- Check out Tromsø's restaurant scene
- Stay overnight in the wilderness while learning to fish and dog sled
- Search for whales within the Arctic fjords
- Go skiing, sledding, or ice skating at an alpine lodge
|Day 1||Arrive in Tromsø||Tromsø|
|Day 2||Explore Tromsø & Chase the Northern Lights||Tromsø|
|Day 3||Silent Whale Watching||Tromsø|
|Day 4||Drive to Alta & Explore||Alta|
|Day 5||Dogsledding & Northern Lights||Alta|
|Day 6||Winter Activities in Alta||Alta|
|Day 7||Depart Norway|
Day 1: Arrive in Tromsø
Welcome to Tromsø, the largest city in Northern Norway!
Surrounded by snow-capped 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 & Chase the Northern Lights
After breakfast, you will have the day to explore Tromsø. You can explore on your own, or join either or both of these great activities with local guides.
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: Silent Whale Watching
Enjoy watching magnificent humpback and orca whales as they feed in the herring-rich fjords of the Arctic near Tromsø. After an early departure, you’ll cruise through the frozen landscape in the warm lounges of a silent hybrid-electric ship, which minimizes typical boat disturbance to nature and the whales.
While the captain searches for whales, your local guides will share personal stories about whale sightings and information about the species they hope to see. Once close enough to the whales, the boat will switch to its silent electric mode. Enjoy views from one of the multiple observation decks.
You’ll have plenty of time to watch the whales, take photos, and ask questions. Afterward, you’ll return to Tromsø. Along the way, warm up with drinks and enjoy the scenery. Although your crew will do their best to find whales, they cannot guarantee sightings.
Day 4: Drive to Alta & Explore
After breakfast, you'll make your way to the small town of Alta, which stands at the head of Altafjord. This gorgeous ride (about 5-6 hours) consists of forests, mountain plateaus, dramatic coastlines, and two ferry rides crossing stunning fjords.
If renting a car, you'll have numerous opportunities to stop for photos or short walks along the route, but be sure to wear warm layers and plan accordingly based on the type of activity you'd like to enjoy during the winter months.
On arrival, visit the Alta Museum, featuring Northern Europe’s largest concentration of rock art made by hunter-gatherers. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is comprised of rock carvings and rock paintings made from 7,000 to 2,000 years ago and depicts rituals, symbols, and religious beliefs from the pre-Christian ages. If there is snow on the ground, you will not be able to view the rock art itself, but the museum still makes a worthwhile stop on your way into Alta.
The northernmost hotel in the world made entirely of ice and snow is located just outside of Alta, which also makes a memorable stop. For the adventurous, it is possible to spend the night!
Day 5: Dogsledding & Northern Lights
This morning, after breakfast at your hotel, you'll have free time to spend in Alta before you head out on an overnight excursion that combines the area's spectacular wilderness along with a touch of luxury.
Your private guide will pick you up from Alta's city center and take you to a lodge outside of Alta, where the first priority is a fun dog sled ride through the snowy landscape, surrounded by crisp air and the natural light of winter.
Once you return, you will have time to relax with a hot shower before having dinner in the dining room of the lodge's beautiful, renovated barn. Then, you can join your fellow guests for an after-dinner drink in the cozy common areas, while swapping stories about your recent travels and adventures. Another option is to put on your bathing suit and visit the Jacuzzi and sauna.
When it’s time for bed, head to your tent or lavvu. These private bungalows are insulated against the winter’s cold, and come with a double bed (with comforters and heated blankets just in case), and a wood-burning stove so you can watch the crackling fire as you curl up in bed. One section of the lavvu has been replaced with a floor-to-top window for views. On clear nights, you can watch the stars, and—if you're lucky—the Northern Lights!
Day 6: Winter Activities in Alta
After breakfast at your hotel, you will have a free day in the Alta area to enjoy some outdoor activities. Some ideas include:
- Skiing: Just outside of Alta, you’ll find an alpine center that offers downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and even ice skating. A café on site serves hearty food, hot drinks, and lounge areas to warm up and relax before heading out again.
- Snowshoe tour: Take a trip into the wilderness using the ancient method of snowshoes (although the shoes themselves are thoroughly modern). You'll feel part of the nature that surrounds you as you tramp along. Keep an eye out for animal tracks from animals like reindeer and moose as you go along.
- Winter hiking: Alta has extraordinary nature, and winter offers hikes and tours that range from moderate to strenuous in many locations and destinations in the Arctic wilderness. Hikes can be arranged for anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.
- Snowmobiling tour: Snowmobiling is a favorite activity for the area. Join the fun, whether you are experienced or a newbie. With a tutorial, climb aboard your snowmobile and follow the guides along the forest trail.
Day 7: Depart Norway
After breakfast, head to the airport and catch your departing flight. Although it's time to say goodbye to Norway, the memories from your trip will surely stay with you forever!