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Norway & The Northern Lights

Tours
Norway & The Northern Lights
DATES

13 Mar 2021 - 25 Mar 2021


RATES
from NZD$11250 per person
Single rate from NZD$14850

*Rates are per person based on Twin Share or Single Room.
*Domestic flight, in Economy seating, Oslo - Kirkenes TBC rates for 2021 and will be added onto Tour Cost.
*Prices are subject to change until paid in full.
*A 'Willing to Share' may be possible on this tour. Please enquire.
*This tour departs with a minimum of 8 Guests



*The NordNorge is an Expedition boat. She also acts like a Shipping boat for locals travelling up and down the coastline so there can be quite a few stops along the way. She is not a luxury liner! But she is comfy and has great Northern Lights viewing...


*Rates for all optional excursions on board the NordNorge will be given at a later date for pre-booking. 


Norway & The Northern Lights Norway & The Northern Lights Norway & The Northern Lights Norway & The Northern Lights
Norway & The Northern Lights

NORWAY & THE NORTHERN LIGHTS


Norway is a land of incredible natural beauty, especially in winter. Mountains, fjords, glaciers, waterfalls - and of course, the awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights. The ancient Greenlanders thought the Northern Lights were a sign from heaven that their ancestors were trying to contact the living. The Norwegians saw them as old maids dancing.

Norway’s natural wonders range from serene forest-covered hills, spectacular fjords and glaciers and the jaw-dropping Arctic wilderness. On this amazing journey, we will travel from the sophisticated capital, Oslo, to Kirkenes in the Arctic wilderness, then follow the West Coast along some of the world's most beautiful islands and fjords to end in the historic city of Bergen. The Norwegian coast is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world, and we explore this rugged coastline on board a Hurtigruten Expedition Ship. Spectacular architecture, modern cities, seaside villages and incredible local cuisine add more flavour to this amazing journey.

You will be astounded by this extraordinary destination and it will leave you wanting to discover more.

Tour Overview
Duration
12 Nights - MARCH 2021
Start Point
Oslo
Finish Point
Bergen
Tour Style
Hosted Tour
Accommodation
Boutique Accommodation, Snowhotel, Hurtigruten Cruise
Meals
As per itinerary
Transport
Private Van, Domestic Flight, Expedition Cruise, Sled
Max Group Size
Min 8, Max 12 Guests
Tour Inclusions
  • Fully escorted from Oslo by Jemma Wilson, Owner of Mai Journeys
  • x2 nights' designer accommodation at the Thon Hotel Opera, Oslo
  • x2 nights in a Gamme Cabin at the Snowhotel, Kirkenes
  • x5 nights on board the NordNorge Expedition boat in an outside polar cabin
  • x3 nights at the Clarion Admiral, Bergen
  • Lectures & presentations on history, biology, geography, geology & culture that help you understand the destinations you will experience on board the NordNorge
  • A welcome event, daily gatherings to recap the day and prepare for the day to come on board the NordNorge
  • Loan of trekking poles, snow shoes, head lamps, ice-spikes needed for optional hikes depending on season and conditions on board the NordNorge
  • Captain’s Dinner on board the NordNorge
  • Photo and film footage from the voyage 
  • WiFi onboard the ship
  • Full board on the NordNorge (B/L/D)
  • Breakfast daily in all hotels
  • Welcome Dinner in Oslo (drinks to own account)
  • Farewell Dinner in Bergen (drinks to own account)
  • x2 half-board dinners at the Snowhotel
  • Husky Safari in Kirkenes
  • Private sightseeing in Oslo & Bergen
  • Entrance to the Viking Musuem in Oslo
  • Return tickets to Floyen funicular in Bergen
  • Full day excursion from Bergen, including high altitude Bergen train ride, a cruise through the narrow Nærøyfjord and the Flåm Railway
  • Arrival and departure airport transfers *if on suggested flights
  • English speaking guides throughout 
  • Private mini van (except walking tours where indicated)
Tour Highlights
  • Olso's art and architecture
  • A stay at the Snowhotel in Gamme cabins
  • A 5 night voyage on a boutique Expedition ship sailing the West Coast of Norway
  • The incredible Northern Lights
  • Trollfjord and the Lafoten Islands
  • Crossing the Arctic Circle
  • The Vega Islands
  • Trondhein
  • The gorgeous city of Bergen
  • Plus so much more....

Tour Itinerary

Open all
Day 1 - Arrive Oslo. 13 March 2021
View

Welcome to Norway!

Arrive at Oslo International Airport. You will be met and transferred (with English-speaking driver) to our hotel. Check-in is guaranteed from 3pm.

Take some time to rest after your flight. Depending on when you arrive, you may want to explore some of Olso's landmarks, close to the hotel: Karl Johan High Street with stunning views of the Oslofjord and the famous Oslo Opera House, the Royal Palace, the Akershus Fortress, the Ibsen Museum, the Nobel Peace Center, the Norwegian Resistance Museum, and the Barcode skyscraper with its restaurants and bars.

This evening, we all meet for a welcome dinner in the hotel.

Overnight: Thon Hotel Opera, Oslo (Welcome Dinner)

Day 2 - Oslo. 14 March 2021.
View

After breakfast this morning, we meet our local guide in the lobby and set off for a sightseeing tour by private vehicle. We start the day driving to the Bygdøy peninsula where we visit the Viking Ship Museum. This museum houses the world's best-preserved Viking Ship, and exhibitions of Ship burials of the Viking Age and unique Viking woodcraft.

