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Northern Lights on a Winter Arctic Cruise

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20252026
12 days From £3,195 per person
4.6 stars(9 reviews)
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From stylish Oslo take an epic winter journey on the iconic Bergen Railway to Bergen, then embark on a magnificent voyage along Norway’s stunning coast, into the Arctic Circle

Mobility Rating 3

2025 Tour code: NJW25

About the tour

Discover Norway in magical winter as we explore Oslo and Bergen with a stunning journey through astonishingly beautiful scenery on the world-renowned Bergen Railway, before embarking on a six-night Arctic cruise.

Our northbound voyage from Bergen to Kirkenes passes some of the world's most beautiful fjords, crosses the Arctic Circle and sails around the North Cape plateau at the very top of Europe.

In the otherworldly Arctic there's a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights as we sail through the fascinating Lofoten Islands during a season that casts an enchanting sheen on Norway's dramatic landscapes.

Unforgettable experiences

Sailing through Norway’s majestic fjords into the Arctic Circle, among spellbinding winter scenery
Sailing through Norway’s majestic fjords into the Arctic Circle, among spellbinding winter scenery
Experience Norway’s fjords and the Arctic Circle in winter from the comfort of our modern cruise ship. Sail into spectacular scenery during the best season of the year to witness the wondrous Northern Lights.
Cruising into the mysterious Lofoten Islands
Cruising into the mysterious Lofoten Islands
Sail through the atmospheric and charming archipelago of the Lofoten Islands, passing fjordside fishing villages and peaceful snow-capped mountains, and learn about the islands’ rich cultural heritage.
Experiencing Norway’s world-renowned Bergen Railway in winter
Experiencing Norway’s world-renowned Bergen Railway in winter
As northern Europe’s highest and most beautiful railway, the iconic Bergen Railway showcases Norway’s spectacular winter landscapes of fjords, snow-frosted forests and Europe’s largest mountain plateau.
Discovering charming Oslo on a two-night stay of this innovative capital
Discovering charming Oslo on a two-night stay of this innovative capital
During our stay in Norway’s stylish capital we uncover the city’s landmarks on an expertly guided sightseeing tour, including the modern Opera House overlooking Oslofjord, and the imposing Akershus Fortress.
Exploring the World Heritage multicoloured waterfront of Bergen
Exploring the World Heritage multicoloured waterfront of Bergen
Once the largest wooden city in northern Europe, the multicoloured buildings lining the picturesque Bryggen waterfront are now a UNESCO World Heritage site. We discover its history on a guided sightseeing tour of Bergen.
Meeting the hard-working huskies of Norway
Meeting the hard-working huskies of Norway
On a wonderful excursion from the Arctic city of Kirkenes, we visit the Kirkenes Snowhotel to meet the fantastic hard-working huskies, their pups, and the reindeer – animals that are vital to life in the Arctic Circle.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Directly to dynamic Oslo, in all its winter finery

Our Northern Lights and Arctic cruise holiday starts when we meet our Tour Manager and group at London Heathrow for our morning flight to Norway's fabulous capital city of Oslo. On arrival, we transfer by the efficient Norwegian rail system to our central 4-Star hotel, close to Oslo Central Station and the celebrated Norwegian Opera House.

This innovative green city is regularly commended for its progressive architecture and, with a people-friendly centre that is becoming increasingly car-free with more large green spaces, it is pioneering a new future for European cities.

After checking in to our rooms, there's time to relax and get to know our neighbourhood in central Oslo before gathering this evening for a three-course dinner with our group at a local restaurant.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Exploring dynamic Oslo, with a guided tour and time at leisure

After breakfast, we head out with a knowledgeable guide on a 3-hour walking tour, starting at the famous opera house. The exterior of this stunning auditorium is covered with marble and white granite, so it appears to rise from the water. Visitors are encouraged to walk on the building, weather permitting, for great views across Oslofjord.

We continue to the Akershus Fortress, a medieval castle with twin spires which glimmer through the winter snow. From here, we explore 'Kvadraturen' - Oslo's oldest existing district, the Renaissance town of King Christian IV of Denmark, where a few 17th-century buildings remain.

