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Northern Norway Winter Travel Guide

Most massive ticket items on the vacation bucket list arrive with a guarantee. If you want to see the pyramids, they’re waiting around for you. Romantic 7 days in Venice? The metropolis has not sunk however. But when it arrives to those elusive northern lights, it is all about timing—and luck—when scheduling a longtime desire wintertime getaway into the higher expanse of Norway.

Luckily there is considerably far more than a spectacular (and unpredictable) higher-latitude pure mild exhibit hiding up listed here. A real winter season wonderland, Northern Norway presents more than enough stellar encounters concerning late November and early March to eclipse the sunniest beach front working day in memory. There’s amazing cross-state skiing, dogsledding, and reindeer sleighing prospects listed here. The best of the record, of program, is a glimpse of all those northern lights.

The ideal odds of witnessing that otherworldly aurora borealis glow is throughout the cold, dark winter season months—if they display up. Like individuals whale observing captains always say, there are never ever any ensures with character. Alas, all through our possess 7 outstanding days in Northern Norway, we under no circumstances noticed the northern lights. Each spot we went, they would notify us that the lights had appeared each individual working day prior to our arrival. Then the clouds inconveniently rolled in, blocked the sky, and reduced all of that geomagnetic activity—along with our viewing odds.

All northern lights washouts apart, we continue to returned home from just one of the most extraordinary vacations. Northern Norway in the winter is a bucket record all its own, with or devoid of that green-glowy cherry on best. If you are planning a winter season escape to this enchanting place, here’s what else to know ahead of you go.

When to Take a look at

Up listed here higher than the Arctic Circle, you will not experience any sunrise concerning late November and mid-January—though you will have some grey daylight from late morning right up until early afternoon. Of class, which is half the level of coming at this time. But if you are eager for some midnight sunlight, go to Northern Norway in June rather. For utmost powder, late November via March is your exceptional visit period of time. Aim for anywhere involving late Oct through late March to optimize northern lights viewing prospects.

What to Do

Huskies pulling a dogsled along a snowy trail in Northern Norway
Adam Hurly


As if sledding across frozen fjords is not brilliant plenty of, you also get to hold out with 1 of the coolest puppy breeds—the Alaskan husky. It’ll glimpse like they are all diverse breeds, but that is simply because huskies can manifest in a hundred different approaches. You’ll likely be the passenger as a specialist commands the pet dogs, but you may well also get a probability to stand view and regulate the brakes.

A Sami Native leads a reindeer along a snowy trail in Northern Norway
Konrad Konieczny/NordNorge

Reindeer Sledding

One more light creature—albeit considerably fewer social than Alaskan huskies—reindeer are unachievable to steer clear of in these components, mainly simply because they’re practically a food stuff team all their personal. Fortunately, which is not the only conversation you are going to have with them. It’s straightforward to e-book an experience viewing and feeding these beautiful, antlered animals up shut. When snow conditions allow for, you can even just take that legendary reindeer sleigh experience.

Sami Cultural Encounters

The Sami are a nomadic indigenous persons spanning throughout higher Scandinavia and into Russia. With roots that go again 1000’s of a long time, more than fifty percent of today’s Sami inhabitants (about 100,000 in all) reside in Norway. Like many indigenous cultures, they’ve skilled prejudice and displacement, but their culture, rituals, and values (together with being famous reindeer trackers and herders) remain sturdy. You can expend a interesting working day understanding about the Sami society, typically in tandem with those reindeer interactions stated over.

A diver in a wetsuit handles a king crab crate on the ocean floor
Adam Hurly

King Crab Fishing

Ahead of savoring the freshest king crab of your life, you can trek out to Norway’s renowned frozen fjords to witness your meal being caught and find out about their historical past and habitat. Among the other factoids, you will listen to how these crabs have no purely natural predators (aside from us) and that one mom can lay 5 million eggs and count on as quite a few as a single % of them (hey, which is nevertheless 50,000 child crabs) to hatch.

Cross-Region Snowboarding

There’s a purpose the Norwegian cross-region skiers conquer the Olympics just about every 4 yrs. Though the finest routes for enthusiasts of the activity lie in the southern stomach of Norway (closer to cash metropolis of Oslo), you can even now find perfect leisure trails and ailments up north.

Alpine Skiing

Most of Norway’s well known ski slopes are in the southern fifty percent of the state. For Northern Norwegian downhill ski spots, look to Narvikfjellet very first and foremost, even though Tromsø’s alpine possibilities keep locals lots entertained far too.

Northern Lights Peeping

No matter whether you finish up spying them or not, this is northern lights country—and winter is primary viewing time. Several vendors present to ship you outside of city in the wee hours of the night time, or each time the aurora-peeping disorders are ideal that day or week. It could at any time up listed here in the wintertime, including the middle of the afternoon.

Hurtigruten cruise ship sails along the coast of Northern Norway
Robert Workman

Arctic Cruising

As much as offshore cruising goes, it’s all Hurtigruten’s game here. The Norwegian-primarily based firm features expeditions throughout the world, from Antarctica and Peru to Alaska and Cape Verde. Their indigenous Norwegian Coastal Categorical is the feather in the company’s 125-yr cap. Examine out their expansive Norway itinerary to choose ports to hop on and off from possibly more than the class of a working day or through a multi-working day, round-trip tour. Major you significantly from the cities, a cruise also ups your odds of seeing the northern lights alongside with the country’s popular fjords and possibly a whale or two.