Continue our drive through Oslo, passing such national landmarks as the Parliament building, with its two imposing lion statues at the main entrance, the Cathedral, the National Theatre and the magnificent Royal Palace, the official residence of the present Norwegian Monarch.

We will travel outside of the city through charming suburban areas where beautiful homes are set within manicured gardens. A guided walk through the extraordinary Vigeland Sculpture Park, the largest sculpture park in the world created by one single artist, is invigorating and inspiring. The park covers eighty acres and was designed by renowned Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland who created over 200 iron and bronze statues. The sculptures artistically depict a complete human lifecycle from birth to death and are displayed in five different areas throughout the park. The gardens are vast and Vigeland also designed the impressive lawns and straight avenues flanked by maple trees perfect for strolling.

This afternoon we can continue to the Edvard Munch Museum, the Grunerlokka area & the Mathallen Food Hall

Overnight: Thon Hotel Opera, Oslo (B)

Day 3 - Kirkenes: Snowhotel - 15 March 2021
View

After breakfast, we transfer to Oslo Airport and from here we fly to Kirkenes in the extreme north-east of Norway. Kirkenes is within the center of the Northern Lights zone, near the Russian border.

On arrival we will be transferred to our hotel, the fabulous Snowhotel. Walking through the gates of the Snowhotel is like entering a real-life winter wonderland; a white world where reindeer are grazing peacefully on one hand, and huskies on the other. Ahead, the magical icehotel lies, with the frozen fjord behind, and the unbelievably cosy and hobbit-like Gamme Cabins spread in the hillside above. Your arctic fairy tale is about to come true!

We'll check in and the afternoon is free to enjoy our surroundings, explore the hotel and visit the resident reindeers. The Ice Bar (which has a new theme every year) is a constant -3 degrees Celcius, but the restaurant is heated and serves fabulous seafood dishes.

This evening we'll meet in the hotel's restaurant to enjoy our 3-course dinner.

Overnight: Snowhotel, Kirkenes (B / D)

Day 4 - Kirkenes: Snowhotel - 16 March 2021
View

Today we get ready for the best husky holiday in Kirkenes. The professional mindset, the deep care for the dogs, the passionate dog mushers and most of all, the 180 strong and beautiful Alaskan huskies, has made this one of the most popular and reputable husky ventures north of the arctic circle. There will be 2 persons per sled, driven by a skilled dog musher. The tour goes in scenic surroundings over the fjord, and on the mountain plateau. You will see the sparse and majestic arctic landscapes, mountain plateaus, white tundra and long fjords typical of Northern Norway. If conditions allow, you may get to try driving the dogsled. This tour takes approximately 2 hours.

Your afternoon is at leisure for any options you might like to pre-book, or to simply rest and relax. Option examples below…

-       - King Crab Safari: you are taken out on the fjord ice by snowmobile and sleigh to find the great beast. You will step out on the frozen fjord and help the fisherman pull the traps from the deep through the hole in the ice. Maybe the northern lights will flicker across the sky as you get a picture taken with the biggest catch of the tour. The journey will culminate in a warm, rustic farmhouse restaurant by the fjord, where you will enjoy a feast, served the Norwegian way - fresh, juicy and irresistible!

-      -  Hunt the Northern Lights: the Northern Lights are possibly the most beautiful natural phenomenon you will ever have the opportunity of seeing- an explosion of green, fluttering like a veil across the arctic sky.  When you are looking up at the aurora, you realize how small you are in the vastness of nature. You can hunt for them by Husky, by AuroraExpress Bus or by snowmobile.

Overnight: Snowhotel, Kirkenes (B / D)

Day 5 - Our Arctic Adventure Begins: Kirkenes to Berlevag - 17 March 2021
View

After breakfast, we will be transferred to Kirkenes pier to board the NordNorge, our floating home for the next five nights as we set sail towards Bergen along Norway's West Coast. We will witness a plethora of enchanting Norwegian landscapes; fjords, mountains, waterfalls and glaciers, combined with visits to historic cities and cosy coastal towns along the way.

After departing Kirkenes, we head due north, arriving at Vardø in the afternoon. Weather permitting, the brave may want to take a dip in the icy Arctic Ocean (strictly optional of course!).

We now head due west, cruising along the Varanger peninsula to Båtsfjord and Berlevåg, home to Norway's most famous male choir, made up of local fishermen. Keep your eyes on the sky, for the unearthly beauty of the aurora borealis, the Northern Lights, which frequently flicker silently across the Arctic sky, mesmerizing all who see them. Here, above the Arctic Circle, we'll have the best chance of experiencing this magic colour show, as the night sky explodes into a light show of green, white, pink, blue and violet.

Overnight: M/S NordNorge (B / L / D)

Day 6 - Arctic Magic & Music - 18 March 2021
View

We make a late-night stop at Mehamn where you can join an (optional) snowmobile trip through the vast Arctic wilderness. Experience snowy plains and valleys, crisp winter air and very possibly the Northern Lights in the starry sky above.

At Honningsvåg, join an (optional) overland excursion that crosses the island of Magerøy in time for you to enjoy breakfast atop North Cape.

In Hammerfest, the world’s northernmost town, you can visit the UNESCO-listed Meridian Column, (optional) erected in 1854 to honour the first precise geographic measurement of the globe. You can also join an optional mountain hike or a guided city tour.

Join an optional mini-mountain expedition to experience the Arctic outdoors and learn about local polar hero and cook, Adolf Henrik Lindstrøm.

We then proceed south to Øksfjord, stopping briefly at the old trading post of Skjervøy before sailing through the beautiful Lyngenfjord, surrounded by the snowy peaks of the Lyngen Alps.

