Northern lights winter holiday, Norway

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Departure information

Departures can be arranged at anytime to suit you between mid January and end of March
Vouchers
Accepted
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.

Simplicity
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.
Mythbuster
“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?”
No.
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

Responsible tourism: Northern lights winter holiday, Norway

Environment

The dogs and reindeer are reared in local farms or by local herders and we ensure that they are given the appropriate care and living conditions according to the standards set by government and agencies. All our guests are invited to find out more about the animals and to show respect when they are around them. Reindeer herding in particular is a nature friendly way to rear animals for meat and for tourism due to the fact that they roam on the landscapes and are not such a heavy drain on natural resources as modern agriculture.

Our activity providers ensure that all activities such as snow shoeing, skiing and husky dog sledding have minimum environmental impact. We work on a ‘leave no trace’ basis which is essential for all our activities. Guides are trained in order to maintain biodiversity. The use of motorised vehicles is kept to a minimum and when necessary a low fuel consuming snow mobile is used in the winter. Here we believe that snow mobiles offer a more efficient means of transport than sports utility vehicles, and they are very much a part of the local life.

The restaurant at the Snow Hotel sources its produce in the local region carefully selecting ingredients with few food miles. The hotel itself is made completely with a renewable material – snow and ice! Each year it is rebuilt from scratch meaning that it is as natural a building you can find.

We also use a hotel in Alta which have a strong environmental commitment – showing that they can go beyond the basics and really take their environmental impact seriously. The hotel is signed up to the Norwegian eco-label, Eco Lighthouse which outlines an in-depth series of actions throughout the business including waste reduction and environmentally sound waste management, focus on purchasing environmentally sound products, focus on initiatives to improve the working environment and the supply of organic food.

Community

You’ll return from this holiday having completely engrossed yourself in the local community of Alta and the surrounds. You’ll learn by doing and not just observing. You’ll find out how the Sami people of this region live – their work, their struggles, their future. This trip isn’t intended to be a show for tourists. It’s about leaving what you know and really attempting to understand a culture that may be unfamiliar in some ways, but familiar in others. Preconceptions aren’t needed, whereas an open mind and ability to learn is essential. You’ll have fun too, but you’ll see a different side to life. Your money goes to the Sami family as they’ll be your hosts so you’ll be supporting them directly. You’ll also support local businesses and communities in Alta, a small town in the North of Norway. The Snow Hotel is run by local people and supports local artists who create the immensely beautiful sculptures and murals from ice. They also source the food for the restaurant menus from the local area – you’ll enjoy berries, reindeer meat and other Arctic treats!

1 Reviews of Northern lights winter holiday, Norway

5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 03 Mar 2016 by

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


All of it, ice hotel, dog sled ride, meeting reindeer and seeing the northern lights 3 nights running.

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


Book a northern lights photo tour, learn how to spot them and the skills to photograph them. Plenty of layers -29.5degrees centigrade at night.

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


Yes, camp Ripan is very environmentally aware. The guides on the tour all respected the environment.

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


Amazing.

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