Northern Lights and whale watching holiday in Norway

“Warmed by the Gulf Stream, the Vesteralen Islands are a fantastic winter destination, promising Arctic landscapes, Northern Lights and whales.”


Arctic scenery | wildlife | Buksnesfjord | Lake Kringelvann | ice fishing | spot moose | explore Andoya Island | Bleik beach | Nordmela fishing village | Andoya Space Center | Andennes | full day whale watching cruise | hot tub | dinner in a traditional lavvo

Description of Northern Lights and whale watching holiday in Norway

Combining dramatic Arctic scenery, wonderful wildlife and the chance to spot the aurora, this Northern Lights and whale watching holiday in Norway is a rewarding five day adventure. Journey to the beautiful Vesteralen Islands, an archipelago in the far north of Norway that lies within the Arctic Circle and is home to a diverse landscape of deep fjords and rugged mountains. Spend three days exploring, looking out for wildlife including moose, sea otters, reindeer, seals and sea eagles, with a full day whale watching cruise included. The Gulf Stream warms the waters here, making them exceptionally fertile and attracting a host of wildlife, and ensuring that winters here are reasonably mild.

We will be based on Buksnesfjord, the ideal spot for day time exploring and Northern Lights spotting by night. Light pollution is not an issue up here, so although displays can’t be guaranteed, they can be exceptional. All meals are included, and the freshly caught salmon and char are particularly delicious.

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Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Accommodation & meals:
We spend the 4 nights at Andoy Friluftssenter which was built by its owners, Nigel and Ingvild, on land that has been in Ingvild’s family for generations. The aim was to create something inspired from nature and making use of the resources available. The buildings all have a layer of turf on the roof, to increase insulation, and the construction was done in compliance with Norway’s stringent regulations on insulation. Half of the property is heated by geothermal heating which is more energy efficient and environmentally friendly and water is supplied from a well that is specifically drilled for this purpose. In recent years, the Andoy Friluftssenter was certified as an Eco-Lighthouse – a national certification within Norway for businesses who wish to document their environmental performance and social responsibility. This thereby demonstrates their efforts in meeting the stringent requirements in matters of waste, energy, transport and the work environment.

Additionally, the Andoy Friluftssenter provides employment opportunities for this remote part of Northern Norway and helps to promote other activities in the area, improving the economy of the local community. For all the meals, most of the ingredients are locally sourced wherever possible.

On this short trip, we will stop by the Andoya Space Center which is a research centre responsible for launching rockets into the atmosphere to study the northern lights and other atmospheric activity. Clients get a guided tour to see how northern light studies are done. We also take a whale watching excursion up in the northern tip of the island. There will be local guides who will give a briefing on the history of whales in the area and explain how whale watching has replaced whaling, allowing populations to recover. This thereby helps to raise awareness of the conservation issues on whales.

Water is a really important issue and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. Wherever possible we provide safe alternative sources of water to buying single use plastic bottles. This may be through large water containers, or encourage our passengers to filter, sterilise or purify water. We encourage all our passengers to come prepared with a reusable water bottle especially in destinations like Norway where tap water is drinkable. Occasionally, the leader takes flasks full of hot juice and hot water (for tea or hot chocolate) to provide clients during the activity.

Group Size:
This is a small group tour, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

UK Office:
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.


The Impacts of this Trip

A Fair Deal:
We work closely with our local operator and ensure that all of our guides are local and that in exchange for their expertise that they are paid and treated fairly. The leaders will give a briefing on Responsible Tourism issues to help clients understand how they can help reduce their impact and maximise the benefits to the local community from our visit.


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