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8 days - Independent tour with loads of activities in the North
If you want to maximise your chances to see the Northern Lights while experiencing all the highlights of Northern Norway, this activity-packed tour is the one you have been searching for. Start from Tromsø and try your luck spotting the Northern Lights on an evening dog sled safari.
Continue by Hurtigruten ship along the magnificent coast and visit North Cape, the northernmost point of mainland Europe. Upon disembarking in Kirkenes, another set of highlights await you: a King Crab Fishing Safari over the frozen fjords and a night in the famous Kirkenes Snow Hotel.
This independent tour departs daily between December and April.
- Northern Lights Chase by minibus
- 2 nights on board Hurtigruten
- King Crab Fishing Safari
- Excursion to North Cape
- A night in a snow room at Kirkenes Snow Hotel
- 24-hour phone service
- Day 1
- Arrive Tromsø
- Day 2
- Arctic City Walk & Evening Aurora Chase
- Day 3
- Tromsø & evening dogsled
- Day 4
- Board Hurtigruten
- Day 5
- At Sea & North Cape
- Day 6
- Arrive in Kirkenes, Snowmobile Safari & the Snow Hotel
- Day 7
- King Crab Fishing Safari
- Day 8
- Depart Kirkenes
- Start Place
- Tromsø, Norway
- End Place
- Kirkenes, Norway
- Country Visited
- 8 Days
Hurtigruten ship and transfers to activities.
- All accommodation in shared double/twin room or cabin, single supplement available
- 2 nights onboard Hurtigruten
- 1 night in a snow room at Kirkenes Snow Hotel
- Daily breakfast, full board on board Hurtigruten
- 24-hour emergency service
- Taxes and service fees
- Other meals as per itinerary
- Activities as per itinerary:
- Tromsø City Walk
- Aurora Chase by minibus
- Evening dog sled safari and transfers from/to Tromsø
- North Cape excursion
- Snowmobile safari
- King Crab Fishing Safari
International flight tickets, meals other than described, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks, travel insurance, visas, gratitudes and any items of personal nature.
Day 1 - Arrive Tromsø
Arrive Tromsø make your own way to your centrally located hotel. Tromsø is a city packed with culture, polar history and fresh locally sourced food in its numerous restaurants. Mountains, fjords and islands also surround it; making it a great base for exploring the winter landscape.
Day 2 - Arctic City Walk & Evening Aurora Chase
During the day, get to know Tromsø on a guided city walk. In the evening head out on a Aurora Chase by minibus, sometimes driving as far as Finland and Sweden in search of the best Northern Lights viewing.
Day 3 - Tromsø & evening dogsled
Enjoy your free day in Tromsø before the next highlight: an evening dog sled safari in in the wilderness and another chance to spot the Northern Lights.
Day 4 - Board Hurtigruten
Enjoy a morning in Tromsø. In the early afternoon, board a Hurtigruten ship and voyage further north.
Day 5 - At Sea & North Cape
Ports visited today: Øksfjord, Hammerfest, Havøysund, Honningsvåg, Kjøllefjord, Mehamn, Berlevåg.
Following the scenic sailing through Magerøysund and after an early stop in Hammerfest, you arrive in Honningsvåg. This small port is the gateway to the wonders of the spectacular North Cape which rises 300m from the ocean, and at 71° 10’ 21” north it puts you a mere 2,000 kilometres from the Geographical North Pole.
Standing atop the North Cape Plateau you’ll get the eerie feeling of being at the end of the world. The area is also known for its birdlife, and Gjesværstappan, a bird sanctuary with up to 250,000 seabirds is home to some High Arctic species that can only be observed here on the Norwegian mainland. This evening, as you approach Kjøllefjord, you pass a rock formation that is sacred to the indigenous Sámi people, Finnkjerka.
We have included an excursion to North Cape, the Northernmost point of European mainland.
Optional Add Ons
Day 6 - Arrive in Kirkenes, Snowmobile Safari & the Snow Hotel
After breakfast, arrive Kirkenes and get ready for a snowmobile safari to your next highlight: dinner and overnight stay at the extraordinary Kirkenes Snow Hotel.
Every room in Kirkenes Snowhotel is like a small treasure. The rooms are five metres in diameter, and they are equipped with everything needed for a comfortable night. The pictures looks like you are sleeping on ice, but that would be to cold and to hard for your back, The beds are framed with ice blocks and the beds have comfortable mattresses with thermal insulation on top. You sleep inside a sleeping bag graded for -35 degrees Celsius.
