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On this remarkable adventure we explore Norway and Swedish Lapland, journeying north far into the Arctic Circle where we seek out the magical Northern Lights, all whilst traveling on some of Scandinavia's most scenic railroads.
Day 1 - To Oslo
Our wonderful journey in search of the Northern Lights begins in Oslo, where you meet the group and Tour Manager at our hotel for two nights, the Thon Hotel Opera, located close to the Opera House. (D)
Day 2 - Exploring Oslo
Today you are free to explore Oslo at leisure. The new State Opera House is situated close to our hotel and is an impressive, award-winning example of modern architecture. Norway's magnificent 19th century Royal Palace and the 20th century Oslo City Hall, home of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies, are both well worth visiting. Oslo also boasts a variety of attractive parks including the Vigeland Sculpture Park, whose 80 fascinating acres were designed by Gustav Vigeland. The city offers a good choice of museums including, the Folk Museum and the Edvard Munch Museum. (B,D)
Days 3 & 4 - Oslo to Trondheim
Today we leave Olso and head due north by train, following the line of the Dovre Railway. Our wonderfully scenic daytime journey takes us through the majestic landscape of the Dovrefjell - a mountain range separating eastern Norway from the region surrounding Trondheim. The mountains are part of the Dovrefjell-Sunndalsfjella National Park, a protected region which is a natural habitat for many rare plants and animals. Later we arrive in Trondheim for two nights at the Radisson Blu Royal Garden Hotel, located in the heart of the city within walking distance of its shops, restaurants and Bakklandet, the city's old quarter. Day 4is free to explore atmospheric Trondheim, one of Norway's oldest cities. (Day 3 - B, D, Day 4 - B)
Day 5 - Trondheim to Bodø on the Nordland Railway
We leave Trondheim early this morning and travel north on the Nordland Railway on a 452-mile journey to Bodø. The route takes us through the beautiful and varied landscape of northern Norway, past gently sloping hills and distant mountains, majestic lakes and deep forests, rocky coastline and views across small islands and out over the open sea. We cross the Arctic Circle - 66 degrees north - shortly before reaching the town of Lonsdal, the highest point of the railroad. The train reaches Fauske before turning due west for the final short section of the journey to Bodø, which claims to be 'the city with the world's most beautiful coastline'. As Bodø is beneath the auroral oval, if the weather is clear, tonight could be your first viewing of the magical Northern Lights. We spend the night at the Thon Hotel Nordlys, located in the heart of the town. After dinner, we travel by coach to a viewing point, to maximise our chances of seeing the spectral dance of the magnificent Northern Lights. (B, D)
Day 6 - Bodø & the Lofoten Islands
After a leisurely morning we board our Hurtigruten ship, and travel to Svolvaer, the tiny capital of the stunningly beautiful Lofoten Islands. Described as Europe's most dramatic and spectacular islands, the Lofoten Islands are tethered to mainland Norway by a series of bridges and resemble spikey, wired teeth. The islands are home to countless small fishing communities, their houses built on timber piles with seawater under the floorboards and imposing cliffs towering 3,000ft above. We spend two nights at the Thon Hotel Nordlys. (B)
Day 7 - The Lofoten Islands & the Northern Lights
Your morning is free to explore Svolvaer and the Lofoten Islands at leisure. The islands are home to some outstanding wildlife, including the world's densest population of sea eagles and large numbers of minke whales which roam the blue-watered bays. In the late afternoon we embark on a coach journey to the quiet side of the island where there is hardly any light pollution. These are fantastic conditions from which to hunt for the Northern Lights, as well as making for beautiful views of the wintry landscape. Afterwards, we enjoy a meal of local produce at the Old Fish Oil Museum and later we return by coach to Svolvaer. (B, D)
Day 8 - Svolvaer to Narvik
We leave Svolvaer by coach this morning, and return to the Norwegian mainland. Our journey once again offers a wonderful opportunity to soak up the region's breathtaking beauty, with views from the coach stretching down sheer drops to the majestic fjords in the valley below. We check in to the Scandic Hotel Narvik and enjoy an afternoon at leisure. The ice-free seaport is located 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle and has a number of fascinating attractions including its Red Cross War Memorial Museum, which documents the wartime occupation of Narvik by the Germans in World War II and the bitter air and sea battles that took place for control of the harbor and the iron ore supplies. Also worth a visit is the Ofoten Museum, housed in the old NSB Railroad building, which features exhibitions relating to local cultural history and the construction of the Ofoten Railroad. (B, D)
Day 9 - Narvik to Kiruna on the Ofoten Railway
Today we enjoy a journey on one of the world's most northerly railroad lines, the Ofoten Railroad. Narvik was originally built as a port to export the iron ore mined near Kiruna, and the Ofoten Railroad was built as the link between the mines and the port. We travel on this line across the Swedish border, crossing barren plateaus and traversing steep mountainsides as we make our way to Kiruna, Swedish Lapland's largest city. The railroad's route was painstakingly carved out of the mountains - an incredible engineering project that was largely undertaken by hand. On arrival in Kiruna we have time at leisure. We spend two nights at the Camp Ripan Hotel. (B, L)
Days 10 & 11 - Kiruna & the Sami Experience
This morning we enjoy time at Kiruna's famous Ice Hotel. In the late afternoon we take a 'Sami experience', discovering the lives and culture of Sweden's indigenous people. We travel to a Sami village where we meet the reindeer, enjoy a Sami feast in a 'lavvu' (Sami tent) and listen to local folk tales. We then leave the lights of the village behind, heading into a beautiful landscape of forests and mountains to try and view the captivating Northern Lights once again. On Day 11 you are free to travel home independently. (Day 10 - B, D, Day 11 - B)
Thon Hotel Nordlys, Bodø
The Thon Hotel Nordlys enjoys a central location close to Bodø's marina and harbour wall. The hotel benefits from a restaurant and a bar, whilst the rooms come equipped with a telephone, television, minibar, free Wi-Fi internet access and a hairdryer.
