Dog sledding through the wonderland of Norway's winter landscape is a classic Scandinavian experience. Combine this uniquely thrilling activity with overnight camping the traditional Sami way for an unforgettable adventure—all during the best season for spotting the Northern Lights.
Best of Northern Norway
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Northern Norway Essentials
Travelers heading to Norway's northernmost region between September and November will be rewarded with brilliant fall colors, empty roads, migrating wildlife, and glass-topped igloos. Weather can be unpredictable, but the chance to explore Tromsø, Alta, and the Lofoten Islands in near solitude is worth the risk of early snow. Read on for more info on visiting the tippy-top of mainland Europe in the fall.
Viewing the Northern Lights is an experience like no other, and Norway is the perfect destination for travelers keen on seeing it for themselves. See them from a fishing village in the Lofoten Islands, after a day of dogsledding in Tromsø, or from a glass-front sauna in a luxury resort. Read on for more of the best places to witness the phenomenon, along with some tips for planning your trip.
The word is out on the Lofoten Islands, especially in summer. Traveling in the off-season is an ideal option to bypass the crowds—and luckily, it's easy to go at any time of year. Here's what you can expect to find September through May.
There's a wrong way to see the Northern Lights: hopping on a giant tour bus with cameras flashing and a cacophony of "oohs" and "ahhs" interrupting your moment with Mother Nature. Ditch the crowds and have a memorable experience viewing the auroras in peace — it just takes a little research and know-how.
As the rest of the world slowly discovers the beauty of Norway, its northern reaches - all the way into Lapland - still offer off-the-radar adventures. With 24 hours of sunlight for well over two months come summer, you've got nothing but time to cram your itinerary with a lifetime's worth of experiences.
Only those looking for true adventure are suited for a trip to Northern Norway and (just across the border) Finnish Lapland in winter. The Arctic Circle admits few through its snowy doors, but if your name is on the list, you'll be escorted into another world. A world of surprises, a world of adrenaline, and a world of stories to tell.
With activities like dog sledding, whale safaris, and hunting for the Northern Lights, the Lapland and Northern Norway region is a natural destination for travelers with kids. Most area lodging readily caters to groups and families—here are 4 of the best options, from Tromsø hotels to traditional tents in the wilderness.
Northern Norway Itineraries
Located in the northernmost county of Norway (Finnmark), the city of Alta lies in an area with a relatively mild climate. With this winter-themed adventure, you'll meet huskies and reindeer, see UNESCO-protected rock carvings, experience Sami culture, and enjoy snow activities. Easily reachable by plane, the area offers forests, mountain plateaus, and coastal landscapes bathed in distinctive blue light—perfect for star gazing and searching for the Northern Lights.
The town of Alta lies in Norway's northernmost district, above the Arctic Circle, making it a prime location for winter fun. On this seasonal jaunt, you'll partake in dog-sledding, skiing, and other snow activities with views of mountain plateaus bathed in a brilliant blue light (distinctive to this part of Norway). At night, spend your evenings searching for the Northern Lights from cozy igloo hotels and luxury lavvu tents.
Discover the winter landscape of Norway's northernmost county and the town of Alta, where you'll enjoy a dog sled ride through the snowy scenery. Transfer to a lodge of cozy tents with woodstoves and floor-to-ceiling windows for optimal viewing of the Northern Lights, as well as the opportunity for skiing, ice skating, snowmobiling, and hiking. End the trip with the indigenous Sami community, where you'll learn about their local culture and enjoy a thrilling reindeer sledding experience.
This tour starts in the city of Alta, located in the northernmost county of Norway and surrounded by incredible Arctic scenery with opportunities to ski, hike, snowmobile, sled, and ice skate. After exploring the city and the Alta Fjord, you'll transfer to a wilderness lodge to enjoy dinners in a renovated barn and a thrilling dog sled ride through the snowy landscape. Sleep under the stars and the Northern Lights in your own insulated bungalow, complete with a wood stove.