We dock at Tromsø, in time to enjoy an (optional) magical Northern Lights concert at the Arctic Cathedral. The Arctic Cathedral stands proudly at the end of the Tromsø bridge, set against the background of the 4,062-foot Tromsdalstind peak. You can join a midnight excursion under the Midnight Sun to explore Tromsø by sea in a small boat. You may want to drop by Ølhallen to enjoy a beer and a chat with friendly locals.

Overnight: M/S NordNorge (B / L / D)

Day 7 - History & Culture: Lofoten Islands: Tromsø to Stamsund - 19 March 2021
View

This morning, we arrive at Harstad, where you can join the classic (optional) excursion - A Taste of Vesterålen. Discover history, beautiful scenery, and cultural heritage sites on this tour that rejoins the ship at Sortland.

Those who stay on the ship experience the passage through the Risøyrenna, a shallow channel made for Hurtigruten in the 1920s.

Prepare yourself for some amazing scenery as we sail through the world-famous islands of Lofoten and Vesterålen. Lofoten is known for its natural beauty, steep mountains, wild nature and picturesque fishing villages. Our daylight sailing route through the region is the voyage highlight for many. After a short stop at the tiny village of Risøyhamn, we continue to Stokmarknes. Continuing south, it will look like we're headed into a mountain wall, but we are in fact sailing through a passage into the narrow Raftsund, flanked by peaks rising 1,000 m out of the sea.

We then arrive at amazing Trollfjord. If conditions allow, we will sail between sheer cliffs that seem close enough to reach out and touch. It's an unforgettable experience!

Next, we arrive in Svolvær, where you can choose from several excursion options. Go horseback riding along a beach at sunset, head out on spectacular hikes, join a fast-boat tour on the fjord, or relax in town at one of many cafés, pubs and restaurants.

We'll leave the islands during the evening and set a course for the mainland.

Overnight: M/S NordNorge (B / L / D)

Day 8 - The Seven Sisters: Crossing the Arctic Circle: Bodø to Rørvik - 20 March 2021
View

Crossing the Arctic Circle is an important ‘rite of passage'. Today we celebrate the occasion on deck with a taste of Arctic tradition ‒ a spoonful of cod liver oil. Sailing along the Helgeland coast, you see the strange mountain, Torghatten (258 m above sea level), famous for the distinctive hole through its centre. The hole is 160 m long, 35 m high and 20 m wide, and was formed during the ice age. Participate on a hike up the mountain.

Another highlight is sailing past the Seven Sisters mountain range. It is easy to see how the peaks influenced ancient legend. The story goes that seven beautiful troll sisters were caught out at sunrise and turned to stone, thus creating the seven beautiful mountaintops.

Next, we briefly stop at the idyllic trading post of Nesna before moving on to Sandnessjøen. From here, you can join an optional excursion to a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Vega Islands. The UNESCO status is due to the unique centuries-old interaction between the islanders and eider ducks. Learn how the locals sustain a livelihood of making down-filled duvets.

In Brønnøysund, join an optional excursion to the Norwegian Aquaculture Centre for an informative tour.

Overnight: M/S NordNorge (B / L / D)

Day 9 - Gothic Magic & Hidden Lake: Trondheim to Ålesund - 21 March 2021
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Today you have a chance to explore the wooden city of history: Trondheim. Norway’s first capital, Trondheim was founded in 997 by the Viking King Olav Tryggvason, who gave the town the name ‘Nidaros’. The (optional) Trondheim city tour today is a journey through its 1,000-year history, and it will culminate at the impressive Nidaros Cathedral (exterior only) in which three queens and seven kings have been crowned. Built over the burial place of St. Olav, the patron saint of Norway, this enormous building, with its intricate details and decorations dates back to 1070.

As we sail along the coast, you will realize the importance of fishing to Norway's coastal communities. Kristiansund is regarded as Norway's ‘dried cod capital' because of its long-time export of salted dry fish. Here you can join an (optional) excursion along the Atlantic Road, a National Scenic Route. The 8 km stretch of highway spans eight bridges, crosses picturesque landscapes and is surrounded by open sea. Another interesting excursion is to the Bergtatt marble mine, which takes you inside a mountain and across an illuminated subterranean lake before serving you a meal in the mine´s ‘Grand Hall' (optional). Those who remain aboard at Kristiansund will experience the ship´s open sea crossing towards Molde - Norway´s ‘City of Roses'. From there, you can see the distant pointed peaks of the Romsdal Alps across the fjord, called ‘the Molde panorama'.

Overnight: M/S NordNorge (B / L / D)

Day 10 - Ålesund to Bergen - 22 March 2021
View

During the night, the ship calls at Ålesund, Torvik and Måløy, as our voyage draws to a close. Before docking in Bergen, there is fascinating scenery to see, including picturesque Nordfjord beneath Jostedal Glacier. Here the fjord widens to the east and forges 90 km inland. In the morning, we dock at Florø, Norway's westernmost community. A few nautical miles south of Florø, we cross the mouth of the mighty Sognefjord, taking in superb views of the magnificent island-studded coastline en-route.

We will arrive at Bergen at 14:30 and be transferred by minibus to our hotel. In the afternoon, meet your local guide at the hotel's lobby and enjoy a private walking tour in the beautiful Hanseatic town including the fish market, the old Hanseatic warehouses, the cathedral (exterior only) and many charming wooden houses, as well as the fortress.

Later, enjoy a ride by the funicular to Mount Fløyen for a panoramic view of Norway. The rest of the evening will be at leisure.

