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7 days - Glass Igloo | Snow Hotel | Northern Lights | Hurtigruten to Tromsø
Visit one of the northernmost inhabited areas in the world and experience a unique Sami culture, amazing scenery and exhilarating winter activities with this short highlights tour. Spend a night in the magical Kirkenes Snow Hotel, Hurtigruten cruise along the famous fjords around the North Cape and try your hand at dog-sledding, arctic king crab fishing and reindeer sledding. If conditions are right — be dazzled by the northern lights, preferably on the night you are sleeping in the glass igloo at Kakslauttanen, Finland.
This tour can also be done in reverse, starting in Tromsø.
- Sail on the Hurtigruten Coastal Ferry
- Catch some Arctic King Crab and sit with others to enjoy the feast afterwards by the fire
- Dress warmly and go Aurora Borealis hunting by Reindeer Sled
- Stay in two unique Northern hotels, Kakslauttanen Glass Igloos and the Gamme Cabins or a snow room in Kirkenes
- Day 1
- Arrive Kakslauttanen and a spectacular night in Glass Igloo
- Day 2
- Husky Safari and then Aurora Hunting by reindeer in the evening
- Day 3
- Transfer from Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort to Kirkenes
- Day 4
- Transfer to the harbour for your Hurtigruten South Bound Port to Port voyage
- Day 5
- Hammerfest and optional excursions with Hurtigruten
- Day 6
- Welcome to Tromsø, the capital of Arctic - explore the town and its surroundings.
- Day 7
- Departure Day
- Start Place
- Ivalo, Scandinavia
- End Place
- Tromsø, Scandinavia
- Countries Visited
- 7 Days
- Active independent tour suitable for singles, couples & groups
Hurtigruten coastal port-to-port voyage and private transfers.
- All hotel accommodation in shared double/twin room with private facilities, single supplement available
- Kakslauttanen: 1 night in a traditional log cabin with its own fireplace and sauna + 1 night in a Glass Igloo, breakfast and dinner included
- Kirkenes Stay: Gamme cabins or a snow room option available 20DEC to 20APR, dinner included
- Norwegian Coastal Voyage: 1 night twin outside cabin with private facilities aboard Hurtigruten ship port to port Kirkenes to Tromsø, breakfast and dinner included
- Daily breakfast and most dinners
- Bus transfers between Kakslauttanen and Kirkenes
- Transfer Ivalo to Kakslauttanen
- Included Activities: Arctic city walk Tromsø, Arctic King Crab Safari, Husky safari (2 hrs) and Aurora Hunting by Reindeer sled
- 24-hour emergency service
- Taxes and service fees
Nordic +: Deluxe room in Tromsø, private transfer between Kirkenes and Kakslauttanen, 2 nights in a Kelo Glass Igloo. From Tromsø, you can also continue down the Norwegian coast past the Lofoten Islands to Bergen, South bound voyage. You will sail past the Lofoten Islands in the daylight hours.
Flights, meals other than specified, winter clothing (thermal overall & boots) for the entire stay, items of personal nature, beverages, additional activities such as icefishing, horse riding, overnight safaris and Santa's Resort Visit.
Please note that additional nights can be added either in Tromsø, Kirkenes or Kakslauttanen.
Day 1 - Arrive Kakslauttanen and a spectacular night in Glass Igloo
Fly to Ivalo airport, located about 250km north of the Arctic Circle. Upon arrival at Ivalo airport, transfer to Hotel Kakslauttanen. Check in to your Glass Igloo where you will be spending the first night of the tour.
Dinner at hotel then get ready for your night in under the stars - and hopefully the Northern Lights.
Glass Igloo provides one of a kind opportunity to admire the Northern Lights and millions of stars of the crystal clear sky in a comfortable room temperature. Built from a special thermal glass the temperature inside the Igloo always stays at a normal level. It also prevents the glass from not getting white frosted, hence keeping the view clear even when the temperature outside drops to under -30°C. Standard igloos are equipped with a toilet, but no shower. There is an upgrade option to a large igloo with a shower.
Day 2 - Husky Safari and then Aurora Hunting by reindeer in the evening
After breakfast, move to your log cabin and then get ready for today's husky safari - an unforgettable journey through breathtaking winter scenery.
On arrival to the husky farm we will provide you with a warm outer thermal suit, gloves and hat and then we will present your very own husky team. You will be given a lesson on how to drive the sledge and how to observe important hand signals given by your leader.
Each team consists of about six dogs, you, the driver, and your passenger, who is comfortably seated in the wooden sledge. The driver and the passenger can change places during the safari.
This afternoon is free to relax before your evening aurora hunting by reindeer.
Day 3 - Transfer from Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort to Kirkenes
Private transfer from Kakslauttanen to Kirkenes (3.4 - 4 hrs). This evening, you can either stay in one of the warm Gamme cabins or sleep in one of the cold snow rooms at the Snowhotel.
Every room in Kirkenes Snowhotel is like a small treasure. The rooms are equipped with everything needed for a comfortable night in the somewhat extreme conditions. The pictures look like you are sleeping on ice, but that would be too cold and too hard for your back. The beds are framed with ice blocks and the beds have comfortable mattresses with thermal insulation on top. You sleep inside a sleeping bag graded for -35 degrees celcius. However, snow is a very good insulator, so even when it's -35 degrees outside, the Snowhotel remains a stable -4 degrees.
