This multi-centre holiday combines hotel stays with coastal cruising. Finnmark is a wild and wonderful area of northern Norway which boasts spectacular scenery, from rugged island seascapes to vast mountain plateaus. This coastal adventure starts in Tromso and takes you up to the top end of mainland Europe, throughout which endless skies giving ample opportunities for aurora sightings from land or whilst at sea.
Who for? Northern lights and Arctic enthusiasts and photographers
** Winter 2012/13 Solar Max book now **
Kongsfjord Guesthouse - a hidden gem in the Arctic.Hurtigruten Coastal Voyage.Kirkenes Snow Hotel (20 Dec to 20 Apr only).
Tromso - Gateway to the Arctic
Fly far above the Arctic Circle to the city of Tromso, the largest city in Northern Norway. Steeped in history, this vibrant city provides a perfect base from which to visit many attractions such as the striking Arctic Cathedral, fascinatingPolar Museum or the Polaria Centre. Or if you prefer to spend your time outdoors, try one of the many optional excursions such as dog sledging or snowmobiling.
From Tromso, set sail on the Hurtigruten coastal steamerfor Finnmark. This region lies along the same latitude as Alaska to the West and Siberia to the East. Although inland temperatures can dip well below zero, the Gulf Stream ensures the coastline and more importantly, the harbours do not ice over meaning that this remote Arctic region can be fully explored.
As you voyage north, winding betweens, islands and fjords, you’ll swear it gets darker each night, the ‘big skies’ lending themselves perfectly to keeping watch for theaurora. The next day Honningsvag is your port of call where we highly recommend the optional excursion toNordkapp (North Cape). The snow covered landscape en route is empty, except for herds of reindeer which provide a glimpse of true Arctic scenery. The Visitor Centre at the top of the 307m cliff includes a super widescreen film presentation of a helicopter flight over the area - not to be missed! Outside is the much-photographed steel globe at the end of the promontory.
Next stop is Berlevag harbour, the only village in Finnmark actually on the open Arctic sea. Its 1000 residents are protected solely by the breakwaters - it is difficult not to feel completely at one with nature when alighting here.
An absolute gem, Kongsfjord Guesthouse is just a 30 minute drive from Berlevag, in an enviable location boastingsweeping views over the fjord. This lovingly restored 19th century farmhouse affords a high standard of accommodation with cosy, tastefully furnished rooms and a homely restaurant which specialises in local dishes. Your host, Ase and her team, are here to make sure your stay is truly memorable. There is a range of daytime activities on offer including snow-shoeing, ice fishing, boat trips for bird watching and king crab fishing, or you could explore with one of the complimentary kicksleds. With next to no light pollution in this area, Kongsfjord offers good chances to star gaze and view the aurora borealis.
From Berlevag, the final leg of the coastal voyage takes you east into the remote port of Kirkenes. While staying here you can visit the Russian border, a mere 10km away; try your hand at a winter activity and see the Kirkenes Snow Hotel(open Dec-Apr), with its individually crafted snow suites and ice bar - you can even opt to spend a night there.
Please note sightings of the northern lights cannot be guaranteed – to read more about this naturally occurring phenomena click here »