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North route: The programs and routes described here serve only as a rough guide
The overall program, such as the hiking program on land and the itinerary of the ship at sea, will adapt to the local weather, sea, and snow conditions, and may vary considerably from the route shown. Availability of landing sites also plays a role in the selection of the program. The program may also be changed in response to interesting wildlife observations (e.g., whale sightings). The final decision as to where and in what way the hikes will be implemented is ultimately made by the expedition leader on board. For the hiking program, it is recommended that you bring ankle-high, sturdy boots with gaiters. For wet shore landings via our Zodiac boats, please bring insulated rubber boots with anti-slip soles. Hiking poles with deep snow plates are also required. See our equipment list for more details.
The Northern Norway coastline is renowned for its beauty, a forested terrain contoured with rugged mountains and vast fjords that has twice been voted the best travel destination in the world by National Geographic. And it’s not just during the summer months that Norway shows off its splendors, but the winter as well: The mountains are capped with snow, the sun hangs heavy on the skyline, and everything is embraced in a lustrous coat of frost. In the far north, about 500 km (310 miles) northeast of the Arctic Circle, the Lyngen and Kvaenangen fjords can be found, between which we find steep mountain ridges, remote islands, and a wealth of hiking opportunities. These areas provide the ultimate wilderness experience, as ideal for exploration by foot as by sail.
Our itinerary depends largely on weather conditions and the amount of daylight during the voyage. These conditions dictate the route, sailing hours, and our harbors for the night. We intend to explore the fjords and islands by sail and also on foot. In case of heavier snow, we will use our onboard snowshoes.
In winter the amount of daylight is limited, providing about 10 hours of light by the end of February. The dramatic landscape under the low sun and long sunrise / sunset offers great opportunities for photography enthusiasts, but the dark hours will not be wasted: Northern Norway is one of the best areas in the world to see the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis. This amazing phenomenon can only be seen when the sky is dark and clear. In good weather conditions, this voyage offers ample opportunities to admire and photograph the northern lights from the remote fishing villages and bays where we stay the night. During the voyage you may also see white-tailed eagles, one of the largest birds of prey in Europe, and the more-skittish fish otters. Both species are year-round residents of the Norwegian fjords.
Day 1: Paris of the North
Your adventure begins in Tromsø, nicknamed the “Paris of the North,” located in an area rich with Norse and Sámi history. Enjoy exploring this sub-Arctic Norwegian town, said to have been inhabited since the last ice age. We aim at departing from Tromsø in the evening, sailing through Grøtsundet and Ullsfjorden toward the northeast. All passengers are kindly asked to board the vessel by 17:00.
Day 2: Lighting out toward Lyngen
You arrive in the Nord-Lenangen fjord, just under Lyngsfjella (Lyngen Alps), and the ship may stay there for the night. If conditions permit, you may also make a walk along the coast of the fjord, after which evening glimpses of the northern lights may appear, if the sky is clear enough.
Day 3 – 6: Into the Nordic fjords
You then sail along the base of the Lyngen Alps, across the Lyngen fjord, and may stay for the night in Hamnnes, on the island of Uløya. Hamnnes is an ancient trade and fishing settlement originating in the 17th century, with typical wooden warehouses where residents store dried cod. (In fact, the town still exports this cod for the traditional Mediterranean dish, Bacalhau.) Uløya offers good hiking, often on snowshoes.
From Hamnnes, you sail farther northeast into the Kvaenangen Fjord. Part of the day you sail through the fjords, and in the afternoon you find a harbor to spend the night in one of the scenic fishing villages, such as Skjervøy, Seglvik, Reinfjord, or Burfjord. There are good hiking possibilities in the area, for example on the Island of Spildra, where we might climb the 240-meter-high (788 feet) Staurhammaren, with expansive views over the fjord. Great hikes can also be made in Burfjord, just 50 km (31 miles) from the northerly town of Alta. During the evenings and nights, there are fine opportunities to see auroras if the sky is clear enough. Our course is heading south-west again. We spend the night near the small village of Finnkroken, a tiny hamlet that gives you a solid chance of seeing the northern lights. In the morning you embark on a final hike, hopefully with snowshoes, to the 315-meter-high (1,033 feet) Småvasshaugen.
Day 7: Under the northern lights
Arrival in Tromsø around midday. In the afternoon you enjoy free time to shop for souvenirs in town, visit a museum, or simply take a walk in the fresh winter air. After spending the last night on board, you disembark on day eight (Saturday) with memories that will accompany you wherever your next adventure lies.
Day 8: Goodbye Northern Norway!
Disembarkation in the port of Tromsø at 9:00 a.m. at the latest. Transfer to the airport on your own (not included). Individual journey home with scheduled flight via Oslo back home (flights not included in the cabin price).
All itineraries are subject to change and vary according to weather conditions.
Additional note: -
At the beginning of the season, there is still snow on the coastline, valleys, and in the mountains. For this reason, we offer the option of snowshoes during our hikes on this voyage.
Snowshoeing is easy for anyone in good physical condition and requires no technical knowledge. With the use of snowshoes, you can move faster and safer on the snow. Snowshoes are available on board (free of charge) and fit all shoe sizes.
As a rule, daily hikes of two to three hours are planned, in the morning and / or afternoon. Approximately 100 to 200 meters (330 to 660 feet) of altitude may be climbed per day, depending on the hike.
At midday hikers return for lunch aboard the vessel, but in the event of a full-day hike, participants receive a packed lunch.
For all hikes, guests (maximum of 33) are split into two groups under the guidance of experienced guides who take into account the interests and physical fitness of the participants. Hiking routes cannot be determined in advance, because local conditions (ice, weather, etc.) influence the final program. The map outlines a possible but not final itinerary, as all itineraries are subject to change.
NEW: Kayak Skills Progression Camp in cooperation with TRAK
Ever wanted to join a course that teaches useful and effective kayaking skills? Now you can learn from the experts, and all in a fantastic Arctic environment. We’re offering our new Kayak Skills Progression Camp, in cooperation with TRAK, to an exclusive group of four to eight kayakers. Participants will be split into two groups of four people, and each group will be offered one outing per day (morning or afternoon) of one to two hours. We hope for five activity days from Sunday to Thursday, depending on local conditions.
The supplemental fee for this activity covers your use of industry-leading TRAK single-seater kayaks and dry suits for the duration of your trip, but if you have your own dry suit, we recommend using that instead. For kayakers who bring their own TRAK kayak and dry suit, no supplemental fee will be charged. Basic kayaking experience is helpful but not a requirement.
Physical fitness, however, is essential. Since it can be breezy and cool in the early season (Arctic spring time), please bring your own thermal layers for additional warmth. This course is aimed at beginners and intermediate kayakers who want to kayak in sheltered fjords, bays, and small secluded harbors. It’s a fun activity in a leisurely format, focusing on education and skills progression. Morning kayakers will return for lunch aboard the vessel at midday, after which they’ll swap activities with morning hikers.
All kayak outings will operate under the guidance of seasoned kayak guides who will take into account the experience and physical fitness levels of the participants. Kayak groups will also be escorted by one Zodiac boat for added safety. Kayaking routes cannot be determined in advance, because local conditions will have an influence on the final program.
The map therefore outlines a possible but not final itinerary, as all itineraries are subject to change.