Upon entering the gates of the Snowhotel, you will receive a welcome drink at the snowbar, made from berries collected from surrounding hills. It will then be time to make the ‘coolest’ hotel check-in around!
Once you are settled, it is time for your ARCTIC KING CRAB SAFARI - a very popular highlight for our travellers north.
The Arctic King Crab is a sought after delicacy and you will learn how to catch, prepare and eat them. Your guide takes you out and you can lend a hand in sawing through the ice before your guide attempts to land you a few of these massive crustaceans. Enjoy the day's catch for lunch seated by a cosy fire in a small local farmhouse by the lake. You will travel to the lake by snowmobile sleigh.
AccommodationThis evening, you can either stay in one of the warm Gamme cabins or sleep in one of the cold snow rooms at the Snowhotel.
Day 4 - Transfer to the harbour for your Hurtigruten South Bound Port to Port voyage
Transfer down to the Kirkenes harbour to join the Hurtigruten ship as it turns around to travel southbound (the ship arrives at 9am, embarkation from 9.30am & leaves Kirkenes approx. 12.30pm). As the ship starts its voyage south, you can first enjoy lunch followed by views of the surrounding Arctic landscape on deck or from the panorama lounge.
In the afternoon, the ship docks at Vardø, Norway's easternmost port. Weather permitted, you may be invited to experience ice bathing in the Arctic Ocean during the winter season. Heading south, cruise along the Varanger peninsula to Båtsfjord, before reaching Berlevåg in the evening. The latter town is home to one of Norway’s most famous male choirs, consisting mainly of local fishermen.
Optional Add Ons
Day 5 - Hammerfest and optional excursions with Hurtigruten
In the middle of the night, you will dock at Mehamn, where it is possible to join an unforgettable snowmobile trip through one of Europe's most extreme and exciting natural areas during winter time. Experience snow-clad valleys, fresh winter air and perhaps the mesmerising Northern Lights in the clear, starry sky.
Before stopping in Hammerfest, you can enjoy an 'energy coffee' and short introduction to Melkøya - the world´s northernmost natural gas terminal'. Hammerfest was founded in 1789, and over time became Norway's polar capital, serving as a base for hunting expeditions into the High Arctic. Here you can see the UNESCO-listed Meridian Column, erected in 1854 to commemorate the first precise geographic measurement of the globe. In winter, you can also join a mini-mountain expedition to experience the Arctic outdoors and learn about local polar hero and cook, Adolf Henrik Lindstrøm.
Continue south to Øksfjord. After crossing open water, make a brief stop at the old trading post of Skjervøy.
At 11.30pm, dock at Tromsø, and tranfer to your hotel.
Optional Add Ons
Day 6 - Welcome to Tromsø, the capital of Arctic - explore the town and its surroundings.
Tromsø is a city packed with culture, polar history and fresh locally sourced food in its numerous restaurants. Tromsø is often called "Paris of the North" and "City of Lights", and it is rare to have such a lively town located so far past the Arctic Circle. Mountains, fjords and islands surround it, making it a great base for exploring the winter landscape.
This morning, enjoy a guided city walk of Tromsø and then you are free to either try many of the winter activities available in its vicinity or head to the lovely cafes & pubs by the water. Ask us for information about additional dog sledding through the beautiful winter landscape, guided northern light tours and other possible activities.
Or if it is a clear day, experience Tromsø’s best view! On the outskirts of Tromsø (it is a very small town) a cable car runs from Solliveien in Tromsdalen up to the mountain ledge Storsteinen (421 m above sea level) in just four minutes. From the viewing platform at the upper station, you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of Tromsø and the surrounding islands, mountains and fjords. At the fully licensed Fjellstua restaurant, you can enjoy a delicious dinner based on local produce or select light meals from the café menu, while you take pleasure in the view. In winter, it's an ideal place for hunting the magical Northern Lights.
Day 7 - Departure Day
After breakfast, transfer to the Tromsø airport. If your flight isn't until the afternoon, perhaps consider a brunch cruise on the luxury Vulkana Spa boat as a final Arctic pleasure.
Price per person. Please note: the two different accommodation options available in Kirkenes (either the Snowroom or Gamme Cabins) vary slightly in price.
Please note the below prices are indicative only. Hurtigruten prices may fluctuate daily.
20 Apr 2019
20 Apr 2019
Please note that this tour can also be run in reserve, starting in Tromsø.
Interactive Tour Map
- Hotel rooms in the Nordic Region are normally furnished with twin beds, which can be moved together to form a double bed or placed separately. Please note that single rooms are generally smaller than doubles, and are often equipped with a shower instead of a bath. Purpose-built triple or family rooms are likewise unusual in Scandinavian hotels. Whilst it is possible for 3 persons to share a room, this will normally be a double room with an extra bed, with correspondingly less space to move about in.
- It is also unusual to have a porter at hotels to carry your luggage.
