Expect uninterrupted snowscapes and Northern Lights sightings on this Arctic adventure. The trip starts in Tromsø, the 'Paris of the North' and your base for several snow activities. Then set sail on the Hurtigruten to the Lofoten Islands before heading to Trondheim, the UNESCO-listed village called Røros, and finally a night in cosmopolitan Oslo.

Highlights

    • Cozy up to Tromsø's hip restaurant scene after a day in the snow
    • Sleep in a traditional Sami tent and sled with reindeer
    • Explore the Lofoten Islands by sea kayak and RIB boat
    • Cruise past Arctic scenery on the Hurtigruten ferry

Overview

Winter lovers seeking a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Northern Norway will be drawn to this family-friendly trip through a popular portion of Norway's Arctic region. 

You'll base the first part of your trip in Norway's northernmost city of Tromsø. While many travelers simply use this as a jumping off point, this particular itinerary allows you four nights in order to get to know this city better. And Tromsø is time worth spent with its museums, scenic gondola ride, film and music culture, and impressive dining scene. But you'll hardly spend all your time in the city. There will be several guided trips available including fishing, snowmobiling, dogsledding, and an overnight stay with an indigenous Sami village in tents (with reindeer). 

From here, take a coastal steamer to the jaw-dropping Lofoten Islands where you'll sea kayak, speedboat through narrow fjords, and drive through gorgeous fishing villages, like Reine and Hamnoy. Head back on the Hurtigruten towards Norway's third largest city of Trondheim to walk along the colorful riverfront before you take a train to the fairy-tale UNESCO-listed cobblestoned village of Røros. From here, dogsled in the mountains with a fleet of frisky huskies, and then train to the city of Oslo and enjoy a little free time to explore the capital's museums, modern architecture, and New Nordic cuisine. 

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tromsø Tromsø
Day 2 Explore Tromsø Tromsø
Day 3 Reindeer Sledding & Lavvu Experience Wilderness
Day 4 Lavvu Experience - Tromsø Tromsø
Day 5 Tromsø Excursion - Hurtigruten Hurtigruten
Day 6 Hurtigruten - Explore Svolvær Svolvær
Day 7 Trollfjord & Sea-Eagle Boat Tour Svolvær
Day 8 Sea Kayaking Tour Svolvær
Day 9 Svolvær - Hurtigruten - Trondheim Hurtigruten
Day 10 Relax on the Hurtigruten Hurtigruten
Day 11 Hurtigruten - Trondheim in Winter Trondheim
Day 12 Train to Røros Røros
Day 13 Dogsledding in Røros Røros
Day 14 Røros - Train to Oslo  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tromsø

This picturesque city is surrounded by nature.
This picturesque city is surrounded by nature.

Welcome to Tromsø, the largest city in Northern Norway!

Surrounded by snowcapped mountains, Tromsø is a lively place with 65,000 inhabitants. In addition to its lovely scenery and rich history, the city has a large student population and is famous for its robust music and film culture, so get out and explore this self-proclaimed 'Gateway to the Arctic'.

A good place to start is taking a ride on the cable car, which runs up to a mountain ledge in just four minutes. The two gondolas, known as Seal and Polar Bear, each have a capacity of 28 passengers. From the viewing platform at the upper station, you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Tromsø and the surrounding islands, mountains, and fjords. 

If you want to stay for dinner, Fjellstua restaurant on top offers dinner with views. Otherwise, head back down to Tromsø for a variety of pubs and restaurants. 

Day 2: Explore Tromsø

Tromsø's waterfront. 
Tromsø's waterfront. 

After breakfast, you will have the day to explore Tromsø. Consider signing up for a tour with an English-speaking local guide (optional):

Walk Through History: Meet your local guide and set off on a three-hour walking tour of Tromsø. Visit the largest city in the north — street by street — and take in its rich culture and beautiful architecture, including historic wooden houses dating as far back as 1789. View relics and buildings dating back to medieval times, and learn about the city’s extensive fishing culture, which was established when trade in Norway was at its peak. You will also tour the stunning Arctic Cathedral. 

Northern Lights Chase: In the evening, get ready to chase the Northern Lights! Your guide will pick you up in Tromsø and take you on this fun after-dark excursion as they find the best locations away from the city lights for viewing and photographing this spectacular natural occurrence. Throughout the evening, your guide will offer interesting information about the Northern Lights, including why and how they occur, as well as legends and folklore of the indigenous Sami people. Your guide will even be able to assist you in adjusting your camera settings for the best photographs. If the weather allows, there will be a campfire with hot chocolate and marshmallows to end your night. 

If you remain in the city in the evening, great restaurants and lively nightlife await.

Day 3: Reindeer Sledding & Lavvu Experience

Spend time with reindeer on this overnight excursion.
Spend time with reindeer on this overnight excursion.

After breakfast at your hotel, enjoy more time in Tromsø before you are picked up for a unique overnight stay in the wilderness, part of a custom-built Sami village (the indigenous people of the north). 