With a free afternoon, you could visit one of Oslo's renowned museums such as the Viking Ship, the National Museum, or the Edvard Munch gallery which houses Munch's most famous work 'The Scream'. Or you could watch the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace.

For dinner, Oslo is the place to try new Nordic cuisine. Or maybe indulge in a traditional meal at the oldest restaurant in Oslo, the elegant Engebret Café near Christiana Torv.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 3 – An epic journey from Oslo to Bergen on the stunning Bergen Railway

This morning is one of the highlights of our tour, a journey aboard the iconic Bergen Railway, Northern Europe's highest and most beautiful line, on its spectacular journey to Bergen. From Oslo's centre and suburbs, we head west into the countryside and the backdrop to our journey on becomes more breathtaking, beautifully enhanced by snow.

After a couple of hours we reach Flå in the pretty Hallingdal Valley, through which the Hallingdalselva River flows to Lake Krøderen. We pass the picturesque winter ski resort of Geilo, then our train climbs up to the Hardangervidda mountain plateau, the largest in Northern Europe. The highest point of the Bergen Railway is the tiny mountain village of Finse and from here we descend into the exquisite fjords, before approaching Voss, surrounding by icy mountains. An hour from Voss we reach our picture-perfect destination, Bergen - the capital of western Norway, with its distinctive colourful wooden buildings on the Bryggen waterfront, a UNESCO-listed site. On arrival we walk the short distance to our delightful hotel, with time to relax and maybe wander along Bergen's World Heritage waterfront before dinner.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 – Touring charming Bergen, including a trip on the Fløibanen funicular

After a leisurely breakfast, we set off on a guided walking tour of Bergen. This attractive harbour city, once Norway's capital, is surrounded by seven striking mountains and renowned for the brightly painted buildings of its waterfront area, a UNESCO-listed area known as the Bryggen. Its picturesque wharf was once the centre of the old Hanseatic port, a key hub in trade between Norway and the rest of Europe.

Our tour ends around midday, after a fabulous ride on the Fløibanen funicular, which gives us spectacular views across the snowy landscape and countless scenic islands.

The rest of the day is yours to enjoy at your own pace and you could start with a visit to the picturesque fish market for some freshly-caught lunch. This afternoon you could visit the Bryggens Museum to gain insights into everyday life in Medieval Bergen and see the world's largest collection of runic inscriptions. When you are ready to think about dinner, this characterful city offers a surprisingly wide range of cuisine - from pizza to seafood, Japanese to African.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 – Starting our magnificent voyage north aboard the Havila Cruise Ship

The next awe-inspiring experience of our epic winter adventure starts around midday, when we transfer by coach to Bergen port, the gateway to the Norwegian fjords, the Arctic Circle and the start of our incredible journey north along Norway's stunning coastline. Here we board our modern environmentally-friendly cruise ship, for an unforgettable journey of six nights.

Havila's recently introduced vessels are one of the most relaxing and comfortable ways to explore the northernmost part of Norway and are equipped to ensure we can relax and enjoy the breathtaking winter scenery in style. An observation lounge on the top deck has recliners under a glass roof so you don't have to step outside into the cold. There are two restaurants and a café on board, as well as a sauna and a gym where all the machines face the window.

After settling in to our comfortable interior cabins and perhaps finding a seat to look out from the top deck, we enjoy dinner together this evening, before commencing our incredible northbound voyage with an overnight sailing to the remarkable town of Ålesund.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 – A day to explore beautiful Ålesund or book an optional mini-cruise into the stunning Geirangerfjord

Waking to views of the ruggedly beautiful Norwegian coast after the first night of our voyage north, we pass the ports of Florø, Måløy, and Torvik. After breakfast on board we dock in Ålesund for the day, a graceful town renowned for its art nouveau architecture, beautiful brick-built houses and warehouses.

You are free to spend the day in this enchanting town. Maybe start with a walk along the waterfront among the unusual mix of architecture, a result of the rebuilding which occurred after 1904 when a fire destroyed many of Ålesund's original wooden buildings. You could find out more about the town's history in the Ålesund Museum. Another option is to book one of the excursions on offer, such as a serene mini-cruise into the spectacular Geirangerfjord, one of Norway's best-loved destinations.

Lunch is served aboard the ship, or you may like to try some locally-caught fish. A speciality is the salted dried cod known as klippfisk, which is reputed to be pretty salty!