Hiking enthusiasts who seek jaw-dropping scenery will find plenty to gawk at on this five-day road trip. Norway’s second largest island, called Senja, is just as magnificent as the more traveled Lofoten islands. Driving from Tromsø, you'll make your way to the island for two full days of hiking. Finish with a night in Norway's buzzing capital to round out this awesome adventure.
This quick-paced yet relaxed Nordic itinerary hits two key spots above the Arctic Circle for travelers keen on skipping high season crowds. You'll start in Tromsø with two days to explore the 'Paris of the North' by foot. From here, travel to Senja, Norway's 2nd largest island, where a local guide who will show you otherworldly coastline, wildlife, fishing villages, and inland lakes and forests. Finish with a Hurtigruten ride through the Norwegian Sea to complete this off-the-beaten-path adventure.
This adventurous weeklong road trip from late May to late August begins and ends in Tromsø, the country's gateway to the Arctic, where—during summer months—the sun never sets on these gorgeous views. From here, you'll journey through rugged landscapes of Norway's second largest island (Senja), and partake in active outings like cycling, kayaking, and swimming before ferrying to another less-populated island (Andøya) where spotting whales is practically a guarantee. Hike the coastal trail on the Queen’s Route before heading back to Tromsø for a few more nights of Scandinavian fun.
This lightly-trafficked, summertime road trip is a great way to experience Northern Norway's stunning coastline from late May to early September. The adventure starts with a half-day in Tromsø—"Paris of the North"—before you continue to Sommarøy, the first of many islands. You'll then take car ferries to Senja island and Andoya island to enjoy remote nature where fewer travelers venture. Finish the adventure in Lofoten's stunning, and yes, more popular, islands for hiking and kayaking while based in the charming village of Reine.
This exciting and less-traveled winter adventure takes you deep into Norway's boreal territory. Your week-long tour between November and April begins in the quietly sophisticated city of Tromsø, where you can sled with huskies during the day and chase the Northern Lights after dark. Continue to Alta by car or bus for snowsports in the Arctic wilderness and a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprised of rock carvings. To up the Alta adventure factor, spend your last two nights in a nearby hotel made of snow and ice!
This relaxed road trip explores an area of Norway's Arctic rarely visited by tourists. Start in fjord-side Alta and drive inland to experience indigenous culture while staying in a cozy wilderness lodge. You'll then make your way towards the northernmost tip of the continent for hiking trails, colorful villages, and breathtaking views. Spend each night looking for early glimpses of the Northern Lights—they usually start in October.
This self-guided summer road trip travels at a relaxed pace through gorgeous scenery above the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway. Explore two distinct archipelagos offering hiking trails, peaceful beaches, guided excursions, and a seaside teeming with whales—not to mention constant daylight hours during the 'Midnight Sun' to soak it in. Start and end the trip in Bodø, a cool little city with street art and a charming harbor.
This exciting and less-traveled winter adventure (November to April) takes you deep into Norway's boreal territory for spectacular snowcapped scenery. The tour begins in the quietly sophisticated city of Tromsø where you can sled with huskies during the day and chase the Northern Lights after dark. Continue to Alta for snowsports in the Arctic and a UNESCO World Heritage Site comprised of rock carvings.
This epic trip through Norway's wintry north includes an array of activities unique to the Arctic. Each day presents another opportunity for great views and local culture. Snorkel with whales, dogsled with a team of huskies, and best of all, get multiple chances to see the Northern Lights—including on horseback.
Ready for a wintry Northern Norway adventure? On this 11-day itinerary, you'll dogsled in the mountains, visit Røros and Trondheim, and stay overnight at a local farm. Then, take a coastal steamer to the dramatic Lofoten Islands where you'll snorkel with whales (yes, even in winter) and see the Northern Lights by horseback.
