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Northern Lights on a Winter Arctic Cruise

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20242025
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4.7 stars(3 reviews)
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Explore cultural Oslo before enjoying an ethereal winter cruise along the magnificent coast of Norway from Trondheim to Kirkenes in the Arctic Circle

Mobility Rating 3

2024 Tour code: NJW24

About the tour

Discover a magical wonderland as we explore Oslo and Trondheim before embarking on a four-night Arctic cruise through snowy fjords.

Experience life above the Arctic Circle with the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights as the atmospheric winter brings a breath-taking sparkle to stunning landscapes.

Travel on the incredible Dovre Railway through snow-covered scenery, and sail through the fascinating Lofoten Islands during a season that casts an enchanting sheen on to fascinating Norway.

Unforgettable experiences

Wonderfully wintry Arctic Cruise
Wonderfully wintry Arctic Cruise
Experience Norway’s fjords and the Arctic Circle in winter from the comfort of your cruise ship. See spectacular scenery and have the best chance to witness the fantastic Northern Lights.
Magical snow-covered Lofoten Islands
Magical snow-covered Lofoten Islands
Sail through the atmospheric and charming archipelago of the Lofoten Islands, and learn about the islands’ rich cultural heritage.
Enjoy beautiful Norway from the Dovre Railway
Enjoy beautiful Norway from the Dovre Railway
Travel through the heart of Norway on the route that is known as the ‘trail of the trolls’. View scenes of incredible wilderness, charming towns and epic scenery on the journey from Oslo to Trondheim.
Spend two nights in charming Oslo
Spend two nights in charming Oslo
Stay in Norway’s stylish and innovative capital for two nights and learn about the city’s medieval past on a guided tour of Oslo’s historic old town.
Get close to the Vikings in Trondheim
Get close to the Vikings in Trondheim
Discover the Viking capital of Norway as we spend two nights in magical Trondheim, visiting the incredible 13th-century Gothic Nidaros Cathedral.

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - London to Oslo

The group gathers at London Heathrow this morning for our flight to wintry Oslo. On arrival at Gardermoen airport, we transfer to the Norwegian capital where we check into our central 4-Star hotel near Oslo Central Station and the Norwegian Opera House. This innovative green city is regularly praised for its modern architecture and, with a centre that is becoming increasingly car-free with more large green spaces, it is pioneering a new future for our cities.

This evening, we enjoy a three-course dinner together at a local restaurant.

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 2 - Exploring stylish Oslo

After breakfast this morning, a knowledgeable tour guideshows us round this stylish city starting at the opera house. The angled exterior surfaces of this auditorium are covered with marble and white granite to make it appear as if it is rising from the water. People are encouraged to walk on the building's slopes when the weather is appropriate, and they are rewarded with some of the best views across Oslo Fjord. We continue to the Akershus Fortress, a medieval castle that's protected the city for much of the last millennium. The imposing structure is topped by two piercing spires that shine through the snow in winter. From here, we explore 'Kvadraturen' - the oldest existing district in Oslo. The Renaissance town of King Christian IV of Denmark, only a few of the 17th-century buildings remain, the best of which can be seen around Christiana Torv.

With free time in the afternoon, you may be keen towarm to the culture of Norway by visiting some of the city's renowned museums, such as the Viking Ship, FramPolar Exploration or the modernist Edvard Munch museums, or perhaps watch the changing of the guard at the Royal Palace.

Scandinavian cuisine has become popular across Europe so you might like to sample some new Nordic cuisine or maybe you would enjoy a traditional Norwegian dinner at the oldest restaurant in Oslo, the elegant Engebret Café near Christiana Torv.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 3 – Through the heart of Norway on the Dovre Railway

This morning we board the train for a spectacular 300-mile journey to Trondheim. A highlight of any trip to Norway, the Dovre Railway cuts through central Norway, passing incredible scenery and awe-inspiring wilderness on the way.

Nicknamed 'the trail of the trolls', this railway eases through the towns surrounding Oslo and meanders through Norway's inland countryside, and alongside Norway's largest lake, Mjøsa. We may catch a glimpse of the world's tallest wooden building in Brumunddal, before we continue into the winter-sports resort of Lillehammer, which hosted the Winter Olympics in 1994.

Entering the Gudbrandsdalen valley, the snow-capped mountain peaks become higher and the pine forests thicker. Gudbrandsdalen is known for its impressive landscapes and cultural heritage. The highest point on our epic journey is Hjerkinn, and the striking black wood station house, with ornate yellow shutters really stands out against a brilliant white backdrop. Musk oxen graze the elemental tundra here on the foothills of Snøhetta,the highest mountain in the Dovrefjell, so keep an eye out for the shaggy brown coatscontrasting against the snow.

