Land of the Northern Lights

Follow in Joanna Lumley’s footsteps on this special independent tour.Your journey begins in Trondheim, Norway’s former ancient capital city, and home to the beautiful Gothic Nidaros Cathedral, before travelling by rail across the Arctic Circle to the picturesque little port of Bodø. After spending the night in Bodø, you then take a short domestic flight across the great Vestfjord to the magical Lofoten Islands, commonly recognised as one of the world’s most beautiful archipelagos. Their dramatic and hopelessly romantic landscape has enchanted travellers for many years and Svolvær is the perfect location from which to absorb the very special atmosphere of the islands’ vital fishing industry and their awesome panoramic views.

An overnight mini-cruise from the islands takes you to the great Arctic capital itself, Tromsø. The perfect place to spend the last couple of days of your visit to Arctic Norway.

Day 1 – Welcome to Norway and Trondheim
Morning flight from the UK to Trondheim (via Oslo), the former ancient capital city of Norway and home to the beautiful gothic Nidaros Cathedral and colourful wharf buildings.

2 nights TRONDHEIM – Thon Hotel Nidaros (3 star plus)

A full day to explore the lovely city of Trondheim, Norway’s former ancient capital city. A visit to Gothic Nidaros Cathedral is a must, it is Scandinavia’s largest medieval building, followed by a stroll alongside the timber warehouses of Bakklandet which line the banks of the Nidelva River all the way to Torvet, the main city square.

Day 3 – Rail journey across the Arctic Circle
An early breakfast either at your hotel (midweek) or a breakfast packet (weekends) before departure northwards by rail, travelling alongside narrow fjords, rivers and wild mountain scenery and, of course, across the Arctic Circle. During your journey you will enjoy a delicious Norwegian tapas tray – A Taste of Norway – before arriving in the little port of Bodø during late afternoon. Your hotel is a short distance from the train station so after a quick check-in, you are free to have a little walk around Bodø to stretch your legs. What a nice relaxing day!

1 night BODØ – Thon Hotel Nordlys (3 star plus)

Day 4 – Bodø before short flight to the Lofoten Islands
Morning at leisure in Bodø. A half-hour flight in the afternoon takes you from Bodø to Svolvær where you will either be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel in the centre of Svolvær, or collect your hire car and drive the short distance to your authentic fisherman’s rorbu beside the sea. Those without a hire car have an included guided Northern Lights hunt with a local guide during the evening.

2 nights SVOLVÆR – Thon Hotel Lofoten (4 star) or Scandic Hotel Svolvær (3 star plus) OR Svinøya Rorbuer (3/4 star depending upon rorbu style)

Day 5 – Explore Svolvær
A free day to try one of the optional activities, hire a car and explore independently, or simply relax and potter around the beautiful town of Svolvær at your leisure.

Day 6 – Explore the Lofoten Islands
Day free to relax and explore independently or join an optional excursion from Svolvær. We recommend having dinner in Svolvær prior to boarding Hurtigruten for your overnight sailing as the ship arrives into the town at 2100 and departs at 2200.

1 night ONBOARD SHIP – Hurtigruten Vessel

Day 7 – Arrive Tromsø
During the night the ship calls at a number of ports on the Vesterålen Islands and next day you sail up the coast to Tromsø arriving at 1430. En route you will enjoy the splendid Hurtigruten lunch buffet. Your hotel is situated literally a minute’s walk across the quayside from where the ship docks.

2 nights TROMSØ – Scandic Ishavshotel (4 star)

Day 8 – Explore Tromsø

After breakfast you have the option to either spend the day exploring Tromsø and its attractions or join one of our morning excursions – for further details of optional activities see Excursion tab.

For those who choose to spend the whole day exploring Tromsø you will not be disappointed. Tromsø is Northern Norway’s largest city with long traditions as a departure point for polar expeditions. Set on an island, well within the Arctic Circle, the city is a popular destination for those seeking an exciting city stay offering a wonderful selection of outdoor activities and excursions. Luckily much of the city’s old wooden architecture is preserved, and contrasts well with the modern Arctic Cathedral, and you will find a bustling centre of shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. Well worth a visit is Polaria, an arctic themed experience centre with the fascinating Ivo Caprino film ‘ Svalbard – Arctic Wilderness’ and an arctic aquarium with bearded seals. The Polar Museum provides a fabulous insight into how polar explorers, of yesterday and today, really were and are amongst the most daring and adventurous men and women on the planet.

Day 9 – Homeward bound
Depart Tromsø for Oslo in the afternoon and onward flight to Heathrow.

Departure Dates and Costs per Person 

Hotels throughout
Sep – Dec 2018 : £1985
Jan – Apr 2019: £2185

Hotels + rorbu with car hire
Sep – Dec 2018: £2045
Jan – Apr 2019: £2270

Who is this holiday suitable for?
It is suitable for adults of all ages though not really for children under the age of 12. This is not because we don’t like children, but actually because we do. This holiday is very much geared towards history, culture and scenery and the evening of Aurora hunting can have a late finish which children may find tiring and, dare we say, boring. There are exceptions however, we know that, and if you have a child who is an avid enthusiast we will do everything we can to encourage and accommodate them.