Skip the summer crowds with this autumn-themed itinerary in Norway's far north. The adventure begins in Tromsø—'Gateway to the Arctic'—with time to explore the city and a nearby farm. From here, you'll ferry to Senja island and then cruise to the northernmost point of Europe. Continue by bus to Alta for UNESCO-listed rock carvings before returning to Tromsø. Activities depend on the snow (or lack thereof), and each night presents another opportunity to spot the Northern Lights.
For dog lovers, this unique, hands-on experience in Norway's Finnmark County can't be beaten. You'll start off with two days in Alta for a chance to explore this small coastal city and take part in wintry activities before heading out for three days in the Arctic wilderness. With the help of your private guide, you'll get to know the Huskies by name, drive your own sleigh, and enjoy traditional meals (some served over a campfire). In the evenings, participate in taking care of the dogs before you fall to sleep in cozy cabins while searching for the Northern Lights.
This epic trip through Norway's wintry north includes a mix of travel modes and activities unique to the Arctic. Your adventure begins in the exciting capital of Oslo followed by the UNESCO-listed village of Røros where you'll dogsled in the mountains. From here, head to the historic city of Trondheim followed by a flight to Tromsø for an overnight in the wilderness. Cap it off with a coastal steamer ride to the Lofoten Islands to snorkel with whales and see the Northern Lights by horseback.
This 12-day road trip starts from Tromsø, Norway's 'Gateway to the Arctic', where—in May, June, and July—the sun never sets on these gorgeous views. From here, you'll steer yourself through the rugged landscapes of Senja island and partake in active outings before ferrying across to another less-populated island (Andøya) where spotting whales is practically a guarantee. Hike a coastal trail before heading back to the lively city of Tromsø for a few more nights of Scandinavian fun.
This active winter trip gets to the heart of Northern Norway's spectacular snow-covered scenery. Starting in Tromsø, you'll explore the 'Paris of the North' before transferring to Trapper's Farm where you'll participate in a unique, yet cozy experience involving fishing and dogsledding in the wilderness. Then bus to Norway's 2nd largest island—Senja—for whale watching and snowshoeing along the stunning Arctic coast.
Journey deep into Norway's boreal territory on this 8-day winter adventure. Begin in the far northern city of Tromsø, where you'll sled with reindeer during the day and chase the aurora borealis after dark. Continue to Alta (known as "the town of the northern lights") for snowcapped scenery and winter sports in the Arctic wilderness. After skiing, snowshoeing, and dog sledding your way through the wintry landscapes, spend your evenings warming up in the sauna and stargazing in a rustic lodge.
This two-week adventure is ideal for travelers who want to make the most of Norway's summer. Start off exploring southern Norway (Oslo, Bergen and the Sognefjord) before flying to the Arctic Circle. From here, you'll rent a car and head to the rugged island of Senja for an active two days of cycling and kayaking before ferrying to smaller Andenes for whale watching. The adventure ends in lively Tromsø and Oslo for festivals and outdoor restaurants.
Check off a number of stunning summer gems in southern and northern Norway with this 12-day adventure. After kicking off in Oslo, you'll take a train and ferry to Balestrand to kayak in the Sognefjord. From here, ferry to Bergen and visit a glacier before boarding a Hurtigruten cruise for several days of fjords, charming ports, and rare wildlife under long days of sunshine. Finally, make your way to the Lofoten Islands and explore a series of gorgeous islands by rental car at your own pace.
This exciting and less-traveled winter adventure takes you deep into Norway's boreal territory for spectacular snowcapped scenery. The trip kicks off in Tromsø, a sophisticated little city known as the 'Paris of the North'. From here, make your way east to Kirkenes—traveling by bus—while taking advantage of unique Arctic excursions and numerous possibilities for spotting the Northern Lights.
This 12-day itinerary is ideal for travelers who prefer to skip the peak-season crowds. The adventure kicks off in Norway's up-and-coming capital where you'll explore Oslo's best neighborhoods on your own and with a local guide. From here, travel by train, ferry, and bus to get to Bergen with a peaceful two-night stay in Aurland along the way. After exploring Bergen's museums, Christmas markets, and nearby fjords, you'll fly above the Arctic Circle to sled with huskies and hunt for the Northern Lights.