Overnight: Clarion Admiral Hotel, Bergen (B / L)

Day 11 - Bergen: Norway in a Nutshell - 23 March 2021
View

After breakfast we transfer by minibus to the train station. We will join the legendary 'Norway in a Nutshell' tour which takes us through Norway's most breath-taking UNESCO-protected fjord and mountain scenery, as well as a trip on Europe's top scenic rail journeys. We will experience the scenic Bergen Railway from Bergen to the mountain station of Myrdal where we change trains and travel on the breath-taking Flåm Railway to the picturesque village of Flåm. The 12-mile ride through the towering mountains offers panoramic views of some of the wildest and most magnificent Norwegian mountain scenery, including the famous Kjosfossen Waterfall. The journey is one where we simply enjoy the changing landscapes and take in the local atmosphere of the small villages we visit on our way. On arrival in Flåm, we have some free time until we will board the local ferry through the Aurlandsfjord and then through what is probably the most beautiful fjord in all of Norway, the narrow Nærøyfjord, until reaching Gudvangen. We then board the local coach for a journey to Voss where we change to the train for the last part of the journey back to Bergen. Upon arrival to Bergen train station, we will be transferred by minibus to back to our hotel.

Overnight: Clarion Admiral Hotel, Bergen (B)

Day 12 - Bergen - Day at Leisure - 24 March 2021
View

Today is a day at leisure to simply relax or explore the city.

This evening we will celebrate our Nordic journey with a farewell dinner at an elegant Bergen restaurant.

Overnight: Clarion Admiral Hotel, Bergen (B / Farewell Dinner)

Day 13 - Depart
View

Departure day..

Depending on your flight time, you may have some time this morning to enjoy a last-minute stroll before being transferred to Bergen Airport to either fly home or further your travels in Europe. (B)

About this tour

The Northern Lights - The Northern Lights are electrically charged particles from the sun that smash into Earth's magnetic field. They are funnelled down to the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres, creating a horseshoe-shape of excited green (and occasionally brown and red) particles that swivel and shape-shift over the Arctic Circle. This process is more intense during solar maximum, the period when the sun is at its most active. The Northern Lights are a constant sight in the skies above the Arctic Circle.

Displays of the Northern Lights do tend to intensify around the equinox months of September and March because the magnetic fields of the Earth and the Sun’s solar wind are more likely to be in sync. November through March is the absolute peak season for Northern Lights viewing because the nights are longest, but a visit anytime between September and March should give you a good chance to see them, with March offering the best chance of clear skies.

Thon Hotel Opera, Oslo - The Thon Hotel Opera is located right next to the Oslo Central Station, close to Oslo's world famous Opera, the new Munch Museum and the Deichman's main library. It has stunning city views, and is also close to Karl Johan Gate, Royal Palace, the Akershus Fortress, the Nobel Peace Center, and the Barcode skyscraper with its restaurants and bars. Guests at Thon Hotel Opera can enjoy a fitness center with an outdoor terrace with views of the city, the Scala Restaurant, a stylish lounge, and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. Fresh fruit, homemade bread and both hot and cold dishes are served at breakfast each morning. All rooms at Thon Hotel Opera are non-smoking and allergy-friendly, designed with a modern-style décor, featuring classic dark-wood furnishings, and are Eco-Lighthouse certified. 

Snowhotel, Kirkenes - The Snowhotel in Kirkenes is one of the most amazing hotels in the world, offering unique accommodations & set in idyllic surroundings of the Gabba Reindeer Park. Guests can enjoy the Ice Bar, a restaurant and a sauna, and there is free WiFi in the hotel's public areas. The Gamme cabins are inspired by the traditional hunting and fishing hut, “gamme”, that you find in the wilderness of Lapland - the Sami areas of the Arctic. The idea was to make chalets that fit into the surroundings, even complementing the perfection of the raw, northern nature. The large panoramic window will let you look for the blaze of Northern Lights in the sky above the ice hotel, from the warmth of your cabin. There are also optional activities such as husky rides, king crab safaris, northern lights tours and snowmobiling.

NordNorge Expedtion Boat - We will be cruising along the West Coast of Norway on Hurtigruten's NordNorge. The MS Nordnorge is aptly named for northern Norway, most of which lies above the Arctic Circle. The boat was refurbished in 2016 and now features a modern, Arctic-inspired interior. On board are three different restaurants, the Multe bakery and ice cream bar, a sauna and fitness room. Out on deck you can enjoy the view from one of two hot tubs. There is a comfortable bar at the front of the ship where you can enjoy a drink. The vessel also has a large compass area where you find the reception, a tour guide, conference room and shop. Interesting lectures, presentations and activities inside as well as out on the sun deck of the ship make this an educational journey. The Expedition Team will host a lecture and presentation programme and evening gatherings daily. The dedicated Expedition Team has one mission: to enhance your experience by engaging you and interpreting the nature, wildlife, and culture you encounter during the voyage.

The Clarion Admiral, Bergen - The Clarion Admiral Hotel juts out over the water of Vagen Bay. This lovely hotel is housed in 1904-built warehouse buildings, across the fjord from medieval wharf area of Bryggen. Guests can enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi, laundry services, room service, a beautiful terrace with views of the harbour and pier, and an excellent restaurant featuring creative Scandinavian dishes by renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. The breakfast buffet is served in a sophisticated restaurant with views of the vivid Bryggen houses, occasional live music and an international menu. Scandinavian design and the understated elegance and Norwegian sophistication.