Where do I eat lunch on the train from Trondheim to Bodø?
We have pre-booked and paid for your lunch, all you need to do is go and collect it from the buffet car on the train and take it back to your seat to eat it. A choice of menu will be discussed with you at the time of booking and special diets can be catered for.

What sort of clothing will I need to wear?
The Arctic coast of Norway is warmed by the Gulf Stream which means that temperatures are relatively mild compared to many other Arctic regions. However, when you are spending a considerable amount of time outdoors admiring the scenery and waiting for the Northern Lights to appear it is important to be warm and dry. The layering principal is very important (base, mid, outer) with man-made thermal fibres or wool. In our opinion wool is definitely best, and merino wool is soft and cosy and certainly a good investment. A good, waterproof outdoor jacket is essential, and also over trousers are a bonus if you have them. Wool socks (we wouldn’t wear anything else here), perhaps a couple of pairs, and good hiking boots or snow boots are very important. Gloves, scarf, hat and you’re raring to go! Those joining a dog-sledding excursion in Tromsø will be provided with specialist thermal clothing for the trip.

Can special diets be catered for?
Absolutely, but we need to know at the time of booking so that we can inform all our suppliers and ensure delicious, suitable alternatives are provided.

What is the distance from Svinøya Rorbuer to the centre of Svolvær?
The distance is actually rather short; approximately 850 metres and 10 minutes of walking under normal conditions, however, in winter conditions this may take longer than you think. We estimate around 15-20 minutes in each direction. Again, good footwear is necessary with solid soles and, ideally, some slip on grippers.

How far is Børsen Spiseri from my rorbu?
You will be taking breakfast in Børsen Spiseri which is a short walk from your rorbu, in the main building. Svinøya Rorbuer is a complex of traditional and authentic fishermens’ temporary housing during the fishing season and the very nature of these rorbus means that they are scattered in rows along the coastline. The ground around the rorbus can be uneven and very slippery in icy conditions and good footwear is essential. There are pathways, which will be kept as clear as possible and sanded, but care should always be taken.

I am a poor sailor, would the Nature Safari by Boat be a problem? 
Hmmm, here we have to be honest and say the answer is probably yes. We would strongly recommend bringing sea-sickness tablets with you to take beforehand; many people do so and as a result have no problem at all. Alternatively, try the RIB boat sea eagle safari instead. Our own staff – Suzel and Terry – are both awful sailors, however neither of them have any problems whatsoever with RIB boats.

Prices are examples and will be confirmed when you book


Description: What can we say – delicious, delightful, scrumptious, divine……..all of them at the same time! Emma’s is truly a treat. You will begin your gourmet delight with an aperitif…to set the tone…this is then followed by a 5-course gourmet dinner based on local produce – perhaps King Crab, perhaps reindeer, perhaps both, but don’t worry they are also very well equipped for serving vegetarians and those with special diets too. Each course is presented by your waiter/waitress so you know where it is from and how it has been cooked, but don’t ask for the menu in advance, these products are fresh and the chef will base the menu on what looks good on the day. Perfect for a special occasion or just to celebrate the first night of your holiday.

Price: £90 per person (5-course dinner), wine menu to accompany the dinner £75 per person.


Description: Kjetil is the Northern Lights chaser who chased and found the Northern Lights for Joanna Lumley during her trip to Tromsø for the BBC. He specializes in small group trips (maximum 7 people) which makes it nice and easy to jump in and out of his mini-van at any given opportunity and, if necessary, head off to Finland in search of them! Of course, the smaller the group the more time he has to spend helping individuals with their own camera settings which is rather important if taking your own photographic evidence is an important part of your trip. Kjetil can be rather relentless so this trip is for those who are happy to be out for a lengthy period of time, are steady on their feet i.e. able to do night-time walking over uneven ground carrying photographic equipment and who love the thrill of the chase. The trip departs from outside the Radisson BLU Hotel at 1900 and has a duration of 6-8 hours – sometimes longer if necessary….. Transportation is by Peugeot Expert Tepee mini-van or similar which comortably seats 7 passengers (the maximum number Kjetil carries for each excursion). Distance travelled can be 150 kms or more one-way, depending on the cloud/weather conditions but the length of the tour is not the main thing if there is a chance of clear skies somewhere! The trip includes transportation, a woven Northern Lights Chaser badge to put on your clothes, coffee/tea, sweet snacks and a thermal suit if you need one.
Operates: Daily, 23 September to 15 March
Duration: 6-8 hours, departs at 1900
Price: £185 per person including:

Coffee and biscuit/cookies.
Thermal suits to put upon your own clothes(sizes from M to XL), European sizes.
There will also be snowshoes in the car and it will be possible to try them. Weather/condition and location depending.
A badge to prove that your are an Aurora chaser of Tromsø..