This autumn-themed trip for two explores Norway's snowy Arctic with a variety of travel modes and cozy accommodations. Start with great culture and restaurants in Tromsø before heading to Lyngenfjord, where you'll stay in a glass-topped igloo—prime for spotting the Northern Lights. Then, take an overnight cruise to the Lofoten Islands where you'll pick up a rental car to explore the dramatic landscapes at your own pace.
This wintry experience in Norway's Finnmark region starts with a night in Alta before three days of dogsledding in the Arctic wilderness. With the help of a private guide, you'll get to know the huskies by name and drive your own sleigh before falling asleep in cozy cabins—or staying up to search for the Northern Lights.
This fun and fast-paced itinerary explores the best of Norway's stunning Arctic coast. Starting from Tromsø, the 'Paris of the North', you'll head to Senja island, the Vesterålen Islands, and Lofoten Islands, respectively. Choose between a number of scenic outdoor activities as you travel by rental car and Hurtigruten cruise—all under the extended daylight hours of the 'Midnight Sun'—for the ultimate summer adventure.
This exciting 13-day adventure—between late February to early April—takes you deep into Norway's boreal territory for unique winter-themed activities and few crowds. After a few days in Oslo, it's time to fly to Tromsø, 'Gateway to the Arctic', where you'll experience local culture and a farm in the wilderness. Then, drive to Alta, Karasjok, and the North Cape for UNESCO-listed rock art, Sami culture, dog sledding, and hiking around Europe's northernmost point before circling back along the stunning coast.
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.
Expect uninterrupted snowscapes and Northern Lights sightings on this Arctic adventure. The trip starts in Tromsø, the 'Paris of the North' and your base for several snow activities. Then set sail on the Hurtigruten to the Lofoten Islands before heading to Trondheim, the UNESCO-listed village called Røros, and finally a night in cosmopolitan Oslo.
This scenic winter adventure traverses the Norwegian Arctic and checks off a number of natural and cultural sites starting in the city of Tromsø, nicknamed 'Paris of the North'. From here, hit the road and see rock art in Alta, learn about the indigenous Sami people in Karasjok, and visit a hotel made of snow along the Finnish/Russian border. Each day ends with another opportunity to view the Northern Lights in this beautiful and remote part of the world.
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'.
This two-week adventure from late September to late March covers a great deal of Norwegian ground for an unforgettable winter trip. You'll experience snow-covered scenery as you visit Norway's lower half (Oslo, Flåm, Bergen) before flying north to the Arctic Circle. From Bodø, you'll catch a ferry to the Lofoten Islands—the southwestern point of this dramatic archipelago with granite mountains shooting up from the sea. Finish the tour with an overnight coastal steamer and enjoy unique activities in Tromsø and Alta before returning back to Oslo for one more night on the town.
This exciting two-week road trip from late February to early April takes you deep into Norway's boreal territory for unique winter-themed activities and few crowds. Your self-drive tour begins from Tromsø, 'Gateway to the Arctic', where you can ride a cable car, meet reindeer, and chase the Northern Lights after dark. Continue to Alta for some of the oldest rock art in existence today (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and a 3-day dogsledding tour. From here, drive to Karasjok and Europe's northernmost point where you can hike along the stunning North Cape before flying to Oslo for one more night on the town.
In Bergen, you can enjoy a local tour of this cobble-stoned wharf city before taking a scenic train journey to Geilo where you will have a day of skiing. The railway will then take you to Aurland, where you'll have a cruise on Nærøyfjord and then depart to Oslo for two nights on the Flåm Railway before flying to Tromsø. Here, you will chase the northern lights in a sled pulled by reindeers and enjoy an authentic wilderness hunting experience—and you'll then make your way to Alta—where you will discover rock art and stay overnight in the Igloo Hotel.