Humans produce a small amount of heat and moisture through breathing, That's why the rooms have curtains instead of doors, to make the air circulate. In every room there is decorations and sculptures made from ice and snow. These arts are created by artists from the chinese city of Harbin.
All of the 20 snowsuites have a different theme from arctic culture or nature. The lighted ice sculptures gives the snowhotel a very cosy and special atmosphere.
In the construction of the hotels ice-bar and sculptures we have used more than 15 tonnes of ice, using the expertise of the chinese ice artists.
All the ice comes from the frozen lake next to the snowhotel. They cut the ice with chainsaws and pull it with snowmobiles into the snowhotel. In the middle of winter this ice is 70 centimetres thick. The icebar and the sculptures are designed differently every year.
AccommodationKirkenes Snow Hotel
Day 7 - King Crab Fishing Safari
Join a King Crab Fishing Safari on the frozen fjords and try your luck. The red King Crab originally comes from the northern pacific ocean around the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia. It was introduced to the Barents sea in the sixties when Soviet scientist flew it in from east sibiria to Murmansk. From Murmansk it multiplied and spread east and west in the Barents sea. The idea of this project was to get more food in the norther region of Russia. The King Crab can get up to 1.8 metres from toe-to-toe and weigh up to 10 kilos. When first discovered in these waters it was considered a large treat to the environment because it spread so far, but today commercial fishing is doing its best to limit its population. Its white meat is very delicious and reach high prices on the international market. ca $100 USD or €70 Euro per kilogram is not uncommon. You will understand why when you get to taste some fresh king crab for the first time.
Our guide brings you out on the frozen ocean with snowmobile, you are passengers in his sledge. Here we pull up the crab pod to see how good todays catch was, then we go back to the fisherman’s house where we get ready for the best seafood available, the red king crab.
AccommodationThon Hotel Kirkenes or similar
Day 8 - Depart Kirkenes
After breakfast, make your own way to Kirkenes airport for your departure flight or extend your adventure into Finland.
All prices listed are per person. Hurtigruten prices may fluctuate daily.
20 Apr 2019
20 Apr 2019
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 before your Hurtigruten Voyage
Hurtigruten ships are working vessels operating a regular service to a set timetable, as shown in the Hurtigruten brochure and the above detailed itinerary, carrying goods, vehicles and foot passengers between ports, by night and day, as an integral part of Norwegian daily life (some noise may be experienced during docking and loading/unloading). It may very occasionally be necessary to omit or curtail stops due to weather or other conditions. Some stops may be very short and some are at night. As Christmas approaches itineraries may change in order for ships to host dinners and celebrations for local communities. Please ensure you are back onboard by sailing time, especially if the ship has arrived late, as it may leave as scheduled to make up time.
The departure time is advertised at the gangway and vessels are NOT able to wait for passengers who are late. If you miss the ship it is your responsibility to make arrangements to rejoin the voyage at the next possible stop or return home.
This is generally available 24 hours a day serving beverages, sandwiches and a small selection of hot and cold dishes. On some departures the catering service at night will be managed by the reception staff.
If you are travelling by car further information on vehicles and parking at ports is available from Hurtigruten. Access to the vehicle deck is only permitted when the ship is moored.
We accept VISA, American Express, Eurocard, Diners Club and JBC International, plus most currencies. On board MS Lofoten and MS Nordstjernen currently only VISA and Mastercard are accepted.
We recommend that passengers acquire a cruise card to make payments on board. This may be obtained from reception onboard and used to make payments throughout the ship. They accept credit cards or cash as a deposit. You need to get the bill sorted on the last night to be sure it is finalised.
Special diets, such as vegetarian must be ordered well before departure.
All ships, except MS Lofoten have lifts and cabins for disabled guests. People with severe disabilities or who are unable to take care of themselves must be accompanied by a carer.
The ships are licensed to sell drinks onboard, however please note the price of alcohol in Norway due to heavy taxes. The water package can be included into your voyage at a small extra cost
220 V AC 2 pin, and a continental adaptor is required.
Available on all ships except MS Vesterålen and MS Lofoten.
Be sure to bring some swimming attire for the jacuzzi!
All ships, except MS Lofoten, offer internet access via satellite. In most harbours, mobile/cellular networks (3G) are available if bringing your own PC and a mobile access subscription. The wireless coverage varies from ship to ship and will be improved yearly. The passengers have to contact the reception on board for information on how to get access to the internet (free of charge). No internet access in the cabins (except in some suites). Internet cafe (if present), with minimum 2 PCs.
