Ready to catch the Northern Lights? If you are planning to go to Northern Norway to chase Aurora, you may want to include a few other activities in your trip. In this article we are going to give you a rundown on what a Northern Lights holiday package could look like in Kirkenes and Tromsø. We’ll start by telling you a bit about each of these nordic cities.
Tromsø is regarded as one of the best places in the world to catch the Northern Lights and this Arctic Capital offers the best of both worlds – a vibrant city life and Arctic nature just outside the city. Here you can easily combine a Northern Lights chase with other activities such as dog sledding tours, snowmobiling, reindeer sledding, whale watching and different cruises – including Northern Lights cruises. You can also spend a magical night in the snowhotel, Tromsø Ice domes, or take the Fjellheisen cable car.
This city is dubbed "The Paris of the North", and whether you want to experience different festivals, enjoy a bustling nightlife or venture out on an Arctic adventure there is something for everyone.
Kirkenes offers stunning, raw, and diverse Arctic landscapes consisting of tundra, dense forests, beautiful mountains, and thousands of lakes. This is a smaller city and does not offer the same vibrant city and nightlife as Tromsø. Kirkenes is the perfect spot if you just want to immerse yourself in the Arctic nature excursions.
This city offers both husky and snowmobile evening tours where you can catch the Northern Lights should appear during your tour. You can also chill on a comfortable bus escorting you to your ultimate date with the Green Lady.
In Kirkenes, you can also spend a night in the winter wonderland Snowhotel Kirkenes – which is open all year round. This hotel is also the starting point for different tours like husky sledding, king crab fishing, and Northern Lights trips. Curious about ice hotels in Norway? Read more here!
Quick Northern Lights Packing List
Warm coat (or even better, a thermal suit),
Scarf, hat, gloves and warm winter boots.
Note: on the organized tours warm clothes will be included, but it could be wise to bring warm clothes for when you want to do some exploring on your own.
Tromsø has a lot to offer and how you choose to spend your days is up to you. The following is just an example of what 5 days in Tromsø could look like.
Day 1: Familiarize yourself with the city and see what it has to offer. Visit the Arctic Cathedral or take the Fjellheisen cable car to the top of Storsteinen Mountain and have lunch or dinner at Fjellstua Cafe. If you are at the top of the mountain in the evening you might even see Aurora – in any case you’ll get an amazing view of the city at 420 m above sea level.
Day 2: Go on a silent whale watching safari. This tour has a 8 am departure in order to take advantage of the few hours of daylight Tromsø has during winter. On this trip you can enjoy the magnificent winter landscape as you look for the majestic humpback and killer whales. During the tour, you can buy something to drink and eat in the onboard restaurant. This tour lasts about 7 hours and you’ll return to the city at 3 pm.
Season: The exact season varies year to year, but is usually between November and January
Prices: From 1 490,00.
Day 3: Start the day by checking out some of the spots you haven’t seen yet – maybe pay the Polar Museum a visit or go shopping in Storgata.
In the evening you can go on a Northern Lights tour – choose between boat, bus, minibus or camp visit. There are also husky, snowmobile and reindeer tours with evening departures, opening up for the possibility to see the Green Diva should she decide to make an appearance. However, If seeing the Northern Lights is your main goal you might want to choose a tour where the main focus is finding the lights.
Season: November to March
Prices: From 950 NOK
Day 4: Ice Domes and Reindeer Visit
Treat yourself to a guided tour of the magical winter wonderland Tromsø Ice Domes. A comfortable coach will depart from the city centre every day at 10.30 am and transport you to the beautiful Tamok Valley. This ice hotel – the Tromsø Ice Domes – is rebuilt every year for the winter season. The different sections of the hotel will have new ice carvings and art every time it’s built ensuring a new experience each year.
There is also a small group of reindeer at the Tromsø Ice Domes you can pay a visit while you are there. During this tour you will get a light lunch and try a drink made from local berries. You can also buy hot and cold drinks at the Ice Domes.
Season: December 10 – March 31.
