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6 days - Northern Norway Wildlife Safari, Northern Lights and deep sea fishing
Never heard of Northern Norway's Senja region? Picture steep, majestic mountains diving straight into the sea, and pearly white beaches of crushed sea shells lining the islands in the clear turquoise waters. Nestled on one of these tiny islands, is the lovely Hamn i Senja, a small hotel looking out over a secluded bay. Private, quiet and picturesque!
Winter is a magical time at Hamn i Senja. During your stay, become accustomed to the beautiful Arctic moods, snow covered mountains and the aurora borealis dancing across the sky.
During your wildlife safari, you can also get close views of seals, majestic sea eagles and sea birds. Though the views are almost Caribbean-esque, the temperature will likely remind you that you're actually North of the Polar circle.
- Day 1
- Welcome to Tromsø, the capital of Arctic
- Day 2
- Day in Tromsø to explore the town and its surroundings
- Day 3
- Express boat to Finnsnes and transferring to Hamn in Senja
- Day 4
- Wildlife Safari - incredible chances to see sea eagles, seals and other birdlife
- Day 5
- Northern Lights snowshoe walk
- Day 6
- Departure day
- Start Place
- Tromsø, Scandinavia
- End Place
- Finnsnes, Scandinavia
- Destinations Visited
- 6 Days
- Easy independent holiday suitable for singles, couples & families
Private transfers, express boat and tourist boat.
- Accommodation 5 nights
- Daily breakfast and 3 dinners
- Return transfer from Tromsø - Hamn in Senja, express boat and taxi/minubus
- Fjordsightseeing and wildlife safari
- Northern Lights Snowshoe safari
- 24-hour emergency service
- Taxes and service fees
International flights, lunches and dinners not detailed in the program and items of personal nature. Optional tours you might like to add include deep-sea fishing, Arctic ocean bathing, ski touring and the outdoor hot tub by the sea. These activities have a minimum number and are dependent on weather conditions.
Day 1 - Welcome to Tromsø, the capital of Arctic
Tromsø is a city packed with culture, polar history and fresh locally sourced food in its numerous restaurants. Tromsø is often called "Paris of the North" and "City of Lights", and it is rare to have such a lively town located so far past the Arctic Circle. Mountains, fjords and islands surround it, making it a great base for exploring the winter landscape.
AccommodationClarion Hotel The Edge.
Day 2 - Day in Tromsø to explore the town and its surroundings
This day is free for exploring Tromsø or trying many of the winter activities available in its vicinity. Ask us for information about guided walking tours including a visit to the Polar Museum, dog sledding through the beautiful winter landscape, guided northern light tours and other possible activities.
AccommodationClarion Hotel The Edge.
Day 3 - Express boat to Finnsnes and transferring to Hamn in Senja
Take the express boat (approx. 1h 20min) from Tromsø to Finnsnes, from where you will have a transfer to Hamn in Senja, an idyllic holiday and activity hotel spectacularly set between fjords and mountains on the west coast of Senja, Norway's 2nd largest island.
Senja is the perfect place to view the northern lights with minimum amount of light pollution, and the mountains and fjord serve as a stunning backdrop for the Aurora, just outside your doorstep.
AccommodationHamn i Senja.
Day 4 - Wildlife Safari - incredible chances to see sea eagles, seals and other birdlife
Prepare for an exciting day, as you take off to the sea to explore the arctic waters. Dress warmly in the provided windproof overgear, hot drink in hand and be on the look out for possible encounters with bigger marine animals such as seals, harbour porpoise and pilot whales which have been spotted in these waters. Look skyward for majestic sea eagles and other birdlife.
AccommodationHamn i Senja
Day 5 - Northern Lights snowshoe walk
A free day to take in the magnificent views surrounding Senja. Try arctic bathing in a survival suit, try your hand at winter fishing, summit to sea off piste ski touring or just relax in the resort, ask us for more information on the optional activities as some of these options need to be organised before you arrive.
In the evening, you will be escorted on a 3-hour Northern Lights snowshoeing tour. Walk with a guide in areas with no light pollution. Hear the sound of silence, feel the darkness and fingers crossed, be amazed by the dancing Aurora. This tour includes snowshoes & poles, hot drinks and evening snacks.
AccommodationHamn i Senja
Day 6 - Departure day
After breakfast, transfer back to Finnsnes, from where you have the option to take the express boat back to Tromsø, or the Hurtigruten ferry further north.