We return to our ship in the late afternoon and, over dinner, our northbound journey continues into the dreamlike winter landscape of fjords, islands and mountains.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 – A morning to explore Trondheim before continuing our voyage north into the fabulous Trondheimsfjord

This morning we dock in the historic city of Trondheim, founded over a thousand years ago and known as the 'Viking City'. There's time to look around and discover more of the city's fascinating history before lunch, maybe visiting the Nidaros Cathedral, Norway's national shrine and one of the largest cathedrals in Northern Europe. It is also possible to book a guided tour of Trondheim as an optional excursion onboard.

Back on board, our voyage north continues out into the open water of the fjord, travelling through an amazingly abundant archipelago. We pass the Kjeungskjær Lighthouse, a bright red octagonal structure situated at the meeting point of Trondheimsfjord and the North Sea, before navigating the narrow strait of Stokksund on our way to the coastal town of Rørvik.

After dark and dinner onboard, as we sail towards Bodø we can start to look out for that most magical of natural phenomena - the wondrous Northern Lights.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 – Crossing the Arctic Circle to Bodø and the breathtaking Lofoten Islands with a chance to see the amazing Northern Lights

Continuing our voyage north, we cross the 66.5 degrees northerly latitude, celebrating as we enter the Arctic Circle. We drop anchor in Bodø, where we can disembark and explore or enjoy the charming harbour backed by beautiful mountains. Optional excursions to book onboard include a Bodø city tour, a trip to the stunning Svartisen Glacier or Sea Eagle spotting.

Back at sea in the mid-afternoon, we catch our first glimpse of the steep granite cliffs and silvery beaches of the Lofoten Islands. Described as Europe's most dramatic and spectacular isles, the Lofotens are tethered to mainland Norway by a series of bridges that resemble spiky teeth. Home to small fishing communities, we enter the breathtaking strait of Raftsundet, before reaching the sapphire waters of Trollfjord. Here, snow-covered granite peaks jut out of the water, narrowing the channel, before opening to reveal an ethereal landscape blanketed in pristine white.

In the Arctic winter, days are only a shade less dark than night-time, so we have the best chance of seeing the spectacular Northern Lights. Failing that, we can look out for the lights of Lofoten's fishing villages.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 9 – Risøyhamn and the chance to book an optional excursion in Tromsø

Gliding past the laid-back coastal towns of Risøyhamn, Harstad and Finnsnes this morning, we enjoy the sight of everyday life in the Arctic winter before we disembark in Tromsø, the largest city in northern Norway.

Here you can make the most of more optional excursions, booked and paid for onboard, including a tour of the Arctic capital which includes a cable car ride up one of the surrounding mountains, or spend time at Tromsø's unique modern cathedral. A piercing pyramid of aluminium and glass, the 1960s Arctic Cathedral is beautifully illuminated in hours of darkness, showcasing the amazing stained-glass windows.

Tromsø is proud of its Arctic location and is also home to numerous galleries and museums, including the Polar Museum and the Troll Museum. Near the 19th-century cathedral, there is a statue of famed polar explorer Roald Amundsen, looking out to the water.

Re-boarding our ship, we cruise through chilly waters which are home to orcas, humpback whales and lots of hardy Arctic birds.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 10 – The wilderness of North Cape and Honningsvåg

Today takes us to Norway's North Cape, where the icy waters of the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans mix. This remote outpost, known as the northernmost point of Europe, is beautifully elemental. Being north of the Arctic treeline it is a white, treeless landscape stretching as far as the eye can see.

We disembark at Havøysund to visit the world's most northerly fishing village as well as the North Cape Plateau before continuing to Honningsvåg. Before leaving the ship, you can book and pay for an optional guided tour of the Northern Cape, with time at the Northern Cape Hall visitor centre to learn more about this ethereal land.

