Looking for the family-friendly Norwegian adventure of a lifetime? Starting in Tromsø, "Gateway to the Arctic," you and your family will continue to historic Alta and Senja Island. Along the way, you'll get up close to reindeer, huskies, and whales, learn to snowshoe and cross-country ski, tour an igloo hotel, and, of course, hunt the northern lights. This trip will surely give your family more than a few exciting memories and stories to tell!


  • Feed reindeer at a traditional Sámi settlement
  • Witness the beauty of the northern lights
  • Thrill the kids with a dogsledding trip
  • Whale watch off the stunning Arctic coast

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Tromsø Tromsø
Day 2 Reindeer Feeding & Sámi Culture Tromsø
Day 3 Guided Tour of the Igloo Hotel Alta
Day 4 Northern Lights Hunt Alta
Day 5 Cross-Country Skiing Alta
Day 6 Evening Snowshoeing Excursion Senja
Day 7 Arctic Boat Safari  Senja
Day 8 Dogsledding  Adventure Senja
Day 9 Ferry to Tromsø, Aurora Dinner Cruise Tromsø
Day 10 Depart Tromsø  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Tromsø

Winter View of Tromsø atop the Cable Car
 View of Tromsø from the top of the gondola

Welcome to Tromsø, the largest city in northern Norway and the "Gateway to the Arctic." Your accommodation is just a quick 20-minute trip away, so once you arrive and get settled, bundle up the kids and head out to explore. The best way to get an overview (literally) is via "Seal" and "Bear," the two gondolas that run between the city and the Storsteinen mountain. At the top, savor the panoramic views of Tromsø and, if you like, have a delicious meal at the restaurant there.

In the afternoon, walk around the city. Get a sense of the past as you pass colorful wooden houses dating back as far as 1789. Allow plenty of time to discover Norway's fairy-tale heritage at the Troll Museum—contrary to what you might expect, this place is as popular with adults as with children! In the evening, you'll have your pick of dinner venues―this vibrant city of 65,000 has earned its reputation as the "Paris of the North."

Day 2: Reindeer Feeding & Sámi Culture

Feed Reindeer at Sami village
Feed the reindeer at a traditional Sámi village

Just a short drive from the city, you and the kids will spend today with a Sámi family who has been living and working with reindeer for many generations. Met by reindeer and sleds, you'll quickly be immersed in their culture and traditions as your family learns not only about sledding but also how to care for the reindeer, hand-feeding a herd of about 300. The kids will enjoy having plenty of time to get to know them.

After all, that time outside, you might be feeling a bit hungry and chilly—time for the next part of your adventure! Your welcoming hosts will invite you and your family into a gamme (traditional hut) for a hot traditional meal cooked over the fire. Afterward, cozy up around the fire to enjoy joiking (traditional Sámi songs), Sámi history and stories—and maybe another cup of hot chocolate for good measure.

Day 3: Guided Tour of the Igloo Hotel

The ice church at the Igloo Hotel
The Ice Chapel at the Sorrisnova Igloo Hotel

Today will start with a bus trip from Tromsø to Alta. Although it takes about seven hours, Norwegian public transport is comfortable and efficient. There's room for your luggage on board, and all you and the kids have to do is sit back and relax while the driver does the work. Enjoy the scenery as you travel between these two very different locations. There'll still be some time to look around Alta once you arrive. 

Your first official sightseeing trip will be a memorable tour of the famous Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel, Norway's first and northernmost ice hotel. Rebuilt with a different theme each year, the hotel features the Ice Chapel, multiple igloo rooms and suites, and a bar. Each room is uniquely hand-decorated by ice sculptors. After your tour, the family is free to take some time to wander the main rooms, marveling at the skilled work of the builders and sculptors. Be sure to stop in for refreshments at the Ice Bar before you go!

Day 4: Northern Lights Hunt

Northern Lights Cathedral
The northern lights over Alta

Take the morning to show the kids around Alta. This ancient settlement has some great museums—at the Alta Museum, you and the kids can marvel at rock art that is over 7,000 years old, and the Tirpitz Museum will give your family a vivid insight into life here in World War II. Be sure to make time for the striking Northern Lights Cathedral, the exterior and interior of which are designed to reflect the aurora borealis. There is also a permanent on-site exhibition on the northern lights. 

By now, you and the kids are probably keen to see the real thing if you haven't already had the good fortune. You're in the right place—Alta is also known as the "City of the Northern Lights" as it has some of the best viewing conditions on earth. Start your adventure with hot soup and a briefing at GLØD Explorer's headquarters. Next, you'll head out to isolated points on the coast or plateau to hunt the lights, enjoying hot drinks and snacks to sustain you. You'll likely also see native wildlife—maybe even orcas and humpback whales. 