Prices: from 975 NOK
Day 5: Go on a husky or snowmobile morning tour. For these tours you will be picked up in Tromsø city centre at 9 or 11 am and transported to the Camp Tamok Wilderness Centre. You will get some safety instructions and guidelines before you get to drive your own team of huskies or your own snowmobile. After the adventure you will return to camp, and get a nice warm meal by the fire before returning to Tromsø in the afternoon.The total duration for these tours is 6-7 hours
Season: 15. November – 31. March
Prices: from 1945 NOK
Top 3 hotels in Tromsø:
Thon Hotel Polar is a great choice in the mid-range price area. It’s situated just 100 m from Storgata, the main shopping street, Thon Hotel Polar offers comfortable rooms with flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and a large buffet breakfast
Scandic Ishavshotel is right by the quayside in Tromsø with a view of Tromsø Harbor. This hotel is a 4 minute walk from The Polar Museum and is in close proximity to everything the city has to offer. This hotel has previously won the award for the county's best hotel breakfast.
Clarion Hotel The Edge. If you are looking for a bit of a luxurious feel, Clarion Hotel The Edge is an excellent choice. This hotel is very central, located at the Tromsø Harbor, and features a sky bar and rooftop terrace on the 11th-floor overlooking the Arctic Cathedral.
Bardus, Mathallen and Smak offer traditional Nordic food with a modern twist.
Burgr, “the coolest burger place in town”, has loads of delicious burgers on the menu.
Pastafabrikken offers a huge selection of nice pasta dishes.
Kirkenes is a small city conveniently located in the Arctic circle. If you are here for five days you can have a relaxing vacation and have plenty of time to combine your Northern Lights holiday with several other authentic Northern Norwegian activities.
Here is an example of a 5 Day itinerary in Kirkenes:
Day 1: Chase the Northern Lights by snowmobile! On this trip you will get the chance to drive your own snowmobile into the Arctic wilderness to chase Aurora Borealis. Guided by an expert driver you will head into the remote, dark areas around Kirkenes to increase your chances of seeing the lights. Two people will share one snowmobile, one being the passenger and one being the driver – there are plenty of options to switch places along the way.
Day 2: Pay a visit to the Snowhotel Kirkenes 365! This magical winter kingdom is the first ice hotel to stay open all year round. The tour called Snowhotel Kirkenes 365 Visit is one of many options to see the hotel, and for this trip you will be picked up in Kirkenes at 09:30 or 13:00. Upon arrival you will get a two hour guided tour and hear all about Snowhotel 365 and the surrounding area. At the site there is a husky and reindeer park where you can visit over 180 huskies and puppies and watch the reindeer walk around peacefully.
Season: All year
Prices: From 300 NOK for an entrance tickets 800 NOK for a guided tour
Day 3: Andersgrotta is Kirkenes’ largest bomb shelter, built in 1941 and is one of the most significant historic attractions in Kirkenes. Here you learn about the life of civilians during world war II. A viewing of a documentary film based on archives and new recording is also included in this tour, allowing you to experience the atmosphere during wartime.
Season: All year
Prices: From 1 200,00
If you want to soak up another piece of Aurora, you can go on a Northern Lights husky tour in the evening. The tour will start at 9 pm at Snowhotel Kirkenes, Sandnesdalen, a transfer from Thon and Scandic hotels are included. Guided by a seasoned musher you will travel by dog sled far into the Arctic wilderness to search for the lights. The only sound you will hear as you go is the sound of the snow under the sledge, the dogs breathing, and the Arctic wind.
Season: 1. December – 15. April
Prices: from 2500 NOK
Day 4: Go on a King Crab safari! Kirkenes is known as the King Crab City! During winter you can go out on a snowmobile sled to the fjord ice to catch your own dinner. This trip starts from Snowhotel Kirkenes, and you will be picked up from the Thon and Scandic hotel at 9.30 in the morning. You will spend the day helping the crew pull the crab pots up from the Barents sea, before heading back to the Snowhotel Restaurant. Here you will have the chance to taste your freshly caught crab Northern Norwegian style – with bread, butter, mayonnaise and lemon. This crab is the biggest, freshest and most delicious shellfish you will ever taste.
Season: 01. December – 30. April.
Prices: from 2300 NOK
Day 5: Try Ice Fishing! Ice fishing is another authentic Kirkenes experience picking you up from Kirkenes city centre at 1pm. A seasoned fisherman guide will drill a hole in the ice before you sink your line into the water and wait for the catch to bite. The most common catch is cod, but you might be able to catch other types of fish too. The tour lasts 3 hours, and once you (hopefully) have pulled the biggest catch on land, you will be transported back to your hotel in Kirkenes.