Practicalities

Weather: Travelers to Norway in March will catch the earliest glimpses of spring, and with that, longer daylight hours. This is a great month to hit the uncrowded slopes and festivals, explore the cities, and catch the Northern Lights before they hibernate 'til October. March begins to warm up slightly with temperatures ranging between 0 - 4 degrees Celcius in Oslo, central Norway, and to the north. With this rise in temperature, the snow and ice begin to thaw, though there can be random snowstorms especially in the mountains. 

Currency, Credit Cards & ATM's: The Norwegian currency is “Kroner”, which is sometimes mistranslated into “crowns” in English. But whatever we call the money, cash is no longer king in Norway, and almost all establishments accept debit or credit cards. Although debit or credit cards are accepted most places, it is still a good idea to have a bit of cash on you. You will find cash machines everywhere in towns and cities. Visa and MasterCard are the most commonly accepted credit cards, with far fewer accepting Amex or Diners.

Visas: A visitor's visa allows you to stay in Norway or other countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days over a period of 180 days. Citizens of New Zealand, travelling on New Zealand passports & Australia, travelling on Australian passports, do not need a visitor's visa.

The facts

Not Included:

  • International Airfares + Taxes
  • Transfers unless stated in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Phone calls
  • Passport and visas
  • Laundry or tips. 
  • Personal transport
  • Excess baggage
  • Security and government taxes
  • Travel insurance. 
  • Meals not specifically mentioned in the itinerary
  • Beverages unless specifically described. 
  • Optional excursions or activities that may be offered but are not included in the tour price.
Travel advice / FCO

We constantly monitor the advice posted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to any of the places visited on this tour. Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific concerns. Furthermore, you should be aware that any travel warnings or advisories may affect the validity of your travel insurance. Therefore, at the time of booking your tour it is essential you check any restrictions on cover with your insurance provider.

DATES

13 Mar 2021 - 25 Mar 2021


RATES
from NZD$11250 per person
Single rate from NZD$14850

*Rates are per person based on Twin Share or Single Room.
*Domestic flight, in Economy seating, Oslo - Kirkenes TBC rates for 2021 and will be added onto Tour Cost.
*Prices are subject to change until paid in full.
*A 'Willing to Share' may be possible on this tour. Please enquire.
*This tour departs with a minimum of 8 Guests



*The NordNorge is an Expedition boat. She also acts like a Shipping boat for locals travelling up and down the coastline so there can be quite a few stops along the way. She is not a luxury liner! But she is comfy and has great Northern Lights viewing...


*Rates for all optional excursions on board the NordNorge will be given at a later date for pre-booking. 


Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Arrive Oslo. 13 March 2021

Welcome to Norway!

Arrive at Oslo International Airport. You will be met and transferred (with English-speaking driver) to our hotel. Check-in is guaranteed from 3pm.

Take some time to rest after your flight. Depending on when you arrive, you may want to explore some of Olso's landmarks, close to the hotel: Karl Johan High Street with stunning views of the Oslofjord and the famous Oslo Opera House, the Royal Palace, the Akershus Fortress, the Ibsen Museum, the Nobel Peace Center, the Norwegian Resistance Museum, and the Barcode skyscraper with its restaurants and bars.

This evening, we all meet for a welcome dinner in the hotel.

Overnight: Thon Hotel Opera, Oslo (Welcome Dinner)

Day 2 - Oslo. 14 March 2021.

After breakfast this morning, we meet our local guide in the lobby and set off for a sightseeing tour by private vehicle. We start the day driving to the Bygdøy peninsula where we visit the Viking Ship Museum. This museum houses the world's best-preserved Viking Ship, and exhibitions of Ship burials of the Viking Age and unique Viking woodcraft.

Continue our drive through Oslo, passing such national landmarks as the Parliament building, with its two imposing lion statues at the main entrance, the Cathedral, the National Theatre and the magnificent Royal Palace, the official residence of the present Norwegian Monarch.

We will travel outside of the city through charming suburban areas where beautiful homes are set within manicured gardens. A guided walk through the extraordinary Vigeland Sculpture Park, the largest sculpture park in the world created by one single artist, is invigorating and inspiring. The park covers eighty acres and was designed by renowned Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland who created over 200 iron and bronze statues. The sculptures artistically depict a complete human lifecycle from birth to death and are displayed in five different areas throughout the park. The gardens are vast and Vigeland also designed the impressive lawns and straight avenues flanked by maple trees perfect for strolling.

This afternoon we can continue to the Edvard Munch Museum, the Grunerlokka area & the Mathallen Food Hall

Overnight: Thon Hotel Opera, Oslo (B)

Day 3 - Kirkenes: Snowhotel - 15 March 2021

After breakfast, we transfer to Oslo Airport and from here we fly to Kirkenes in the extreme north-east of Norway. Kirkenes is within the center of the Northern Lights zone, near the Russian border.

On arrival we will be transferred to our hotel, the fabulous Snowhotel. Walking through the gates of the Snowhotel is like entering a real-life winter wonderland; a white world where reindeer are grazing peacefully on one hand, and huskies on the other. Ahead, the magical icehotel lies, with the frozen fjord behind, and the unbelievably cosy and hobbit-like Gamme Cabins spread in the hillside above. Your arctic fairy tale is about to come true!

We'll check in and the afternoon is free to enjoy our surroundings, explore the hotel and visit the resident reindeers. The Ice Bar (which has a new theme every year) is a constant -3 degrees Celcius, but the restaurant is heated and serves fabulous seafood dishes.

This evening we'll meet in the hotel's restaurant to enjoy our 3-course dinner.

