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Quest for the Northern Lights

A five-night exploration of Northern Norway’s Troms & Finnmark regions

  • 21 February 2020
  • Traditional Sami culture

Northern Norway is one of the best places in the world to see the Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, and the counties of Troms and Finnmark that we will be visiting are where they appear with the greatest frequency. There are few phenomena that capture the imagination like the aurora borealis and at this time of year, when the sun never rises above the horizon, we can expect magnificent displays with the flashing lights forming beautifully coloured arcs in the sky.

There is much more included in our tour to occupy us and this region offers some of the world’s most remarkable winter scenery. Enjoy three nights in Tromso which, located just 400 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle is a lively city with a superb collection of polar culture and history. There are also plenty of adventurous activities on offer and we will enjoy a dog sled ride whilst taking in the spectacular mountain scenery. The enthusiasm of the Alaskan Husky dogs and their hunger to travel is insatiable and very infectious.

From Alta, ‘City of the Northern Lights’ and the base for our final nights, we will travel to the Lapland region to meet the indigenous Sami and learn of their history, traditions and remarkable subsistence lifestyle. Also visit the Igloo Hotel which is carved entirely out of ice and rebuilt every year in time for winter – for a truly memorable wilderness experience you may wish to join our optional overnight stay here.

Useful links & Travel Advice

Please find a selection of useful websites to refer to for information from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on visa requirements, NHS travel health advice and other useful travel tips.  


Northern Lights

Northern Lights

We have selected two of the region’s finest hotels available for our stay.

View accommodation details

Itinerary

  • Northern Lights
  • Tromso

Day 1 - London to Tromso, Norway.

Fly by scheduled flight. Arrive this evening and transfer to Clarion Hotel The Edge for a three night stay. Dinner will be in the hotel restaurant evening.

Day 2 - Tromso.

After a leisurely breakfast we begin a tour of Tromso, also known as the gateway to the Arctic. Situated on a forestcovered island linked to the mainland by a sweeping concrete bridge, the town is rich with Neo-classical architecture and contains the largest number of wooden houses in Northern Norway. During our panoramic tour we will see traces of 18th and 19th century architecture throughout the city and Lake Prestvatn. Visit Polaria, which is housed in a very distinctive building that represents ice floes that have been pressed up on land by rough seas of the Arctic. The museum focuses on the nature and wildlife of the Arctic. Continue to Tromso Museum for a look at the interesting geological and ethnological exhibitions, learning about the indigenous Sami people and their way of life. Lunch will be at a local restaurant followed by an afternoon at leisure. This evening take a cable car to enjoy spectacular views of Tromso and the surrounding islands and mountains. Following dinner in a local restaurant enjoy an evening concert inside Tromso’s iconic Arctic Cathedral. Built in 1965, the cathedral’s distinctive iceberg-shaped design was inspired by the landscapes of Northern Norway and features a beautiful glass mosaic.

Day 3 - Dog Sledding & Northern Lights Chase.

After breakfast in the hotel travel out of the city to spend time with some 300 Alaskan Huskies, who are trained to pull sledges through the harshest polar conditions. Experience a dog sled ride with great views of the mountains surrounding Tromso and afterwards warm up with lunch around an open fire. Following an afternoon at leisure at your centrally located hotel, meet this evening to go in search to see the amazing natural phenomena of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. Take in the quiet and beautiful scenery of our secluded location as we try to catch a glimpse of this incredible display of light, created by emissions of photons in the earth’s upper atmosphere, which can look like they are dancing across the sky.

Day 4 - Tromso to Alta.

After breakfast at the hotel we will depart by coach towards Alta, driving through the northern regions of Troms and Finnmark. The road stretches along the edge of this vast landscape offering a very scenic journey, which includes two scenic ferry crossings. Stop for lunch at a local restaurant before reaching Alta in the late afternoon, checking into Scandic Hotel Alta for a two night stay. Also known as the ‘City of the Northern Lights’, Alta stretches along the inner part of the Altafjord and on the banks of one of Norway’s best rivers for salmon fishing, the Alta River. Lying well above the Arctic Circle, at 70 degrees north, its location provides a relatively mild climate where winter is snowy and white, with mostly clear weather. Dinner will be in the hotel this evening.

Day 5 - Sami Culture & Igloo Hotel.

Sapmi, or Lapland, stretches over the northernmost parts of Europe, covering Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula. The indigenous inhabitants of this cultural region are known as Sami and they have survived for thousands of years, with a majority living in the Finnmark region of Northern Norway. The Sami culture is very traditional, and their isolated way of life is a distinctive characteristic of their nomadic and subsistence lifestyle. This morning we travel through Alta and Eiby valley before arriving in the village of Maze. As we arrive, our hosts will welcome us wearing kofte, the traditional costume, and we will be introduced to the history and culture of the Sami people. Meet some members of the reindeer herd which are owned by the Sami family, and we will be taken on a sledge ride through the pristine winter landscape. Afterwards gather around the open fire in a Lavvo (traditional Sami tent) and try Bidos, a tasty traditional stew, whilst learning about the traditions of this ancient culture. Return to Alta this afternoon for some time at leisure before we transfer to the Igloo Hotel. This remarkable structure is made entirely of ice and snow and rebuilt again every year in time for winter with ice sourced from the local valley. This impressive hotel has 20 to 30 rooms and individually decorated suites. Guests sleep on reindeer hide to keep warm in the icy temperatures, which usually average between minus four and minus seven degrees. The main entrance and ice bar are thoughtfully decorated with ice sculptures carved by local artists, and we will enjoy a drink served from a specially carved ice glass. Following our tour we will move next door to the main house to have a Farewell Dinner in the restaurant. Either return to the Scandic Hotel Alta or enjoy an optional overnight stay at the Igloo Hotel.

