Not for the faint of heart, this epic 13-day trip through Norway's wintry north includes a dizzying array of destinations, travel modes, and activities that are highly unique to the Arctic. Start in the capital of Oslo and then take a train to the UNESCO-listed village of Røros. From here, dog sled in the mountains and walk through Trondheim before sailing to the Lofoten Islands. Finish with an overnight cruise to Tromsø for more dog sledding and sophisticated dining options in the 'Paris of the North'.

Highlights

  • Visit the best museums and restaurants in Europe's fastest-growing capital
  • Explore Røros’ narrow streets with 17th- and 18th-century wooden houses
  • Learn how to steer a fleet of huskies across the Norwegian wilderness
  • Drive through the Lofoten Islands after the summer crowds have long gone
  • Spend cozy evenings stargazing and watching for the Northern Lights

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Oslo Oslo
Day 2 Oslo City Tour Oslo
Day 3 Oslo - Train to Røros Røros
Day 4 Dogsledding in Røros Røros
Day 5 Train to Trondheim - Explore Trondheim
Day 6 Train from Trondheim to Bodø Bodø
Day 7 Explore Bodø - Hurtigruten to Svolvær Svolvær
Day 8 Explore Lofoten - Northern Lights Horseback Excursion Svolvær
Day 9 Explore Svolvær - Hurtigruten to Tromsø Onboard Hurtigruten
Day 10 Hurtigruten - Arrive in Tromsø - Explore Tromsø
Day 11 Transfer to Trapper's Farm - Overnight Excursion Tromsø
Day 12 Breakfast at Trapper's Farm - Return to Tromsø Tromsø
Day 13 Depart Tromsø  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Oslo

Akrobaten pedestrian bridge in downtown Oslo
Akrobaten pedestrian bridge in downtown Oslo

Welcome to Oslo! Norway's rapidly growing capital is still considered a small city, helped by the fact that it's surrounded by mountains and sea. Not only is the city center made for walking, but outlying neighborhoods—filled with charm and character—are easily accessible by public transportation, so jump on a tram, train, or bus and explore all of what Oslo has to offer.

Suggested activities include: 

  • Take a half-day and wander around Aker Brygge, an area on the Oslofjord made up of beautiful, modern buildings where you can find bars and abundant nightlife. It acts as a sort of courtyard for the city of Oslo and brings together both tourists and locals alike to enjoy the great food, atmosphere, and entertainment.
  • 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! 
  • Walk along the Havnepromenaden (harbor promenade)—a new five-and-a-half-mile waterfront park, which combines sightseeing, history, art, architecture, and a little bit of adventure.
  • Visit the Vigeland Sculpture Park, where 200 larger than life sculptures are placed throughout this green lung in the middle of the city. 

For dinner, explore the city's historic core buzzing with restaurants and cafés that stay cozy in cold weather.

Day 2: Oslo City Tour

Vigelund Sculpture Park
Vigelund Sculpture Park

The opportunities for experiencing culture in this amazing Scandinavian city are endless. Oslo is located in the heart of Norway between the water and evergreen forests—and though it's the capital of Norway, it only takes 30 minutes to travel from one end to the other on its metro system. 

If you really want to feel like a local and experience all that Oslo has to offer, hook up with a private guide and get an exclusive tour around town. Here are a few ideas that past travelers have enjoyed:

  • Akerselva River Walk (4-5 hours): On this tour, you'll take the tram to the Akerselva River, an important waterway that offers an abundance of local history. You will start with the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology (on the north side of the river) and then head south to the Labour Museum (part of the Oslo City Museum) while your guide shares stories about the heart of Oslo's history. The river is five miles long (8 km) and passes forested areas and wildlife, so bring your camera!
  • From Fjord to Forest (full day): This outdoorsy tour takes you to a beautiful island just outside Oslo's harbor, reached by tram in about 30 minutes from the city center. No cars are allowed here, so the island is full of recreation options. Choose an activity depending on the season, or simply walk around one of the lakes while your guide shares local history. 
  • Holmenkollen Ski Jump (2-3 hours): If you have less time to spare, this tour heads for a popular area called Holmenkollen, where a wooded range of hills can be reached by light rail from the city center in about 35 minutes. Open year-round, the Holmenkollen Ski Museum & Tower presents over 4,000 years of snow sports, polar exploration, and an exhibition on snowboarding and modern skiing. Head for the observation deck offering panoramic views of Oslo, and then walk down to the ski jump while your guide shares stories about local trolls, legends, and castles.