If you’re leery about taking a cruise throughout Covid, Hurtigruten’s stringent protocol includes demanded negative Covid screening from all travellers, rapid exams onboard for each individual arrival, and enforced mask policies in general public locations. This gave us peace of thoughts through our very own two-day cruise from Kirkenes to Tromsø. En route, you will take pleasure in globe-course meals, on-deck jacuzzis, and every day jaunts into the numerous towns, with obtain to a range of land-based activities—from a stop by to the famed Snowhotel in Kirkenes to dogsledding.

The place to Go and How to Get There

A excellent way to start out planning your Northern Norway escape is to emphasis on a port town or two (or three) to launch your adventures from. Most of them hook up via Oslo, offering you a opportunity to take a look at the country’s wonderful funds too. Our possess leading 3 picks discussed in larger depth underneath had been Tromsø, Alta, and Kirkenes.

Norwegian flies several US routes to Oslo, and you can both book inter-Norwegian flights by the very same airline or by way of Scandinavian Airways (SAS) to other points of the state. There are various day-to-day flights from Oslo to Tromsø, which is steadily constructing its personal bigger international (EU) route network. A further selection is to fly into Bergen or Trondheim and trip Hurtigruten’s Coastal Categorical cruise north to Tromsø. Then head across the Barents Sea in direction of Kirkenes, or vice versa.

Evening view of Tromsø, Norway from the water.

Norway’s “Paris of the North”—Tromsø.
Adam Hurly


This northwestern island gem is nicknamed “Paris of the North” for its cosmopolitan vibe and fur-ocious fashions that wowed visitors again in the day. Tromsø municipality has close to 90,000 people and is the most easily obtainable halt together northwestern Norway’s serrated coastline. Most-do’s in this article include encountering Sami tradition, reindeer sledding, and northern lights trekking with Lapland Tromsø—which can also organize for an right away in a Sami lavvo tent. Energetic Tromsø is the pick for fingers-on dogsledding. In town, get an up-close peek at the iconic Arctic Cathedral, with its mountain-range form. For nearby fare, attempt the cozy, compact-menu Bardus Bistro.

As for accommodations, it is an easy decide: The harbor-adjacent Clarion Resort The Edge is central to all the motion and a handy 15-minute taxi or bus shuttle to the airport—or 3-moment trek to the Hurtigruten cruise dock. Be guaranteed to visit the hotel’s bustling SkyBar and take pleasure in their expansive breakfast buffet. Reserve a going for walks tour with Northern Norway Journey to integrate area history into your remain. Drop by the Polar Museum to study about the area’s trapping and investing past. Several other nearby functions can be booked as a result of Visit Tromsø.


Alta is the start off and finish stage of Europe’s largest dogsledding race, the Finnmarksløpet, which is next only to Alaska’s Iditarod. The charming town (nicknamed The Northern Lights City) houses the world’s initially northern lights observatory. The Alta Museum showcases around 6,000 UNESCO-shielded rock paintings and carvings. Sorrisnova sets the regular for hospitality here, with the world’s northernmost ice lodge and the jaw-dropping, 24-space Arctic WIlderness Lodge. Reserve your pet dog sledding or Sami experience with them, equally of which showcase the sprawl of Northern Norway’s largest plateau. GLØD, provides extra fat biking excursions, cross region skiing, mountaineering, snowshoeing, ski expeditions, and northern lights trekking, amid other things to do,

Two riders in parkas on a snowmobile in Kirkenes, Norway

Cruising by means of Kirkenes.
Adam Hurly



Kirkenes is a stone’s throw from each Russia and Finland, but the distant northeast harbor town remains one of the country’s most common winter escapes. The Snowhotel Kirkenes is the greatest spot. Recognised as the perennial ice resort here—complete with Instagrammable carvings—the property’s cozy Gamme Cabins give prime front row seats to any opportunity northern lights skyshow.

Practically each and every worthy exercise in Kirkenes can be booked at the Snowhotel shuttle—from dogsledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, snowshoeing, cross nation skiing, and king crab trekking on the frozen fjords. The lodge also companions with Hurtigruten, need to you plan an Arctic cruise westward to Tromsø or even south to Bergen later on.

What to Have on in Northern Norway in Winter

Visitors to Northern Norway in the cold, dark snowy winter—when regular temperatures typically float between 6 and 30 degrees Fahrenheit—will want to gown appropriately, and account for extended periods of time put in outdoor.

The Jacket

Although numerous outfitters will lend you watertight boots or whole-overall body snowsuits as section of their company, you’ll need a densely insulated outer jacket that breathes and repels humidity. I wore an orange version of this Trans-Antarctica Expedition Parka from North Deal with, which is surprisingly light-weight and packable presented its heft and 700-fill warming powers created for Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. My lover fortunately wore a black 800-fill Alaskan Hardgear Fall Point Jacket.

The Layers

Beneath all that, the key is base layers. You can get all of these at Uniqlo, beginning with thermal (double density) extended johns and tops. Their HEATTECH line lets you dress in your normal each day trousers or flannels about these underlayers.

The Footwear

A pair of durable, grippable, waterproof boots is important. I brought my ten years-previous pair of insulated Crimson Wing boots and my husband or wife wore these padded-collar, insulated Timberland boots. Pack a bunch of thick, mid-calf socks, too—ideally wool, however these boots will even now hold you warm if you dress in cotton.

The Gloves

Select gloves that insulate and secure your fingers but that will not prohibit your grip, really should you require it for skiing, sledding, or even grabbing your digicam promptly. My top select is Uniqlo’s HEATTECH gloves, which presented equally warmth and dexterity.

To understand much more about Northern Norway, visit NordNorge.com.


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