Description: Make friends with top trained dogs and enjoy the Arctic coastal nature with a fantastic view over Tromsø, surrounded by white covered mountains and long fjords. Each participant will sit on the sled with an experienced guide mushing the dog team (maximum two passengers per sled). There’s a good chance of spotting some wildlife on the way through the snow covered landscape. After about 45-60 minutes of dog sledding (depending on weather conditions) you’ll return to the ranch where you will meet some gorgeous puppies, before being served a Sami meal (Bidos) with coffee and cake for dessert inside a warm sami tent (lavvo). Vegetarian option is also available. Please note: evening activity includes Bacalao meal made with stockfish and tomatoes. Evening excursion includes the opportunity to view the Northern Lights (weather permitting).
Operates: 1 December – mid-April
Duration: 4 hours (45-60 minutes of dog sledding, depending on weather conditions). This includes the transfers of 25 minutes in each direction to and from Tromsø.
Departures: Daytime 0745, 0845, 0945 and 1015 or Evening 1815.
Price: £190 per adult, £95 (child 4-12).
Includes: Transfer to and from Tromsø, guided dog-sledding activity with 2 passengers per sled (guide mushing the dog team), thermal overalls, boots, hat and gloves, and lunch of Bidos with coffee/tea and cake.


Description: This is a lovely trip which departs directly from the harbour in Tromsø on board an authentic fishing catamaran. The catamaran is certified to carry 12 passengers and a crew of four which makes for a nice cosy atmosphere on board. As you pull out of the harbour you have a lovely view of Tromsø by night with the majestic Arctic Cathedral, then gradually the city lights fade and you are shrouded in darkness out at sea. It has to be said that most of the staff at Scandinavia Only have taken this trip and two of them, both terrible sailors, had NO PROBLEM at all which came as a surprise. The trip is in sheltered waters which makes it very comfortable and there is a cosy warm heated lounge where you can relax in between trips to the viewing deck to look for the lights. A delicious homemade fish dinner is served though vegetarian and other special diets are catered for if we know in advance.
Operates: 1 October – 31 March
Duration: 2030 – 2330
Price: £150 per person
Price includes: Boat cruise, guiding, traditional Norwegian fish dinner (boiled cod with potatoes, bacon, onions, vegetables, flatbread and butter. For dessert chocolate/biscuits/fruit and hot drinks), hiring of poncho and tripod.


Description: Join a real Sami guide for an unforgettable experience with reindeer sledding (3 km) and Sami culture in Tromsø. Your guides are from Sami reindeer herding families and are eager to share their stories with you; how the Sami lived in times gone past, how they live today. Just remember NOT to ask them how many reindeer they have! During your visit you will experience: reindeer sledding, lasso throwing, sightseeing at the camp, traditional Sami food, storytelling, display of cultural artifacts and joik (traditional Sami song). The trip departs at 1000 and returns at 1400. Warm clothes, guide, hot meal, hot drink and return transfer (30 mins one way) are included.
Operates: Daily, 1 Nov to 15 April
Duration: 4 hours, departs 1000
Price: £165 per adult, £80 per child (4-12)
Price includes: transfers (30 mins one way), guide, warm clothes, traditional Sami meal of Bidos (reindeer stew), storytelling and Joik (Sami chant), and hot drink


Description: Mini-bus transfer to Camp Tamok for thorough safety introduction and driving techniques. Your snowmobile safari adventure travels through the valley of Finn to the lake of Tamok, a distance of 15 km one-way (30 km in total). At the lake you can try out ice fishing. You will drive in pairs, one driver and one passenger on each snowmobile, with the opportunity to switch places half-way. Due to the dramatic topography reduced speed is held during parts of the tour however on flat land and frozen lakes you can speed up! A hot meal is served during the trip.
Operates: 1 December – 31 March NB! Risk of cancellation of excursions in December due to insufficient snow.
Duration: 7 hrs (4.5 hrs plus transfer). Departs: 0900 or 1700
Price: £190 per person (2 per snowmobile), supplement for solo snowmobile £75 per person
Price includes: Price includes: transfers (75 minutes each way), a light meal of reindeer stew with vegetables, flatbread and a hot drink, thermal clothing, helmet and head lamp (evening trip), guide. NB! Driving licence required.


Description: Snowshoeing is one of the best ways to enjoy nature up close in the wintertime. Your guides know the backcountry by heart and will guide you on tours that are safe from avalanches and will give you great views of the Vestfjord and the mainland of Norway. Your snowshoes are lightweight and easy to use, with great flexibility for the foot, and with a good grip for the harder snowpacked parts. You will also have poles for steadier walking.
Operates: Late October – end April.
Duration: 3 hrs, departs 1000.
Price: £115 per person.
Price includes: Snowshoes, poles, experienced guide throughout.


Description: Explore and discover the Lofoten Islands from the sea by RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat)- you are guaranteed an experience close to nature and the elements. Your skillfull and experienced skippers provide you with plenty of good stories and local knowledge. They know if there are whales or eagles which they can seek out nearby. You will be provided with a thermal, floating suit, life vest, gloves and goggles and it is recommend you wear warm footwear, a hat and clothes to fit the weather and temperature.
Operates: Daily, 1 September to 31 May
Duration: Approx. 2 hours.
Departs: 1100
Price: £95 per person