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16th May 2017
This tour begins in the Arctic city of Tromsø before joining Hurtigruten on its leisurely cruise northwards, via North Cape with magnificent Arctic coastal scenery, to Kirkenes where it arrives two nights later.
Tromsø is the Arctic’s largest city and has a really nice vibe to it! Famous for its association with Northern Lights hunting, the city offers a blend of exciting city break and winter activity centre. By contrast what the small town of Kirkenes lacks in city nightlife it more than makes up for with location, history, and ‘hands-on’ activities. The area is perfect for your included snowmobile exploration and enjoys an interesting cultural mix, sitting as it does directly alongside the border with Russia.
Kirkenes sits alongside the border with Russia overlooking the Bøkfjord, an arm of the Barents Sea. It is fair to say that the town itself is not the prettiest you will ever visit due to endless bombings during the WWII, however, liberation by the Russians in 1944 lead to strong cross-border relations which remain today. The region surrounding Kirkenes affords spectacular scenery.
Why not combine this holiday with our tour Land of the Northern Lights for a truly complete Arctic adventure?! This would make for an unforgettable, 12-day holiday in total.
Day 1: Arrival in Tromsø
Fly from UK to Tromsø (via Oslo) and transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the afternoon and evening is free. Why not take a lovely Northern Lights Dinner Cruise or indulge in the 5-course Arctic gourmet dinner at Emma’s Drømmekjokken? See Excursions tab for details.
2 nights TROMSØ - Scandic Ishavshotel (B)
Day 2: Free time in Tromsø before an evening of Northern Lights at a husky ranch
Day free to explore Tromsø. We recommend Polaria (an Arctic experience centre), The Polar Museum and the cable car to the viewing point on Mount Storsteinen. Enjoy lunch in one of the local cafes in the harbour.
Evening transfer to a wilderness camp where you will hopefully have an opportunity to see the Northern Lights. Visit your hosts’ husky kennel and puppy yard (always popular!) before a traditional meal is served inside around a roaring fire. Return to your hotel around 2230.
Day 3: Departure on Hurtigruten Mini-Cruise
Morning and afternoon free in Tromsø. Your Hurtigruten ship arrives into Tromsø at 1430 in the afternoon and you have the opportunity to board the ship from approximately 1500 although the ship does not depart from Tromsø until 1830. Dinner is served in the ship's lovely restaurant leaving the remainder of the evening free to relax as you slowly begin your journey northwards along the coastline. Don't forget to keep a look out for the Northern Lights...though an announcement is made from the Bridge should the Captain spot them first!
2 nights ON-BOARD - Hurtigruten ship (B,D)
Day 4: Coastal Cruising
The ship makes a very early morning call to Hammerfest, often described as the world's northernmost town due to its location at 70° 39' 48" north. However, the highlight of today's trip must be Magerøya Island and North Cape. North Cape plateau rises 307 metres above the sea and in the past was only accessible to visitors via 1,008 steps! Today visitors travelling on-board a Hurtigruten ship are invited to join a pre-bookable optional excursion by bus to North Cape and the viewing point from the globe.
Day 5: The Russian Border and dinner in a lavvu at the Kirkenes Snow Hotel
Arrive in Kirkenes at 0945 in the morning. Transfer by bus to your hotel for check-in.
The remainder of the morning and afternoon are free to relax in Kirkenes.
Evening transfer to Kirkenes Snowhotel for a guided tour to view the variety of wonderful snow rooms, meet the huskies, feed the reindeer and grill your own brattwurst before enjoying a delicious 3-course dinner in Gabba Restaurant, a beautiful wooden, Sámi inspired building. Opportunity to take an optional evening dog-sledding trip and/or spend the night in your very own Snow Room - see Excursions tab for further details.
2 nights KIRKENES - Thon Hotel Kirkenes (B)
Day 6: Snowmobile Safari to the Russian Borderlands
Breakfast at your hotel before departure on your guided snowmobile trip over the high mountains to Grense Jakobselv and the Barents Sea. This wonderful journey passes by the Norwegian and Russian border guard towers/station and includes a visit to King Oscar II’s Chapel. A light lunch, tea/coffee and dried reindeer meat are served during the trip in the great outdoors. Magnificent scenery, history and culture all rolled into one! Return to your hotel around 1500.
Remainder of the day free to relax and enjoy dinner.
Day 7: Homeward bound
Transfer by airport bus to Kirkenes Airport for your return flight to the UK.
Departure Days: Daily according to flight schedules
Departure Dates: 1 November 2016 - 29 March 2017
Duration: 6 nights
Price from: £1955 per person (based on two people travelling together and sharing a double/twin room and 2-berth outside cabin)
We don't like to use the word cruising for Hurtigruten since it is so much more. This is a wonderful means of transportation and accommodation; no fancy dress parties, cabarets or days at sea with no land in sight - this is a slow, gentle exploration of beautiful scenery with local food, tradition and community involvement. The true 'Norwegian Coastal Voyage'.
Hurtigruten ships have been a staple along the Norwegian coast since 1893. The current fleet consists of classic ships, ships built in the late nineties, and ships built after the millennium. The ships are regular service vessels carrying freight, mail and passengers along the 2,500 nautical miles of coastline from Bergen to Kirkenes. Accommodation is very comfortable in two, three and four berth cabins (all our clients receive outside cabins with porthole or window) and meals are of a very good standard with breakfast and lunch being substantial buffet meals and dinner being a 3-course served dinner. Particular focus is placed on locally sourced ingredients from local suppliers - chefs take the opportunity, when in port en-route, to purchase quality foods guaranteed to provide a true flavour of the destinations you visit. Please note, not all our holidays include lunch and dinner therefore do check what each holiday price includes.