For dinner, if you're looking for Oslo's trendiest local scene, head east for Grünerløkka, which many inhabitants refer to affectionately as "Løkka." This once-run-down sector of Oslo is now the site of refurbished apartments, fashionable cafés, and hip restaurants.

Day 3: Oslo - Train to Røros

Sledding in Røros
A common way to get around in the village of Røros

After breakfast in Oslo, take the train north to the village of Røros—a journey of about five hours (including a train change in Hamar). 

When you arrive, check into your hotel and 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.

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 4: Dog Sledding in Røros

Learn to steer a pack of huskies through the Norwegian wilderness
Learn to steer a pack of huskies through the Norwegian wilderness

After breakfast in Røros, you'll be picked up by a dog sledding 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. The tour lasts about four hours and includes transfers.

When you're back in Røros, enjoy the rest of the afternoon on your own in the charming village.

Day 5: Train to Trondheim - Explore

Trondheim's colorful riverfront
Trondheim's colorful riverfront

This morning, you will transfer to the train station in Rorøs for your train journey onwards to Trondheim. Few large cities have managed to preserve their intimacy as effectively as Norway’s third-largest city.

Upon arrival, you'll have the rest of the day to explore on foot. The streets are scenic with snowy parks and cultural sights, including the slightly out-of-kilter antique wooden houses. Bundle up and 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.

You can also 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, restaurants, and bars—many that play live music and serve locally-brewed beer.

Day 6: Train from Trondheim to Bodø

Train through the Arctic wilderness
Train through the Arctic wilderness

Today you have a long, but scenic train ride ahead of you from Trondheim to Bodø. The journey takes about 10 hours—the longest train ride in Norway! 

Sit back and relax with a good book or card game. During the ride, you will head north across the Arctic Circle where you'll be able to see a large variety of landscapes including the Saltfjellet mountain range and massive forests, as well as climates and cultures, and possibly even the Northern Lights after dark.

Once you arrive in Bodø, enjoy a nice cozy dinner in this small little city.

Day 7: Explore Bodø - Hurtigruten to Svolvær

An iconic mode of transportation in Norway
An iconic mode of transportation in Norway

This morning, you'll have free time to check out Bodø and its surroundings. Look for amazing street art in the walkable street, as well as vistas from the 17th floor at Scandic Havet with a panoramic vantage point of Bodø and the surrounding area. 

Additional options for exploring the area include:

  • Visit the Norwegian Aviation Museum, the largest aviation museum in the Nordic countries.

  • Check out the world’s strongest tidal current in Saltstraumen during a guided tour. Your guide will take you through the area's breathtaking scenery while you learn about proud coastal heritage.

  • Join a guided Arctic Coastal Walk where you will learn about the elements geology of the area. Your guide will tell you about the local history and explain our dependency on the sea. He/she will also you some of the many Viking graves discovered in this area.

In the afternoon, you'll embark on a Hurtigruten cruise for your journey to Svolvær in the Lofoten Islands. Upon arrival, check-in to your hotel.

Day 8: Explore Lofoten - Northern Lights Horseback Excursion

Northern Lights in the Lofoten Islands
Northern Lights in the Lofoten Islands

Today, you can enjoy a relaxing day in the Lofoten Islands. Get plenty of rest: This evening, after dark, you'll be picked up for a Northern Lights* excursion by horseback. 

But first, rent a car and hit the road to see the archipelago 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 islands 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. 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.