Camp Ripan, Kiruna
Just outside of Kiruna we stay at the 4-Star Camp Ripan, a hotel that offers that little something extra. Designed and built to reflect the nature and conservation of this area of Sweden, each room is an individual, cosy cabin, which features a television, a minifridge, and complimentary Wi-Fi. One of the main features of this hotel is its impressive Aurora Spa, with indoor and outdoor pools that are open all year round, and a sauna. There is also a restaurant, serving delicious food with local ingredients.
Scandic Narvik Hotel, Narvik
Opened in 2012, the Scandic Narvik Hotel is one of Norway's tallest and most distinctive buildings, and offers fine views of the surrounding mountains. Its facilities include a restaurant, a sky bar and terrace on the top floor, and a well-stocked gym. The rooms feature amenities such as a television, minibar, telephone and hairdryer.
Thon Hotel Opera, Oslo
The modern Thon Hotel Opera is perfectly located next to Oslo Central Station and just a short walk from Karl Johans Gate, the city's main pedestrian thoroughfare. The hotel has a restaurant, a bar serving snacks and light refreshments, a sauna and fitness studio. The rooms are comfortably furnished and facilities include climate control, a television, telephone, minibar, tea and coffee making facilities and a hairdryer.
The scenic Dovre Railroad connects two of Norway's capital cities - the current capital, Oslo, and the historic Viking capital, Trondheim. Nicknamed 'the trail of the trolls', the railroad runs on 553km of track, following a meandering route through Norway's inland countryside to provide a fascinating cross-section of scenery. Along its route the railroad passes broad farmlands, expansive lakes, babbling rivers, rich deep forests, narrow valleys and high mountain passes, while providing a snapshot of the country's fascinating floral and unique animal and bird life.
The Nordland Railroad runs from the historic Viking capital of Norway, Trondheim, to the beautiful city of Bodø in northern Norway. The railroad is 729km in length, making it Norway's largest mainline railroad. It is also one of only a few railroad lines in the world which cross the Arctic Circle. The railroad, which is also called 'the train of the midnight sun', takes passengers through the beautifully varied scenery of northern Norway and includes views of lakes, rivers and fjords, as well as the spectacular Svartisen Glacier. The Nordland Railroad crosses the Arctic Circle (66 degrees north) just before reaching Lonsdal, the highest station on the line at 512km above sea level. This part of Norway is famous as an ideal place to view the Northern Lights. During the summer, in fine weather, the sun remains visible 24 hours a day. After reaching Fauske, the most northerly point on the line, the railroad turns due west to Bodø, regarded by many as the city with the world's most beautiful coastline.
The Ofoten Railroad lies on a headland at the foot of the Fagernesfjellet, between the Beisfjord and Rornbaksfjord, and runs between the iron-ore mines at Kiruna in Swedish Lapland and the port town of Narvik on the Norwegian coast. The modern town of Narvik was developed as a port for the export of the iron-ore, and the Ofoten Railroad, was built at the turn of the century as the link between the mines and the port.
At the time of construction, the Ofoten Railroad was both the coldest and northern-most railroad project in the world. The 26-mile (42km) line was painstakingly carved out the mountains - an incredible engineering project that was largely undertaken by hand. The result is a breathtaking route which takes passengers past deep fjords, through the wild, rugged mountains and the barren mountain plateaus north of the Arctic Circle. The Ofoten Railroad Museum is dedicated to the local history of Narvik and the Ofoten Railroad, and is located close to the center of Narvik.
$3535 per person, based on double occupancy. Airfare not included.