The public areas of the ship offer plenty of lounge seating and there is a bar (certain ships will have more than one), cafeteria and shop.
Scandic Ishavshotel ****, Tromsø
This hotel is something of a landmark, located directly in the harbour, with a view across the sound. This is the very heart of Tromsø and is situated amongst the city's shops, restaurants, bars and within close proximity to the airport bus stop and the Tourist Information Office. The hotel has a lovely modern restaurant, Roast Restaurant, serving delicacies from the sea and local meat. There is also cosy bar and lounge area on the first floor. All rooms are equipped with extremely comfortable beds, TV, telephone, mini-bar, trouser-press and hairdryer and all our clients receive a superior sea-view room as standard. All rooms have free WiFi. Lift to all floors. A truly fabulous buffet breakfast is served with a made-to-order omelette station, cold cuts of meat to raw fish, a cooked breakfast and fruit and muesli.
Kirkenes Snow Hotel
Set in an Arctic landscape of low birch woods, within walking discance of the town of Kirkenes and the Arctic Ocean, in the Gabba Reindeer Park. On arrival you willhave the opportunity to feed the reindeer before you sit down in Gabba Restaurant for a traditional meal cooked over an open fire. You will then retire to your 'snow room'. Each room is beautifully decorated by international snow artists and has illuminated the sculpted blocks of ice two create the perfect fairytale atmosphere. Each snow bed has a good quality mattress and you will sleep in thermal arctic sleeping bags specially designed for low temperatures.
Thon Hotel Kirkenes ****
Thon Hotel Kirkenes is situated in the centre of Kirkenes overlooking the Bøkfjord. The hotel is brand new and is built, decorated and furnished in Scandinavia style. Next to the reception desk there is a large dining room with huge windows overlooking the fjord and a breakfast area with further seating. During the day hotel guests can also have free tea/coffee/hot chocolate from the self-service machine. All Taber's featured rooms are superior in category with windows overlooking the fjord. They all have TV, telephone, mini-bar and hairdryer and all have en suite shower room (baths are available on request). Activity providers in Kirkenes pick up and drop off at the hotel and the airport bus stops outside as part of its schedule.
5-COURSE ARCTIC GOURMET DINNER AT EMMA'S DRØMMEKJØKKEN from Tromsø
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: £88 per person (5-course dinner), wine menu to accompany the dinner £65 per person.
CHASING THE NORTHERN LIGHTS WITH KJETIL SKOGLI from Tromsø
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 of 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 (until 15 March) and at 1930 (from 16 March) 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. 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, October - April
Duration: 6-8 hours, departs at 1900 or 1930
Price: £185 per person including:
DOG SLEDDING - DAYTIME OR EVENING RIDE from Tromsø
Description: Make friends with top trained dogs and enjoy the Arctic coastal nature with a fantastic view over Tromsø, surrounded with white covered mountains and long fjords. You can choose to sit in the sled or drive your own team of huskies. There’s a good chance of spotting some wildlife on the way through the snow covered landscape. After about one hour of dog sledding 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.
Operates: 1 December - 31 March
Duration: 0945-1400 or 1815-2230, departures 1 Dec-20 Mar. Includes 1-hour transfers in each direction.
Price: £195 per adult, £175 (youth 14-17 ID req), £95 (child 4-12), under 4 free.
Includes: Transfers, guide, dog-sledding, traditional Sami meal of reindeer stew (Bidos) with coffee and cake for dessert plus warm clothing.
Good to know: For this activity a guide will mush the dog team and participants will be seated on the sled. To mush your own team of dogs see Half-Day Husky Expeditions.
NB! Please click here for important further information regarding dog sledding.
NORTHERN LIGHTS DINNER CRUISE from Tromsø
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.
REINDEER SLEDDING & SAMI CULTURE from Tromsø
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
Who is this holiday suitable for?
This holiday will appeal to people of all ages and abilities, however, it does include a full day's snowmobile activity which could be tiring for younger children. When it comes to dog-sledding the main requirement is that you are steady on your feet if you want to mush your own team of dogs but if you'd rather be a passenger (children under 16 must be) then just let us know and it can be arranged.
What sort of clothing will I need?
We would strongly recommend the layering principal (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! During the included dog sledding, snowmobiling and Aurora hunting activities you will be provided with thermal overalls to ensure you are warm and cosy during extended periods outdoors.
Are special diets catered for?
They certainly are. You just need to make sure you advise us at the time of booking so we can ensure delicious alternatives are provided for you where necessary.
Why haven't you included the overnight in the Snow Hotel?
Quite simply because not everyone wants to do it! For many people just visiting the Snow Hotel and having a look around is sufficient, for others it is the opportunity to spend one of the most unique overnights ever. Offering the overnight as an optional means you can if you want to but don't have to if you'd rather not.
Are the husky dogs friendly?
Absolutely, immensely so!! Their enthusiasm is evident from the start and you will be welcomed with open paws (groan!!). They want to be stroked and cuddled and love having their photos taken but please remember, part of their enthusiasm means they will jump up and try to lick your face and they will compete with one another to do so. For us this is part of the joy and the reason why we do dog sledding at any given opportunity.... We know that at the end of your trip you will have nothing but admiration and respect for them.