Summary : Join field director, Kevin Clement, on a Lapland expedition in Norway, a nation within a nation with a unique, semi-nomadic culture based on reindeer herding. The Lapland tour is timed to coincide with excellent views of the fabled Northern Lights as well as the Sami’s annual reindeer migration and festival. Explore by boat, snowshoe, snowmobile, and even by dog sled, as you discover sheltered fjords surrounded by majestic mountain peaks, peaceful valleys, and sleepy fishing hamlets. Particular highlights of your Northern Lights expedition include stays in a hotel made entirely of ice and packed snow and in a traditional lavuu.
Activities : Culture, Hiking
$999,999,999 to $0
Depart on your independent flight to Oslo.
Arrive in Oslo this afternoon and make your way to the Radisson SAS Airport Hotel. Gather this evening for a welcome dinner and briefing.
This morning board your short flight to Kirkenes. Located on the extreme northeastern coast of Norway along a branch of the Varanger Fjord, Kirkenes is surrounded by rolling granite hills dotted with numerous lakes. Upon arrival, enjoy a city tour, including the Borderland Museum and the Andersgrotta, a bomb shelter where town residents sought refuge from Russian air raids during World War II. After lunch at a local restaurant, transfer to the Thon Hotel, with the rest of the afternoon at leisure to relax or explore on your own.
After breakfast, attend a short introduction to snowmobile driving, with a bit of time to practice your newly learned skills. Then transfer to the Snowhotel. Made entirely of snow, a new structure is built every year, complete with ice-carved bed platforms, furniture, and decorations. This afternoon attend a dog mushing lesson. If the night is clear, walk to a viewpoint to watch for the Northern Lights.
Today choose to spend the morning either ice fishing, or cross-country skiing. After lunch at a local restaurant, board your snowmobile for a leisurely ride through snow-draped wilderness to arrive at the Svanhovd National Park Center. Take nature walks through pristine forests to search for resident wildlife.
After breakfast, ride your snowmobile back to Kirkenes and board the Hurtigruten ferry. Cruise past photogenic coastal scenery as you enjoy lunch on board. Arrive in Batsfjord and check in to the Batsfjord Hotel.
After breakfast, take a stroll along the harbor of Norway’s fishing capital, keeping an eye out for king and Steller’s eiders, among other species. Then board coaches for the drive to Kongsfjord, a tiny fishing village whose waters were fished out in the late 20th century, causing many people to move away. Now the fish are coming back, and so are the people, many for the quaint, slow-paced lifestyle. Don snowshoes for a scenic walk through the surrounding countryside. Dinner and overnight at Kongsfjord Gjestehus.
Explore this charming settlement by snowshoe and continue to the peninsula beyond town for impressive views. Here you will also find ruined fortifications installed during World War II. After lunch take a stroll through town, stopping at galleries and gift shops filled with local products and folk art. Those who are up to the challenge may join a local crabber to hunt for the region’s giant king crabs. For dinner this evening, enjoy your catch of the day. Overnight at Kongsfjord Gjestehus.
This morning board buses for a scenic drive to Hillagurra. Here you will meet the Gaups, a Sami family who live in a modern house (for part of the year), but continue to make traditional clothes by hand, follow the summer reindeer migration, and celebrate Sami festivals. Meet the herd and take an exhilarating ride in your own reindeer-drawn sleigh, or you may choose to ride behind a reindeer on skis. Dinner is a traditional Sami meal which will likely include reindeer stew prepared over an open fire. This evening your hosts regale you with folktales and explain the language, customs, beliefs, clothing, and crafts of the Sami people. Tonight you have the unique opportunity to sleep in a traditional Sami lavvu—a cozy, communal tent made of reindeer hide with wooden floors.
In addition to its beautiful surroundings, Karasjok is the social and cultural center of the Norwegian Sami. Important Sami institutions have been established here, including the Sámediggi (the Sami Parliament) and a Sami language radio station. Enjoy a special private tour of the Sami Parliament Building and at the Sami National Museum you will see excellent displays of traditional garments, tools, and crafts. Afterwards, visit a Sami knifesmith who crafts reindeer-herder knives. These knives have a distinctive look and are an integral part of Sami culture; they range from workaday to decorative, and make a memorable souvenir. Dinner and overnight at Rica Hotel Karasjok.
Today, meet Sven Engholm, an eleven time winner of Europe’s longest dog sled race, Finnmarksløpet, with a distance of over 600 miles. Visit the kennels to meet his highly trained sled dogs, then board your own sled to make the 12-mile journey to the Ravnastua Mountain Lodge. Your accommodations tonight are rustic cabins equipped with cozy wood-stoves and hand-carved furnishings. Behind the main house is a separate building with a clever wood-fired hot tub and sauna, the perfect way to unwind after a busy day. This evening enjoy a hearty meal prepared by your host accompanied by a performance of accordion music and traditional Sami songs.
Today, mush sleds back to Karasjok and enjoy lunch with Sven, before boarding buses for the short drive to Kautokeino. The “secret capital” of the Sami, Kautokeino hosts the annual Sami Easter Festival. This afternoon take a stroll around town to observe the bustle of activity. You may also want to visit Juhl’s Silver Gallery and workshop where you will find beautiful jewelry and decorative items using traditional Sami designs and motifs. Dinner and overnight at Thon Hotel Kautokeino.
Visit the beautiful Kautokeino church, where with luck, you may have the unique opportunity to attend a service. This evening attend a celebratory farewell dinner that includes a special yoiking (Sami folk songs) concert. Overnight at Thon Hotel Kautokeino.
After breakfast drive to Alta for your flight to Oslo. The afternoon is at leisure with dinner and overnight at the SAS Radisson Hotel.
Depart on your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the same day.
All accommodations; all group meals including selected beverages with lunch and dinner; group transfers; guided excursions as stated in the itinerary; entrance fees for parks, reserves, etc.; all gratuities; emergency medical coverage (maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000)*; evacuation coverage (maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000)*.
All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; accident/baggage/cancellation insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages, email/fax/telephone charges.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.