These native tents, called lavvus, can sleep groups of up to six people. This is not only an important and fun cultural experience, you'll also have a better chance of seeing the Northern Lights this far from the city lights.

Once you're settled at camp, enjoy the one-on-one time with the reindeer as you take a sled ride through the snow. Back at home base, you'll be served a traditional Sami dinner with hot beverages as you look for the stars. Your guides will also provide warm layers, boots, and winter-insulated sleeping bags. 

Day 4: Lavvu Experience - Tromsø

Tromsø is the gateway for many winter activities.
Tromsø is the gateway for many winter activities.

Today, wake up in the wilderness and enjoy breakfast with the Sami villagers before transferring back to Tromsø where you'll have the rest of the day in Tromsø. 

If you haven't yet, explore the city's museums on your own. There are a number of options in town, including the Polar Museum for regional nature and history and an arctic aquarium with seals. You can check out a 1949 ship that documents its former crew of seal hunters, or visit the Nordnorsk Kunstmuseum — a state-of-the-art visual arts museum.

Due to camping last night, tonight is the perfect opportunity to sample the local culinary scene — Tromsø is called the 'Paris of the North' and has a great reputation for sophisticated dining options. 

Day 5: Tromsø Excursion - Hurtigruten

Get suited up and join a fishing excursion near Tromsø.
Get suited up and join a fishing excursion near Tromsø.

Today, enjoy breakfast at your hotel before you pack. Leave your luggage with the hotel for the day because tonight, you'll board the Hurtigruten. But first, spend your last day enjoying the city or take one of these day-trips (optional):

Snowmobile Tours: Explore the Arctic and get your adrenaline pumping on a fast-paced ride on a snowmobile.

Ice Fishing Tours: Try your luck with an ice-fishing guide as you head out to the frozen tundra and drop a line through the ice. 

Tromsø Beer Safari: The perfect tour for quality beer drinkers! You will visit Tromsø's historical city center, two pubs, a microbrewery, and a beer boutique while sampling locally-produced beers and Arctic tapas. 

In the evening, dine at one of Tromsø's fashionable cafés and bars and then wait for the Hurtigruten — the overnight coastal steamer — to dock at the port. You'll board the ship in the late evening and begin your journey to the Lofoten Islands. If you're not too exhausted, keep an eye out for a Northern Lights display from the sea.

Day 6: Hurtigruten - Explore Svolvær

Svolvær is the village hub of the Lofoten Islands.
Svolvær is the village hub of the Lofoten Islands.

Today, you can sleep in and relax. You will spend most of the day on the Hurtigruten as you sail your way towards the Lofoten Islands along the Norwegian Sea, passing some spectacular scenery along the way.

When you arrive at the village of Svolvær in the early evening, take a stroll and have dinner in one of the charming restaurants like Børsen, which serves seasonal fare. While this is the busiest village in Lofoten, it still only has a population of fewer than 5,000 people.

Day 7: Trollfjord & Sea-Eagle Boat Tour

Take a boat ride through the narrow Trollfjord.
Take a boat ride through the narrow Trollfjord.

After breakfast in Svolvær, you'll experience the magnificent Lofoten Islands on a tour! Take a guided RIB speedboat ride through the strait of Øyhellsundet all the way through the spectacular Trollfjord with its very narrow entrance and steep mountainsides.

The rich wildlife in this region has fascinated visitors for centuries. If you're lucky, you will see both eagles and seals, and a great variation of birdlife. Your guide will also point out historic sites, beaches, and one of the most dramatic fjords of Norway. There will also be a visit to the whaling island called Skrova, which has a charming harbor. 

All passengers will be outfitted with floatation suits. It is recommended that you wear solid shoes and warm clothes as a base layer underneath. Note that the route may be altered or canceled due to climatic conditions.

Return to Svolvær for dinner and stay overnight.

Day 8: Sea Kayaking Tour

Sea kayaking in winter is warmer than you think thanks to the Gulf Stream.
Sea kayaking in winter is warmer than you think thanks to the Gulf Stream.

After breakfast in Svolvær, you'll have another Lofoten Island experience by sea —this time by sea kayak. You'll be picked up for this half-day excursion (about four hours) at your hotel in mid-morning and returned in mid-afternoon. Your guide will teach you basic paddling techniques and safety tips before you hit the water, so beginners are welcome. 

You'll be led to Lofoten's smaller islands, bays, and beaches with opportunities to see lots of seabirds included the largest bird of Europe, the white-tailed sea eagle, as well as a chance to see seals and otters. You'll stop for lunch along the route, so bring some snacks and water. 

In the evening after dinner, if you haven't done so already, sign up for a Northern Lights Chase as this is your last night on the Lofoten Islands!

Day 9: Svolvær - Hurtigruten - Trondheim

Rent a car and explore Lofoten's beautiful fishing villages.
Rent a car and explore Lofoten's beautiful fishing villages.

Enjoy your last day on the Lofoten Islands with a self-guided driving tour. Rent a car and explore the islands at your own pace. One of the best ways to appreciate the stunning natural scenery of the Lofoten Islands is to follow the E10 road, which runs along the archipelago allowing you to stop and admire the dramatic landscape along the way.