The route passes through the dramatic Drivdalen valley before, in the early afternoon, arriving in Trondheim - Norway's first capital that was founded by a Viking king more than 1,000 years ago as Nidaros. We take the short walk over the Nidelva canal to our hotel in the city centre. After some time to relax or explore our new environs, we gather at a local restaurant for tonight's dinner.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4 – Exploring the Viking capital of Trondheim

After a leisurely breakfast this morning, we meet our tour guide who will share some of their knowledge of this historic city. We explore Baklandet, the old part of Trondheim, with its traditional painted wooden houses and cobblestone streets, and colourful riverside buildings. Our guide also shows us the impressive 18th-century Baroque Stiftsgården, which is the largest wooden building in northern Europeand became a royal residence in 1906. Trondheim's most historic attraction is the Nidaros Cathedral. The Gothic 13th-century church is built over the burial site of St Olav, Norway's patron saint and former king. The world's northernmost Gothic cathedral is an architectural masterpiece revered in Norway, and its remarkable rose window depicts the day of judgment.

The rest of the day is free for you to continue sightseeing at your own pace. Among the city's broad avenues, old warehouses and pretty timber buildings, there are many attractions waiting to be explored, such as the Ringve Music Museum and the 12th-century Archbishop's Palace - a treasure trove or archaeological discoveries.

Vibrant Trondheim has an impressive range of restaurants for you to try tonight, with cuisine from all round the world. A local speciality is the perfect winter warmer: a hearty stew of mutton, carrots and potatoes.

Includes
  • Breakfast
Day 5 – Boarding the cruise ship for an Arctic adventure

After breakfast, there is a free morning before we head to the port to board our ship to begin our Arctic adventure. The recently introduced vessels are one of the most relaxing and comfortable ways to explore the northernmost part of Norwayand are equipped to ensure we can relax and enjoy the mind-blowing 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.

Heading into open water in the afternoon, 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.

We have breakfast, lunch and dinner on board each day as we sail through spectacular landscapes while looking out for that most magical of natural phenomena - the Northern Lights.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6 – Crossing the Arctic Circle to Bodø and Lofoten Islands

Continuing northwards, we cross the 66.5 degrees northerly latitude, celebrating as we enter the Arctic Circle. From here, we have the best chance of seeing the spectacular Northern Lights. We drop anchor in Bodø, where we can disembark and explore or enjoy the charming harbour backed by beautiful mountains.

Back at sea, 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 Lofoten Islands are tethered to mainland Norway by a series of bridges that resemble spiky teeth. Home to small fishing communities, their houses built on timber piles with seawater under the floorboards, and imposing cliffs, we sail the strait of Raftsundet, providing wide vistas of breath-taking scenery before reaching the sapphire waters of tapering 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.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 – Risøyhamn and an excursion in Tromso

Gliding past the laid-back coastal towns of Risøyhamn, Harstad and Finnsnes, 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, including a tour of the Arctic capital that takes you on 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 home to orcas, humpback whales and lots of hardy Arctic birds.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 – 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. Here, you could join an optional guided tour of the Northern Cape, including time at the Northern Cape Hall visitor centre to learn more about this ethereal land.

Later, we have the chance to join a unique optional excursion: we sail 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, Finlandand 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 the past few years.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 9 – Arrival in Kirkenes

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 that takes us to the scenic shores of Langfjorden to view the delightfully striking landscape,as well as to the Svanhovd Botanical Gardens, a place where the diversity of life this side of the Arctic Circle can be fully appreciated.After a three-course lunch enjoyed in a replica of a traditional Viking longhouse, we continue to a nearby husky kennel to meet these hard-working creatures and learn about how vital they still are to life in this part of the world. Dinner tonight is in our central hotel.

Includes
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 10 – Homeward bound

After breakfast this morning, we 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 fellow travelling companions, who have shared the magic of the Norwegian fjords and Arctic waters in this most evocative of seasons.

Includes
  • Breakfast

Additional information

Hotels

Scandic Kirkenes, Kirkenes

Scandic Kirkenes, Kirkenes

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Thon Hotel Opera, Oslo

Thon Hotel Opera, Oslo

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Thon Hotel Nidaros, Trondheim

Thon Hotel Nidaros, Trondheim

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Train

Dovre Railway

Ship

Havila

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Upgrades

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London Hotels
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Reviews

4.7 stars4.7 / 5 · 3 reviews

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

Ron Peterson

4 stars

Submitted 19/Feb

The tour was well organised with a competent guide. Local guides could do with some improvement

Collected by Trustpilot

Deborah Draycott

5 stars

Submitted 18/Feb

Great tour with good accommodation. Stunning scenery, Havilla cruise was fantastic. Well organised with good variety and informative tours. Even managed a peep at the northern lights

Collected by Trustpilot

Roger T

5 stars

Submitted 18/Feb

A beyond exceptional holiday - we cannot put into words how much we enjoyed the experience. All aspects of the tour were first class delivered by an exceptional tour manager, Joe. Without doubt he made this holiday the best we have ever had! And…. we saw the Northern Lights!

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Worldwide Holidays by Rail 2024

Worldwide Holidays by Rail 2024

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