Prices listed are per person.
1 Feb 2020
Whales no longer visit Senja on a regular basis. They have moved further up the coast.
Interactive Tour Map
Travel insurance is compulsory for all tours with 50 Degrees North. Please ensure that you have this organised as we will need to see proof of this upon issuing your tour documentation. Please contact us for a quote or visit http://www.suresave.net.au/
Practical information about Scandinavian Hotels
- Hotel rooms in Scandinavia are normally furnished with twin beds, which can be moved together to form a double bed or placed separately. Please note that single rooms are generally smaller than doubles, and are often equipped with a shower instead of a bath. Purpose-built triple or family rooms are likewise unusual in Scandinavian hotels. Whilst it is possible for 3 persons to share a room, this will normally be a double room with an extra bed, with correspondingly less space to move about in.
- It is also unusual to have a porter at hotels to carry your luggage.
- There is free wi-fi in many hotels in Scandinavia.
- Unexpectedly, all forms of Scandinavian accommodation rarely provide tea and coffee facilities in their rooms. If you are lucky, a kettle will be supplied but nothing else. Please ask at reception for some provisions when you arrive or just carry a small selection from home.
- Please also note that in Scandinavia - in particular, during winter - the included lunch will often be a hearty warm soup with bread.
- More remote hotels in Lapland will offer dinner at an additional cost. In some spots, there will be limited choices else where. Generally, you get a very nice home-cooked Scandinavian dinner. However, you may sometimes find only one or two choices only for your main course.
- In Scandinavia, it is normal for washing and laundry facilities to be in the basement. If you are staying in apartment type accommodation, check downstairs or ask for assistance.
Practical budgeting information before your departure to Norway
Norway has a few items that typically surprise travellers when visiting Norway for the first time. Alcohol and luxury items are heavily taxed and therefore prices are higher than you would expect. On the other hand, necessities such as bread and milk, are taxed low and therefore are great value.
We recommend that you bring all the alcohol you’re allowed to bring into the country when you arrive. There are many lovely parks and balconies where you can enjoy your duty free. However, be sure not to bring more than you’re allowed!
As of May 2014, the allowances according to Visit Norway are:
Minimum age: 18/ 20*
1 litre of beverages with more than 22% up to and including 60% alcohol per volume as well as 1½ litre with more than 2.5% up to and including 22% alcohol per volume or three litres with more than 2.5% up to and including 22% alcohol per volume
2 litres of beer with more than 2.5 % or other beverages with more than 2.5% up to and including 4.7% alcohol per volume.
This means that you may for example bring with you five litres of beer provided you do not have any other alcoholic beverages with you.
*For importing alcoholic beverages with more than 22% alcohol per volume the minimum age is 20.
It’s illegal to bring extra alcohol into Norway and can end up costing you. Another thing you should bring and not buy in Norway is razor blades. Good razor blades in Norway are expensive.
Practical Information for travelling and packing for Scandinavian Winter
- Warm wind and water proof jacket and trousers large enough to fit thick woollen jumper/clothing underneath
- Rain trousers – waterproof and breathable material
- Warm windproof cap/hat
- Warm gloves or mittens. Mittens where all fingers except the thumb are together are often warmer than gloves.
- Windproof gloves or mittens, which you can pull over the warm gloves
- Warm scarf
- 2 pairs of long woollen underwear (Merino wool in a few different thicknesses is perfect)
- 1-2 warm woollen jumper(s), or one jumper and a warm fleece
- Woollen or fleece trousers
- 2-3 pairs of warm woollen socks
- Warm & sturdy footwear with good grip
- Clothes for indoors, i.e. a shirt, T-shirts and jeans or cotton trousers
- Back pack for day trips (approx. 30 litre)
- Light footwear/trainers (mainly for indoors)
- Sun screen & Lip salve (the sun reflects off the snow and the air is dry)
- Hand warmers
- Nordic Grip anti-slip soles for walking on ice
- Personal medication
- Water bottle - thermo, or include a cover to keep warm (or you can stick it into a warm sock)
- Travel documents (including insurance)
- Photo ID
- Note book and pencil
- Camera, memory cards and charger
- Chargers for other gadgets
- Extra batteries for your cameras as they are used fast in cold conditions.