Hurtigruten ships are working vessels operating a regular service to a set schedule, carrying vehicles, cargo and foot passengers by day and night (some noise may be noticed during docking or loading). Some stops are short and/or are during the night. It may occasionally be necessary to omit or curtail visits due to weather/local conditions, and you will be notified of this.
Most ships have laundry facilities with washing machines and tumble dryers, except MS Lofoten. Tokens may be purchased from reception.
A daily baggage service is available in Bergen from the airport and selected city-centre hotels to the Hurtigruten terminal. For groups, luggage handling must be agreed with Hurtigruten prior to travel. This in not included in the price of your voyage.
Meals are served at set times in the restaurant. In high season, times may vary if there are several sittings. A breakfast buffet (open seating) with a wide selection is served 07.30hrs -10.00hrs. A buffet lunch (open seating) with hot and cold dishes and desserts is usually served 12hrs-14.30hrs and a three course set dinner 18.30hrs-21.00hrs. In Bergen a buffet is usually served 18.30hrs-21.30hrs. Exact times are given on board. Tea and coffee facilities are only provided in cabins above U Class. Tea and coffee are available free of charge after lunch and dinner but can be purchased around the clock. Please read our news articles about dining on board Hurtigruten.
It is recommended that pets are not brought on long journeys and special rules apply to the transport of animals; contact us for further information. We do however welcome guide dogs on board.
As there are only short distances between ports there is neither a doctor nor a pharmacy on board.
Most ships have a playroom except MS Lofoten, MS Midnatsol and MS Trollfjord.
Do not forget to bring your binoculars, camera and/or a video camera. Take practical, warm and windproof clothing for going out on deck. Smart, but casual clothes are recommended on board. Good comfortable footwear is vital for excursions.
Souvenirs, knitwear, postcards, DVDs of the journey, stamps and a small supply of toiletries are sold on board.
Smoking is not permitted in cabins or public areas. It is allowed up on the open deck but prohibited at all times when the ships are in port.
For reasons of safety it may sometimes be necessary to keep cabin ventilators/port-holes obscured.
On all ships except MS Vesterålen, MS Nordstjernen and MS Lofoten.
All ships have payphones and a fax machine. There is generally good coverage for mobile phones.
There is a tour leader on board all year round. On some departures this service is managed by reception. External tour leaders (groups) are requested to contact the reception for information on practical details.
We can offer transfers in Bergen, Trondheim and Kirkenes.
There is a safe in reception. Hurtigruten accept no responsibility for valuables and money kept in cabins.
When arriving at night disembarking passengers are woken between half an hour and one hour before arrival.
Temperatures usually vary between 2°C and -10°C in winter. Summer temperatures in northern Norway vary between 10°C and 30°C depending on latitude.
On your final morning of your voyage, be sure to take everything with you when you go for breakfast. The ship gets prepared for the next voyage and your rooms will be cleaned promptly. You may be charged for re-entry.
You can pre-book your optional excursions with us. However, you can also wait until you are onboard and do it then - however, there is a maximum number and they can book out. It is not possible to pre-book within 2 weeks prior to departure. Excursions and their contents are subject to maximum/minimum numbers and weather/local conditions. During quieter months, some excursions may not get the numbers required so please ask us when booking about the minimum numbers needed for each excursion.
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.
General information about staying at the Kirkenes Snowhotel
First the Kirkenes Snowhotel engineers produce a lot of snow with water, cold air and snow-machines. Then they inflate a large balloon and cover this with snow. When this balloon is totally compacted with 2 metres of snow, they then deflate the balloon and remove it, leaving a circular room. For the corridors, they construct wooden frames and also cover them in snow before removing them.
Kirkenes Showhotel opens each year around 20 December and closes on the 20 April.
The temperature inside is a constant minus 4 degrees Celsius.
There are 20 bedrooms with normal mattresses. On top of the mattress is an extra thermal insulation layer. You are also provided a sleeping bag made for extreme expeditions, rated for minus 30 degrees celsius. Most guests however, find that it can get too hot inside the sleeping bag.
In the marketing pictures, it looks like the beds are made of ice! However, they have cleverly placed ice-blocks around the beds to create the illusion of an ice-bed! Sleeping directly on ice would be a bit drastic and not very comfortable.
Every room is decorated differently which is why there is also different lighting used to create a different atmosphere. The lights are LED which gives off very little heat. For security reasons the lights are not switched off. We advise using eye covers to sleep if a small amount of light bothers you.
There have nice bathrooms, showers and a sauna in the building next to the Snowhotel. So you have to leave your sleeping bag for a few minutes. Brrr....
