Expect continuous snowscapes and frequent Northern Lights sightings on this 13-day Arctic itinerary that includes fun modes of transportation. The trip starts in Tromsø where you'll have time to explore the 'Paris of the North' before setting sail on the Hurtigruten towards the dramatic Lofoten Islands. From here, head to Norway's third-largest city and the UNESCO-listed village called Røros for a range of activities. Wrap it up with a night in the exciting capital city—Oslo—to finish the adventure.

Highlights

  • Cozy up to Tromsø's hip restaurant and bar scene after a day in the snow
  • Rent a car for a day and see the charming Lofoten Islands at your own pace
  • Check out Trondheim's architectural gems like the 17th-century Old Town Bridge
  • Kick back and relax onboard the Hurtigruten while enjoying the views
  • Explore Oslo's up-and-coming neighborhoods like Aker Brygge & "Løkka"

Brief Itinerary

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

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tromsø

Winter view of Tromsø
Winter view of Tromsø

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 in Winter

Tromsø's city streets
Tromsø's city streets

After breakfast, you will have the day to explore Tromsø on your own. With a large university, animated restaurants and nightlife, art galleries and museums, and nearby ski resorts, Tromsø is also a notoriously lively city. The city also prides itself on having more pubs per capita than any other Norwegian town.

If you'd like an arranged excursion with a local guide, here are a few suggested tours and activities.

  • 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.

*The tour provider will check the latest weather update in the early evening. If the likeliness of clear skies is low, the guide will inform you about the situation at pickup time and you can decide to have your money refunded. If you choose to take your chances, the guide will do his/her best to succeed, but there is no guarantee.

Day 3: Tromsø Excursion - Board Hurtigruten

Snowmobiling tracks in the wilderness
Snowmobiling tracks in the wilderness

Today, you'll have time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast at your hotel before you pack for the next leg of the trip. Leave your luggage with the hotel for the day because tonight you'll board the Hurtigruten. This gives you plenty of free time to spend in the city exploring on your own. Alternatively, you 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: This is the perfect tour for quality beer drinkers! Your guide will walk you through Tromsø's historic city center, with stops at two pubs, a microbrewery, and a beer boutique while sampling locally-produced beers as well as Arctic tapas. 

In the evening, dine at one of Tromsø's fashionable cafés and bars and then wait for your 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 possible Northern Lights display from the sea.

Day 4: Hurtigruten - Explore Svolvær

Svolvæer is a hub town in the Lofoten Islands
Svolvæer is a hub town in 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 5: Trollfjord & Sea-Eagle Boat Tour

Narrow passageways on today's excursion

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 incredibly 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.

At the end of the tour, you'll return to Svolvær in time for dinner.

Day 6: Sea Kayaking Tour

Kayaking in the Lofoten Islands
Kayaking in the Lofoten Islands

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

The guide will lead you to Lofoten's smaller islands, bays, and beaches with opportunities to see lots of seabirds including the largest bird of Europe, the white-tailed sea eagle, as well as a chance to view 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!

Day 7: Svolvær - Hurtigruten to Trondheim

Drive through the archipelago at your own pace

Today, you can enjoy your last day on the Lofoten Islands with a self-guided driving tour. In Svolvær, you can 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 8: Relax on the Hurtigruten

Relax on the Hurtigruten as you continue south

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, your cabin crew will offer interesting activities, demonstrations, and presentations during your voyage, which are 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 and 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 9: Hurtigruten - Trondheim in Winter

Trondheim is known for its culture and architecture

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 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 on 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 10: Train to Røros

Wooden houses in Røros

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—a journey that takes 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 11: Dogsledding in Røros

A common mode of transportation in winter months

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 12: Røros - Train to Oslo

The bustling capital of Norway

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.

Day 13: Depart Oslo

Modern waterfront architecture in Oslo
Modern waterfront architecture in Oslo

It's time to say farewell to Norway! Enjoy your last few hours walking around Oslo's neighborhoods, relaxing in a café, or visiting local boutiques for one-of-a-kind souvenirs.