We believe that speaking directly to people is the best way possible to find out about your travels and experiences. If you would like to give us direct or indirect feedback, please either call us or email us through our website, and we can call you back. It would be our pleasure.
Our testimonials are gathered from personal emails and letters of thanks. These reviews are actual quotes by 50 Degrees North guests and we do not post information without consent. Read here for references from our Scandinavian partners.
We just returned to the US after eight great days in Norway! Thanks for all your help, it all went forward without a hitch. Even the weather was fantastic last week. The Fretheim Hotel in Flam is excellent, as was the Zodiac tour, a real highlight. Bergen was lovely as well and the Bergen Hotel was a really good choice. The only thing I would have changed is to the Fjaerland Glacier tour-- I would recommend either the half-day Fjaerland option or allow the full day tourists to stay at the glacier sight for two extra hours and ride back with the afternoon group."
View from Stegastein viewpoint.David, Aug '17
Hamad and I returned to Riyadh after a superb tour of Scandinavia and St. Petersburg a few days ago. We wish to thank you personally, as well as all the staff at 50 Degrees North, for your efforts at designing, organizing, and fine-tuning our program.
I have myself traveled on numerous private tours around the world, but I can easily say that I have never been so completely satisfied as I have been with the services provided. All our hotels were centrally located and comfortable. And all our land and sea arrangements proceeded smoothly and precisely as detailed in our itinerary. In fact, we were pleasantly surprised at Kirkenes to find our transportation arriving on time to transport us to Inari, Finland. And in St. Petersburg, our guide, Marina, was waiting for us after we completed customs and immigration.
Without a doubt, we found Norway to be the highlight of our tour, especially our excursions into some of the fjords and the Hurtigruten voyage north, which has left us with memories for a lifetime.
We did make one change along the way, and we believe it was for the best. In Helsinki, when we checked in for the St. Peter Ferry to St. Petersburg, we opted to upgrade our cabin to Commodore Class. The advantages, besides a much larger cabin, included priority disembarkation, which is very important in St. Petersburg, and an included breakfast in a special restaurant. Along with complimentary fruit and beverages in the cabin. We both thought this to have been an excellent choice.
Once again, Hamad and I both wish to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to you for all your patience and efforts that ensured us a truly remarkable tour. If either of us decides to travel in regions you serve, we would not think of looking for a tour operator other than 50 Degrees North, and if we are asked for advice regarding a tour operator, we will immediately recommend your organization for professionalism, thoroughness, client services, and excellent value for money.
Best wishes, Richard and Hamad"
Richard and Hamad, Jun '17
We just returned from a fantastic trip to Scandinavia. Everything was wonderful and I wanted to thank you for the great planning and arrangements that you made for us. We loved all the hotels that you selected in each of the five locations. Your instructions were precise and easy to follow. 50 degrees north can plan my trip anytime!!!!!
Even though the trip was a great one there are a couple of highlights I'd like to mention.
Ullensvang was just spectacular. The setting was incredibly picturesque and the accommodations were luxurious. To top it off we had fantastic weather, something I'm told you can't always count on in Norway.
Stockholm was probably our favorite city which says a lot since we loved the others as well. The private tour you arranged was absolutely excellent. We had a lovely young man who spent 2 1/2 hours acquainting us with the old city and touring the Vasa Museum. We had never heard of the Museum but were totally enthralled to learn of the history of this 300 year old ship.
I could go on and on because like I mentioned, everything was just wonderful.
Good work and thanks again---
Will and Regina"
Will & Regina, Jul '17
The trip was wonderful! Norway is certainly beautiful and the people are warm and friendly. Thanks for all of the arrangements! In trying to think of highlights, it is difficult because each aspect of the trip was interesting and fun in its special way.
I can’t really give any insight into the issues of the Oslo hotels but we do appreciate the fact that your company responded to the situations quickly and helped make new arrangements or resolve the reservation issues. This prevented any major disruptions.
Jim"Jim, Jun '17
Thank you for your welcome home note! We arrived home on Monday, having had a day in Dubai en route. It is such a long way isn't it.....
Glad you enjoyed the updates - it was fun sharing with you as I know you have been to many or all of the places we visited.
The Hurtigruten voyages were definitely the highlights....fantastic!!!! Would recommend them to anyone. We learned so much, and saw sights that took our breath away and will remember forever. No complaints at all, but one query... didn't know we had tea/ coffee and internet packages included till 2nd day of return trip. I actually bought a couple of days internet on the way up, otherwise we relied on maccas etc when ashore to keep in touch with family.
I think the highlights for me was the first day out, sunny blue sky and Norway's national day. We docked in a tiny town and were greeted by the local town band which played for us. A little later we had time ashore at Alesund and were so impressed with the families all dressed up, having lunch at restaurants etc. such a lovely hour or so wandering among them. We also had a ceremony on deck in the morning, marching around like idiots, waving our Norwegian flags.
The other one was Trollfjord at midnight. I had returned from an excursion on Lofoten about 10.15 pm and we were still sitting up talking when called up on deck for a "point of interest". We put coats on over our pjs and headed up to find that we were about to venture into Trollfjord. It was still light enough to take good photos, which was amazing enough, but Trollfjord was .....WOW!
The expedition team on Kong Harald were excellent, presentations every afternoon, where we learned so much about Norway and the North. We were exhorted not to remain in our cabins but to come "ut!" and we were not disappointed.
Our accommodation overall was excellent, convenient and more luxurious than we would have chosen for ourselves. We felt very special. All your directions were spot on...not to say that WE didn't stuff it up several times. I have absolutely NO sense of direction when I'm in the northern hemisphere and usually go in totally the opposite direction. It frustrates me no end, and we did get lost many times, but that was our fault. We couldn't find the railway station as we disembarked in Stockholm, not well signposted, but with some help from the locals, managed to find our way by bus. Train would have been so easy and station so close to the Rival.
Well, Mari, I could go on and on but I guess you have work to do.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything you did to make our adventure so wonderful. We will never forget it.
Lesley"Lesley, May '17
On behalf of Barb and me (or should that read "I") it would remiss of us not to drop a short note of thanks for organizing such an exciting and enjoyable itinerary.
From the time we arrived at Copenhagen till we left the Faroe Islands every day brought a new adventure be it, cultural, historical, visual or food temptations!!
The Nyhavn 71 Hotel lived up to its reputation - great service and in the "heart of the city".
Stockholm - what can I say - fascinating!! - "a jigsaw of 14 islands" - in particular, Gamla Stan, the old city with its interesting architectural buildings; the churches; the food, the preservation of the Vasa (absolutely brilliant) and its peoples.
The Hotel did not disappoint - good location, particularly friendly and helpful staff who went out of their way to ensure that we had a memorable stay.
The train trip from Stockholm to Narvik was uneventful bar the 20 or so hours we were on the train!! - brilliant scenery, in particular, the further north we went and the snow covered scenery (and yes, you were correct, there were occasions where the snow drift was higher than the train!!). Narvik, was interesting with its snow capped mountains and its recently opened (2016) World War II Museum, which was particularly well displayed.
Bus trip to the Lofoten islands was "an adventure"!! - 4 hours of scenic splendors and thoroughly enjoyable.
The Lofoten hotel too did not disappoint, lovely setting and service good though it was a pity that as it was early in the tourist season, the restaurant facilities were not available and therefore either a "walk into town" or catching the local bus service which too appeared to be somewhat sporadic in its timetable!! (needless to say, we did a lot of walking!!) - enjoyed the stay on the island and its people, very relaxing.
The ferry "ride" from Svolvaer to Bergen was again interesting and enjoyable and the Hurtigruten line know how to please - good service, good accommodation and good food!! (and bottled water is now free!!).
Bergen - as always, brilliant, especially the National Day celebrations!! - thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and visited several of the eateries that we frequented on our previous visit.
Faroe Islands were an "eye opener"!! - sheer cliffs and sheep!!! (and the roads, tunnels and dramatically exciting scenery) - thoroughly enjoyed the experience, though must admit that the trip from the airport at Vagar to our first "port of call" (Gjaargarour) was something of an "ordeal" given that we were given incorrect directions by the hire car representative at the airport and therefore did not arrive at the said destination until after 11 o'clock that evening!! (made interesting driving!!)
Well as this was supposedly a short note, will close, but many thanks to you and your staff, in particular Heidi, for your continued professional and personal service. Very much appreciated, and who knows, the Northern Lights in winter!!
Barb and John"
"Hi to the team at 50 Degrees North. Thought you’d like some feedback from our holiday in Norway and Copenhagen.
We LOVED everything about Norway … the efficiency and ease of getting around Oslo by public transport, the hotels we stayed in (the breakfast buffet at Oslo's hotel was a daily highlight, as was breakfast on the balcony in the sun overlooking the water in Bergen). Our cruise from Trondheim to Bergen was sensational, again crisp sunny weather and beautiful coastal scenery.
Every day held something new and different, and I could go on and on. But, an absolutely outstanding activity was the Preikestolen sunrise hike out of Stavanger. I’m not sure we will ever top this travel experience. Just the two of us with our wonderful guide Ole hiked in the darkness of early morning with headlamps and a 3/4 full moon. Tougher than I’d expected, but the reward was watching sun rise over Lysefjord, 600mtrs up from Pulpit Rock. Huge wow factor!
A big thank you to everyone at 50 Degrees North for your efficient and helpful services in customising and booking an amazing itinerary. Everything went like clockwork … you even organised the weather, which ranged from clear sunny days to snow (the day we left Norway)!!
It’s going to be hard to top this holiday, but hopefully we get back to stunning Scandinavia one day."Viv, May '17
We know it has been about 7 months but we thought we would finally sit down and give you some feedback/review of our trip to Scandinavia last year.
Nyhavn Hotel in Copenhagen- Great choice but a shame it was being renovated. Hopefully that is all over now. But we loved it there. Best thing about Copenhagen are the E-Bikes. We think you should encourage everyone to use them as their main mode of transport around the city. With the inbuilt navigation system you’re never lost and it’s so easy to get around the city safely,
Danish Castle Stay: The best breakfast of the whole trip. A great dinner at the hotel. Beautiful setting. Rode the bikes around the property- just lovely. If anything we could have had another day here.
We loved Aarhus - the art gallery is a must do. We also walked out to the Summer Palace. It was fabulous. We went to Haervaerk for degustation dinner. It was probably the best dinner of the whole trip.
Skagen - Simple little hotel- I guess it was ok, but nothing flashy. We had a good time in Skagen- we walked out to the hidden lighthouse and went to where the 2 seas meet each other. Both should be done.
Gothenburg - we thought this city was great. We booked our own accommodation and stayed at the Elite Plaza Hotel- great hotel and recommend that you guys could get people staying here. Went to Koka for dinner- again, highly recommend. Needed more than one night, that’s for sure.