In the late afternoon, return to Svolvær and have a hearty dinner before you meet up with your guides for an epic four-hour horseback adventure in the dark. You'll cross dramatic ridges, sandy beaches, and ancient remnants from the Viking Age while looking for a natural display of color. The tour includes gear like riding boots, helmets, and headlights, as well as hot drinks and transportation. 

*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 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 9: Explore Svolvær - Hurtigruten to Tromsø

Svolvær's picturesque setting
Svolvær's picturesque setting

After breakfast, take some time to explore the mountainous fishing town of Svolvær at your own pace. The word Svolvær itself was first mentioned in historical records in the late 16th century, which likely derived from the Old Norse word ‘svair’, which means chill.

As a regional center, the town has a range of hotels as well as clothing stores, markets, upscale restaurants, and art galleries open for business throughout the year. While Svolvær is the busiest village in Lofoten, it still only has a population of fewer than 5,000 people so you will have plenty of magnificent scenery and outdoor activities. In fact, Svolvær is the main starting point for tours to the Trollfjord, one of Norway’s lesser-known yet most dramatic fjords.  

The local economy is much more diverse than you might expect. Cod fisheries, particularly during winter months when tourism is low, remain an essential economical foundation for the town. You can't go far in Lofoten without seeing cod hung up on racks to dry, and this is true even in the biggest town.

In the evening, walk to the harbor where you'll embark on a Hurtigruten cruise headed north to Tromsø. Keep an eye out for the Northern Lights!

Day 10: Hurtigruten - Arrive in Tromsø - Explore

Aerial view of Tromsø
Aerial view of Tromsø

Welcome to Tromsø! Today, you will arrive on the Hurtigruten where you'll have the rest of the day to explore the self-proclaimed 'Gateway to the Arctic'. Surrounded by snowcapped mountains, this is a lively little city 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.

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. Often called, 'Paris of the North', a sample of options includes Fiskekompaniet for seafood, Presis Tapas for Spanish food, and Bardus Bistro for the locally harvested Arctic seaweed cocktail.

Day 11: Transfer to Trapper's Farm - Overnight Excursion

Dog sledding above the Arctic Circle
More dog sledding—this time above the Arctic Circle

After breakfast this morning, you'll be picked up and transferred to Trapper's Farm, less than two hours outside of Tromsø, for a unique all-inclusive excursion in the great outdoors. 

Each tour offered by the farm varies slightly depending on the time of year and weather patterns, but you can expect to take part in a range of day-time trapping and fishing trips as you travel through the countryside by dogsled (snowy months only).

The small, modern cabins at the farm will be your base camp for the night where you'll participate and enjoy traditional meals together made from local ingredients, many of which you helped catch. An expert guide will also provide a broad insight into the area's local history, culture, and traditions along the journey. Of course, you'll also get plenty of time to spend with the faithful Greenland husky dogs who join your adventures every day, while keeping an eye out for other species of wildlife. 

Depending on the tour, you might have the option to sleep in a tent or under the open sky next to a warm bonfire as you search for the Northern Lights.

This type of adventure does not require previous experience but it does require participants to be in good physical shape. You and your travel companions will receive a list of essential items to pack to ensure your warmth and comfort.

Day 12: Breakfast at Trapper's Farm - Return to Tromsø

Return to Tromsø after your night in the wilderness
Return to Tromsø after your night in the wilderness

Today you will have breakfast at the farm before saying your goodbyes to the staff and huskies. Then, transfer back to Tromsø where you'll have the rest of the day to spend as you please. 

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.

After camping last night, tonight is the perfect opportunity to sample the local culinary scene; remember, Tromsø and has a great reputation for sophisticated dining options.

Day 13: Depart Tromsø

Sunrise light in Tromsø

It's time to say goodbye to Norway! Before your flight, spend some time wandering this cozy city center and charming pedestrian streets for unique souvenirs before heading to the airport.

Map

Map of Oslo to Tromsø Winter Tour -13 Days
Map of Oslo to Tromsø Winter Tour -13 Days