Explore Norway, Lapland and the Northern Lights
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On this remarkable adventure we explore Norway and Swedish Lapland, journeying north far into the Arctic Circle where we seek out the magical Northern Lights, all whilst travelling on some of Scandinavia's most scenic railways.
Our wonderful journey in search of the Northern Lights begins in London, where we board our flight to Oslo. Here we transfer to our hotel for two nights, the Thon Hotel Opera*, located close to the Opera House.
*Depending on the departure date, you may stay in the Thon Bristol Hotel
Today you are free to explore Oslo at leisure. The new State Opera House is situated close to our hotel and is an impressive, award-winning example of modern architecture. Norway's magnificent 19th century Royal Palace and the 20th century Oslo City Hall, home of the Nobel Prize ceremonies, are both well worth visiting. Oslo also boasts a variety of attractive parks including the Vigeland Sculpture Park, whose 80 fascinating acres were designed by Gustav Vigeland. The city offers a good choice of museums including, the Folk Museum and the Edvard Munch Museum.
Today we leave Oslo and head due north by train, following the line of the Dovre Railway. Our wonderfully scenic daytime journey takes us through the majestic landscape of the Dovrefjell - a mountain range separating eastern Norway from the region surrounding Trondheim. The mountains are part of the Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park, a protected region which is a natural habitat for many rare plants and animals. Later we arrive in Trondheim for two nights at the Radisson Blu Royal Garden Hotel, located in the heart of the city within walking distance of its shops, restaurants and Bakklandet, the city's Old Quarter. Day 4 is free to explore atmospheric Trondheim, one of Norway's oldest cities.
We leave Trondheim early this morning and travel north on the Nordland Railway for a 452-mile journey to Bodø. The route takes us through the beautiful and varied landscape of northern Norway, past gently sloping hills and distant mountains, majestic lakes and deep forests, rocky coastline and views across small islands and out over the open sea.
We cross the Arctic Circle - 66 degrees north - shortly before reaching the town of Lonsdal, the highest point of the railway. The train reaches Fauske before turning due west for the final short section of the journey to Bodø, which claims to be 'the city with the world's most beautiful coastline'. As Bodø is beneath the auroral oval, if the weather is clear, tonight could be our first viewing of the magical Northern Lights.
We spend the night at the Thon Hotel Nordlys, located in the heart of the town. After dinner, we travel by coach to a viewing point, to maximise our chances of seeing the spectral dance of the magnificent Northern Lights.
After a leisurely morning we board our Hurtigruten ship, and travel to Svolvaer, the tiny capital of the stunning Lofoten Islands. Described as Europe's most dramatic and spectacular islands, the Lofoten Islands are tethered to mainland Norway by a series of bridges and resemble spikey, wired teeth. The islands are home to small fishing communities, their houses built on timber piles with seawater under the floorboards and imposing cliffs towering 3,000ft above. We spend two nights at the Thon Hotel Svolvaer.
Your morning is free to explore Svolvaer and the Lofoten Islands at leisure. The islands are home to some outstanding wildlife, including the world's densest population of sea eagles and large numbers of minke whales which roam the blue-watered bays. In the late afternoon we embark on a coach journey to the quiet side of the island where there is hardly any light pollution. These are fantastic conditions from which to hunt for the Northern Lights, as well as making for beautiful views of the wintry landscapes. Afterwards, we enjoy a meal of local produce at the Old Fish Oil Museum and later we return by coach to Svolvaer.
We leave Svolvaer by coach this morning, and return to the Norwegian mainland. Our journey once again offers a wonderful opportunity to soak up the region's breathtaking beauty, with views from the coach stretching down sheer drops to the majestic fjords in the valley below. We check in to the Scandic Hotel Narvik and enjoy an afternoon at leisure. The ice-free seaport is located 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle and has a number of fascinating attractions including its Red Cross War Memorial Museum, which documents the wartime occupation of Narvik by the Germans in World War II and the bitter air and sea battles that took place for control of the harbour and the iron ore supplies. Also worth a visit is the Ofoten Museum, housed in the old NSB Railway building, which features exhibitions relating to local cultural history and the construction of the Ofoten Railway.
Today we enjoy a journey on one of the world's most northerly railway lines, the Ofoten Railway. Narvik was originally built as a port to export the iron ore mined near Kiruna, and the Ofoten Railway was built as the link between the mines and the port.
We travel on this line across the Swedish border, crossing barren plateaus and traversing steep mountainsides as we make our way to Kiruna, Swedish Lapland's largest city. The railway's route was painstakingly carved out of the mountains - an incredible engineering project that was largely undertaken by hand. On arrival in Kiruna we have time at leisure. We spend two nights at the Camp Ripan Hotel.
This morning we enjoy time at Kiruna's famous Ice Hotel. In the late afternoon we take a 'Sami experience', discovering the lives and culture of Sweden's indigenous people. We travel to a Sami village where we meet the reindeer, enjoy a Sami feast in a 'lavvu' (Sami tent) and listen to local folk tales. We then leave the lights of the village behind, heading into a beautiful landscape of forests and mountains to try and view the captivating Northern Lights once again. On Day 11 we depart Kiruna for the airport, and fly via Stockholm to London.
Before crossing the Arctic Circle, we experience a fascinating insight into the science and mythology behind the Northern Lights from our exclusive guest speaker. Jim is a Professor of Space Physics who has conducted extensive research in the Aurora Borealis field, and will present an overview of the phenomenon of the Northern Lights, answering any questions afterward. Please call for details.
An escorted experience with all arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Fantastic rail experiences
Exciting excursions and free time explore
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 8 verified reviews
We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. The change of hotels on Lofoten was good, in that it was fun to stay in a Rorbuer, but the location meant that we had a lot of hours in buses using the same route. Also it was very sad to make the boat trip out to the islands at night, as the scenery would have been wonderful
Well organised and generally very satisfactory. Scenery wonderful and train rides excellent. One problem with accommodation quickly resolved by tour manager.
The tour guide went above and beyond what was expected: she was brilliant. The hotels were all very nice, although the breakfast options did drop from absolutely excellent (The Bristol in Oslo was amazing on all counts) to acceptable but moving toward basic at Kiruna. The weather was great and we saw the Northern Lights. Thoroughly enjoyed the holiday and would recommend unreservedly.
Excellent itinerary, very pleasant and efficient tour manager, good location of good quality hotels, scenic train rides, right mix of free time and excursions
The tour manager Mary Ryan was excellent, she was always willing to make our holiday an experience to remember. The weather was good not too cold. It was good value for money.
Beautiful scenery, a lovely way to see this country, excellent guide and good balance between scheduled and free time.
The tour fulfilled our expectations in terms of itinerary, the scenery, weather, locations visited and (with one exception being the Scandic Bodo) the quality of the hotels.
Ran like clockwork, nice hotels, excellent travel arrangements, great itinerary and excellent tour manager. My only criticism would be that most of the evening meals were set menu with no choice - didn't bother me too much as I'll eat anything, but some ended up not eating the main course.
Very well looked after good hotels and itineraries
Well organised, trains and hotels good
Explore Norway, Lapland and the Northern Lights