Then drove to Oslo - but could not find anywhere along the way for lunch - would have been good to have hints or tips on how to get around this. In Oslo we went for dinner at Hanami- Japanese. Delicious but a bit expensive. Must dos- the Opera House!!!!!!!! Dinner at Festningen for the view. Hotel was good- good breakfast. Great location.
Heggenes - Lovely place. Would have been nice to have 2 nights there.
Lovely dinner and friendly people.
The drive to Bergen was one of the prettiest things- if not the best drive of the whole trip. But too far in one day. We should have stopped for a night in Flam. Know that’s a very touristy place but it would have broken things up. As much as we loved the drive, we arrived in Bergen exhausted and had to cancel dinner reservations. Hotel Admiral was great. Stunning views.
On to the Hurtigruten - we had a great time. Our room was just what we wanted- bigger than a tiny cabin...BUT- we were on the level that everyone could walk around. So everyone just came and stood in front of the room the whole time and could see in. We basically had to have the blinds shut all week. So recommend you put people in the same suites but on the level above. Might be different from boat to boat but worth checking.
Our recommendation for boat life is tell people that every time the boat stops for 30mins or more - get off and walk. Even just for 10-15 mins it helps and it’s a great way to see the little towns. They should also take advantage of the excursion s- should do at least 3 of them.
Drive Kirkenes to Inari- lovely drive. Very pretty but you need to buy a picnic in Kirkenes for the drive as there was nowhere to stop along the way. Lots of places to stop beside lakes and forests. Better than some strange roadside sandwich we attempted to eat- not good.
Inari is a tough one - its so beautiful but you have to get out and hunt for it. The hotel and museum were not good, but we hired bikes and got out there and explored and boy did that pay off. We went hiking, cooked sausages, rode the bikes for hours. We also went on a seaplane to see the islands in the area. Recommend that people do this. Do not sit around at the hotel and expect Inari to be great- you must hit the wilderness.
The must do is the Wilderness Church. A bit of a walk out to it but just really different and spectacular.
We didn’t see any Aurora and it rained a lot, but I can see how it would be good if the weather was ok. The dinner at Vaisko was great. Delicious.
On our drive to Kuusamo we went to Rovaniemi to meet Santa- we thought that was really cool. The village is a bit naff in summer, but he is a cool guy.
Hotel Glo in Helsinki - great hotel. Great location. Great food next door.
We did the day trip to Estonia- recommend that for sure. Went to Yumi for dinner back in Helsinki. A great spot and right next to Hotel.
Cruise ship to Stockholm was great- good cabin.
Hotel in Stockholm was great. Hotel Rival. Loved it all. In Stockholm- recommend telling people to get out to the Woodland Cemetery. Went to Rumbles restaurant near the hotel. Delicious Spanish. Fotografiska near the hotel is worth seeing- photo museum.
Vastana Castle - you only need one night. NOT TWO- unless they play golf. We actually left after one night and went to Malmo which was awesome. I would encourage that change to itinerary. Also 2 or 3 nights in Malmo- we loved it. In Malmo - eat at Bastard. Great restaurant.
Then it was back to London!
WOW big trip. And it really was amazing. Only a few things we would change here or there - probably if we had one more week in terms of time we could have slowed a few things down a bit. But honestly Alice- it was all really really good.
We want to thank you again for all of your help. We loved it.
Pen and Chris"
"Hi Mari and Henna,
Well, what a trip! The itinerary worked like a well oiled machine and we easily managed plane, train and bus connections. Excursions were also confirmed. In Iceland for one excursion there was only the 2 of us, so we had a relaxed, personalised time visiting waterfalls and hiking on the glacier.
There were so many highlights! For me, the time in Kaukslattenen was magic - the Northern Lights danced, the weather was beautiful and I really enjoyed my time there. Of course, I also loved the geothermal spas in Iceland, the cities were all beautiful to wander around and the Norwegian coastal towns were amazing. Walking on a glacier on a volcano in Iceland was also rather cool.
Our time on the Hurtigruten confirmed that we are land people, not sea people. Thankfully the open sea crossings only lasted 2 hours per stretch. The food was lovely (what we could eat) and the sights, but we were rather glad to reach Kirkenes. Unfortunately they had to cancel the North Cape excursion due to an avalanche across the road - my one disappointment, which obviously could not be helped.
We adjusted to the cold reasonably well and went out exploring every day - rain, snow, sleet or shine. We also managed to find herbal tea everywhere we went - even if it was a cup of hot water and a tea bag. We also took a thermos with us which proved invaluable in the few hotel rooms we couldn't get a kettle, as well as to warm us up during a day of exploring.
The ice hockey was great - we were exhausted after the day of travelling but the home team won and the atmosphere was such fun to be a part of. We also found the World Figure Skating championships in Helsinki and while we couldn't get tickets to the finals, we went to the exhibition on the Sunday and saw many of the top 6 in action.
All in all, we had a wonderful time with some incredible memories. Thank you for working with us to put together this experience.
Lynne"Lynne, Apr '17
"Thank you Alice,
I would just like to say that it has been an absolute pleasure working with you and 50 Degrees North. You personally have been so helpful in helping to organise our trip and the suggested itinerary was perfect. With regards to missing out on some of the activities, these things happen and you can't control the weather! Despite these little hiccups we both came home feeling like we had the most amazing experience.
I would not hesitate to recommend your service to friends and colleagues.
Many, many thanks for providing the opportunity to create such unique memories.
Regards Shirley"Shirley, Jan '17
We are back to reality from our most fantastic holiday!! We have to thank you as it was perfectly organised and everything went like clockwork. We loved every country we went to but Norway and Bergen was just the most beautiful city & country I have been to. Just loved it, the scenery, Norway in a nutshell was awesome, we saw so much, loved the Flam railway and Geilo was just gorgeous, snowy, beautiful. The weather was great, wasn't too cold for us.
St Petersburg was amazing, the overnight ferry was very comfortable, it was interesting, we had a good time. The city was something else, WOW!!! the guide was great, the architecture, people, churches, all amazing.
Tallin was great, loved the old walled city and the modern town outside.
Iceland, now that was an interesting country. Reykjavik was quite nice BUT you didn't warn us how expensive it was. It was out of control how expensive it was. Lucky we paid for the tours and the blue lagoon which was great. It was full of drunken poms but quite an experience!!!
The overnight ferry from Oslo to Denmark was great too. A little rough but we enjoyed the duty free shopping & food on board. Denmark was very pretty, expensive but gorgeous. Walked around everywhere, saw lots of palaces and sights. We crossed the Oresund bridge to Malmö on the worse day , it was raining and the car we had to take us across was a van with blackout windows!! We were not happy!! The whole idea was to look out the window as we're crossing but alas it was not to be.
Sweden was amazing, loved Stockholm, it was so pretty!!! We walked and took the ferry to other islands, had a wonderful time catching up with my cousin and the food was delicious. Malmö was ok.
Now Finland, wow, what a wonderful country I loved it especially Lapland. Helsinki was great, probably the coldest city as it was windy but still fantastic!! Biggest & best hotel room we had!!
But my favourite was Lapland!! Kakslauttanen resort was something else!!! The igloos were amazing, the cabins were just lovely & comfortable and the snow everywhere was so gorgeous. I had picked a 4 night program with an activity everyday which was awesome but after that there was nothing else too do!! To do extra activities was soooo expensive, there was no TVs, no WiFi, no other option really and it was boring. Maybe we should've done 2 nights and 2 activities per day, that way you wouldn't get so bored!! Anyway that's just my opinion. The igloo was pretty cool.
Santa Clause village in Rovaniemi was very pretty and we were excited to be there but it was very commercial and again, nothing else to do there but see Santa for 60 and buy souvenirs!!!
Have to tell you we did see the northern lights one night while we were in Kakslauttanen! They were just absolutely amazing!! A once in a lifetime experience and all totally worth it. Has lots of fun doing the activities, dog sledding & snowmobiling was the best fun!!
It was a fantastic trip, hotels were great, tours, organisation, weather, everything. I would've just maybe changed a few things had we known before hand but otherwise it was awesome!!"
I have been meaning well before this to thank you for the great trip you arranged for us. I think I came back with information overload and my brain hasn’t been properly engaged since.
It was a great adventure and enormously interesting. We learnt so much about an area of the world I, at least, never dreamed of visiting. We were fascinated to see how similar the problems of life in the far north are to the problems of outback Australia - isolation, extreme weather, servicing small and often transient populations. Of course the area is also very beautiful.
We loved Inari and could have stayed there much longer. I am only sorry we can’t visit every year, like people do to Wilsons Prom. The river running past our bedroom, the birds and squirrels outside the dining room, Saami culture.
The bird trip to see puffins. Such a generous tour operator. He had a supply of binoculars (I need not have taken my own) and bird books, plus he clearly loved the birds himself and seemed almost reluctant to return to dock. The puffins of course are a joy.
Norway-in-a-Nutshell. It really is a wonderful sample of all that Norway has to offer. I am glad you gave us that extra day at Flam. We went up to Stegastein which is spectacular. When we got back there were two delicious home baked lemon tarts in our room. Garry’s daughter had rung the hotel and arranged them as a surprise for his birthday that day.
Lots of others, but there were so many it almost became routine! ie we enjoyed the whole experience.
Can’t say I enjoyed crab fishing! Far too vigorous for us oldies and I don’t even like crabs!
Generally excellent, characterful and conveniently placed. The hotel in Oslo was one of the most inconvenient rooms I have stayed in! No place for luggage and you tripped over it and each other moving around the room. All others were great.
We also appreciated the personal attention we received, including your willingness to meet up with us. I keep recommending you to everyone I know who is headed to Scandinavia.
Very best wishes from us both for Christmas. Christina & Garry"Christina & Garry, Aug '16
We had a wonderful trip, thanks in a large part to your exemplary organisation. You have been efficient, helpful and a source of excellent advice since our first contact via our Travel Agent who recommended your company.
The itinerary you provided was detailed, clear and a source of information and support everywhere we went. The hotels were all SUPERB and such views !
The traditional hotel in Inari was so lovely, our motel room was in the forest beside the river, so beautiful (my husband is a flyfisherman so he was delighted by the camera in the river that was on TV in dining room!! Only in Finland!!
All the transfers worked beautifully, vouchers for museum entrance, Northern Lights experience all excellent. Maps provided worked well (took us a while to work out that streets in Oslo all curve because of the teams but we got there eventfully). In Inari the hotel arranged for the bus to pick us up at hotel which saved the walk. The bus driver in Rovenemi was most helpful when we advised him of our hotel and let us off at a stop that was only about 500m from hotel.
To sum it up we had a wonderful, carefree holiday thanks to your superb organisation and advice. I would like to congratulate you and we are certainly "singing your praises" to our travel agent and our friends.
With sincere thanks,
Jan and Roger"
"50 Degrees North did an awesome job with our month-long trip to Norway. I was very impressed with the fine balance struck between respecting our initial plans and steering us toward activities and logistics that were truly worth the time and cost. Our final vacation plans included a tremendous variety of activities, sight-seeing opportunities, transportation types, and historic hotels. At no time did we feel like the day's plan was a waste of time or money. 50 Degrees North was also helpful during the trip; at one point we wanted to change our itinerary and with one phone call to the Nordic Manager, Satu the change was made.
