Northern Lights holiday, Norway adventure

“Search for the Northern Lights on land and sea, while discovering Sami culture – and the vibrant Arctic city of Tromsø.”


Tromsø | Husky safari | Sami reindeer herder encounter | Northern Lights dinner cruise | Aurora hunts on land | Sommarøy | Whale watching (in season)

Description of Northern Lights holiday, Norway adventure

Tromsø is in the far north of Northern Norway and is a well-known base for Aurora hunting. The city has much to offer, but once you escape the lights and head into the countryside there is a huge potential for witnessing the Northern Lights. Your holiday includes three guided Aurora activities and the chance to see the lights from the comfort of your own bed, whilst Aurora glamping. During the day you will meet a traditional reindeer herder and take part in a 5km dog sled safari.

Tromsø sits approximately 350km above the Arctic Circle. It is known as the ‘Capital of the Arctic’ and has much to offer visitors. There’s a fantastic culinary scene, some fascinating Arctic heritage and many local attractions to enjoy. Whilst the city is at the heart of the Aurora Zone, it is away from the city lights that the best displays are found and, as the city is surrounded by Arctic wilderness, you don’t have to travel far to witness some amazing Aurora displays.

To maximise your Northern Lights viewing potential, we have included three guided Aurora hunts in this five-night break. You split your time between the city, an amazing Aurora Camp and the stunning island of Sommarøy and each offers its own Northern Lights appeal.

From Tromsø you will hunt by minibus, allowing you to cover greater distances and outrun any localised cloud cover to hopefully capture a display.

A real Aurora hunting highlight, however, is a night of luxury glamping in a wilderness camp on the island of Kvaløya, roughly 40 minutes from Tromsø. The camp is set in dramatic natural surroundings and the deluxe tents have panoramic windows so if you are lucky, you may witness the Northern Lights from the comfort of your bed! During your stay, you will also enjoy a 5km dogsled safari for yet another unforgettable experience.

You will then also spend two nights searching for the Northern Lights on the stunning island of Sommarøy which has very little light pollution.

This holiday also allows you to explore the Arctic waters surrounding Tromso, search for marine and birdlife whilst enjoying stunning views of the fjords during a cruise. The city is surrounded by mountains and the views back towards the land are spectacular. Whilst seals and seabirds are a prime attraction, for departures between December and the 25th of January, the voyage will focus its attention on whale watching. Orcas and humpbacks are annual visitors and so with a little luck, you may witness these majestic mammals.

The island of Sommaroy will then further introduce you to the dramatic scenery of Northern Norway. This fishing community retains its traditions and charm. We have left your time relatively free on the island so you explore at your own pace. If you would like to include additional activities, you can add a wildlife safari by minibus to your program and search for the likes of moose and white-tailed eagles. See the ‘Personalise’ section of the holiday page for more details.

Scandic Ishavshotel (nights 1-2) - Situated right by the quayside, you’ll only have to walk approximately 50 metres from the Hurtigruten ferry to reach this hotel with fantastic views. The Ishavshotel has a lovely modern design with free Wi-Fi, a restaurant and bar area.

Wilderness Camp North Tour (night 3) - Wilderness Camp North Tour is an amazing glamping experience, located on the island of Kvaløya, only forty minutes from Tromsø. The tents are pretty luxurious with a large, cosy double or twin beds and they have panoramic windows which provide views of the landscape and of the sky. You can potentially witness the Northern Lights whilst tucked up in bed. The tents are spacious and there is a seating area from which to enjoy the views whilst having a hot drink or some fresh fruit from the minibar. The camp is set in a genuinely wild location, with dramatic mountain peaks surrounding a snow-covered valley. There is a central cabin where you will enjoy home-cooked meals, prepared using fresh ingredients. There are no showers at the camp, but there is a water pump which provides fresh water whenever you need it.

Sommarøy Arctic Hotel (nights 4-5) - Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and located within the picturesque coastal town of Sommarøy, your stay here allows you to witness the Norwegian coastline at its best. The Sommarøy Arctic Hotel is located within a traditional fishing community and this means that you will get to sample some of the fruits of the sea in the hotel menus.

***Departure dates between 1 Dec 2019 - 25 March 2020***

A note on flights: Flights are not included in the holiday price so that the best possible fares and schedule can be found at the time of booking. There are low cost and scheduled flights operating this route and our travel experts will happily provide a quotation and arrange the flights as part of the package.

What's included?

*Transfers: return airport transfers
*Accommodation: 2 nights at the Scandic Ishavshotel, 1 night at the Arctic Glamping Camp and 2 nights at the Sommarøy Arctic Hotel
*Meals: 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
*The following activities are included in the holiday: minibus Aurora hunt, Sámi culture and reindeer experience, dog sledding safari, 2 x guided Northern Lights activities (the order of activities is subject to change)
*Fully qualified guides and instructors during activities.
*Cold weather clothing for the duration. Please note that boots are not included in Sommarøy.

Image credits: Sommarøy Arctic hotel

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Departure information

Departure dates between 1st Jan 2018 – 31st March 2018
Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

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.