Overnight: Snowhotel, Kirkenes (B / D)

Day 4 - Kirkenes: Snowhotel - 16 March 2021

Today we get ready for the best husky holiday in Kirkenes. The professional mindset, the deep care for the dogs, the passionate dog mushers and most of all, the 180 strong and beautiful Alaskan huskies, has made this one of the most popular and reputable husky ventures north of the arctic circle. There will be 2 persons per sled, driven by a skilled dog musher. The tour goes in scenic surroundings over the fjord, and on the mountain plateau. You will see the sparse and majestic arctic landscapes, mountain plateaus, white tundra and long fjords typical of Northern Norway. If conditions allow, you may get to try driving the dogsled. This tour takes approximately 2 hours.

Your afternoon is at leisure for any options you might like to pre-book, or to simply rest and relax. Option examples below…

-       - King Crab Safari: you are taken out on the fjord ice by snowmobile and sleigh to find the great beast. You will step out on the frozen fjord and help the fisherman pull the traps from the deep through the hole in the ice. Maybe the northern lights will flicker across the sky as you get a picture taken with the biggest catch of the tour. The journey will culminate in a warm, rustic farmhouse restaurant by the fjord, where you will enjoy a feast, served the Norwegian way - fresh, juicy and irresistible!

-      -  Hunt the Northern Lights: the Northern Lights are possibly the most beautiful natural phenomenon you will ever have the opportunity of seeing- an explosion of green, fluttering like a veil across the arctic sky.  When you are looking up at the aurora, you realize how small you are in the vastness of nature. You can hunt for them by Husky, by AuroraExpress Bus or by snowmobile.

Overnight: Snowhotel, Kirkenes (B / D)

Day 5 - Our Arctic Adventure Begins: Kirkenes to Berlevag - 17 March 2021

After breakfast, we will be transferred to Kirkenes pier to board the NordNorge, our floating home for the next five nights as we set sail towards Bergen along Norway's West Coast. We will witness a plethora of enchanting Norwegian landscapes; fjords, mountains, waterfalls and glaciers, combined with visits to historic cities and cosy coastal towns along the way.

After departing Kirkenes, we head due north, arriving at Vardø in the afternoon. Weather permitting, the brave may want to take a dip in the icy Arctic Ocean (strictly optional of course!).

We now head due west, cruising along the Varanger peninsula to Båtsfjord and Berlevåg, home to Norway's most famous male choir, made up of local fishermen. Keep your eyes on the sky, for the unearthly beauty of the aurora borealis, the Northern Lights, which frequently flicker silently across the Arctic sky, mesmerizing all who see them. Here, above the Arctic Circle, we'll have the best chance of experiencing this magic colour show, as the night sky explodes into a light show of green, white, pink, blue and violet.

Overnight: M/S NordNorge (B / L / D)

Day 6 - Arctic Magic & Music - 18 March 2021

We make a late-night stop at Mehamn where you can join an (optional) snowmobile trip through the vast Arctic wilderness. Experience snowy plains and valleys, crisp winter air and very possibly the Northern Lights in the starry sky above.

At Honningsvåg, join an (optional) overland excursion that crosses the island of Magerøy in time for you to enjoy breakfast atop North Cape.

In Hammerfest, the world’s northernmost town, you can visit the UNESCO-listed Meridian Column, (optional) erected in 1854 to honour the first precise geographic measurement of the globe. You can also join an optional mountain hike or a guided city tour.

Join an optional mini-mountain expedition to experience the Arctic outdoors and learn about local polar hero and cook, Adolf Henrik Lindstrøm.

We then proceed south to Øksfjord, stopping briefly at the old trading post of Skjervøy before sailing through the beautiful Lyngenfjord, surrounded by the snowy peaks of the Lyngen Alps.

We dock at Tromsø, in time to enjoy an (optional) magical Northern Lights concert at the Arctic Cathedral. The Arctic Cathedral stands proudly at the end of the Tromsø bridge, set against the background of the 4,062-foot Tromsdalstind peak. You can join a midnight excursion under the Midnight Sun to explore Tromsø by sea in a small boat. You may want to drop by Ølhallen to enjoy a beer and a chat with friendly locals.

Overnight: M/S NordNorge (B / L / D)

Day 7 - History & Culture: Lofoten Islands: Tromsø to Stamsund - 19 March 2021

This morning, we arrive at Harstad, where you can join the classic (optional) excursion - A Taste of Vesterålen. Discover history, beautiful scenery, and cultural heritage sites on this tour that rejoins the ship at Sortland.

Those who stay on the ship experience the passage through the Risøyrenna, a shallow channel made for Hurtigruten in the 1920s.

Prepare yourself for some amazing scenery as we sail through the world-famous islands of Lofoten and Vesterålen. Lofoten is known for its natural beauty, steep mountains, wild nature and picturesque fishing villages. Our daylight sailing route through the region is the voyage highlight for many. After a short stop at the tiny village of Risøyhamn, we continue to Stokmarknes. Continuing south, it will look like we're headed into a mountain wall, but we are in fact sailing through a passage into the narrow Raftsund, flanked by peaks rising 1,000 m out of the sea.

We then arrive at amazing Trollfjord. If conditions allow, we will sail between sheer cliffs that seem close enough to reach out and touch. It's an unforgettable experience!

Next, we arrive in Svolvær, where you can choose from several excursion options. Go horseback riding along a beach at sunset, head out on spectacular hikes, join a fast-boat tour on the fjord, or relax in town at one of many cafés, pubs and restaurants.

We'll leave the islands during the evening and set a course for the mainland.

