- Visit Norway's northernmost city of Tromsø
- Sled with reindeer through the Arctic's snowy landscape
- Discover the magnificent Alta Fjord & tour ancient rock carvings
- Stay overnight in a traditional lavvu tent while learning about Sami culture
- Ski, snowshoe & dog sled through northern forests
|Day 1||Arrive in Tromsø||Tromsø|
|Day 2||Explore Tromsø & Chase the Northern Lights||Tromsø|
|Day 3||Reindeer Sledding & Lavvu Experience||Inner Tromsø|
|Day 4||Lavvu Experience - Tromsø||Tromsø|
|Day 5||Drive to Alta & Explore||Alta|
|Day 6||Dog Sledding & Northern Lights||Alta|
|Day 7||Winter Activities in Alta||Alta|
|Day 8||Depart Norway|
Day 1: Arrive in Tromsø
Welcome to Tromsø, the largest city in northern Norway. Surrounded by snowcapped mountains, Tromsø is a lively place of 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."
An excellent place to start is with 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 free to discover 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.
When you return to the city in the evening, great restaurants and lively nightlife await.
*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 choose to have your money refunded. If you decide to take your chances, the guide will do his/her best to succeed, but there is no guarantee.
Day 3: Reindeer Sledding & Lavvu Experience
After breakfast at your hotel, enjoy more time in Tromsø before being picked up for a unique overnight stay in the wilderness. Journey to a custom-built Sami village, where you'll learn more about the indigenous people of the north and stay in native tents, called lavvus. This is not only a fascinating and fun cultural experience, but 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
Today, wake up in the wilderness and enjoy breakfast with the Sami villagers before transferring back to Tromsø.
Devote the rest of the day to exploring the city's museums on your own. There are a number of options, 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 yesterday's evening of rustic camping, tonight is the perfect opportunity to sample the local culinary scene—Tromsø is known as the "Paris of the North" and has a well-earned reputation for its sophisticated cuisine.
Day 5: Drive to Alta & Explore
After breakfast, you'll hit the open road either by rental car or bus and make your way to the small town of Alta, which stands at the head of the 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, symbolism, 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 6: Dog Sledding & 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 town, 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.
Head to your private bungalow or lavvu when it's time for bed. These cozy accommodations 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 wall has been replaced with floor-to-ceiling windows for spectacular views. On clear nights, you can watch the stars, and—if you're lucky—the northern lights.
Day 7: 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. Treks 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 8: 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!