December 9, 2022

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Northern Norway Winter Travel Guide

Most massive ticket objects on the vacation bucket list occur with a guarantee. If you want to see the pyramids, they are waiting around for you. Romantic 7 days in Venice? The town has not sunk however. But when it arrives to people elusive northern lights, it is all about timing—and luck—when planning a longtime desire winter season vacation into the higher expanse of Norway.

Fortunately there’s considerably much more than a amazing (and unpredictable) superior-latitude natural light-weight display hiding up below. A real winter wonderland, Northern Norway offers ample stellar experiences involving late November and early March to eclipse the sunniest seaside working day in memory. There is magnificent cross-state skiing, dogsledding, and reindeer sleighing chances in this article. The top of the listing, of study course, is a glimpse of people northern lights.

The most effective possibilities of witnessing that otherworldly aurora borealis glow is in the course of the cold, dark winter season months—if they display up. Like individuals whale watching captains constantly say, there are never any ensures with mother nature. Alas, during our individual seven extraordinary days in Northern Norway, we hardly ever observed the northern lights. Just about every place we went, they would explain to us that the lights had appeared just about every day prior to our arrival. Then the clouds inconveniently rolled in, blocked the sky, and lowered all of that geomagnetic activity—along with our viewing odds.

All northern lights washouts aside, we still returned home from a person of the most extraordinary vacations. Northern Norway in the winter is a bucket record all its possess, with or without the need of that environmentally friendly-glowy cherry on top. If you’re setting up a wintertime escape to this enchanting put, here’s what else to know before you go.

When to Visit

Up below above the Arctic Circle, you will not experience any sunrise between late November and mid-January—though you are going to have some gray daylight from late morning right until early afternoon. Of study course, that is 50 percent the issue of coming at this time. But if you’re keen for some midnight sunlight, pay a visit to Northern Norway in June rather. For utmost powder, late November through March is your optimum take a look at period of time. Goal for any place involving late October through late March to improve northern lights viewing likelihood.

What to Do

Huskies pulling a dogsled along a snowy trail in Northern Norway
Adam Hurly


As if sledding throughout frozen fjords isn’t brilliant plenty of, you also get to cling out with just one of the coolest pet dog breeds—the Alaskan husky. It’ll search like they’re all unique breeds, but that’s since huskies can manifest in a hundred diverse methods. You will almost certainly be the passenger as a expert instructions the dogs, but you may well also get a likelihood to stand check out and management the brakes.

A Sami Native leads a reindeer along a snowy trail in Northern Norway
Konrad Konieczny/NordNorge

Reindeer Sledding

Another light creature—albeit considerably considerably less social than Alaskan huskies—reindeer are extremely hard to steer clear of in these pieces, mostly because they’re almost a meals group all their very own. Fortunately, that is not the only conversation you will have with them. It’s uncomplicated to e-book an working experience browsing and feeding these wonderful, antlered animals up near. When snow ailments make it possible for, you can even get that mythical reindeer sleigh experience.

Sami Cultural Activities

The Sami are a nomadic indigenous persons spanning throughout higher Scandinavia and into Russia. With roots that go back hundreds of decades, around half of today’s Sami populace (about 100,000 in all) reside in Norway. Like quite a few native cultures, they’ve knowledgeable prejudice and displacement, but their tradition, rituals, and values (including getting legendary reindeer trackers and herders) continue to be potent. You can expend a intriguing working day studying about the Sami society, often in tandem with people reindeer interactions detailed above.

A diver in a wetsuit handles a king crab crate on the ocean floor
Adam Hurly

King Crab Fishing

Before savoring the freshest king crab of your lifetime, you can trek out to Norway’s popular frozen fjords to witness your evening meal remaining caught and find out about their historical past and habitat. Amid other factoids, you’ll listen to how these crabs have no purely natural predators (aside from us) and that a single mother can lay five million eggs and count on as many as 1 % of them (hey, that’s even now 50,000 little one crabs) to hatch.

Cross-Place Snowboarding

There’s a purpose the Norwegian cross-place skiers conquer the Olympics every 4 yrs. Though the ideal routes for fanatics of the activity lie in the southern belly of Norway (nearer to funds town of Oslo), you can nonetheless uncover excellent leisure trails and situations up north.

Alpine Skiing

Most of Norway’s common ski slopes are in the southern 50 percent of the state. For Northern Norwegian downhill ski places, glance to Narvikfjellet 1st and foremost, although Tromsø’s alpine alternatives retain locals lots entertained way too.

Northern Lights Peeping

Whether you finish up spying them or not, this is northern lights country—and wintertime is primary viewing time. A lot of companies supply to ship you exterior of city in the wee hrs of the evening, or anytime the aurora-peeping ailments are ideal that working day or week. It could at any time up right here in the winter season, which include the middle of the afternoon.

Hurtigruten cruise ship sails along the coast of Northern Norway
Robert Workman

Arctic Cruising

As far as offshore cruising goes, it’s all Hurtigruten’s sport listed here. The Norwegian-dependent enterprise provides expeditions throughout the world, from Antarctica and Peru to Alaska and Cape Verde. Their indigenous Norwegian Coastal Specific is the feather in the company’s 125-calendar year cap. Verify out their expansive Norway itinerary to pick ports to hop on and off from either above the training course of a day or through a multi-working day, spherical-trip tour. Primary you far from the cities, a cruise also ups your chances of observing the northern lights along with the country’s famed fjords and perhaps a whale or two.

