent views of the city and surrounding landscapes. The two gondolas, known as "Seal" and "Polar Bear," take you to the platform at the upper station, where you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the city and surrounding islands, mountains, and fjords. 

You'll make your way to the airport for your departure flight at the appointed time. Safe travels!

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Map of Chasing the Northern Lights in Norway's Arctic in Winter - 15 Days
Map of Chasing the Northern Lights in Norway's Arctic in Winter - 15 Days