- There is free wi-fi in many hotels in Scandinavia and Iceland. In the larger cities, this should be reliable and fast so don't hesitate to ask the reception if there is a problem.
- Unexpectedly, all forms of Scandinavian accommodation rarely provide tea and coffee facilities in their rooms. If you are lucky, a kettle will be supplied but nothing else. Please ask at reception for some provisions when you arrive or just carry a small selection from home.
- On the same note, often you will not find amenities such as soap, shampoo and conditioner in cabins or if they are there, they will be in containers stuck to the wall. Even hair dryers sometimes aren't there! Just ask at reception and they will happily provide you what you need.
- During summer, the daylight hours stretch well into the evening and hotels often do not have black out curtains. Bring an eye mask with you if you are a light sleeper.
- Most hotels and lodges in Scandinavia have limited or no air conditioning. Some of the city hotels might have some rooms with air-conditioning that you can upgrade to if you are desperate.
- Please also note that in Scandinavia - in particular, during winter - the included lunch will often be a hearty warm soup with bread.
- More remote hotels in Lapland will offer dinner at an additional cost. In some spots, there will be limited choices else where. Generally, you get a very nice home-cooked Scandinavian dinner. However, you may sometimes find only one or two choices only for your main course.
- In Scandinavia, it is normal for washing and laundry facilities to be in the basement. If you are staying in apartment type accommodation, check downstairs or ask for assistance.
Scandinavia has a few items that typically surprise travellers when visiting Norway for the first time. Alcohol and luxury items are heavily taxed and therefore prices are higher than you would expect. On the other hand, necessities such as bread and milk, are taxed low and therefore are great value. If you are planning to self-cater in Norway or Finland, please ask us for our grocery shopping guide.
When travelling with us you will have access to a 24-hour emergency number in Norway. Our Lillehammer office will look after you if anything arises during your trip that affects your travels or the enjoyment of your holiday. We will always be just a phone call away.
Practical Information for travelling and packing for Scandinavian Winter
- Warm wind and water proof jacket and trousers large enough to fit thick woollen jumper/clothing underneath
- Rain trousers – waterproof and breathable material
- Warm windproof cap/hat
- Warm gloves or mittens. Mittens where all fingers except the thumb are together are often warmer than gloves.
- Windproof gloves or mittens, which you can pull over the warm gloves
- Warm scarf
- 2 pairs of long woollen underwear (Merino wool in a few different thicknesses is perfect)
- 1-2 warm woollen jumper(s), or one jumper and a warm fleece
- Woollen or fleece trousers
- 2-3 pairs of warm woollen socks
- Warm & sturdy footwear with good grip
- Clothes for indoors, i.e. a shirt, T-shirts and jeans or cotton trousers
- Back pack for day trips (approx. 30 litre)
- Light footwear/trainers (mainly for indoors)
- Sun screen & Lip salve (the sun reflects off the snow and the air is dry)
- Hand warmers
- Nordic Grip anti-slip soles for walking on ice
- Personal medication
- Water bottle - thermo, or include a cover to keep warm (or you can stick it into a warm sock)
- Travel documents (including insurance)
- Photo ID
- Note book and pencil
- Camera, memory cards and charger
- Chargers for other gadgets
- Extra batteries for your cameras as they are used fast in cold conditions.
General information about staying at the Kirkenes Snowhotel
First the Kirkenes Snowhotel engineers produce a lot of snow with water, cold air and snow-machines. Then they inflate a large balloon and cover this with snow. When this balloon is totally compacted with 2 metres of snow, they then deflate the balloon and remove it, leaving a circular room. For the corridors, they construct wooden frames and also cover them in snow before removing them.
Kirkenes Showhotel opens each year around 20 December and closes on the 20 April.
The temperature inside is a constant minus 4 degrees Celsius.
There are 20 bedrooms with normal mattresses. On top of the mattress is an extra thermal insulation layer. You are also provided a sleeping bag made for extreme expeditions, rated for minus 30 degrees celsius. Most guests however, find that it can get too hot inside the sleeping bag.
In the marketing pictures, it looks like the beds are made of ice! However, they have cleverly placed ice-blocks around the beds to create the illusion of an ice-bed! Sleeping directly on ice would be a bit drastic and not very comfortable.
Every room is decorated differently which is why there is also different lighting used to create a different atmosphere. The lights are LED which gives off very little heat. For security reasons the lights are not switched off. We advise using eye covers to sleep if a small amount of light bothers you.
There have nice bathrooms, showers and a sauna in the building next to the Snowhotel. So you have to leave your sleeping bag for a few minutes. Brrr....
It is usually couples. Average age is around 45, however their oldest guest has been 92 years old! Each year, the Kirkenes Snowhotel sees marriage proposals being made and of course, in such a beautiful place, weddings for many happy couples take place.
Yes. The Snowhotel is constructed to the calculations and standards made by a Finnish professor of snow building. The Snowhotel is still standing a month after they close for the season, even with the warmer weather!
People with claustrophobia have had trouble sleeping in the Snowhotel. There is also a minimum age of 7 years to stay in the snowhotel. There is a warm lobby available in case people may feel uncomfortable during their night’s stay.