Overnight: M/S NordNorge (B / L / D)

Day 8 - The Seven Sisters: Crossing the Arctic Circle: Bodø to Rørvik - 20 March 2021

Crossing the Arctic Circle is an important ‘rite of passage'. Today we celebrate the occasion on deck with a taste of Arctic tradition ‒ a spoonful of cod liver oil. Sailing along the Helgeland coast, you see the strange mountain, Torghatten (258 m above sea level), famous for the distinctive hole through its centre. The hole is 160 m long, 35 m high and 20 m wide, and was formed during the ice age. Participate on a hike up the mountain.

Another highlight is sailing past the Seven Sisters mountain range. It is easy to see how the peaks influenced ancient legend. The story goes that seven beautiful troll sisters were caught out at sunrise and turned to stone, thus creating the seven beautiful mountaintops.

Next, we briefly stop at the idyllic trading post of Nesna before moving on to Sandnessjøen. From here, you can join an optional excursion to a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Vega Islands. The UNESCO status is due to the unique centuries-old interaction between the islanders and eider ducks. Learn how the locals sustain a livelihood of making down-filled duvets.

In Brønnøysund, join an optional excursion to the Norwegian Aquaculture Centre for an informative tour.

Overnight: M/S NordNorge (B / L / D)

Day 9 - Gothic Magic & Hidden Lake: Trondheim to Ålesund - 21 March 2021

Today you have a chance to explore the wooden city of history: Trondheim. Norway’s first capital, Trondheim was founded in 997 by the Viking King Olav Tryggvason, who gave the town the name ‘Nidaros’. The (optional) Trondheim city tour today is a journey through its 1,000-year history, and it will culminate at the impressive Nidaros Cathedral (exterior only) in which three queens and seven kings have been crowned. Built over the burial place of St. Olav, the patron saint of Norway, this enormous building, with its intricate details and decorations dates back to 1070.

As we sail along the coast, you will realize the importance of fishing to Norway's coastal communities. Kristiansund is regarded as Norway's ‘dried cod capital' because of its long-time export of salted dry fish. Here you can join an (optional) excursion along the Atlantic Road, a National Scenic Route. The 8 km stretch of highway spans eight bridges, crosses picturesque landscapes and is surrounded by open sea. Another interesting excursion is to the Bergtatt marble mine, which takes you inside a mountain and across an illuminated subterranean lake before serving you a meal in the mine´s ‘Grand Hall' (optional). Those who remain aboard at Kristiansund will experience the ship´s open sea crossing towards Molde - Norway´s ‘City of Roses'. From there, you can see the distant pointed peaks of the Romsdal Alps across the fjord, called ‘the Molde panorama'.

Overnight: M/S NordNorge (B / L / D)

Day 10 - Ålesund to Bergen - 22 March 2021

During the night, the ship calls at Ålesund, Torvik and Måløy, as our voyage draws to a close. Before docking in Bergen, there is fascinating scenery to see, including picturesque Nordfjord beneath Jostedal Glacier. Here the fjord widens to the east and forges 90 km inland. In the morning, we dock at Florø, Norway's westernmost community. A few nautical miles south of Florø, we cross the mouth of the mighty Sognefjord, taking in superb views of the magnificent island-studded coastline en-route.

We will arrive at Bergen at 14:30 and be transferred by minibus to our hotel. In the afternoon, meet your local guide at the hotel's lobby and enjoy a private walking tour in the beautiful Hanseatic town including the fish market, the old Hanseatic warehouses, the cathedral (exterior only) and many charming wooden houses, as well as the fortress.

Later, enjoy a ride by the funicular to Mount Fløyen for a panoramic view of Norway. The rest of the evening will be at leisure.

Overnight: Clarion Admiral Hotel, Bergen (B / L)

Day 11 - Bergen: Norway in a Nutshell - 23 March 2021

After breakfast we transfer by minibus to the train station. We will join the legendary 'Norway in a Nutshell' tour which takes us through Norway's most breath-taking UNESCO-protected fjord and mountain scenery, as well as a trip on Europe's top scenic rail journeys. We will experience the scenic Bergen Railway from Bergen to the mountain station of Myrdal where we change trains and travel on the breath-taking Flåm Railway to the picturesque village of Flåm. The 12-mile ride through the towering mountains offers panoramic views of some of the wildest and most magnificent Norwegian mountain scenery, including the famous Kjosfossen Waterfall. The journey is one where we simply enjoy the changing landscapes and take in the local atmosphere of the small villages we visit on our way. On arrival in Flåm, we have some free time until we will board the local ferry through the Aurlandsfjord and then through what is probably the most beautiful fjord in all of Norway, the narrow Nærøyfjord, until reaching Gudvangen. We then board the local coach for a journey to Voss where we change to the train for the last part of the journey back to Bergen. Upon arrival to Bergen train station, we will be transferred by minibus to back to our hotel.

Overnight: Clarion Admiral Hotel, Bergen (B)

Day 12 - Bergen - Day at Leisure - 24 March 2021

Today is a day at leisure to simply relax or explore the city.

This evening we will celebrate our Nordic journey with a farewell dinner at an elegant Bergen restaurant.

Overnight: Clarion Admiral Hotel, Bergen (B / Farewell Dinner)

Day 13 - Depart

Departure day..

Depending on your flight time, you may have some time this morning to enjoy a last-minute stroll before being transferred to Bergen Airport to either fly home or further your travels in Europe. (B)

About this tour

The Northern Lights - The Northern Lights are electrically charged particles from the sun that smash into Earth's magnetic field. They are funnelled down to the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres, creating a horseshoe-shape of excited green (and occasionally brown and red) particles that swivel and shape-shift over the Arctic Circle. This process is more intense during solar maximum, the period when the sun is at its most active. The Northern Lights are a constant sight in the skies above the Arctic Circle.