Self-catering in Norway
Written by Jayde Kincaid, who married a Norwegian, and was happily (albeit with some hesitation) introduced to a world of Norwegian every day food habits.
At 50 Degrees North, we want to encourage our travellers to try local Norwegian food & drink. This may seem difficult in Scandinavia in general without a large budget, and in particular Norway. Some of the more remote villages you might visit have limited restaurants or cafes, some of which can be pretty expensive. There is certainly no street food! One way to get about sampling local food is by self-catering. You will find plenty of friendly locals in the small town grocery stores and supermarkets who will be happy to help you picking out local ingredients. Just don’t be shy – ask! And, don’t rush – make your local small town shopping part of your holiday experience. Read the local notice boards, and enjoy an ice cream out the front when you have finished. It is what the locals do!
Note: Statoil cups - a good idea to save money as you drive around Norway: purcahse a Statoil (petrol station) metal cup and you get free refills of coffee, tea and hot chocolate at the Statoil stations.
Norway has an extensive range of grocery stores, and in most small villages you will find at least one, if not two or three grocery stores. However, they do have limited opening hours, and except for ‘Bunnpris’, they are all closed on Sundays. You will see the weekend hours shown in brackets on the store sign out front. If you are arriving in a larger town, we do suggest you stock up with some staples before you head out into the mountains or on a coastal drive.
A few tips:
• Plastic bags are NOK1-2 and you will always need to pack your own shopping.
• You can recycle your bottles and cans for a receipt that you can cash in. Recycling points are found in all stores.
• Alcohol sold in food stores (mainly beer and cider) is restricted by government regulation to certain hours. This varies slightly, but on weekdays alcohol sales stop at 8pm regardless and on Saturdays at 6pm. Outside these hours and on Sundays you can only buy alcohol in licensed restaurants or bars.
• Any alcohol over 4.7% can only be bought at special government controlled liquor store (Vinmonopolet). These are very rare in smaller remote towns and villages, so stock up before you leave the city.
Meatballs or “meatcakes’: these come in all shapes, sizes and quality. They are generally really tasty and a bit better than what you find at IKEA. Also pick up a packet of dried ready-made brown sauce that goes with them. Be on the look out for Lingonberry sauce/jam, or even fresh lingonberries that you can use to make a fresh sauce (little red circular berries). Don’t add too much sugar, they are served quite tart.
If you want to try to make this brown sauce yourself, buy some ‘brunost’ (brown cheese), the required creams and follow the recipe below.
Hotdogs: known as ‘pølse’ in Norwegian, hot dogs are abundant in Norway. Cheap and cheerful – pølse is THE fast food of Norway. They are sold at service stations, newsagents, corner stores and fast food outlets. Pølse come with a dazzling variety of toppings and bread. Some of the pølse highlights would be the bacon wrapped ones, sprinkled with dried onion, mustards and mayonnaise. You will also find them wrapped in waffles (mostly in and around Fredrikstad) or the Norwegian pancake, ‘lompe’.
Note: there are strict requirements by the Food Safety commission for traditional pølse to be of the highest quality and they have even set requirements for what types of ingredients are allowed.
Like Norwegian beer, you will find seasonal pølse – Christmas pølse (Julepølse) is obviously found only in the lead up to the celebrations.
If you are planning to eat Norwegian style, use boil pølse on the stove and add to meals with potatoes and stew.
Note; steer away from tinned cheap pølse and meatballs.
Fish cakes: these also come in lots of variation and are generally served with a white sauce and lots of parsley. The Norwegians also use a basic white sauce on broccoli with cheese on top. These fish cakes are often found in fish shops, fried or steamed, ready to eat. A great fast snack.
Reindeer: we strongly suggest you try reindeer meat when you are travelling in the far north. It generally comes frozen, so look for finely cut reindeer meat in the freezer section. It is a more expensive option, but absolutely delicious albeit quite gamey. Be sure to get mushrooms, a small amount of brown cheese and rømme (crème fraiche). Fry it all up in a pan - a bit like a beef stroganoff. Serve with boiled potatoes or rice.
Mushrooms: if you are travelling in the chanterelle harvest season (mid/late August), be sure to try them. They are the yellow mushroom found in autumn. Or better still, have a look around the pine forests and pick some. Be sure to image search them before you head out so you know what to pick. They are really delicious with the brown cheese sauce and reindeer.