The most memorable segment was a 36-mile mountain bike ride suggested by Satu as part of our transportation plans; I would NEVER have thought of that and enjoyed it enormously.
Although we live in the USA and speak English exclusively, communication with 50 Degrees North (both e-mail and rare phone calls) was not a problem. Payment through a secure payment system was also problem free.
We would have made one change, and that was to our initial plan, not the itinerary created by 50 Degrees North. We took the Hurtigruten round trip and would not recommend it. The return trip was redundant. If we were taking the trip again, we would have taken the north leg of the Hurtigruten, and allowed 50 Degrees North to create a sightseeing tour of the central portion of Norway as we returned to our departure city.
We chose 50 Degrees North--even though we are citizens of the US--because we feel strongly that a local travel agent knows his or her country best. A non-local travel agent will never have the same depth of understanding.
Satu, thank you for your help. If we are up in your part of the world again, you will be our travel agent!"
The Navvies Road, Credits: Sverre Hjørnevik/visitnorway.comDiana & Neal, Sept '16
This has taken some time to compose, but finally, while having lunch with Roger and Margaret yesterday, we came up with these comments.
Moscow - The Moscow hotel was excellent and well-situated. We could easily walk to see most of the city sights. Our guide was excellent also, and we learned lots of things about Russian life as well as the sights we were visiting. There were only 4 of us in the group, which made the experience very personal.
We can recommend a Georgian Restaurant called “Nani” and the Cafe Pushkin, both of which were within walking distance of the hotel.
St Petersburg - The hotel was well-located, had a great breakfast arrangement set up with the cafe next door and friendly, helpful staff. We were able to use a sitting room near reception to have a drink in the evenings and everyone spoke excellent English, which was a bonus. Our guide Lena was also excellent. The ballet in St Petes was great. That was a good recommendation to miss a performance at the Bolshoi, Asko, and see a ballet in St Petes instead.
We had a nice dinner at a restaurant called Park Guiseppe which is near the park adjacent to the Church on Spilled Blood.
We had thought that Moscow was full of tourists, but that had nothing on St Petersburg. There were busloads of tourists and all the museums had long queues (middle of peak season). Both guides did their best to negotiate many of the queues to show us around. The drivers who met us at the airport and drove us to and from the Stations were there to meet us and we were very happy with the service provided.
Helsinki - The Hotel Glo Kluuvi is excellently-situated. We really enjoyed our stay there. The room allocated was very small (could have dealt with that) but it did not have a safe. I was concerned about that and finally we paid to upgrade to a bigger room that did have a safe. Other than that small issue, it was an excellent experience. Our guide for the walking tour did a great job, also managing a crowded site as best she could (Church in the Rock). We obtained a good overview of the city from her and did quite a lot of exploring on our own, including a trip to Suomenlinna to see the fortifications. The day trip to Tallinn was really worthwhile, with some very interesting behaviour exhibited by many of our fellow passengers who make the trip on a regular basis to buy cheaper alcohol and a range of other goods. You could let future clients know that there are free walking tours of Tallinn which leave from the tourist information centre. We had a very nice lunch at Pegasus Restaurant, situated between the town and Freedom squares. The young waitress was a mine of information about Estonia.
We would all like to go back to Finland and see some of the countryside as well. Fazer chocolate is amazing and having the Fazer restaurant across the pedestrian thoroughfare from the hotel was very handy.
The overnight ferry to Stockholm was also excellent (I will run out of superlatives in this email!) There were 2,500 people on the ferry, and with the exception of when we sailed from Helsinki, they weren’t immediately apparently. We had dinner at a very good restaurant, the weather was amazing and the cabin was very comfortable. Great recommendation!
Stockholm - We needed to take a taxi from the port, the cost of which was very high. That was unfortunate and there weren’t any other alternatives really. I wonder how much it would cost to have a private transfer from the port to the hotel?
The Hotel Rival is very quirky. We like a lounge area they have with free coffee/tea/water and a computer and printer for guests to use. There was no air conditioning as the hotel is a heritage building, but fans were provided on request. Our walking tour was very good here. We were the only ones in the group so it was like a private tour. The Vasa museum was excellent. An extra day in Stockholm would have been great too.
Vasa Museum, Stockholm
Oslo - The hotel was excellent. It was recently refurbished and had a guest lounge on the top floor with coffee and some snacks etc. Also a complimentary ‘supper’ was provided each evening, which meant our tariff could provide dinner as well. We appreciate the help your office offered when our tour of Oslo ended up not happening and the refund we received. Between your office in Norway and the hotel, we found a Laundromat and had our washing done! The “Norway in a Nutshell” tour was really good and we appreciated a couple of days at Flam to chill out for a while.
Bergen - Our rooms had the most amazing view – across the water to the classic buildings of Byrggen. The Bergen card was a good recommendation, which was well-used, for the funicular, Hanseatic Museum and art galleries to name a few.
Hurtigruten - We all loved the whole cruise. The 4 tours that we organised pre-sailing we can recommend highly. We would like to return to Norway, especially to spend a few days in the Lofoten Islands and to see more of Norway. We had a reasonable amount of time in Trondheim, Tromso and Bodo and went off exploring on our own. It would have been nice to have more time in Alesund, which is a beautiful town. The crab safari in Kirkenes was enjoyable and the lady from the Snowhotel who looked after us after the safari was very kind and went out of her way to entertain us for a few hours showing us the husky-raising facilities at the hotel, driving us to the Russian border and finally taking us to the airport for our flight to Oslo.
Oslo - The ‘airport’ hotel was nowhere near the airport. A very expensive taxi fare, late at night, was very disappointing, when we had imagined a somewhat different situation. There is a Radisson Blu hotel at the airport. I am not sure of the tariff differences between that and the hotel in which we stayed, but with two taxi fares on top of our accommodation, it would definitely be preferable to stay at the Radisson.
Iceland - An amazing country. The self-drive holiday was a great way to see the country. The homestays differed in standards from place to place, but all were clean and the hosts and staff were welcoming. Each day the owner would ring ahead for us to confirm our stay for that night, and after we worked out that it was preferable to eat dinner at the homestay, we would also book for dinner. Most of the homestays were quite a distance from towns or restaurants, and sometimes it seemed that there weren’t too many towns anyway. We were lucky with the weather. On the East Coast – (Day 3, I think) it poured with rain and we didn’t see a great deal of anything, but that was the only time. It could have rained all week! The car – a Kia Sorrento – was a good size for 4 adults, 4 suitcases, 4 carry-on bags and groceries, water etc.
Copenhagen - The hotel was another great find. It was well-situated and we walked everywhere. It is close to the little Mermaid statue, and we found the way to see her without thousands of others, was to take a walk early in the morning when we were the only people there. She can also be seen from the canal tour, but only from the back. We enjoyed the canal tour so much, we did it twice! If you have any other crazy people wanting to see “The Bridge”, we think that it would be better to drive over the bridge than to catch a train to Malmo. We had to walk quite a long way from the station and it was made a bit tricky because none of the locals seemed to know where to go to see the bridge. It is just near the Turning Torso building. We should have taken a cab from the station to the viewing point. A big plus was that Malmo turned on the most amazingly beautiful day and we had only seen rain, fog and darkness in the TV series!
We had a very nice dinner in the Ofelia Restaurant in the Royal Danish Playhouse, which was a short walk from the hotel. The last evening we ate dinner in the hotel’s Salt Bar and Restaurant. This was excellent. We experienced an international triathlon that last day, with activity taking place on both sides of the hotel. This added to the festive nature of Copenhagen.
The itinerary was great. Thank you for putting it together for us.
We really enjoyed taking trains and ferries (as opposed to flying). It seems that airports are best avoided, unless absolutely necessary.
The fact that English was widely-spoken everywhere we went (except for Russia) made it a hassle-free holiday for us. In Russia, having a private tour with English-speaking guides and staying in hotels with English-speaking staff, meant that we had no problems in Russia either. We found that everyone seemed to be friendly and helpful.
We quickly learned the rules of the state-controlled liquor stores in Scandinavia and enjoyed buying wine and beer for pre-dinner drinks at the end of the day!! Typical Aussies!
When we return to Scandinavia we will be sure to contact you. We would definitely recommend your agency to any of our friends!
From Jacquie and John & Roger and Margaret "
I am writing to thank you and Fifty Degrees North for organising our wonderful visit to Norway in July. After Norway we spent time in UK and only returned here a few weeks ago. The whole trip was superb. It must be over forty years since I was last there and I was delighted to see that my wife Susie fell in love with it as I had done all those years ago. The voyage was so enjoyable and we were very fortunate in having good weather the whole way. In fact we only had to don wet weather gear once in two weeks! Next time we will not go in July/August but that was governed by the fact that we had to attend two weddings In the UK in August.
All the travel arrangements went very well and the choice of hotels was excellent. We liked them all.
Once again, thank you for organising such a wonderful holiday. We are starting to plan for the next trip there. We have both travelled the world fairly extensively and I think it is safe to say that Norway must be second only to Antarctica! But that is very special for different reasons.
Our very best wishes
Keith and Susie"Keith & Susie, Aug '17
Thank you so much for putting together our trip itinerary for Norway. We're had an absolutely wonderful time. We even had the opportunity to add a few more excursions as the ship updated their schedule. Your responsiveness and check in gave us confidence and enabled us to have a worry-free 10th anniversary vacation. We may be referring friends as the pictures and stories went over quite well.
David H."David H, Aug '16
We arrived home safely last week, and have now fully recovered from any jet lag. Do hope that you had a good holiday.
Our trip went very smoothly, thanks largely to your excellent organisation and arrangements. The quality of all hotels etc was very good, and great locations. Some particular highlights for us:
- The Gota Canal trip was wonderful – it was both enjoyable and very interesting. We were fortunate to have fine weather with some sunshine. The pace of the trip was very leisurely, which might not suit some people, but was fine for us. The meals provided were varied and excellent quality.
- Our trip on the Hurtigruten Nordcapp was very enjoyable. Accommodation was very comfortable, excursions were well organised, meals were also of good quality. Some of the scenery was really amazing.
- The apartment we stayed in at Flam was just great – very comfortable and such a wonderful outlook. We felt we could have stayed longer. The lady in charge was very helpful and friendly which added to our stay there.
- We were very grateful for the courier transfer of our cases from Olso to Bergen –something we would not have thought of.
- The hotel in Bergen was in a great location as well as being very comfortable. We really appreciated the complimentary evening meals there and at the hotel in Trondheim.
Unfortunately the weather was not great for our Geiranger trip – something no one can control. The end of our Norway in a Nutshell trip was affected by heavy rain and poor visibility esp the bus trip from Gudvagen to Voss.
