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Fjords, Arctic Birds, & Northern Lights! ... A Norwegian Coastal Voyage

Tour Code: NOR09

A 6-day holiday in search of the Northern Lights, Arctic birds and spectacular winter landscapes, including a 3-night mini-cruise aboard one of Norway's legendary Hurtigruten passenger ships.

6 days from £1745(inc flights) Land Only Price: £1645 SRS: £250


We begin this winter holiday by travelling to Tromsø, a small Norwegian coastal town located 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Here we will look for such hardy birds such as King Eider, Long-tailed Duck and Purple Sandpiper then, as night falls, we will head outside and turn our attension skyward in the hope of witnessing one of the natural world's most spectacular sights, the Aurora Borealis or 'Northern Lights'. We then board one of Norway’s famous coastal transport boats, the Hurtigruten, for a 3-night cruise down the coast to Trondheim, where we will make stops in the Lofoten Islands and along the Hegeland coast to enjoy the impressive scenery and look for birds such as White-tailed Eagle,

  • Includes 3-night mini-cruise aboard one of Norway’s legendary ‘Hurtigruten’ ships
  • Head outside after dark in search of the ethereal 'Northern Lights'
  • Wintering seaduck such as King Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Common & Velvet Scoter
  • White-tailed Eagle likely and Hawk Owl possible
  • Cruise from Tromsø to Trondheim via the beautiful Lofoten Islands
  • See the impressive ‘Seven Sisters’ mountains, romanticised in Norwegian folklore
  • Spectacular coastal landscapes
  • Led by an expert naturalist guide

Food

Breakfasts and lunches are included whilst in Tromso and Trondheim; dinners are excluded. Breakfast is included on board the Hurtigruten mini-cruise; lunch and dinner are excluded. Allow approximately £250 for additional meals not included in the tour cost.

Accommodation

Comfortable hotels in Tromso & Trondheim with private facilities. For the cruise from Tromso to Trondheim we will join one of Hurtigruten's passenger ships (please refer to the detailed Tour Itinerary for further information). Cabins are twin berth and en suite.

Northern Lights

Northern Lights

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Fly Tromso

Day 2 Tromso/embark Hurtigruten at midnight

Day3/4 Hurtigruten Cruise

Day 5 Arrive Trondheim

Day 6 Fly London

Hurtigruten Vessel

Norway is often referred to as ‘The Land of the Midnight Sun’ and, indeed, during the summer its seemingly endless daylight is entrancing.  However, during late winter Norway is transformed; at this time of year it offers a different kind of illumination across its sweeping skyscapes — one of nature’s most captivating phenomena, the Northern Lights. On this new tour we travel north of the Arctic Circle at a special time of year, when daylight lengthens once again to eight hours, to enjoy the birds, wild landscapes and Aurora Borealis on land before boarding one of the celebrated ‘Hurtigruten’ passenger ships to enjoy one of the world’s most scenic coastal voyages.

We begin this holiday with an overnight stay at a comfortable hotel in the attractive town of Tromsø, which lies 200 miles inside the Arctic Circle and is Norway’s gateway to the Arctic Ocean. In defiance of the latitude, the warming influence of the Gulf Stream results in ice-free harbours and highly productive seas (a paradise for fisherman and seabirds alike!), while on land, extensive birch and spruce forests clothe the lower slopes of the snowy mountains. Whilst most of the land birds vacate these icy latitudes in the winter, we should still keep our eyes open for flocks of Redpoll or Waxwings, or perhaps even the occasional lingering Hawk Owl. Away from land, however, hundreds of sea-ducks gather in the sheltered bays and fjords each winter, and amongst the large rafts of Common Eider we will be hoping to find the spectacular King Eider. We will also keep an eye open for White-billed Divers and Long-tailed Ducks, along with Little Auks further out to sea and Purple Sandpipers busily feeding along the shoreline. When darkness falls, we will put on our warmest clothes and leave the bright lights of the city behind, entering another world where the inky blue polar night is studded with a myriad of brightly shining stars. Our night-time quest is for a view of the Northern Lights; and Tromsø is one of the best places to witness this extraordinary natural light-show if conditions are clear.