Later, there's the chance to book another unique optional excursion - a cruise across to Kjøllefjord to learn about the traditional way of life of the Sámi people. These indigenous peoples live in the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia and are traditionally reindeer herders, hunters, fishermen and gatherers - the ancestors of whom have lived in these areas for thousands of years. With their own languages and distinct culture, their lifestyle has seen a remarkable resurgence in recent years.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 11 - A guided tour of Kirkenes, meeting local huskies, pups and reindeer, then lunch at the Snowhotel

With little light pollution in this striking part of the world, we will have hopefully had the opportunity to view the Northern Lights on our cruise. These spectacular colourful bouncing waves of light are unpredictable, but the required conditions are often found north of the Arctic Circle.

After passing Vardo, the easternmost town in Norway, our cruise ends in Kirkenes. This northern city situated near to the borders with Finland and Russia is known as the 'King Crab City' due to its rich waters.

We're met by a local guide for a coach tour of the area, which includes the scenic shores of Langfjorden and the Svanhovd Botanical Gardens, a place where the diversity of life in the Arctic Circle can be fully appreciated.

Our next wonderful experience is a visit to the husky kennels at the Snowhotel where we meet the amazing hard-working huskies, some of their pups, and reindeer, discovering how vital they still are to life in this part of the world. After a relaxing lunch, we transfer to a central hotel where we enjoy our last dinner with our group tonight.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12 - Homeward bound

After breakfast at our hotel this morning, we check out and transfer to Kirkenes airport where we board the flight back to Oslo, flying over snow-capped mountains and wintry forests, before connecting to a flight to London Heathrow.

Touching down in the UK, we bid a fond farewell to our Tour Manager and fellow travelling companions, who have shared the unforgettable magic of the Norwegian fjords and Arctic waters in this most evocative of seasons. As we head homewards, images of the magnificent landscapes we have travelled through and the incredible natural wonders we have encountered, are certain to stay with us and be cherished for years ahead.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular holiday with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Thon Hotel Bristol, Bergen

Thon Hotel Bristol, Bergen

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Thon Hotel, Kirkenes

Thon Hotel, Kirkenes

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Thon Hotel Opera, Oslo

Thon Hotel Opera, Oslo

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Trains

Bergen Railway
Dovre Railway

Ship

Havila

Enhance your holiday

Upgrades

Upgrade your cabin
Flight upgrades
London Hotels
UK rail connections

Reviews

4.6 stars4.6 / 5 · 9 reviews

  1. 5 stars
    (5)
  2. 4 stars
    (4)
  3. 3 stars
    (0)
  4. 2 stars
    (0)
  5. 1 star
    (0)

Michael Reynard

5 stars

Submitted 14/Mar

Very well organised holiday. Loved the cruise up to the northern parts of Norway and seeing the Northern Lights for the first time was an added bonus.

Collected by Trustpilot

Andy B

4 stars

Submitted 12/Mar

Excellent tour manager and excursion guides.

Collected by Trustpilot

Kevin Gardner

4 stars

Submitted 5/Mar

Stunning scenery

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Kevin, Thank you for your review. That is great to hear! Kind regards, Sophie.
1 comment

Collected by Trustpilot

Paul Windwood

4 stars

Submitted 5/Mar

Enjoyable holiday that we liked very much. The last day was a little disappointing

from Great Rail Journeys
Dear Paul, Thank you for your review. I am very glad that you had an enjoyable tour, but it is a shame that the last day was disappointing. I will pass your feedback over to our team so we can review the itinerary of this day for the future. Kind regards, Sophie.
1 comment

Collected by Trustpilot

Chris Edwards

5 stars

Submitted 29/Feb

This trip just got better and better, we had everything from stunning, continually unfolding, winter fjord landscapes to the elusive Northern Lights. It absolutely exceeded expectations. Over and above what the landscape offered we really enjoyed the art galleries, not only the Munch and National Gallery in Oslo but also the Kunstmuseum, Trondheim and the small but engaging North Norwegian Art Museum in Tromsø. The Thon Hotels were well located and the Havila cruise boat was bang up to date with everything you could hope for, (apart from cheaper drink!). The day in Kirkenes felt like a weak ending to the wonderful cruise experience but if you like huskies, perhaps not. Sadly, it had to end somewhere………

Collected by Trustpilot

P Battams

5 stars

Submitted 23/Feb

Normally we are independent travellers but this trip has been really superb - the places we visited, the ship, the fellow travellers and, above all, the calm and reliable guidance of our fantastic "leader", Joe Royle. I could not recommend him more highly!

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