One thing that may be useful for you to know. The cabins on C deck on the Juno (where we were) for the Gota Canal trip were very small, but more importantly the bunks were very narrow and the top one was difficult to climb into and get out of, and this could be difficult or impossible for anyone with mobility issues. Some of the stairways, esp the one to the upper deck was steep and narrow – rather like a ladder. We think it is important that people going on the trip are aware of this beforehand. This is just for your information as they were not significant issues for us.
Once again we wish to thank you for all your assistance in enabling us to have a great holiday.
Marilyn & Helen"Marilyn & Helen, Jul '16
I just wanted to thank you for the awesome trip to Norway. What a way to end - The flam railway was breathtaking just like everything else here. Next time I am more ready for rain all day and to do the activities in the rain if needed.
You can book me for next July, again it was the best trip of my life!
"We loved our tour guides especially Anna who was the guide for our Scandinavian coach tour. She was attentive to each person on the group and did an exceptional job of creating a memorable trip. There were 31x people on the Scandinavia tour with mostly North Americans and Australians. The huge plus was that they were all in same mature age group with the eldest being 90 years old who was just as active as the rest of the group. We made many friends on the trip with visits already planned to see one another. Lily fell in love with Oslo and was tempted to buy a house there and not return. She’s planning to head back there next year so we will be in touch with you then."Lily & Phyllis, Jul '16
"Fifty Degrees North, a travel company based in Melbourne with an office in Norway, acted on behalf of WEA in making all local arrangements in the four countries visited. From my first contact with the owner and manager, Tietse Stelma, in designing the tour, all requests for information were answered promptly and efficiently. In all my subsequent dealings, I found the staff very professional.
Having a base in Scandinavia in a similar time zone to our travel where contact could be easily made and assistance given was extremely helpful in the case of missing luggage for one of our group. It was a great reassurance to have Satu’s assistance and without it the luggage is unlikely to have been located so soon. Similarly, it was reassuring that Alice in Melbourne was keeping oversight from afar. I strongly recommend Fifty Degrees North for future tours to these parts."
Jonathan Anderson, July 2016Group Departure to Greenland, Iceland & Faroes
We are at the airport in Oslo, sadly having to leave beautiful Norway!
Thank you for organizing our trip. Everything went really smoothly, the scenery was amazing and the weather was perfect (26 degrees most days!) We particularly enjoyed the scenery on the rail trip from Myrdal to Oslo, it felt like we were on another planet.
Thank you for making things so easy and straightforward, and maybe we'll use you again when we want to explore more of the Nordic countries :)
Have a lovely day"A & A, Jul '16
"I was a passenger on your recent Norway in Spring & Hurtigruten Escorted tour in May. Firstly, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed this trip. The whole trip was fantastic from beginning to end. I have travelled to over 100 countries with many different tour companies, but this would have to be up there as one of the best trips I have ever done. I think it is a really interesting and diverse itinerary and I can't believe this tour had so few people - it should be fully booked out with people on a waiting list, in my opinion.
The Hurtigruten cruise itself as incredible, but all the other aspects of the trip were great too. The choices of accommodation were wonderful - the Hotel in Oslo was a funky place to stay and perfectly situated for sightseeing being only a few minutes walk from most of the interesting sights in central Oslo; absolutely loved the location of the apartments in Flam with the most incredible view of Sognefjord from your own private balcony - so much better than staying at the big hotel nearby, as a big cruise ship that moored later totally obstructed the view from the hotel, whilst our view remain unimpeded ; well situated hotel in Bergen, again with a the most magnificent view and balcony overlooking the UNESCO World Heritage listed Brygge area; and finally the wonderful cabins in Kirkenes which are really beautiful and in a great relaxing setting.
I also want to commend the local guides that we had in Oslo, Bergen and on the Crab Safari in Kirkenes - all were incredible friendly, attentive and informative and added so much to whole experience.
Lastly, but certainly not least, I want to commend and thank our wonderful tour leader, Mari Rasanen (sorry Mari, but I don't know how to the put the double dots above the a's in your surname!). Mari is an absolute credit to your company, and I believe was the main reason why I enjoyed this holiday so much. She was always friendly, smiling, positive and happy, and always went that extra mile to make sure we got the most out of our holiday. After only a day or so, I felt like I was travelling with a longtime friend, rather than a tour leader. I really can't praise her enough.
So, thank you once again for such a great holiday.
P.S Loved spending National Day in Bergen - it was one of the highlights of the trip, and an experience not to be missed."
Paul, May '16
Dana and I will never forget what a wonderful time we had in Norway and we give you all the credit for filling our 12 days there with interesting information, amazing sights, historic background, good exercise (!), and most of all, great fun and stimulating conversation! Thank you so, so much for being the best guide ever and sharing two weeks of your life with us so memorably!"Alice, May '16
"What a sensational trip and experience! The planning was perfect. The time that we spent in each country and city was just right and the activities that were organised were different and memorable. Scandinavia in winter is spectacular. The scenery is simply breathtaking and the winter activities enjoyable. The “winter gear” provided for the various tours allowed us to enjoy every moment. Yes it was cold, but how often can you tell your friends and family that it was – 42o C (yes minus) and we were out at night on snowmobiles in the middle of a forest! Our highlights were many:
- The Glo Hotel Kluuvi - Very comfortable and very accommodating. We arrived at 6 am and they provided us with a room so that we could freshen up and even catch up on some sleep.
- Beautiful city to simply wander in with Christmas celebrations everywhere.
Tallinn Christmas Market
- Forget the new city, just spend time in the old city, the Christmas market and surrounds.
Kakslauttanen (beautiful sounding name)
- Husky sled ride and being out in the wilderness
- Northern lights
- Cross country skiing while snowing
- Cabin accommodation – absolutely wonderful
- Riding snow mobiles at night through the forest
- Gathering King crabs and the feast afterwards
- Simply chatting to the locals (Erik, ex-miner and now tourist guide)
- Exceptional architecture – interesting and different
Many thanks to Asko Meriläinen from 50o North for organizing this memorable holiday for our family."Derek & Michelle, Dec '15
"What a truly amazing journey we had with our fantastic tour guide Minna (GM) while "hunting the northern lights". The experiences ranged from seeing the lights on the ship and shore (truly unbelievable) to Arctic Crabbing, Snowmobiling, Husky sledding, and just enjoying SNOW that resembled the purest icing sugar day after day - being Aussies, this alone made our holiday. The totally incredible experience we had would need to be documented in a 1000 book to give it justice. Thank you so much Minna..."
Joycee, Feb '15
We have just returned from overseas, although we completed our Scandinavian sector in November. Overall, we thoroughly enjoyed the trip. The hotels in Oslo, Bergen, Helsinki and Copenhagen were great. The stop at Fleischer’s was interesting and worth it even though it was an older hotel.
We enjoyed all the cities and the time spent in each. If we do return to Scandinavia, I think I would like to visit Stockholm again. I don’t think we had enough time there.
A future trip would probably focus more on the countryside as well since we have now visited the cities and the scenery looks great. People generally great. and wonderful that they generally were fluent in English, so very easy as tourists.
The Hurtigruten cruise was very enjoyable. The cabin was great and relaxing. The sights amazing! The cabin you selected for us was perfect, anything smaller would have impacted our overall enjoyment of the cruise.
We found the food on board, very enjoyable, interesting and diverse.
I was happy with the 7 days (one way trip). The return trip would have been a little repetitive for me.
Jeanette on the other hand would have liked to stay on board for the return trip.... everyone is different! We enjoyed the trip to the North Cape.
The transfer from Kirkenes to Kakslauttanen was interesting even though it took several hours. It was a good opportunity to see the countryside.
Kakslauttanen Artic Resort, in our opinion was a little over rated. We did not consider it exclusive, although it was interesting. It appeared to me that the staff were feeling their way in the hospitality industry. The log cabins were only ok. The Igloo was good. Unfortunately the skies were overcast when we were there.
The Husky Safari was enjoyable - very recommended and the team at the resort were very good with the dogs and the tourists. The country was beautiful.
The ferry to Stockholm was at first a disappointment. Old ship, well used cabins etc. However, seeing the archipelago was worth it. If would have been better for us if there had of being a way to see the islands via a day trip from Stockholm. Something to consider!
The islands are a must but I would prefer to avoid the ferry if this was possible.
The seats on the train from Stockholm to Copenhagen were without a full window (only part window). We were fortunate to be able to change seats after an hour, as the train was not busy.
I made this mistake a number of times when booking trains in Europe (2nd leg of our trip) eg seats facing the opposite direction to the train, issues with windows etc. Fortunately we were able to change seats at the last minute.
We wanted to see the “Bridge” but this is not really possible from the train, something we did not know.
So in conclusion thank you for organising a very interesting and diverse trip with good hotels. We have already and will recommend your business and this trip to our friends.
Just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed this trip. Each hotel was unique and different and just right for that part of the trip.
The timing was perfect and the experiences from the camp, tree house to the train journeys (as well as everything else) will stay in my memory for a long time.
Thank you for your thoughtful organisation and follow up, I hope the year ahead is wonderful for you.
We returned from our trip to Scandinavia on Monday. The trip was arranged through you with your expert advice, as we had never been there. We very much appreciate all your time, effort and help in putting together such a fabulous trip for us. Everything flowed smoothly as you said it would, the transport, accommodation, side trips and locals were all outstanding. We really loved the stunning scenery, amazing hotels e.g. Balestrand, fabulous local guides, side trips e.g.to Tallinn and the lovely local people in each country.
Certainly something special for our memory bank!
Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!
Carmel and Frank”
This is a short note to thank you in particular for the professional manner and friendship displayed on our recent tour and your wonderful staff (especially Asko and Sofie) for ensuring that we did, as Lennon/McCartney so succinctly "put it", - "Roll up (satisfaction guaranteed) roll up for the magical mystery tour"!!
Yes, it was a magical mystery tour with every day being magical - first day - magnificent meal at a 150 year old restaurant in Oslo, next day - tour of the maritime museums to see the Viking boats, the Fram and the Kon Tiki, the next day - tour of the Vigeland Sculpture Park followed by the winter Olympic Ski jump and simulator at Holmenkollen followed the following day by train trip from Oslo to Myrdal and then a trip on one of the most scenic railways we have travelled on to Flam - the next day to Bergen via ferry cruise, bus and train; and so the magic continued - enroute to Kirkeness aboard the MS Finnmarken "in and out " of a myriad of fjords scattered along the Norwegian coastline, stopping at numerous little ports as well as larger ones including Trondheim, Bode and Tromso, but as a good magician, you kept the best till last - the highlight for me, and a dream that I have harbored since I was a child was physically visiting North Cape and seeing what is definitely magical, the Northern Lights (how you arranged to have the lights "switched on" on the last night of our tour is what I call class!!).
Needless to say we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and as Barb so eloquently stated to one of her friends upon her return to Adelaide, "I was gobsmacked by the natural beauty of the fjords, glaciers, small fishing/rural villages scenery and its people".