Displays of the Northern Lights do tend to intensify around the equinox months of September and March because the magnetic fields of the Earth and the Sun’s solar wind are more likely to be in sync. November through March is the absolute peak season for Northern Lights viewing because the nights are longest, but a visit anytime between September and March should give you a good chance to see them, with March offering the best chance of clear skies.

Thon Hotel Opera, Oslo - The Thon Hotel Opera is located right next to the Oslo Central Station, close to Oslo's world famous Opera, the new Munch Museum and the Deichman's main library. It has stunning city views, and is also close to Karl Johan Gate, Royal Palace, the Akershus Fortress, the Nobel Peace Center, and the Barcode skyscraper with its restaurants and bars. Guests at Thon Hotel Opera can enjoy a fitness center with an outdoor terrace with views of the city, the Scala Restaurant, a stylish lounge, and free Wi-Fi throughout the hotel. Fresh fruit, homemade bread and both hot and cold dishes are served at breakfast each morning. All rooms at Thon Hotel Opera are non-smoking and allergy-friendly, designed with a modern-style décor, featuring classic dark-wood furnishings, and are Eco-Lighthouse certified. 

Snowhotel, Kirkenes - The Snowhotel in Kirkenes is one of the most amazing hotels in the world, offering unique accommodations & set in idyllic surroundings of the Gabba Reindeer Park. Guests can enjoy the Ice Bar, a restaurant and a sauna, and there is free WiFi in the hotel's public areas. The Gamme cabins are inspired by the traditional hunting and fishing hut, “gamme”, that you find in the wilderness of Lapland - the Sami areas of the Arctic. The idea was to make chalets that fit into the surroundings, even complementing the perfection of the raw, northern nature. The large panoramic window will let you look for the blaze of Northern Lights in the sky above the ice hotel, from the warmth of your cabin. There are also optional activities such as husky rides, king crab safaris, northern lights tours and snowmobiling.

NordNorge Expedtion Boat - We will be cruising along the West Coast of Norway on Hurtigruten's NordNorge. The MS Nordnorge is aptly named for northern Norway, most of which lies above the Arctic Circle. The boat was refurbished in 2016 and now features a modern, Arctic-inspired interior. On board are three different restaurants, the Multe bakery and ice cream bar, a sauna and fitness room. Out on deck you can enjoy the view from one of two hot tubs. There is a comfortable bar at the front of the ship where you can enjoy a drink. The vessel also has a large compass area where you find the reception, a tour guide, conference room and shop. Interesting lectures, presentations and activities inside as well as out on the sun deck of the ship make this an educational journey. The Expedition Team will host a lecture and presentation programme and evening gatherings daily. The dedicated Expedition Team has one mission: to enhance your experience by engaging you and interpreting the nature, wildlife, and culture you encounter during the voyage.

The Clarion Admiral, Bergen - The Clarion Admiral Hotel juts out over the water of Vagen Bay. This lovely hotel is housed in 1904-built warehouse buildings, across the fjord from medieval wharf area of Bryggen. Guests can enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi, laundry services, room service, a beautiful terrace with views of the harbour and pier, and an excellent restaurant featuring creative Scandinavian dishes by renowned chef Marcus Samuelsson. The breakfast buffet is served in a sophisticated restaurant with views of the vivid Bryggen houses, occasional live music and an international menu. Scandinavian design and the understated elegance and Norwegian sophistication.

Practicalities

Weather: Travelers to Norway in March will catch the earliest glimpses of spring, and with that, longer daylight hours. This is a great month to hit the uncrowded slopes and festivals, explore the cities, and catch the Northern Lights before they hibernate 'til October. March begins to warm up slightly with temperatures ranging between 0 - 4 degrees Celcius in Oslo, central Norway, and to the north. With this rise in temperature, the snow and ice begin to thaw, though there can be random snowstorms especially in the mountains. 

Currency, Credit Cards & ATM's: The Norwegian currency is “Kroner”, which is sometimes mistranslated into “crowns” in English. But whatever we call the money, cash is no longer king in Norway, and almost all establishments accept debit or credit cards. Although debit or credit cards are accepted most places, it is still a good idea to have a bit of cash on you. You will find cash machines everywhere in towns and cities. Visa and MasterCard are the most commonly accepted credit cards, with far fewer accepting Amex or Diners.

Visas: A visitor's visa allows you to stay in Norway or other countries in the Schengen area for up to 90 days over a period of 180 days. Citizens of New Zealand, travelling on New Zealand passports & Australia, travelling on Australian passports, do not need a visitor's visa.

The facts

Not Included:

  • International Airfares + Taxes
  • Transfers unless stated in the itinerary
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Phone calls
  • Passport and visas
  • Laundry or tips. 
  • Personal transport
  • Excess baggage
  • Security and government taxes
  • Travel insurance. 
  • Meals not specifically mentioned in the itinerary
  • Beverages unless specifically described. 
  • Optional excursions or activities that may be offered but are not included in the tour price.
Travel advice / FCO

We constantly monitor the advice posted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In particular we will always advise clients of any travel warnings. At the time of writing the FCO does not advise against travel to any of the places visited on this tour. Please feel free to contact us should you have any specific concerns. Furthermore, you should be aware that any travel warnings or advisories may affect the validity of your travel insurance. Therefore, at the time of booking your tour it is essential you check any restrictions on cover with your insurance provider.