Salmon, prawns & fish: always be on the look out for a chance to buy fresh fish. Yes, it is possible to smooth talk a fisherman at the harbour. Or look for the local fish-kiosk or fish-shop. Be on the look out for small signs pointing you in the direction of fresh fish sales – ‘reker’ (shrimps, not prawns) or ‘fersk fisk’ (fresh fish) are the words you need.
Norwegians are very proud of their shrimps – and of course completely justified. Their shrimps are small and tasty and harvested from the cool North Sea. Norwegians traditionally serve them with mayonnaise and lemon. Peel them and pop them on a fresh white slice of bread. Mayonnaise is layered on top with dill, pepper & salt.
Smoked Salmon: Norwegian smoked salmon is the best in the world hands down. Be sure to try all the different varieties you see – often, in larger supermarkets or delis, you can try before you buy.
Tubed ‘kaviar’ (caviar): this is a must try. It is cheap and perfect for the travellers pantry. This is what my husband craves like an Australian abroad would crave vegemite.
Norwegian pre-made dips and salads: the Norwegian supermarkets have a large range of premade salads and dips. They last quite a while and are good fillers for sandwiches. Our favourite are the cubed beetroot salad and the potato salads. They come in easy-to-carry and pack-up containers – perfect for picnics. Tubed mayonnaise is also handy for picnics.
‘Leverpostei’ (liver pate) in many variations can also be found in the supermarket. This pate is normally served on brown bread then topped with sliced red onions or sweet pickles. Protein rich and very tasty if you like pate – it is found on most Norwegian breakfast tables.
Yoghurt: now – this is an interesting one. Norwegian yoghurt comes in a variety of styles - some can be very runny, sour and low fat. There are varying names/codes for each sort. You might like to check with a local when you are buying yoghurt to be sure you are getting what you want. Some of the yoghurt comes as though it is milk, in normal milk cartons - sour runny yoghurt is NOT nice in your coffee.
Bread: the Norwegian supermarket bread generally comes un-cut. You can either cut it in the shop – ask for help the first time you do it. They have industrial bread cutting machines near the bakery section. The bread can be quite plain in the main supermarkets so be on the look out for boutique bakeries in the larger towns if you enjoy fancy bread. Also keep an eye out for the Norwegian flatbread, Lefse, which is similar to Mexican tortillas. Usually served with butter and sugar, sometimes cinnamon too. Occasionally made with potato.
Waffles: Norwegian waffle stalls are similar to the sausage sizzle or hot dog stand. It is the most common fundraising or community building food product. Don’t expect sickly sweet jams or whipped cream – you will find these fresh chewy waffles served with sour cream and home made tart berry jams. Never go past one!
Chocolate: we recommend that you try the ‘FREIA’ milk chocolate during your stay. It melts in your mouth.
Berries: if you travel in early autumn (mid/late August) this is berry season. Forest berries that is. Ask a local and head up into the hills or forest in search for berries. You may find; blueberries, lingonberries, rasberries and if you are up north or in the central mountains; the rare yellow cloudberries.
On a self-drive journey, always be on the look out for small farm shops or stands along the road. Things you cannot drive past:
Strawberries: if you are travelling in the strawberry season – you MUST try Norwegian strawberries. They are seriously amazing. Grown in the nutritious earth that has the chance to rejuvenate through a long winter.
_And if you go past a self-pick strawberry farm, put everything else on hold and enter! Norwegians wait all year for this event. _
New potatoes: be on the look out for new season potatoes – they are often sold in little stands beside the road. Often on an honesty basis; i.e. grab a bag and put the money in an allocated tin.
Basic Brown Cheese Recipe – can be used with meatballs, reindeer, with added mushrooms.
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 3⁄4 cup light cream
• 1⁄2 cup chicken broth (optional - just use water if you cannot find this)
• 1 cup shredded gjetost or brown goats cheese
• 3⁄4 cup rømme (crème fraiche)
• 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or 2 tablespoons fresh dill
Using the meat dish that has been browned off, remove as much oil from the pan as possible and blend in butter and flour. Remove from heat and blend in light cream. Add chicken broth, bring to boil, stirring and cooking until thickened. Mix in Gjetost cheese. Turn heat low.
Blend some of the sauce into the rømme (crème fraiche), then return all to sauce. Add chopped parsley or fresh dill.
Happy shopping and cooking!