Day 6 - Alta to London.

Enjoy breakfast this morning before transferring to the airport for our return scheduled indirect flight to London.

Please note: Many of the excursions will involve walking over uneven ground covered in snow and ice and this tour is therefore not recommended for those with walking difficulties. Surface conditions are weather dependent.

  • Traditional Sami culture
  • Dog sledding
  • Mountains near Alta

Dates and Prices

Prices per person based on double occupancy
21 to 26 February 2020
Category Price
Twin £3995
Single £4795

Tour Reference Code: LAQUEST

PRICE INCLUDES: Economy class scheduled air travel • Five nights hotel accommodation as described (or similar) on bed and breakfast basis • Tour Manager • Gratuities • Excursions • All meals excluding dinner on day 3 • Transfers • Entrance fees.

Not Included: Travel insurance, optional overnight at the Igloo Hotel, dinner on day 3.

Please note: Many of the excursions will involve walking over uneven ground covered in snow and ice and this tour is therefore not recommended for those with walking difficulties. Surface conditions are weather dependent.

Group size: We are restricting the group size to just 25 participants.

Northern Lights

We have selected two of the region’s finest hotels available for our stay.

 
  • Clarion the Edge Hotel - Double Room
    Clarion the Edge Hotel - Double Room
  • Scandic Hotel, Alta
    Scandic Hotel, Alta
  • Scandic Alta Twin Room
    Scandic Alta Twin Room
  • Clarion Hotel The Edge, Tromso

    Clarion Hotel The Edge, Tromso

    Clarion Hotel The Edge is situated in the heart of Tromso, just by the waterfront, with great views over the fjord and mainland - its central location provides an ideal base from which to explore Norway’s northern capital. The modern rooms are equipped with en-suite bathroom, television, desk, hairdryer, mini bar and complimentary Wi-Fi. The hotel has built a reputation for warm and intimate service and this can be enjoyed in its restaurant, the Kitchen & Table, the ideal spot to enjoy a selection of local and organically produced food, and in the atmospheric cocktail lounge.

  • Scandic Hotel, Alta

    Scandic Hotel, Alta

    Located in the centre of Alta, across from the Northern Lights Cathedral, the Scandic Hotel is the ideal base from which to explore this area of Northern Norway. The hotel is modern and comfortable and offers a stylish restaurant serving buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nordly’s, the hotel bar, is the perfect spot to enjoy a relaxed drink after a busy day of activities and, to warm up and recharge, the on-site sauna is available upon request. The standard double or twin rooms feature an en-suite shower room, desk and seating area, wooden floors, television, hairdryer and complimentary Wi-Fi.

  • View all tours
  • Clarion Hotel The Edge, Tromso

    Clarion Hotel The Edge, Tromso

    Clarion Hotel The Edge is situated in the heart of Tromso, just by the waterfront, with great views over the fjord and mainland - its central location provides an ideal base from which to explore Norway’s northern capital. The modern rooms are equipped with en-suite bathroom, television, desk, hairdryer, mini bar and complimentary Wi-Fi. The hotel has built a reputation for warm and intimate service and this can be enjoyed in its restaurant, the Kitchen & Table, the ideal spot to enjoy a selection of local and organically produced food, and in the atmospheric cocktail lounge.

  • Scandic Hotel, Alta

    Scandic Hotel, Alta

    Located in the centre of Alta, across from the Northern Lights Cathedral, the Scandic Hotel is the ideal base from which to explore this area of Northern Norway. The hotel is modern and comfortable and offers a stylish restaurant serving buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nordly’s, the hotel bar, is the perfect spot to enjoy a relaxed drink after a busy day of activities and, to warm up and recharge, the on-site sauna is available upon request. The standard double or twin rooms feature an en-suite shower room, desk and seating area, wooden floors, television, hairdryer and complimentary Wi-Fi.

Tour Extensions

    • Optional Overnight at the Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel

      Take the unique opportunity to stay the night at the Igloo Hotel. Following the Farewell Dinner on Day 5, spend the remainder of the evening enjoying the hotel and main building, relax by the fire, or perhaps take an evening walk around the surrounds of the hotel to try to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. At the end of the evening, retire to your bedroom in the Igloo Hotel for a memorable experience. Reindeer hide and warm sleeping bags will keep you comfortable in the freezing temperatures.

       

      Igloo Hotel Igloo Hotel

      SORRISNIVA

      The Sorrisniva Igloo Hotel is situated only 30 kilometres from Alta town centre in idyllic surroundings close to the banks of the Alta River. The hotel’s entire exterior and interior is made of snow and ice; and is decorated with beautiful artwork by talented local sculptures, changing the theme each year to ensure a unique experience. Inside there are between 20- 30 rooms and suites (it varies each year), an ice gallery and a bar, the pure white snow creating a fairy-tale like atmosphere. Located next to the Igloo Hotel is access to the main house with its delightful restaurant serving delicious meals made with locally sourced produce, as well as the living room and reception. Along with luggage storage, facilities in the main house include toilets, changing rooms, showers and sauna to ensure your comfort. The sauna is heated each morning at 7am. Set in the middle of the wilderness, the Igloo Hotel allows the opportunity to see the northern lights and enjoy the nature of northern Norway.

    • Prices per person based on double occupancy
      CategoryPrice
      Twin £395
      Single £395

      Please note: Those joining the optional overnight stay will be collected after breakfast on the morning of day 6 and reunited with the Tour Manager and the group at the airport.

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