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16th May 2017
Tromsø is the largest city in the Scandinavian Arctic, and is seen as a popular and logical place to start Polar expeditions due to its accessibility by the coastline, as well as being a mere 2,000 km from the North Pole! It gained a reputation in the early twentieth century as being the 'Paris of the North', at the time tourists expected the people in Tromsø to wear very primitive and plain clothing, so it came as a shock to them to see people dressed in the latest fashion from Paris. Today, if you walk down the highstreet you will discover several very high quality clothing and design shops, as well as small cafes and excellent restaurants.
This holiday enables time to explore the many interests of Tromsø, but the main attraction is to enjoy being at sea. On the first night you will have a fish dinner (vegetarian option available) on a boat whilst there is a chance of seeing the Northern Lights, and the following day, you will embark on a whale safari, so make sure you pack your camera!
Day 1 - Arrival in Tromsø for a Northern Lights hunt
Fly from the UK to Tromsø. Take either the airport bus or a taxi directly from the airport to your hotel for check-in – duration of transfer 15 minutes. The remainder of the afternoon is free for you to explore Tromsø.
Northern Lights Cruise with Sørøya Havfiske Cruise
This is a lovely trip which departs at 2000 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. 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. Return to the harbour by 2300.
3 nights TROMSØ – Scandic Ishavshotel **** or Thon Polar Hotel **plus
Day 2 - Whale Safari!
A delicious buffet breakfast is served at your hotel.
At 0830 you will be picked up from the Ishavshotell for your included whale safari excursion. The tour begins by mini-bus travelling out to the coast at Ersfjord or Sommarøy where you will continue by day cruiser into the open sea to search for whales. The chances of seeing humpbacks and orcas are very good as they come close to the coastline to feed during the winter season and are often very curious to investigate the boat. Of course sightings cannot be guaranteed, these are whales living in their natural habitat – the wild – but the chances are very good. Other forms of wildlife such as seals and sea eagles are also regularly spotted. During the trip you will be served tea/coffee and snacks with waffles available to purchase. You will be given an all-weather suit to wear during the trip for your comfort and the duration of the tour is between 5 and 6 hours, returning to Tromsø by approximately 1400 – 1500.
The remainder of the afternoon and evening is free. For those who would like a really special welcome to the Arctic we recommend the 5-course Arctic gourmet dinner at Emma's Drømmekjokken– out of this world! (See the Excursions tab for more information and price).
Day 3 - Explore Tromsø
Enjoy your leisurely buffet breakfast at your hotel. The remainder of the day is free and you have the option to either join our optional excursion Reindeer Sledding and Sami Culture (see the Excursions tab for further details and price) or explore Tromsø city. 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.
Evening free to try one of Tromsø’s many, fabulous restaurants. We can certainly recommend Fiskekrogen, one of Norway’s finest fish and seafood restaurants, or Aunegården, based on North Norwegian ingredients including fish, reindeer and local berries.
Day 4 - Homeward Bound
Morning free in Tromsø before transferring to Tromsø Airport for your return flight to the UK.
Departure Day: Daily
Departure Dates: 2 November 2016 - 29 January 2017
Duration: 3 nights
Price (based on two people sharing a double/twin room with shower and WC).
Scandic Ishavshotel **** £1225 per person, single supplement £156
Thon Hotel Polar **plus £1080 per person, single supplement £99
Scandic Ishavshotel £102 per person, single supplement £52
Thon Hotel Polar £68 per person, single supplement £33
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.
Thon Hotel Polar, Tromsø **plus
Thon Hotel Polar is a budget hotel located in the heart of Tromsø within easy reach of all local amenities. The hotel represents very good value for money for those preferring to spend more money on the wide range of optional activities available in and from the city. The hotel has 130 rooms all with private bathroom with shower and hairdryer, free wirless internet access, telephone and TV. The airport bus stops just around the corner from the hotel. The hotel's restaurant, Egon Restaurant, is situated on the ground floor and offers a wide and varied menu. Lift to all floors.
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.
The following are answers to a few of the questions we anticipate you may ask. If you do not find the information you are looking for please just telephone our offices on 01274 875199 and ask us. Then we can add your query to the list below!
Who is this holiday suitable for?
Basically anyone who wants to see whales in their natural habitat and would like the opportunity to see the Northern Lights in one of the world's best places from which to view them? You do not need to be of any particular level of fitness, just happy to join in an share your company with like-minded travellers!
What happens on the whale safari and which species of whale am I likely to see?
The most common whale species you may see are humpback, orca, Pilot and harbour porpoise. Occasionally Fin whale may be see too. You also have the opportunity to see the white-tailed sea eagle, shag, guillemot, Arctic Skufa and, of course, the seals that rest on the cliffs.
What facilities are available on the boat?
The boat was originally designed as an expedition boat for Spitsbergen with three different decks for viewing Polar bears! This makes it ideal for looking out for whales. You will be happy to know that there are toilet facilities on board plus you can buy beer, wine and waffles with free coffee/tea and biscuits throughout. The boat has an indoor, heated lounge where you can sit and relax in comfort.
Do I need to be a good sailor?
The whale safari excursion is by boat so you either need to be a decent sailor or you need to ensure you have sea sickness tablets or wrist bands that you can use just in case. Some people have absolutely no problem at all and others only have to look at a boat before turning green. If you are one of those people then this holiday probably isn't for you.....
The Northern Lights Dinner Cruise takes place in sheltered waters and our resident terrible sailors, Suzel and Terry, had no problem whatsoever with the trip.
What sort of clothing will I need to take?
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 whale watching excursions there will be thermal overalls available for those who want them to ensure you are warm and cosy during extended periods outdoors.
Can special diets be catered for?
Absolutely! Just let us know at the time of booking so we can ensure you are provided with a delicious alternative where required.