In closing, you can be assured that we will have no hesitation in promoting your company to our friends and acquaintances should they be planning to visit Scandinavia, Iceland or Greenland.
Again, many thanks for sharing your enthusiasm, knowledge and love of Norway - it was a "magical mystery tour"!!
Barb and John "
Shelley and I have been home for a week now and slowly recovering from our fantastic Scandinavian trip. The rocking sensation from all the boat travel has finally ceased.
Your meticulous organisation meant that all aspects of our trip went smoothly and without problems with one small exception, which was beyond your control.
On arrival in Stockholm we attempted to get our Stockholm card at the airport train station. Apparently they had changed a couple of weeks earlier and no longer issued them there so we were directed to Central City station. Once again we were told they no longer sold city cards so we would have to go to the Information centre where we finally managed to exchange our voucher. As we had confidently opted to use public transport or walk rather than catch taxis we had unexpected exercise dragging luggage along. We really appreciated the comfort of the hotel with its lovely balcony when we finally got there.
All other aspects of the trip were brilliant. We were very grateful for your wisdom in booking us into the business class lounge for the trip to Tallinn as neither of us had any concept of the size of the ferry and the huge numbers of people who used it.
The choices of hotels while of a higher standard than we would have chosen normally provided us with safe and very comfortable accommodation and breakfasts. It was also an interesting mix of different hotel atmospheres. The central locations were also great and allowed us to get maximum use of our sightseeing time. On our first night in Helsinki we were fortunate enough to be given a room update at no extra cost. Staff in all hotels were very helpful.
It was almost like we had taken Queensland weather with us as we experienced only one or two days with light rain or overcast skies. This meant we could use every bit of time sightseeing.
The Gota Canal trip was a journey into another era. We would suggest that you make it very clear to potential travellers that the cabins on the canal boats are very, very, very tiny. Ours had space only for the two bunks and a washbasin. The space between the bunks was less than 30 cm wide so one of us would need to back out of the room if the other wanted to move in or out or get dressed. Our luggage needed to be stowed, as there was insufficient space to slide it under the bunks. Only small packs would fit. After the initial shock and as little time was spent in our cabin we adjusted but were very grateful when we reached Gothenburg and a full sized room.
We were repeatedly awed and impressed by the natural beauty of the environment and the way it is respected and cared for as well as the historical sites and buildings and the stories about them and also the warmth and friendly helpfulness of people everywhere.
It really was the holiday of a lifetime for me and I would like to thank you for the huge part you played in making sure that all aspects of our trip went smoothly. Other travellers along the way were most impressed with the attention that had been paid to detail by your planning.
Thank you once again
I must apologise for taking so long to contact you after our return. My husband and I had a fabulous trip whether it be the Hurtigruten ship, sightseeing in the cities, countryside, enjoying the nature or our guided St Petersburg travels. Everything went without a hitch and perfectly to schedule even with our Inari Kultahovi hostess arranging for the bus driver to collect us at the Kultahovi instead of walking to the Hotel Inari.
All of our accomodation was perfect from location to staff and room itself. The weather was variable but generally pretty good and we had some incredible days with some really breathtaking scenery.
The only thing that was not quite what I had expected was a buffet dinner on the Hurtigruten ship each night rather than table service. Perhaps this was just due to the Trollfjord having too many passengers to make it possible. Anyway we upgraded to the restaurant for a couple of nights.
Thank you for arranging such a perfect trip for us in your fabulous part of the world and if we do have an opportunity to travel again in this area I will certainly contact you again for advice.
We returned to Perth last week after 5 wonderful weeks in the Baltic and Scandinavia. Thank you very much for arranging a significant part of the experience. Everything went to plan, there were no hitches or concerns and people were very helpful and friendly in Denmark, Sweden and Norway. And they all spoke English. Best of all though was that we had fine sunny weather almost all of the time. There was only one morning in Trondheim where we had to wear raincoats and put up the umbrella. Everywhere we went the locals complained about the poor summer weather in June and July.
The hotels you booked were perfect for us, though different in their own ways. The Rival was especially interesting and set in a very pleasant area. Although it is a way from the centre of Stockholm it is a block from the Mariatorget T-banna. We were there for the midnight run around the streets of Soderholm. Also walking west took us to parks and delightful private allotments. The First hotel in Gothenberg is very modern and couldn’t be any closer to the railway station. It was about 20 minutes walk from the dock and we had a spacious room. The Folktheareret was an easy walk from the Oslo station and an interesting development of the theatre building. The decor is quite dark. The bonus there was that the hotel provided an evening meal for free. The hotel that I had arranged in Copenhagen was the Alexandra and I can recommend it. It is close to the station and city hall and was comfortable with quirky 1960s Danish design decor.
The Gota canal trip was wonderful, especially as we had such good weather. It helps to get on well with fellow passengers in such a small ship and travelling at such a slow pace. We loved the Swedish countryside and the director Ingmar was exceptional and kept us well informed about the history of the canal and the regions we passed through. At the oldest locks at Sjotorp a local christian group was there to play and sing hymns for us - apparently a tradition going back 200 years. We made friends with two Swedish couples from Gothenberg and the six of us monopolised the stern of the bridge deck. I don’t think we were prepared for how small the cabin was and how narrow and tight the bunks were. However, we managed and spent little time there. For people with a mild disability or being overweight, it could be a problem. For us though, the canal trip was definitely the highlight.
At the Folktheareret a charming receptionist gave us some directions for our one day of walking in Oslo. She emphasised the Opera House. This was a stunning building and we walked along the roof and had great views over the city and fjord. Then to our surprise and great fortune, we discovered that it was the one day a year open day at the opera house so we spent several hours there. We saw a ballet rehearsal, costume displays, watched makeup artists at work and listened to two opera singers. After that we went through the Akerhus castle and then the ferry to see the Viking museum. Later in the afternoon we caught a tram to Vigeland park with all the unusual sculptures . Quite a lot for one day.
It was easy to collect the Norway in a Nutshell tickets from the station and this section of our trip went smoothly. I was impressed with Norwegian trains. Again the weather was good for us in Flam and the ferry ride and subsequent bus trip to Voss were both well signposted. In Bergen, there was a little light drizzle but it did not stop us walking. The city was busy. We went around the Brygge, spent time in the mairtime museum and went up the funicular. A treat was the Naval band marching through the streets and playing in the central thoroughfare.
The Hurtigruten trip was also very good. Although passengers were stuck on board for long periods, the scenery made up for it. We only did one organised excursion which was at Tromso. For other stops of 2 or more hours we simply walked about the town and got a feel for places such as Alesund and Bod0. The best weather was at Honningsvag where the harbour was absolutely miirror-like, reflecting the blue sky and surrounding hills. It was Sunday and very quiet there.
A pleasant surprise was that free wifi was provided everywhere - in hotels, on ships, on trains and at airports. Unfortunately at least one location was not secure. My address list must have been stolen asl some friends haves since recieved email scams. On the other hand the wifi enabled me to upload photos to my photoblog as I travelled. The address for this blog is http://allcliff.wix.com/travel-blog and you like you can use any of the photos there.
Overall this was one of the best trips we have had. We would go back again tomorrow. How about cycling through Denmark??
Thank you again
Trevor, Jan and I have finally returned after our 8 week trip.
I would like to thank you very much for all your help with the arrangements. Everything went like clockwork, the hotels were in an excellent location and very good hotels. We particularly enjoyed the boat, bus and train travel rather than flying, much more to see.
We had a great time - thank you again.
We have recently returned from our trip and want to say thankyou for the bookings you did. We had a wonderful time and found our connections went very well. The train journey was marvellous and I think we had the best seats in the whole train. The cruise was just what we wanted and we thoroughly enjoyed it. From Kirkenes we were met and transported by taxi as there were only the 2 of us. That was a bit of unexpected luxury. We also found that the bus from Inari to Rovenemi will pick up at the Culture hotel but you must ask at reception when you check in, that saves a bit of dragging bags around. In Rovenemi you can get off the bus at the town centre (Ask the bus driver) and it is a much shorter walk to the hotel. Your maps were very helpful and we found everything went well.
Thankyou from both myself and Simo,
Paul and I flew from Russia yesterday, having enjoyed a week of wonderful exploration, history lessons and culture.
Thank you to you and all the team for the planning and implementation of a fantastic tour itinerary.
Our tour guides, Alesey and Ada, were beyond excellent. We enjoyed not only their guidance, but friendship as well. We learnt so much from them about the Russian culture and way of life. The drivers were always on time, courteous and went out of their way to help us. All of that was much appreciated.
At one stage we wondered about the train tickets, but am embarrassed that we didn’t think to ask the hotel reception if they’d received them. We were handed them at checkout, so all came good.
The hotels were really lovely and in excellent locations. Domina Prestige was exceptional.
We came away with very positive attitudes to travelling in Russia. We will certainly be recommending 50 deg north to friends for travel to these parts of the world, and of course we would love to use you again in the future.
Thank you so much,
Ros & Paul, Jul' 15
We are finally sitting in Oslo waiting to board the plane home to Brisbane. On behalf of my family and myself I just wanted to express my satisfaction with the quality of our travels in Norway. We simply had a stunning and awesome 10 days. We are very happy with the organisation of our trip, which could not have gone better.
The highlights of the trip were:
Finse - there was some snow and we enjoyed a brief hike up one of the hills. This small village is a jewel and food was superb to say at least.
The bike ride to Flam was awesome and very enjoyable.
The Lofoten Islands topped it. What a scenery! We had a trip on a speed boat, rented some bikes and rode to the entry to start some hikes. Unbelievable.
The cruise to Tromso was also unbelievable but true. On the Hurtigruten ship, we got put up in a Suite with all the luxury that comes with it. Well done.
We spent a few days in Tromso, which was also extremely enjoyable.
Many thanks for putting a very nice itinerary together and for organising everything. We are keen on returning at some stage and we will involve you again for sure."Andreas, Monika & Family, Jul' 15
We returned from our Scandinavian adventure on Saturday and wanted to thank you for organising such a wonderful trip. Everything went without a hitch and considering all of the transport, hotels and excursions involved we were very impressed. The Scandinavians certainly run on time.
We enjoyed every part of our trip, with Stockholm, Copenhagen, Oslo, Bergen and the fjords of Norway being our favourites. Each had their own character and style. The hotel selection was great. We loved Rival, the Clarion Admiral, the apartment in Flam and the lovely hotel in Inari.
The excursions were a highlight of the trip, giving us a real sense of the people and local life. The outstanding choice was the hike/ lunch in Flam and despite the walk that nearly killed Peter, it was our favourite day. We were very impressed with the food tour. Our guide was lovely and she said to say hello.
Thanks again for the work you put in to organise our holiday. Your attention to detail and prompt responses were much appreciated. We would not hesitate to recommend you and your company to anyone considering a trip to that area. I will post something on the website and on Trip advisor. We hope you enjoyed your trip.