If you’re leery about using a cruise all through Covid, Hurtigruten’s stringent protocol incorporates required negative Covid testing from all travellers, swift tests onboard for each and every arrival, and enforced mask procedures in public spots. This gave us peace of brain through our very own two-day cruise from Kirkenes to Tromsø. En route, you will delight in world-course meals, on-deck jacuzzis, and day by day jaunts into the various towns, with entry to a assortment of land-primarily based activities—from a go to to the renowned Snowhotel in Kirkenes to dogsledding.

In which to Go and How to Get There

A fantastic way to begin planning your Northern Norway escape is to target on a port city or two (or a few) to start your adventures from. Most of them link by way of Oslo, supplying you a chance to investigate the country’s beautiful money much too. Our have prime three picks discussed in greater depth down below ended up Tromsø, Alta, and Kirkenes.

Norwegian flies quite a few US routes to Oslo, and you can either book inter-Norwegian flights as a result of the very same airline or by means of Scandinavian Airways (SAS) to other points of the region. There are many day-to-day flights from Oslo to Tromsø, which is steadily making its possess bigger worldwide (EU) route network. Another possibility is to fly into Bergen or Trondheim and journey Hurtigruten’s Coastal Convey cruise north to Tromsø. Then head across the Barents Sea in the direction of Kirkenes, or vice versa.

Evening view of Tromsø, Norway from the water.

Norway’s “Paris of the North”—Tromsø.
Adam Hurly


This northwestern island gem is nicknamed “Paris of the North” for its cosmopolitan vibe and fur-ocious fashions that wowed guests back in the working day. Tromsø municipality has shut to 90,000 residents and is the most conveniently obtainable prevent together northwestern Norway’s serrated coast. Most-do’s below include experiencing Sami tradition, reindeer sledding, and northern lights trekking with Lapland Tromsø—which can also set up for an right away in a Sami lavvo tent. Energetic Tromsø is the decide on for hands-on dogsledding. In city, get an up-near peek at the legendary Arctic Cathedral, with its mountain-selection form. For neighborhood fare, consider the cozy, little-menu Bardus Bistro.

As for lodging, it’s an simple decide: The harbor-adjacent Clarion Hotel The Edge is central to all the motion and a easy 15-moment taxi or bus shuttle to the airport—or three-minute trek to the Hurtigruten cruise dock. Be positive to take a look at the hotel’s bustling SkyBar and delight in their expansive breakfast buffet. Guide a strolling tour with Northern Norway Vacation to incorporate community history into your stay. Fall by the Polar Museum to discover about the area’s trapping and investing previous. Quite a few other area things to do can be booked as a result of Go to Tromsø.


Alta is the start out and end position of Europe’s greatest dogsledding race, the Finnmarksløpet, which is next only to Alaska’s Iditarod. The charming town (nicknamed The Northern Lights City) residences the world’s to start with northern lights observatory. The Alta Museum showcases above 6,000 UNESCO-secured rock paintings and carvings. Sorrisnova sets the conventional for hospitality in this article, with the world’s northernmost ice resort and the jaw-dropping, 24-place Arctic WIlderness Lodge. Reserve your puppy sledding or Sami knowledge with them, each of which showcase the sprawl of Northern Norway’s largest plateau. GLØD, gives fats biking excursions, cross region skiing, mountaineering, snowshoeing, ski expeditions, and northern lights trekking, between other functions,

Two riders in parkas on a snowmobile in Kirkenes, Norway

Cruising by way of Kirkenes.
Adam Hurly



Kirkenes is a stone’s throw from each Russia and Finland, but the remote northeast harbor city remains a person of the country’s most popular wintertime escapes. The Snowhotel Kirkenes is the supreme place. Known as the perennial ice hotel here—complete with Instagrammable carvings—the property’s cozy Gamme Cabins present primary entrance row seats to any possibility northern lights skyshow.

Practically each and every worthy activity in Kirkenes can be booked at the Snowhotel shuttle—from dogsledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, snowshoeing, cross nation snowboarding, and king crab trekking on the frozen fjords. The resort also partners with Hurtigruten, should really you system an Arctic cruise westward to Tromsø or even south to Bergen later on.

What to Dress in in Northern Norway in Wintertime

Visitors to Northern Norway in the cold, darkish snowy winter—when common temperatures generally float among 6 and 30 levels Fahrenheit—will want to costume appropriately, and account for very long intervals of time expended outdoors.

The Jacket

Although quite a few outfitters will lend you waterproof boots or total-overall body snowsuits as section of their services, you are going to have to have a densely insulated outer jacket that breathes and repels humidity. I wore an orange version of this Trans-Antarctica Expedition Parka from North Encounter, which is astonishingly lightweight and packable supplied its heft and 700-fill warming powers made for Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. My partner happily wore a black 800-fill Alaskan Hardgear Drop Position Jacket.

The Layers

Beneath all that, the vital is base layers. You can get all of these at Uniqlo, setting up with thermal (double density) long johns and tops. Their HEATTECH line allows you put on your ordinary everyday trousers or flannels above these underlayers.

The Footwear

A pair of durable, grippable, waterproof boots is vital. I brought my 10 years-old pair of insulated Crimson Wing boots and my spouse wore these padded-collar, insulated Timberland boots. Pack a bunch of thick, mid-calf socks, too—ideally wool, nevertheless these boots will however continue to keep you heat if you wear cotton.

The Gloves

Decide gloves that insulate and guard your fingers but that will not restrict your grip, should you want it for snowboarding, sledding, or even grabbing your digital camera promptly. My major decide is Uniqlo’s HEATTECH gloves, which presented both equally warmth and dexterity.

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