Two fishing villages on Moskenesøya Island worth exploring are Reine and Hamnøy. Reine is particularly breathtaking from the highway with red and white fishermen’s huts from the late 1800s — called rorbuer — dotting the shoreline and surrounding peaks of granite shooting out of the Reinefjorden. It is a quiet village, but many of the best hiking trails on the Lofoten Islands are within a short distance. Stop at the local market and stock up on edible supplies if you're headed on an outdoor adventure.

The small neighboring town of Hamnøy is the oldest fishing village (cod is in season during winter months) in the Lofoten archipelago and unbelievably beautiful.

When you get back to Svolvær, return the car and make sure to leave plenty of time to have dinner and catch your departure on the Hurtigruten, which sets sail this evening. 

Day 10: Relax on the Hurtigruten

Sail towards Trondheim on the Hurtigruten.
Sail towards Trondheim on the Hurtigruten.

Today is a day of rest! Sit back, relax, read a book, play board games, and watch the majestic nature of Norway pass by as you sail towards Trondheim. 

As a part of the travel experience, cabin crew will offer interesting activities, demonstrations, and presentations during your voyage announced in the day-to-day programs. The activities take place both inside the vessels and outside on deck (depending on weather), and have relevance to the season and location. 

Meals included will depend on what package you have, which can range from buffet spreads to multi-course á la carte menus. There's also a café serving hot and cold drinks and snacks (typically open 24-hours a day)

Day 11: Hurtigruten - Trondheim in Winter

Check out the colorful wooden houses on the river.
Check out the colorful wooden houses on the river.

Today you'll arrive by boat to the city of Trondheim in the early morning, but the ship will remain in port long enough to enjoy breakfast onboard before you deboard and transfer to your hotel.

Few large cities have managed to preserve their intimacy as effectively as Norway’s third largest city. Today, you'll have time to explore Trondheim by foot.

The streets are scenic with snowy parks and cultural sights, including the slightly out-of-kilter antique wooden houses. Walk across the historic Old Town Bridge — a 17th-century iron structure — for photographs. Visit the impressive Nidarosdomen Cathedral, built over the grave of St. Olav, the King of Norway in the 11th century. Head to popular museums including the National Museum of Decorative Arts, the Trondheim Museum of Art, the Archbishop’s Palace Museum, and the Rockheim, Norway’s national museum of popular music. 

The intimate city center is also great for shopping with independent boutiques, along with local dining establishments, including pubs, cafés, and restaurants — many that serve locally-brewed beer.

Day 12: Train to Røros

Preserved wooden structures, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Preserved wooden structures, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Enjoying a relaxing breakfast in Trondheim and partake in any last minute sightseeing before you depart for Røros. Bundle up as this is one of the coldest places in Norway. You'll take the train from Trondheim — about 2.5 hours. 

When you arrive, check into your hotel and then take a walk around one of Norway's most beautiful villages, which used to be a copper-mining hub. Meander around Røros’ narrow streets with wonderfully preserved 17th- and 18th-century wooden houses (about 80 in total) that make this a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's practically a living museum. Among the houses are neat courtyards and interesting workshops housing a great number of artists and craftsmen, as well as an impressive list of award-winning designer products. 

For dinner and drinks, head to one of the town's restaurants and pubs like Frøyas House, Peder Hiort Mathus, or the Bergstadens Hotel with a microbrewery and gastropub.

Day 13: Dogsledding in Røros

Travel by sled in this charming village.
Travel by sled in this charming village.

After breakfast in Røros, you'll be picked up by a dogsledding team at your hotel for an unforgettable trip in the Norwegian mountains. Your guides will provide you with equipment and complete instructions for a ride in the snow led by an energetic and handsome fleet of huskies. 

Keep your camera close as you make your way to the heart of this beautiful winter landscape, and enjoy a stop where guides will prepare a hot lunch in the countryside. The tour lasts about four hours and includes transfers.

When you're back in Røros, enjoy the rest of the afternoon on your own. If you're here in late February, keep an eye out for the traditional winter festival called Rorosmartnan with an outdoor market and musical theater.

Day 14: Røros - Train to Oslo

Hit the streets of Oslo and get your city fix.
Hit the streets of Oslo and get your city fix.

After breakfast at your hotel, it's time to pack and take the train south to the capital city of Oslo — a journey of about five hours (including a train change in Hamar). 

Enjoy your last afternoon and evening in Norway by exploring this thriving city. Wander around Aker Brygge, an area on the Oslofjord made up of beautiful, modern buildings where you can find bars and abundant nightlife. You can also spend the afternoon visiting the Viking Ship Museum and the Norwegian Open Air Folk Museum by way of public transportation. Both museums are in the same area, so they pair well together! The new harbor promenade is also a nice way to spend the day — especially with its waterfront modern art museum.

For dinner, check out the city's historic core buzzing with New Nordic restaurants and cozy cafés.

Stay overnight in Oslo and depart Norway the next morning.