With our best wishes,
Jill and Peter"
Helen and I would like to thank you very much indeed for the excellent advice and service that you provided for us in respect of our month in Scandinavia.
Your local knowledge was invaluable and meant that we got to places that we would never have found on our own.
The travel and accommodation that you arranged for us was excellent and we always appreciated your quick response to any query or issue.
Most of all though we enjoyed your enthusiasm and focus on ensuring that we had the best possible holiday - which we did despite all that the weather threw at us!
Many thanks again, Tietse, I would be happy to unreservedly recommend you to anyone planning a trip to places 50+ degrees north."David, Jul '15
Our trip went very well, particularly the arrangements you put together for us. We found it a great time to visit the region from both the activities we were able to do and the look of the place at that time of the year. The mix of places visited; means of travel and activities was fantastic and everything worked well with no hiccups. Good instructions made all of that pretty easy!
So thank you once again for an excellent plan."
Tim & BeverleyTim & Beverley, Apr' 15
We would like to thank you whole heartedly for the wonderful trip you arranged to Scandinavia for us in April. It was the first trip abroad for the kids aged 7, 6 and 4 and you were very helpful allowing me to build an Easter school holiday trip around my wish to see the Aurora Borealis again.
The children loved all 5 days in LEGOLAND in Denmark and the flight connections through Helsinki to Rovaneimi went perfectly. (We thought of you in Aarhus).
The Ranua zoo was lovely, the children saw all the animals they dreamed of and we all went snow mobiling and dog sledding. The trip to the reindeer farm was a great day out.The accommodation at the Gulu apartments at the zoo was perfect for our family. It snowed most nights except for one when we went out and saw the aurora borealis, beautiful.
The Santa Claus village was a real treat for the kids who also got to drive a mini snowmobile there.
Thank you for the birthday card and lollies that greeted us, how did you know it was my birthday??
Many thanks for your organisation and allowing us to really enjoy Scandinavia and our little family."
Catherine & Family, Apr '15
Hi Tietse and Alice
We have recently returned from having the most wonderful experience of joining your Hidden Powers and Northern Lights, Tromso, Hurtigruten and Kirkenes and Ice, Igloos and the Arctic Circle tours in March.
We wanted to have a snowy holiday plus experiencing dog sledding, snowmobiling, reindeer sledding and hopefully viewing the Northern Lights amidst beautiful snowy scenery and so much more.
We enjoyed everything on these three tours plus we were very fortunate to witness the Northern Lights four times.
We wish to thank you for your wonderful organisation, great accommodation and excellent pre departure instructions.
These three trips exceeded our expectations and we would definitely recommend your company to others who would like to visit these regions.
Looking back, as we are very well travelled people we feel the trips was the best holiday we have ever had.
Thank you again, Eric and Helen
Eric and Helen, Mar '15
We returned to Sydney on Saturday after 7 weeks away and after having a wonderful trip. We saw the Northern Lights on 4 nights so we were very fortunate and we were assured that the light show on our first night in Abisko was the best they had seen for a number of years. For the 2 weeks before they had apparently been experiencing blizzard conditions so we were very fortunate.
We loved Lyngen Lodge, which was surrounded by plenty of snow, and really enjoyed the snowshoeing and dog sledding. Because of the snow falls we were unable to do the ice fishing as the road to the area hadn’t been ploughed but we were happy to enjoy an afternoon relaxing in that beautiful lodge. The staff were very attentive and we really enjoyed our stay. We thought it would be fantastic to be there is summer too, with such a beautiful location on that lake.
Abisko Turiststation had a very relaxed feeling about it and we enjoyed our time there, also because of the lights of course. Our trip to the Aurora Sky Station was very dramatic as >60km wind came up while we were up there so we were delayed for 2 hours coming back down the chair lift so that was a bit scary. We did see the lights though in relative calm on the walk back to the hotel from the bottom of the chair lift and out of our hotel window.
Despite the mix up at Kiruna about our transfer from the station, which was resolved capably by your Norwegian colleague, we had a wonderful experience at the ICEHOTEL We survived our night in the ice room and had a great time on the dog sledding trip. Adrian found the snowmobile driving a bit challenging but it was great experience.
All our other hotel stays were very nice, but we particularly enjoyed the Hotel Rival in Stockholm, with the ABBA theme- went to the Museum of course - and Hotel SP 34 in Copenhagen. They were very friendly there and we participated in the Happy Hour every night. The Food Tour was very good and the guide very nice as well as knowledgeable.
Thank you for organising such a wonderful trip for us.
I have returned home safe and sound due to all your good work, sorting everything out for me and putting it all together so well. Thank you.
Everything fell in to place without any problems. I really enjoyed going down to Flam and loved Bergan. The trip on the Nordkapp was amazing.
We saw Orca whales and the Northern Lights on several nights. The weather was fine and sunny till we got to the Arctic. I felt so lucky as all the time I was thinking I had chosen to go just that bit too early.
Norwegian Air were back at work before I had to fly out of Rovaniemi, which I was happy about. It snowed in Helsinki, so I did a bus trip around the city in the morning, which kept me warm, and I got to know a bit about the city.
I was nervous about going to St Petersburg and by the time they had done all the checks on the train, Passport, Customs etc, I was wondering why I had chosen to go there. My driver was waiting for me, which I was so grateful for, but it turned out to be all good. Ada, my guide was really nice and the Pushka Inn was very comfortable and ideally situated. I discovered I could walk to most of the beautiful buildings in a few minutes.
I must say, whenever I needed help with directions, and that was fairly often, [just to make sure I was going in the right direction or on the right platform] everyone I asked was so helpful and more than happy to help. It was very comforting.
Once again, thank you for all your hard work and putting together such a comprehensive itinerary for me."
"Wanted to let you know the trip was perfect. Every aspect organised by your company went according to plan. No delays,hitches or glitches. Norway in a Nutshell went smoothly, my luggage was waiting for me when I arrived and the hotel easy to find.
I enjoyed the lovely hotel you chose for us. The Hurtigruten was a wonderful experience and one I would reccomend to anyone thinking of travelling to Norway. All hotels, especially the snow hotel in Kirkenes were first rate and the service excellent.
The only excursion I can comment on is the dog sledding, which was a fitness work out above and beyond anything I expected.
All in all, a great experience with wonderful sights. Thanks for your terrific organisation.Ruth March '15
"There were many highlights of our trip – in a nutshell, it was wonderful.
Your response to my communication r.e. city and country experience was responded to with imagination and knowledge. We managed all the practicalities of the travel thanks to your expert and clear guidance r.e. transport and accommodation. At all times, we felt confident in your direction and suggestions. We discovered new and different parts of Scandinavia that we would not have encountered otherwise. While time is always a limitation on time-restricted holidays, we ventured far and wide and experienced a real sense of the people, place and culture of the countries we visited. I only wish you did other countries beside Scandinavia! Thank you for the thought, communication, time and expertise, you put into our Scandinavia adventure!
Our warm wishes to you and your team,
Fred and Susan"
"I would like to congratulate you guys for organising a successful and awesome family holiday for me and my family.
The Helsinki hotel was a superb choice, it was very comfortable, and located in a great spot close enough to the centre of town.
We were very fortunate to stay in the west village at Kakslauttanen, which made the whole experience better for our children. Being so close to Santa's Village just made it a perfect Christmas for them. All the tours were good, and well guided by Timo. We were lucky to have the Northern lights make an appearance every night we were staying here, with a large and active display on the final night while we stayed in the glass igloo.
Our transfer to Saariselka was problem free, and we are happy with our hotel. While at Saariselka, we went on a few safaris that we organised ourselves, and also the snowmobile - ice fishing safari organised by you. We all had fun on those tours, and enjoyed the hospitality of Finns.
We had an awesome time, which will be remembered for a long time to come.
Taru, the 50 Degrees North Representative, is a lovely person, who was very friendly, and happy to help at anytime. I was also delighted to see her walking around at dinner time, talking to all the families about their day. She helped make the experience even better with her tireless efforts to make sure everything was organised and happening as per plan. I cannot thank her enough for her efforts in making the stay enjoyable."
Luke & family, Christmas '14
"My family and I arrived in Lapland and I really thought I was in another world. The landscape was so pure white and the cold was just so cold!
Santa's Village was very magical and it was great to meet the real Santa, he was a lot bigger and older than I thought. The log cabin was beautifully warm with the fireplace and we even had our own sauna. But the most amazing thing was staying in the glass igloo for a night where I saw the most incredible show of Northern Lights while lying in bed looking up to the sky. I will never forget that night!
For me, my absolute highlight was the husky safari which was awesome. I sat in the wooden sleigh while my Mum steered the five huskies th
rough the arctic forest racing my Dad and sister, she went so fast I even had icyles on my eyelashes, and we also won.
Another great adventure was going on snowmobiles across a frozen lake to go King Crab fishing. My sister thought we were on the set of "Frozen" but I just loved seeing the crabs being pulled out of the icy water. But the best part was then going back to a warm log hut and cooking them up to eat, I think I demolished three crabs.
When mum told me, my dad and sister that we were then going to spend a night in a snow hotel I thought she was joking. But we really did sleep in a room made out of snow and on top of a bed made out of snow, it was really cool (ha ha). It was cold in the room but warm in my sleeping bag, which was lucky because I rolled off the bed and onto the snow which made everyone laugh.
Lapland was the most amazing place in the world and I'm so glad I have incredible memories stored away in my head for life. The best part though is now I don't have to try to stay awake on Christmas Eve every year because I've actually met the real Santa!"Jack, aged 10, Dec ' 14
"I wanted firstly to thank you all for the amazing trip you put together for the 3 of us. We had an incredible holiday that was made even better by the ease of getting from "A to B".
We were lucky enough to see the "Northern Lights" on our last night above the Arctic Circle so that just "topped" off the trip. We couldn't get over how many Australians were travelling that part of world.
We have spread your name (50 Degrees North) to everyone that asked us who we met whilst travelling, and it has been with high recommendation.
It is good to be home, can't say I miss the -30 degree days, but then I'm not really embracing the mid 30's we have been experiencing here since arriving home a few weeks ago. It was a bit of a shock to the system, having a 70 degree turnaround! Once again, thank you for all your efforts."Louise, Dec '14
"We're back! :-) And wanted to express our sincerest and warmest thanks to you, Taru and the extended team at 50 Degrees North for the outstanding service you provided us through your expert advice and support which made it possible for us to enjoy the very best Scandinavian Adventure we could have ever hoped for!
As we mentioned before venturing on our trip, from our initial contact we've had a fantastic experience with the team at 50 Degrees North; our trip really was the culmination of months and months of careful planning and coordination which wouldn't have been made possible without your dedication and hard work which made it possible for us to enjoy and create so many amazing memories which will stay with us forever!
