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. Take a look at this wonderful tour which takes you around the ‘roof of the world’ in Northern Norway
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.
Julie, many, many thanks for the trip you organised for us to Norway for my wife’s surprise birthday present. You were so understanding when I outlined all that I wanted to include, patient with my hesitations about whether my wife would be happy with what I was deciding and remained cheerful despite the changes I kept requesting. It all paid off, the travel arrangements worked perfectly and 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!
Thanks again for all your help, both recommendations and bookings. It made organising a holiday a pleasurable experience and having you available by phone and on-line to sort out any possible problems was reassuring.
Peter Robinson – Northern Norway (Feb 2012)
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 dogsledding we did were both great fun and very different experiences. 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 in Alta 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.
Cathy Bauso – Northern Norway (March 2012)
Seeing the Northern Lights has been on my ‘bucket list’ for a long time, so when we heard that this was due to be one of the best years to see the Northern Lights, we decided to go for it. We were both so busy ourselves that it seemed obvious to ask someone to do all the time-consuming legwork for us, so we contacted Jules – and we are so glad we did.
We ended up going backwards and forwards so many times over dates, but Jules was incredibly patient and accommodating throughout. She came back to us with a long list of other activities to include in our few days to Norway to ensure that we made the most of our time. We only had 3 nights in Tromso but managed to fit in 2 Northern Lights tours as well as a couple of other activities, with time remaining to relax and see the city. Unfortunately wet weather meant that we were unable to do our cross-country skiing course, but Jules worked hard and was persistent on our return to ensure that we got our money back.
The only aspect of our holiday that Jules was unable to arrange was the weather – we did see a glimmer of the Lights, but we will just have to go back in a few years with our two girls! She has so much knowledge and is incredibly efficient, but if she wasn’t able to answer our questions she would go away, find the answer and get back to us by return of email. She really did take the hassle out of booking a fabulous tailor-made holiday for us, and we certainly won’t hesitate to book our next adventure through Travel With Jules.
Dave & Miranda – Norway (March 2012)
Fly high over the Arctic Circle, look for Northern Lights, meet Polar Wildlife, ride a gondola & train and eat in a Sami Lavvu!
A winter adventure holiday to Arctic Norway including 2 nights on a ship, 1 night in a fishermans hut and 1 night in a snow hotel!
Join an extended expedition cruise to explore Spitzbergen and other outlying islands and their natural history deep in the Arctic north of Norway.
Small group adventure holiday in Arctic Norway. Northern Lights, Dogsledding, snowshoeing.
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!