Season: 10. January – 30. April
Prices: From 2000 NOK
Hot tip: if you want a unique start to your Arctic adventure, Snowhotel Kirkenes offers one of the most unique airport transfers in the world – by dog sled! If you are planning to visit the Kirkenes Snowhotel, a team of huskies could be waiting for you when you step off the plane. This transfer is available at various times during the winter season.
Scandic Kirkenes – A nice and central hotel who previously won the award for the best breakfast in the county. This hotel has an ideal location and if you are going on a tour, a lot of them will include a transfer from this making things as easy as can be for you.
Thon Hotel Kirkenes – Thon Hotel Kirkenes is located on the shore of Bøkfjorden, about 5 minutes’ walk from Andersgrotta Museum, tne World War II bomb shelter. A lot of the tours include a transfer from this hotel, which is very practical.
Barents Hotel – This hotel is centrally located in the town of Kirkenes on Bøkfjorden. Each of the rooms is simply decorated in bright or neutral tones and the guest lounge has a breakfast area for you to enjoy.
Surf & Turf Restaurant – Serves anything from fish soup to steaks, pasta and whale.
Ritz – A pizza restaurant offering pizza, snacks and desserts.
Shang Hai restaurant – A great selection of Chinese cuisine.
Just visiting for a weekend? Tromsø is a great place for a weekend getaway as you can take part in a lot of different things in just a few days.The city and nature are in close proximity to each other, making it possible to customize the weekend of your dreams.
The following is an example of what a weekend in Tromsø could look like.
Day 1: Get to know Tromsø. Walk around the city and do some shopping or sightseeing (The Arctic Cathedral and the Polar Museum are good choices) You can also take Fjellheisen up to the mountain ledge Storsteinen and enjoy a nice view of Tromsø city.
Day 2-3 If you are in Tromsø for just a couple of days, you may want to check out one of the Tromsø Northern Lights Packages. The Full Day Package let’s you spend an entire day at Camp Tamok and includes one morning activity and one afternoon activity of your choice. Choose between dog sledding, snowmobiling or reindeer sledding. For the afternoon activity you can also choose to go on the Northern Lights Visit activity. There are also overnight packages where you could spend the weekend doing an evening activity one day and a morning activity the next day before heading back home.The different packages are explained in more detail in the section “Northern Lights Package Tour in Tromsø”.
Going on an Arctic Adventure in Kirkenes? This is what a weekend in Kirkenes could look like.
Day 1: Go on a Northern Lights Chase by Husky! If you want to combine an old Northern Norwegian tradition with an Aurora chase, this trip is the perfect choice. This tour has a 9 pm pick up from downtown Kirkenes and you will return around midnight. On this trip you will be escorted deep into the Arctic wilderness guided by an experienced guide as you chase the Green Diva. The huskies need no incentive to pull the sled – these dogs live and breathe to run! If you are lucky the Northern Lights will be dancing all evening.
Season 01. December – 15. April
Price: From 2500 NOK
Day 2: Visit the Kirkenes Snowhotel! Treat yourself to a visit and dinner in the winter kingdom. The Snowhotel Kirkenes 365 Visit & Dinner tour includes a tour of the hotel and a 3 course dinner at Låven Restaurant. See the 14 stunning ice suites with different ice carvings and sculptures and have a drink in the ice bar. You also get to visit the husky and reindeer farm and greet and play with the dogs and puppies.
Season: All year
Prices from: 1 200,00 NOK
Day 3: Go on a morning snowmobile safari. This 2-hour adventure is a great and unforgettable experience allowing you to explore the magical landscape above the Arctic Circle. You can choose between three starting times: 9.30 am, 1 pm or 3 pm – transfer from and back to Kirkenes are all included.
If you are an adrenaline and action buff this is the perfect opportunity for an adventurous experience. Before turning the engine on, your guide will give you a practical demonstration and driving instructions. There will be two people per snowmobile – one as the driver and one as the passenger, with plenty of chances to switch places along the way.
Note: All the organized tours in Kirkenes and Tromsø will provide you with warm clothes for the day. (A thermal suit and warm boots).
If you want to combine more than one adventure, you have the option to create your own tailored full day package. Upon booking you can choose your first activity starting at 09 am (you have your pick of dog sledding, reindeer sledding, snowmobiling or a combination tour including snowshoes, Tromsø Ice Domes and a reindeer herd visit. You will be picked up in Tromsø city centre in the morning and brought to the wilderness centre Camp Tamok, which is a 75 minute drive trom Tromsø.
This camp is the start and end point for a lot of activities during winter. When tailoring your package you also have the option to include a Tromsø Ice Domes visit for 200 NOK per person.