We are sincerely grateful for how seemingly easy every step of our 4 week journey was planned by you; from the minute we boarded our plane in Melbourne to the time we arrived back home every single aspect of our journey was so meticulously well planned and orchestrated right from information pack, plane tickets, pickups, drop-offs, hotels, tours, vouchers, etc it was such a breeze to travel this way and it took the hassle out of traveling for such a long time across so many places with minimal time wastage which gave us so much more time to enjoy the wonderful sights and sounds we were so eager to see and experience.
It was lovely to have the opportunity to meet Taru in Kakslauttanen also, she is such a lovely person and did a fantastic job ensuring everyone was well looked after and there were no issues with our activities and overall schedule; it was also here on Christmas Eve that we first saw the Northern Lights and they were even more spectacular than we had ever hoped for, dancing in the night for a very long time was absolutely stunning and we had the same luck over Christmas Day and Boxing Day also, apparently it coincided with a large solar storm which spanned right across large parts of the Finnish Lapland which made the -33 degrees well worth the freeze, no doubt Santa had something to do with it!
It was also great to see how you have developed a wonderful relationship with the local operators at every stop, as they all spoke of 50 Degrees North very highly and were very accommodating and attentive during our stay.
We really can't speak highly enough about the great experience we've had with you throughout our trip and we are definitely looking forward to reaching out to you for your support with planning a summer adventure in the near future."Olya & Serge, Dec '14
"We had a wonderful time even though we were unsuccessful in our two evening attempts to see the northern lights. We really enjoyed Finland, the landscape and the people.
The flights went well. Our accommodation at Saariselka in the Nilikuru cabin was great.
Minna, thank you for recommending the Glo hotel in Helsinki. It is in a brilliant location, as you were obviously aware, and added greatly to our enjoyment of Helsinki. The young ladies at reception in the Hotel Glo were friendly and helpful throughout.
We had a couple of special occasions whilst we were away and if anyone is looking for such a recommendation we would happily recommend Siberia restaurant in Saariselka and Aino in Helsinki. Not the cheapest but good value nonetheless for a special occasion.
Just a couple of comments. It would be helpful if the information book at Nilikuru could include a copy of the ski bus timetable and a map of Saariselka. We obtained both by asking but it would be good if they could be in the cabin on arrival.
The hotel Glo did not have tea, coffee or a kettle in the double room. Although it was provided on request it would create a much better impression if it could be there on arrival, together with a decent supply of tea bags and milk. This is a problem which is common in many hotels and I just don’t understand it.
Hope these comments help. Thank you for helping us have a great holiday."
"Jane and I wanted to thank you very much for all your advice and assistance to plan and book our July visit to Iceland and Greenland. We had a wonderful and unforgettable time. Iceland and Greenland are so very different - we are really pleased that we decided to add Greenland to the wedding trip to Iceland. Friends have asked what the highlight was - I just say it was all great. We were lucky with fabulous weather in Greenland except one night of rain on the ferry and rain on the last day when we were walking back to the boat from Igaliko. Probably one of the highlights was the two days at Eqi where we had continuous sunshine and such fabulous views. And the upgrade to the comfort hut there was certainly well worth the extra cost.
The highlight in Iceland was the day we took a super-jeep trip up to Eyjafjallajokull - hiked the last hour from the jeep parked on ice to the top of the 2010 eruption cone, where the rocks are still hot! It was a beautiful sunny day so we had fantastic 360 views - one of the few sunny days we had in Iceland - so very lucky!"
"Just a note to let you know I am home safe and well after my sojourn in the Nordic countries and the cruise on the Volga Dream.
It was a great experience, I enjoyed all the Scandinavian countries, swimming at night in the fiords, good hotels, great food.
All the connections worked well, no hiccups until the last leg when my luggage did not arrive in Melbourne but turned up a day or so later.
Russia was interesting, more freedom of speech than I expected, surprised at how the Russians have returned and are embracing the church again, St. Petersberg was not disappointing, was ab
le to get tickets for the Opera (very good) and ballet (disappointing). The cruise was good, not all the different nationalities mixed well but the local guid
es were all great, English excellent, knowledge of art, history etc was excellent.
Many thanks for your advice and organising a wonderful holiday,
P.S. We had a month of sublime weather - virtually a northern heatwave for the entire time, suited me well altho' I did pack woollen jumpers and long sleeve cotton layers none of which was used."
"We would like to thank you for the fantastic itinerary you prepared for us for our fabulous holiday for entire month of July in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Estonia.We had really good flights, excellent hotels that were well located and really great advice for things to see and do in all locations.
We particularly enjoyed the Copenhagen sightseeing and canal tour and the highlight was the Copenhagen walking food tour which was excellent thanks to the brilliant guide. We had really good overnight ferry trips between Copenhagen and Oslo,and Stockholm to Helsinki.
The standout ferry experiences were the excellent Hurtigruten with overnight trips between Alesund and Trondheim, via the Geiranger Fjord and Trollstigen Pass, and between Trondheim and Bergen.
From Bergen the "Norway in a Nutshell" tour is one that should not be missed by anyone and we enjoyed our two day stopover in Flam.The return day trip from Helsinki to Tallinn in Estonia via ferry was really good and guide was very informative and helpful.
Overall we had really good weather, met lots of very friendly helpful people and thoroughly enjoyed our holiday.
We have no hesitation in recommending 50 Degrees North to anyone considering a holiday in Scandinavia and Finland."
"Thanks for organising a great holiday for Denise and myself. We experienced the great precision of the Norway in a Nutshell operation.
In addition to those activities you organised we took a "rib boat" ride at Flam and also took the tour bus at Eidfjord to the National History Museum, both worthwhile experiences.
Your efforts in putting together a great holiday are much appreciated."Allan & Denise, Jul '14
First of all, thank you so much for a great itinerary and all your help. We arrived back home last Sunday after 7 weeks .This is the first time I have had to sit down and let you know how the holiday all went. Yes we did get your call to hotel in Kiruna about the bus changes-thank you again. Everything went to schedule and the weather was amazing! If I were to recommend to anyone travelling to Finland etc I would highly recommend your company , and we have already!
Tromso – amazing.- this hotel was one of the best of the Itinerary We had a fabulous view across to the Cathedral and was situated very close to the ship terminal. The Hurtigruten was great and the weather amazing as well.
Loved the Tree House WOW! We also loved Bergen and Oslo –highly recommend you use these hotels again.- wonderful especially OSLO! All went terrific on the Norway in a nutshell trip . What an amazing journey ! We really did enjoy the train trip from Kiruna to Narvik as well and the train station at Kiruna was very informative about the town."
"Just got back from a trip to Russia, Finland, Estonia & Latvia through 50 degrees. It was wonderful. Great accommodation and fantastic guides who gave us such an insight into their country - both historically and present day. Everything went extremely smoothly and people could not have been more helpful I would definitely recommend 50 degrees to anyone planning a trip to Russia etc"Maureen, May '14
"It was a most wonderful experience to visit Russia for the first time - exceptionally well organised by Fifty Degrees North in Melbourne. Firstly Moscow which was fantastic....the large ornate buildings, Kremlin, wide streets. Fast train to St Petersburg excellent and what a beautiful city! Awesome and full of surprises. Hotels and food so good, pickups perfect as were our tour guides. Terrific train to Helsinki.....another gorgeous city and absolutely adored Tallinn and Riga. I thoroughly recommend visiting these countries and Fifty Degrees North to assist with travel arrangements......was perfect thank you!"Marion, May '14
Hello 50 Degrees North,
Just a note to say Thankyou for booking our recent trip to Finland, Norway and Denmark.
We had a great time. We particularly enjoyed our timing as we arrived in Helsinki 1 April ( i.e Spring time), but flew to Ivalo where it was still winter and great for snow. We enjoyed the 4 hr husky dogsled ride as we drove the sleds with the dogs ourselves and that was good.
If we had known more and had more time there it would have we could have gone cross country skiing. It may be worth while mentioning this option to future clients. We also found that the man at the husky farm ran cross country guided husky sled trips over several days. That would also be a fun trip for some people. I'd be keen to do that if I was ever back there in winter.
Our king crab excursion in Kirkenes was well worthwhile. The frozen fjord trip and the taste of those crabs was excellent. I was not expecting much of this event, but it was well worth it.
The trip on the Hurtigruten ferry starting in Kirkenes was great . The "Norway in a Nutshell" section was good but probably not as spectacular after the seeing the coast on the ferry trip.
All the hotels you booked were excellent and close to trains etc for transfers.
All in all we had a great time . Thank you for organizing the trip to give us a taste of this amazing part of the world."
Jeff & Ruth
"We loved the trip and were very happy with the smooth running of all connections and the quality of travel. An absolutely fabulous travel experience.
We loved the St. Petersburg hotel, excellent location, quiet, very good breakfast, nice room and well appointed bathroom. Good restaurant and friendly staff. Would have preferred a room with a view over the Moyka but this is only a small point. We would highly recommend it.
St Petersburg: the whole package – hotel, tours, transport – was excellent. The tour guide, was charming, knowledgeable and helpful. We enjoyed her company a lot. The chauffeur was also very good, friendly, punctual and helpful. "
"Everything went well and we are very, very happy with all the arrangements. Oslo to Bergen, Norway in a Nutshell: excellent trip by train, ship. The winter scenery was stunning. All connections – Oslo-Myrdal-Fram-Bergen worked well and went very smoothly. Recommend using the porterage service Oslo to Bergen, not cheap but very convenient.
Hurtigruten Tour: excellent. Good ship, cabin and food. Very pleased with the cruise and highly recommended. Of the excursions, the outstanding one for me was the trip to the North Cape. Excellent tour guide and the scenery in winter is stunning. Highly recommended. The Lofotr Viking Feast was the least satisfactory. Would have preferred to see a bit of Lofotr itself. The other excursions were good.
We would advise people visiting in winter to get a pair of studded ice grippers. These are essential if walking on icy surfaces."
"We are now in Stockholm and have, sadly, finished our Arctic Adventure, which you organised for us.
We just want to let you know that all your organisation was perfect. All the hotels, activities, transport connections and tickets were as you had arranged. Given all we have done, that is quite extraordinary.
We have had a wonderful time, from our days exploring Helsinki and Tallinn to the great fun of dog sledding and snowmobiling at Kakslauttanen, interesting Sami cultural experiences in Inari, the excellent Hurtigruten Ferry and superb Lyngen Lodge. Bjorkliden was also great fun: Sandy spent one day there remembering how to ski. After the first 9 or 10 days of cloud cover, we then saw the Aurora on 7 nights: two good displays in Inari, a long and superb display from the ferry and another superb display at Lyngen. How lucky is that!
In the meantime, we have a few more days at the excellent Hotel Rival, then off to Copenhagen and Germany.
Once again thank you so much for your excellent advice and organisation of our trip. Best wishes, Kerry and Sandy"
"Dear Tietse and 50 Degrees staff,
I just wanted to write a quick note on behalf of myself and my friends. We had an amazing time in Norway. We did an 8 day tour covering Tromso, Nord Capp and Kirkenes. Everything on our tour was perfect and the people were wonderful. We enjoyed all our activities and were lucky enough to see the Northern Lights twice. I will have no hesitation in recommending 50 degrees north to other travellers.