Day 5: Cross-Country Skiing

Cross Country Skiing
Take the kids cross-country skiing 

Use the sunlight hours today for your family to learn a new hobby—cross-country skiing. This private tour can be varied according to the skill level of the group. If your family has little or no experience, the guide will begin by teaching you and the kids the basics, and once you're all used to the balance, coordination, and flow, then you'll head out on a journey through Alta's beautiful landscape. Partway through, you'll all get to rest around an open fire, enjoy some hot food and drinks, and relax as your guide entertains you with a few tall tales.

The evening is yours. Enjoy a leisurely dinner and walk around town. If you are lucky, you won't need to go too far to get another view of the northern lights! 

Day 6: Evening Snowshoeing Excursion

Northern Lights Anderdal
The northern lights, Anderdalen National Park
Plan your trip to Norway
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This morning you and the family will be heading off to stunning Senja Island. After a short flight to Tromsø, you’ll take a relaxing ferry ride to Finnsnes. Once there, you'll head over the Gisund Bridge and on to your accommodation. Get settled and have a bite to eat, ready for an adventurous evening.
One of the quintessential activities in Norway is snowshoeing, and it's a great alternative to winter hiking or skiing. This evening your family will be joining a local guide to go snowshoeing in Ånderdalen National Park, an excellent area for fluffy snow routes. Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready just in case the "Green Lady" of the aurora borealis dances for you again.

Day 7: Arctic Boat Safari 

Look for marine life on this Arctic boat tour
Look for marine life on this Arctic boat tour

Experience these striking landscapes from a different angle today with an Arctic boat safari, one of the ultimate ways to see the best of Senja. During this half-day excursion, you and the kids will get the chance to visit remote and beautiful coastal destinations as you spot some of the Arctic's most majestic wildlife. Your crew will take you to the most likely places to see sea eagles, as well as several species of whales and seals, so keep your camera close. Time permitting, you will also get to see local fishermen on the job and get an understanding of what daily life is like here.

In the afternoon, you will have free time to explore more of the island on your own. Take the kids for a gentle hike to spot some wildlife and snap a few Arctic family photos. For dinner, make sure you sample some of the fresh fish caught by those fishermen you saw earlier. There are several good restaurants at which you can enjoy both local and international specialties. 

Day 8: Dogsledding Adventure

Take the family dogsledding on Senja Island

If yours is a family that loves animals and adventure, today will be a highlight. What better way to explore the Arctic wilderness than dogsledding? You'll start the day at a local husky farm, where you'll get to meet your guide and the husky team. You'll also learn what you need to know to mush your own team (younger kids will need an adult with them). 

Once you're all feeling confident, you'll head out on an expedition through Senja's snowy highlands. When you're back, and you've got the teams settled in their kennels, it's your turn to relax. Settle around the fire with a cup of something hot and listen to a professional musher share their entertaining stories and answer any questions before telling your own tales of the day's adventures. Afterward, head back to your hotel to relax.

Day 9: Ferry to Tromsø, Aurora Dinner Cruise

View of Tromsø by night
Evening view of Tromsø

Return to Finnsnes this morning and catch the ferry back to Tromsø. Enjoy 1.5 hours of scenic cruising, then disembark and head to your accommodation. You have until late afternoon to explore this lively city, known for its large university, restaurants, nightlife, and cultural activities. Book a guided walking tour and take in the city's rich culture and architecture while your guide provides entertaining and informative commentary. Finish with a tour of the iconic Arctic Cathedral.

The evening will see you and your family on board an Aurora dinner cruise, quietly passing through the local fjords on a hybrid-electric ship. Savor a gourmet seafood meal made by the award-winning restaurant, Mathallen while you enjoy panoramic views of the icy landscapes, mountains, and local landmarks. As you sail, the crew will share their personal stories and knowledge and answer any questions. If you are fortunate, you'll even see the northern lights reflecting off the water—as family dinners go, this one will be pretty tough to beat!

Day 10: Depart Tromsø

View of Tromso
Tromsø's waterfront
The trip has likely gone by in a flash, but this is your last day in Norway. If you have time, explore Tromsø a little further. After a relaxed breakfast, take a stroll along the waterfront, or pop into the Science Museum, home to the country's largest planetarium—its interactive exhibits are great for kids. A fun stop is the Magic Ice Bar, which lives up to its name, with chairs, tables, and glasses all sculpted from ice. When it's time, head to the airport via private transfer. Safe travels!

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Map of Winter Family Adventure in Northern Norway - 10 Days
Map of Winter Family Adventure in Northern Norway - 10 Days