After the first activity you will relax at the camp (approximately from 2:30 – 6:30 pm) You will get a hot meal in a traditional North Norwegian setting around the open fire in a reindeer herder’s tent.
Your second activity starts at 6.30 pm. When booking the tour you choose between dog sledding, snowmobiling, reindeer sledding or Northern Lights Visit. Please note that the activities you can choose between are subject to availability on your chosen dates). When the activity is completed you will return to Tromsø – the aim is to be back in the city by midnight. Ready for a Northern Lights adventure in Norway? Book here.
Season: 15 November – 31 March
Included: Transfers: English-speaking guide: Winter overall suit, boots, mittens, hat, (helmet) Hot meal and hot drinks
Prices: From 3490 NOK Per Person
Camp Tamok is our wilderness centre located in an area with optimal conditions for experiencing the Northern Lights. Although Camp Tamok is located only a 75-minute drive from downtown Tromsø, it is in a different and drier climate zone, with clear inland mountain weather. The dry climate generates many cloud-free night skies in winter, as well as during summer
This overnight package includes an evening adventure, an overnight stay and a morning activity the following day. You will be picked up in the centre of Tromsø outside the Magic Ice Bar in Kaigata 4 at 4.30 pm. From there you will be transported to Camp Tamok for your evening activity at 5 pm. On your first day you’ll choose between Northern Lights Visit, dog sledding, snowmobiling or reindeer sledding. After the activity you’ll spend the night at the accommodation of your choice; Aurora Chalet or Char Cabin.
The next morning you’ll enjoy a nice breakfast before you set off on your second adventure (dog sledding, snowmobiling or reindeer sledding) at 10.30 am. You will return to Tromsø around 4 pm. Book easily here.
Season: 15 November – 31 March
Prices: From 4290 NOK
75 minutes outside of Tromsø city centre, in the Tamok Valley, you’ll find Tromsø’s very own ice hotel – Tromsø Ice Domes. For the Tromsø Ice Domes Overnight package you get picked up in the centre of Tromsø at 5 pm and brought to the Ice Domes, where you will get a guided tour of the hotel. In the evening the guide will take you on a Snowshoeing and Northern Lights trip. During this adventure the guide will also prepare a three-course dinner on an open fire in the wilderness.
After a cool night in a magical bed made of ice you’ll have a nice breakfast at 9 am before setting off on the next adventure. At 11 am you’ll take part in a dog sledding tour in the Arctic wilderness where you get the chance to drive your own team of huskies. After completion of the tour you will be served a hot meal outside around the open fire. Departure back to the city is set to 2 pm and you’ll be back in the city around 3.30 pm. Ready to visit a magic winter wonderland? Book easily here.
T he Tromsø Ice Domes are rebuilt every year for the winter season and each part of the hotel will have different ice carvings and ice sculptures inspired by local culture and history, The Northern Lights and local wildlife. The themes and art differ every time the hotel is built so each year is a new experience.
You don't need to choose one of the holiday packages in order to tailor the trip to your wishes. You can pick activities and put them together any way you want. Here is a couple of examples of how.
Go for a Northern Lights Evening at Camp Tamok, the wilderness centre outside Tromsø. This tour starts with a presentation about Aurora Borealis and some tips on how to photograph this natural phenomenon, before you gather around the fire for a warm meal and a chat. If the sky is clear, the guides will take you on a short hike around the camp and find the best spots for photographing the lights.
If the sky is cloudy and there is no sign of Aurora, you will get to relax by the campfire and listen to stories about the light phenomenon and life behind the polar circle, from folklore to history.
It is possible to spend the night at the camp and pick another activity, like a dog sledding tour, the next day. Here the guides start off by providing you with safety instructions and information about how to mush your own husky team. There will be two people per sled so half the trip you will be in charge of steering the sled and the rest of the time you can kick back and relax in the back as the dogs lead the way.
Once the husky safari is completed, you will get a hot meal around the campfire before heading back to Tromsø.
Combine a Northern Lights Evening trip with a Sami culture and Reindeer Sledding tour. Spend the night in rustic accomodation at Camp Tamok.
Start off with the Northern Lights evening and spend a relaxing night at the wilderness Cabin. The next morning you can go for a Reindeer Sledding Daytime Tour. Sit back, relax and join the scenery. Get up and help pull the sled when needed – the perfect activity if you feel energetic and want to contribute.
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