At the same latitude as Siberia and Alaska, the Gulf Stream hugs Norway’s shores to create the longest ice-free polar coast, and a voyage aboard the illustrious Coastal Express, known locally as the ‘Hurtigruten’, gives a unique opportunity to glimpse life above the Arctic Circle. The Hurtigruten is a postal transport system with a real heartbeat; by day and night its vessels ply this challenging coast from south to north and back again, calling at 34 ports along the way. For the next part of this tour we leave Tromsø at midnight aboard a Hurtigruten passenger ship and for the next two days we will witness the very best of Norway’s untouched Arctic landscapes on what is arguably the world’s most beautiful sea voyage.

On the first day aboard ship we travel between the mountainous mainland and the many scenic islands, calling in at a number of small ports such as Harstad and Stortland. As goods are loaded and unloaded from the ship you will have time to explore these small ports and look around the harbour for birdlife. Whilst cruising, the decks of the ship make an excellent vantage-point from which to look for rafts of sea-ducks and White-tailed Eagles. As the day draws to a close, the ship will sail down the length of a narrow sound called Raftsund where the snow-covered mountains are breathtaking in the Arctic light. Once the sky darkens, our eyes will turn to the sky in the hope of seeing the Northern Lights.

On the second day of our cruise we will sail down the Hegeland coast, which plays host to some important seabird assemblages during the breeding season. In winter it is a different story; White-tailed Eagles are common and make an impressive sight soaring on broad, apparently motionless wings across the Arctic sky and are often seen posed statue-like on the many skerries or even perched on the Arctic Circle sign itself! We’ll also see the impressive ‘Seven Sisters’, a cluster of majestic mountains often romanticised in Norwegian folklore.

Unfortunately, all epic voyages come to an end, and so must ours. As dawn breaks on the third day we arrive in the town of Trondheim where we leave the ship and spend the day exploring this beautiful coastal town. After a final night in Trondheim, we make the short transfer to the airport for our flight back to the UK, our minds full of the spectacular coastal landscapes and wildlife of north Norway, illuminated — we hope — by the ethereal flickerings of the Northern Lights.

King EiderSeven SistersNorthern Lights (David Phillips)Birdwatching (David Phillips)Birdwatching from the deck (David Phillips)Birdwatching from the deck (David Phillips)Kong Harald (David Phillips)Raftsund (David Phillips)Raftsund (David Phillips)Northern Lights (David Phillips)Northern Lights (David Phillips)Crossing the Arctic Circle (David Phillips)Celebratory drink after crossing the Arctic Circle (David Phillips)Trondheim (David Phillips)Guided walk near Trondheim (David Phillips)Tram in Trondheim (David Phillips)Trondheim (David Phillips)King EiderLong-tailed DuckWhite-tailed Sea Eagle
R.G.
Oxfordshire
The whole experience was incredible. The winter landscape and coastline are truly breath-taking. We were lucky enough to see the northern lights and a variety of wildlife - very exciting. As tour leaders, Rob and David were very knowledgeable, helpful and great company. The whole group really worked well.
Mr & Mrs Law
Suffolk
Aurora borealis views were wonderful. Explanations given by David were very good and interesting. White-tailed eagles also splendid.
G.C.
Hertfordshire
Both Rob and David were excellent - knowledgeable and easy going. And a bonus - they laughed at my poor jokes!
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DeparturesAvailableCost

Wed 21st February 2018 - Mon 26th February 2018

2

£1745

more details

Flights: Flights are included in the tour costMore info

Regional Departures: Regional Departures are available. Call 01962 733051 for detailsMore info

Land only cost: £1645 More info

Room sharing options: More info

Visiting: Norway

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Kerrie Porteous
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Tour Reviews

The whole experience was incredible. The winter landscape and coastline are truly breath-taking. We were lucky enough to see the northern lights and a variety of wildlife - very exciting. As tour leaders, Rob and David were very knowledgeable, helpful and great company. The whole group really worked well.
R.G., Oxfordshire