Norway is full of dramatic rugged mountains and fjords, a picturesque country that lends itself to cruises and adventure. Stretching from the borders of Finland and Russia inside the Arctic Circle, down to the North Sea, Norway’s coastline is full of fishing towns and amazing scenery.
Oslo, the capital city is a bustling and cosmopolitan place situated on the waters of Oslofjord with a great mix of museums, cafes and shops and ideal for a city break. To the south of the country, a rocky coastline is filled with pretty villages and busy harbours.
The spectacular fjord lands have been sculpted by nature with much to attract walkers, nature lovers and artists and are fabulous for summer cruises. To the far north the arctic landscape is full of mountain peaks, blue fjords and fishing communities. Whale watching off the Norway coast is included in many natural history itineraries.
The word ‘Viking’ comes from the old Norse word ‘vikingr’ which meant someone from the fjords. These days the word is used for all seafaring traders and pirates from Scandinavia who sailed the seas between the 8th and 11th centuries. These people were explorers and history of their settlements can be found as far away as the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland. There are many Viking Museums all around Norway.
The North Cape of Norway is Europe’s most northerly point and polar nights here last from mid November to the end of January. Tromso is the main city of the Norweigian part of Lapland and has historic houses and lively restaurants, this is often the ‘dropping off point’ for the Arctic Circle.
The Northern Lights can be seen from Norway and one of the most scenic ways is by cruise along the coatline. Ask me about Norways cruises to see the Northern Lights 12 days from £1199pp including flights this winter.
Or fly to Tromso which is right beneath the auroral oval and you can take a half day ocean trip or visit the coast from there. There are many activities to be enjoyed from Tromso in winter or summer. Visit Polaria, an arctic themed centre and arctic aquarium with Bearded Seals. Also here is the Mack Brewery, the world’s most northerly brewery. Tromso is the largest city in Northern Norway and a departure point for polar expeditions, it was from here that Roald Amundsen set off on a number of his Arctic expeditions.Visit the famous Ice Hotel at Alta, where Joanna Lumley stayed! Alta is in a stunning setting and is home to the Sami or Lap people in the county of Finnmark. There is another ‘snow hotel’ at Kirkenes in the ARctic landscape of birchwoods in the Gabba Reindeer Park.
The Lofoten Islands are part of the beautiful archipelago of Norway’s north west beyond the Arctic Circle which has inspired writers and artists for centuries. The main industry is commercial fishing and cruises are popular in this region. As you approach by ship, there are fabulous views of the towering peaks of the Lofoten Wall, a 160 km stretch of mountains with pretty fishing villages lining the shore.
High above Scandinavia is the island of Svalbard (Spitsbergen is the main island) and home to about 2,500 people and about the same number of Polar Bears! Winter here is a true adventure and the sun doesn’t rise between November and February. Spitsbergen is a must see destination for fabulous wildlife holidays.
See the testimonials page for comments from Travel With Jules clients about my services to Norway and below for more tips and feedback:
We loved the hotels, particularly the room in Tromso with the view of the sea and mountains. The excursions were just what I hoped for, we had wanted to try cross-country skiing for years but having nil experience on skis we were very apprehensive. The young instructor was brilliant, everything was carefully explained (in perfect English of course) and he had so much patience with us that we couldn’t fail to respond by spending more time upright than we had any right to expect – a beautiful day and a fabulous experience. We had a mixture of snow and clear skies during the days but mainly snow at night, spoiling our chances of seeing the northern lights – one of our objectives. However on our very last night when we were dog-sledding at the Wilderness Centre (another of your recommendations) the clouds cleared and we were treated to the displays we had waited for. Shame my camera skills weren’t quite up to capturing them; a good excuse for a return. Incidentally my wife was extremely happy when the dog-musher explained that dog teams are always led by the females because they are the more sensible ones and know how to follow instructions! (Peter Robinson – Feb 12)
Thank you for organising such a great schedule for us on our recent trip to Norway, especially at such short notice and with so much demand this season for Northern Lights. We were really lucky to see the start of the longest Husky race in Europe and the two husky trips we did were both great fun and very different experiences. The evening dog sledding was a truly amazing experience, the Holmen Centre is certainly a wonderful kennel. It’s hard to explain to people just how passionate the dogs are themselves. Watching them leaping and pulling at their traces for the race and then experiencing it literally first had on two more personal occasions was awesome! I’m really glad I had a go at ”mushing” the dogs were a joy to work with both during the day and also the night event. The staff at the hotel were very helpful and friendly, as was everyone we met. The Igloo Hotel was a sight to behold, the level of detail they go to throughout but particularly for the little chapel was amazing.The snow mobilling was fun and it was great to see so much nothingness.
(Cathy Bauso – Mar 12)
Wildlife holidays to see Polar Bears in Spitsbergen or other parts of the Arctic including Canada, Greenland or Russia. Cruises and kayaking, get up close to Polar Bears.
Ice Hotels and igloos to stay in around Artic and mountain regions of Europe, Canada and overseas. Winter adventures and white weddings with a difference!