It is usually couples. Average age is around 45, however their oldest guest has been 92 years old! Each year, the Kirkenes Snowhotel sees marriage proposals being made and of course, in such a beautiful place, weddings for many happy couples take place.
Yes. The Snowhotel is constructed to the calculations and standards made by a Finnish professor of snow building. The Snowhotel is still standing a month after they close for the season, even with the warmer weather!
People with claustrophobia have had trouble sleeping in the Snowhotel. There is also a minimum age of 7 years to stay in the snowhotel. There is a warm lobby available in case people may feel uncomfortable during their night’s stay.
Dressing for Norwegian winter - Hurtigruten winter voyages
In winter, Norway becomes a picturesque world of snow and ice. As beautiful as this is, it's also incredibly cold. Here's how to dress for travel near the arctic during the coldest parts of the year:
One of the most effective ways to stay warm in cold weather is to invest in a good set of thermal underwear. This bottom layer helps trap the heat your body produces, and effectively uses your own warmth as a radiator.
When it comes to choosing long underwear, you have to give the material serious thought. Most thermal underwear is made of either wool or high-tech yarn. To be truly warm, you'll want to go for something that's designed with channels that trap your heat while also wicking away any moisture you produce. Damp clothes in the arctic is a recipe for disaster, so focus on materials that will keep you warm and dry.
Your long underwear should cover your entire torso, and your arms and legs down to your wrists and ankles. You might also find versions of this layer that include a turtle neck, which gives you an extra protected area.
These are the layers you'll have exposed when you're out of the elements - basically, this layer is your chance to show off your sense of style. Norwegian fashion is the epitome of form meets function, which means that sweaters and other knitwear make up the popular look during the cold season.
Go for choices that reflect your personality while still keeping you nice and warm. If you're a fan of skirts, make sure you've invested in a good pair of knit leggings that will keep you warm. However, it's a better bet to go for pants if you're really focused on comfort. Fleece-lined jeans are a great choice for the coldest time of year.
It might not be a bad idea to have a fashionable short-sleeved shirt between your bottom layer and this one, just in case you go into a particularly warm location. It's easy to end up overheated when you're wearing multiple insulating layers, so you'll thank yourself if you have an opportunity to shed one in a well-heated store or restaurant.
Depending on how far north you're heading, you'll want to be well-stocked in outer layers. For your upper half, wear a water and windproof shell or jacket, and then a full winter coat to wear over that. At least one of these should have a hood, but it's better if they both do.
If you're going to be trekking through lots of snow, or if you're just going to be in freezing weather for an extended period of time, you may also want to bring a layer of waterproof pants. Although you may feel awkward shedding and replacing these pants when you transition from indoors to outdoors, your legs will appreciate the extra protection.
Hands and feet
Your hands and feet are two of the most important parts of your body to protect in cold weather. Along with your ears and nose, these are the parts of your body most likely to end up with frost bite. That's why you need to have good socks, shoes and gloves when you're spending time in or near the arctic.
Wool, moisture-wicking socks are your best bet for keeping your toes warm when walking through snow and sleet. You'll also want to invest in a pair of heavy-duty snow boots. Good waterproof boots will keep your feet from getting soaked, and help you keep traction on slippery surfaces.
When it comes to your hands, you have a couple of good options. Your best bet for warmth is insulated mittens, as these trap the heat from your fingers. However, mittens aren't particularly functional. A good alternative that won't limit dexterity is a good pair of knit gloves. If you can, find a pair that will work with a touch screen. This way, you won't have to partially remove your glove if you need to make a phone call.
In addition to your coat and pants, you're going to want to pack plenty of warm accessories. Knit scarves and hats will help you protect your face and head from the chill. You'll also want to bring a warm pair of ear muffs to keep this sensitive area covered. Remember, your nose and ears are particularly at risk for developing frost bite, so you'll want to take extra care to make sure they're safe and warm.
Other Packing Tips
Consider getting a waterproof lining for your suitcase, since you'll probably be carrying it through snowy or wet conditions. If you have any electronics in your bag, these should absolutely be kept in a waterproof container for protection.
It's a good idea to bring an extra hat, scarf and piece of ear protection when you're out and about. These pieces are easy to drop - you'll appreciate having a spare on hand if your hat ends up covered in snow.
Although for most trips it's best to bring as little as possible, it's not a bad idea to err on the side of bringing too much when it comes to the arctic. You can always remove layers, but you can't add what you don't have.
_Information supplied by Hurtigruten USA. _