As a company we have a deep sense of environmental responsibility as we work primarily in pristine wilderness destinations. We work closely with our local guides and suppliers to make sure that they share our ethos.

All of our guides operate a strict leave no trace policy during all activities and ensure that group sizes are managed to limit any effects on the local environment.

Trails which are used are well managed and maintained to limit any erosion and campfires use sustainably sourced wood and generally use maintained fire sites.

The accommodation suppliers we work with all have their own policies to manage waste and recycling. In Tromsø the hotel operates a Room for Responsibility programme which outlines their environmental policies.

They support non-profit organisations in providing food, shelter and clothing to those in need they also support and promote the growth and development of hospitality and tourism industries.

The hotel in Sommarøy measure and report all of their energy, water and waste usage so that they can record any changes. The hotel is also proudly labelled by Nordic Ecolabel, which was established in 1989 with the purpose of providing an environmental labelling scheme that would contribute to a sustainable consumption. To be granted an Ecolabel there are stringent environmental and climate criteria that must be fulfilled. The hotel is constantly aiming to improve and better their environmental policy. Organic food is provided in their restaurants where possible and recycling bins are available throughout.

The Impacts of this Trip

Tromsø and its surrounding area have benefitted greatly over the past decade from an increase in tourism. This industry has replaced some of the more traditional industries which have seen steady decline. This growth has enabled the region to help slow the migration of young people to the larger economic regions further south.

This holiday ensures that both the modern culture of the region and the traditions of the indigenous Sámi people of Norway are explored. Guests will meet with a traditional reindeer herder and gain an understanding of their way of life here in the far north.

The hotels we use feature a range of local produce where possible and utilise the local suppliers in this remote region (wherever possible). This allows the tourism multiplier effect to spread the benefits of tourist expenditure more widely.

Our hotel in Tromsø also supports a variety of projects supporting underprivileged people as part of their corporate and social responsibility plan.


2 Reviews of Northern Lights holiday, Norway adventure

4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 02 Apr 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Experiencing the arctic snow and ice and seeing the Northern Lights. It was fun being given really good cold weather clothing so that we could be out of doors happily for reasonably long periods. We were lucky enough to see the Northern Lights on our first try, which was very exciting, and the guide took a good slow shutter speed photo of us with the lights behind us, which is very hard to reproduce on a mobile phone when you have cold bare hands.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

We had a week in southern Norway seeing Bergen and Oslo, using trains and airbnb before we flew north to Tromso for this 6 day package. This worked well as we got to see more of the country and its cities. Take layers of thermals rather than lots of big jumpers. Glamping in deep snow is great fun and suprisingly warm - be brave and go for a walk in the deep snow even if you arrive at dusk. Some of the all-in-one cold suits are on the generous side, so you
may be better off going for a smaller size than you usually use. There were no boots provided by the hotel on Sommarøy so do make sure you take good waterproof non slip boots yourself. Make sure you do the cable car ride in Tromso - you can walk across the bridge to get there.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The trip to the Sami base just outside Tromso was much better than we expected in that it was fun feeding the reindeer and hearing about Sami culture and history while sitting round a roaring log fire. We were surprised at how uncommercial the trip artifacts for sale for example. It felt as if we were helping to keep that Sami family in business and that it was non exploitative. All the places we visited were dependant on visitors and felt sustainable.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was excellent. The only down side was that the Clarion Hotel Aurora in Tromso felt a bit down at heel and the afternoon tea with waffle maker made the ground floor smell like a funfair. Our room was big but gloomy, old fashioned and not very well designed. The only English TV channel had very poor reception and was unwatchable. Might Responsible Travel start using one of the other hotels in Tromsø? Overall we were very impressed that were expected wherever we went and that things flowed efficiently. The hotel on Sommarøy was excellent with very impressive food but no boots provided with the warm clothing. Thank you for a great trip.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Vicki,

Thank you for taking the time to complete your online review – your feedback is very important to us and we are delighted that you enjoyed your overall experience in Norway, it seems like you’ve both had quite an adventure! It’s wonderful to hear that you were lucky enough to witness the Northern Lights in all their glory during your trip, they truly are a spectacular phenomenon.

We will share your comments with our local partners who always appreciate hearing from guests and together we will work to address any areas for improvement. Ahead of next winter season, we will be reviewing our hotel options and will of course take your comments regarding The Clarion Aurora Hotel on board when doing so.

Once again, we would like to thank you for your feedback and we hope you are able to travel with us again in the future!

Very best regards,

The tour operator.

Reviewed on 25 Mar 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Seeing the Northern Lights

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Bring all of the items on the list that the tour company advises (balaclava, hand & foot warmers, etc)

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I think it benefited local people

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Loved every minute. The lodging was clean and comfortable. Food options were great - plenty of vegetarian and seafood options. All of the activities were fun
and the guides were top notch.

The only thing I didn't love was the Reindeer farm. I felt it was exploitative. While I enjoyed the dog sledding, the guide was rough with one of the dogs which was upsetting, hence why I gave it 4 stars vs 5

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