Thanks and all the best"
"Chris & I returned from our Winter Odyssey on Saturday & we just wanted to say thanks for organising such a great trip for us. Although the weather wasn’t great (only 3 sunny days), we did manage to see the Northern Lights three times, including a wonderful display at the Abisko Sky station that lasted about two hours!!
All the arrangements you made worked perfectly & the accommodation & activities were varied & interesting. We were grateful that so much had been prepaid as we found both Norway & Sweden VERY expensive! (We also realised what great value you gave us).
Once again, thanks for a great trip."
"Just a note to thank you again for all your organisation. Our holiday was fabulous....thanks to your company's attention to detail. Everything ran smoothly which makes for a stress free experience.
Seeing the Northern Lights was a highlight but other exceptional experiences were : staying at Lyngen Lodge, the Ice Hotel......although this was a once in a lifetime experience,the Vasa museum and the ABBA Museum in Stockholm as well as the beautiful fresh snow we had in both Copenhagen and Oslo. I told everyone we met who we booked through and will pass on your name each time we recount our trip. Thanks again to you and your team.....hope to book with you again"Raelene and Stephen, Feb '14
"We had a really great time in Lapland. We were super impressed with our log cabin, it was spacious & cosy and toasty warm. It was lovely and relaxing. Just what we needed.
The snowmobiling tour to a reindeer farm on our first day was really fun, we got some good interesting information off our guide Timo, who had reasonable English, I don't think we lost too much in translation, he was a lovely man.
The second night we did the Aurora Hunting on Snow Mobiles with our guide Heidi, she was great, we got to see glimpses of the Auroras it was cold that night, it had been a blustery day windy, snowing and not nice to be outside in, but it cleared up in the mid afternoon and we had a lovely time, except the wind didn't completely go away and made it cold if you were still for too long.
Finland was the favourite part of the honeymoon for both of us and the people there were the best, some of the most friendly & helpful we came across, Helsinki was also a great city."
So a huge thank you to you Minna for all your help and suggestions. We had a truely amazing and magical time on our Honeymoon and seeing the Aurora Borealis in all its glory was just the icing on the cake for us.
I can and will highly recommend you to anyone who will listen to me waffle/brag about Lapland and Finland in general we both want to go back there one day...soon, but probably not for a few years yet. It is a really lovely place to visit and be.
Thanks again and Happy New Year to you.
'Overall we had a fantastic time, saw the Northern Lights (three times) and really enjoyed Norway.
You had arranged for Suzanna to be our city guide in Tromso. She was great. Very informative and knowledgeable and provided us with excellent insights into the history of Tromso and the surrounding area.
The hotel in Tromso was (Rica on the harbour front) was very good and we had a really nice view of the harbour. The breakfast was fantastic and we had one of the best meals we have ever had at a seafood restaurant called Fiskecompanient which is very close to the hotel.
The Arctic Hotel in Sommaroy was really nice. We had a great sea cabin with lots of space and a great view.
Thank you for your help in arranging our trip and we will have no hesitation recommending your firm to family and friends.'
"I wanted to thank you and 50 Degrees North for giving us the best 4 days my daughter and I had EVER!!! We fell in love with your country and its beauty took our breath away every time we went out. The hotel was absolutely fantastic, the food, the room, the guides everything was so well organised and the people so friendly and eager to share their knowledge/culture with us. We only saw very faint Northern Lights but being out there in the middle of nowhere in pitch black looking at an amazing sky was more than enough! Our outings with the reindeers and the huskies were unbelievable.Please pass on our thanks to the team and again thank you for your assistance when booking the trip.”Sylvie, Jan '13
"We've returned from our amazing trip to Beijing, Mongolia and Russia. Everything went exactly as planned with excellent guides, drivers and accommodation. I particularly liked the ways you helped craft our city visits to meet our interests and the advice given beforehand which was accurate, detailed and practical. As we are 2 women travelling through places we'd never been before it was a secure yet adventurous journey. I have already recommended 50 Degrees North to others considering tailored and informed advice for travelling to Scandinavia and Russia. Thank you for your caring and excellence of service."Rose, Jul '13
“Just a quick email to say a huge thank you for a great trip to Norway. Myself, my husband and parents absolutely loved it! Lyngen Lodge was fantastic. Mum and Dad are really keen to head back there in summer one day. Addicted now to chasing the northern lights- what an amazing experience. Hopefully one day we get to go again.”Kelly, Jan '13
“Our quick trip up north was absolutely wonderful and we were fortunate to witness very strong activity of the Northern Lights in Abisko. Unfortunately the temperatures were far too low to visit the Aurora Sky Station but we walked up behind the hotel for a couple of hours and saw a great show. In fact, it was just magical walking though the snow laden forest in the moonlight. It's an unbelievably beautiful sight, especially for us Aussies! Our best temperature was 37 below, crazy stuff - your eyelashes freeze immediately, that's mental. The Ice Hotel was also pretty spectacular and the Tree Hotel....Wow!”Bronwyn, Mar '13
I must complement you and your travel company. We recently returned from our Nordic Winter Odyssey that started on the 2/1/2013 everybody said to us before leaving that '"why would you want to go there in the middle of their winter". The answer after returning is simple what an experience my wife, myself and our 2 children have just had. Being right up the top of Norway / Sweden and not seeing the sun for days on end, experiencing -5 to -20, experiencing the northern lights about 6 out of 8 nights, husky sledges, snow mobiles, ice fishing, Sami village, Lyngen Alps, Abisko, staying at the Ice hotel, all totally amazing experiences and places. The other thing is that all other accommodation, flights, ships, trains, transfers were all first class and organized down to a tee. Highly recommend this trip to any one looking at it, and again thank you and your team for such a wonderful experience.”David, Jan '13
Jane & I wanted to thank you for putting a great holiday itinerary together for us for our recent trip to Greenland. All the travel arrangements, accommodation, the Ferry and Fiord boat trips went well, and to schedule, and all to our satisfaction. We found Greenland extremely interesting and thoroughly enjoyed our visit thereJane and Graeme, Jul '12
“We have ticked all the boxes.!!!! The cream on the cake for me was a moonlight dogsled ride from Abisko lodge. We had only 3 sitting on a sled with a guide, bright full moon, clear sky ,perfect weather and a whole sky full of lights ,green,pink covering the sky. We tied the sled to a tree and lay in the snow and watched nearly 20 minutes of aurora activity in strong colours. (seemed like 20 mins)!!!! Between 9pm and 10.30pm. No photos would have done it justice,….”Anne, Feb '12
“Thank you for your arrangement for the trip of Norway and Iceland. We are enjoy very much. We had an experience to drive snow-automobile under -30C and staying snow hotel at -5C. We like Iceland very much. Iceland people are very friendly and honest and the Nature is so beautiful and powerful. We will visit Iceland and Norway again.”Lucy, Feb '12
“The wedding and all the stay in the Lofoten Islands were just fantastic. The scenery, weather, Northern lights, the snow, a snow storm, a lot of sun, the house, the church, the kindness of all the people we met were outstanding.”Luc, Mar '12
“I just wanted to thank you for arranging such a wonderful trip for my husband and myself to see the Northern Lights. We enjoyed the trip and the fact that the Northern Lights were so active was definitely wonderful. I must congratulate you on your expertise for all our connections. (Planes, trains, ship, taxi etc.). When we told people of our trip, they wanted to know our travel agent, who I would highly recommend. We appreciate the trouble you went to as it would have taken a lot of research to have done it ourselves.”Noeline & Terry, Mar '13
"I have just completed a Photography tour with Ewen Bell to Lapland. It was the best trip I have done for many years. We had wonderful visual and active experiences in the snow: from the Aurora Safari Camp, to the Ice hotel and on to the cod fishing towns in Norway's fjords. All were breathtaking. Ewen's photographic tutoring enabled all of us to photograph the Aurora Borealis with confidence and enabled me to achieve some wonderful photos. I loved it all and may even do it again."
Mary, Feb '13
"Just a short note to let you know that Helen and I had an excellent time. The hotels were great. The Hotel Clarion Mayfair in Copenhagen also included an evening buffet in its tariff! Would definitely stay in each of the hotels again.We had a glimpse of the Northern Lights – only a dull green glow unfortunately early in the morning on our last day on the ship before arriving in Bergen later that day.
Apparently lots of other people we spoke to did not even see that! Tromso was very good and if we did the trip again would probably stay in Tromso and take specific trips from there to attempt to see the lights, etc. But in saying that we had a good time at Malangen.
We have no hesitation in recommending you to our friends, family, etc if they are interested in Scandinavia trips. Thanks again and best wishes"
“Thank you again for all you have done, it has been an absolute pleasure dealing with you guys, we have been recommending you and telling everyone how great you have been, so hope it sends some business your way.”
“Hello Tietse, I should have thanked you a long time ago, for putting together the wonderful trip to Denmark, Greenland, Iceland and Norway. We enjoyed every minute of the trip. Especially the people they are so friendly and welcomed us to share their space and time. Loved it all.”Bill and Margie, Aug '11
“Thanks for your help in making the trip happen – we had a fabulous time. Iceland was sensational – the tour fitted our needs really well, and we got a really good feel for Iceland and the culture. The hotels were excellent and well-located and all the connections worked (except for the Flam train – thanks for your help in sorting that out). We especially liked the Hotel Glo in Helsinki.”Greg, Sept '11
“I just want to let you know that the bookings you made for us in the Faroe Islands and in Iceland were absolutely hassle free. We had no problems what so ever. We thoroughly enjoyed both the Faroes and Iceland. The accommodation you booked for us was very comfortable. We got in some good walks in the Faroes, did the bird cliffs boat trip and also the trip out to Mykines. One night we took in a cultural night at Gjogv, which was a lot of fun.In Iceland, the Laugavegur Trek, departing on 15th Aug that my wife, daughter and I booked through you, was excellent, although the weather could have been a lot better!!”Bob, Sept '11
"We had a wonderful week on the boat with Skipper Iain, Gavin, Stephen and Steven. They could not have been kinder, more caring or more determined we would have the time of our lives. We felt as though everything was planned and executed to meet our needs and keep us singing like birds throughout the trip. The other companions were delightful and we kept each other amused and entertained for the whole 6 days. For us both, it was our introduction to that glorious part of Scotland and we have been singing the praises ever since."R. Pearson, March '13
"Starting on the great day of 28th September from Oban to Inverness along the Caledonian Canal. The weather was amazing and followed us along the Canal allowing us to sit on the top deck on the sunbeds in "our" favourite position. We shared this cruise with, as always, lovely people and the most brilliant crew. We were spoilt rotten and fed excellent local produce, so would have been rude to refuse to stuff ourselves whilst not having to lift a finger to contribute to the huge efforts made on our behalf."D. Lawton, Sept '13