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7 days - Hurtigruten North Cape | Glass Igloo | Snow Hotel | Northern Lights
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 Ivalo. See Aurora Highlights.
- 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
- Welcome to Tromsø, the capital of Arctic
- Day 2
- Explore the town and its surroundings. Depart with Hurtigruten Voyage to Kirkenes
- Day 3
- Honningsvåg and the North Cape
- Day 4
- Arrive into Kirkenes port, transfer to the Snowhotel with a Arctic King Crab Safari
- Day 5
- Transfer to Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort and settle into your Glass Igloo
- Day 6
- Husky Safari and then Aurora Hunting by reindeer in the evening
- Day 7
- Depart to Ivalo airport for your flight onwards
- Start Place
- Tromsø, Scandinavia
- End Place
- Ivalo, Scandinavia
- Countries Visited
- 7 Days
- Easy independent holiday suitable for singles, couples & families
Hurtigruten coastal port-to-port voyage and private transfers
- All hotel accommodation in shared double/twin room with private facilities, single supplement available
- Norwegian Coastal Voyage: 2 nights twin outside cabin with private facilities aboard Hurtigruten ship port to port Tromsø to Kirkenes, breakfast and dinner included. Please note, it can be dififcult to guarantee this short port-to-port voyage - you may need to fly up to Kirkenes or take the South Bound version of this tour.
- Excursion to The North Cape
- 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
- Daily breakfast
- Bus transfers between Kirkenes and Kakslauttanen
- Included Activities: Arctic city walk Tromsø, Arctic King Crab Safari, Husky safari (2 hrs), Hurtigruten excursion to the North Cape and Aurora Hunting by Reindeer sled
- 24-hour emergency service
- Taxes and service fees
Nordic +: Deluxe room in Tromsø, Arctic Superior cabin, private transfer between Kirkenes and Kakslauttanen, 2 nights in a Kelo Glass Igloo.
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 - Welcome to Tromsø, the capital of Arctic
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.
Day 2 - Explore the town and its surroundings. Depart with Hurtigruten Voyage to Kirkenes
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.
At 16.30, embark your coastal ferry for a short northbound Hurtigruten journey. In winter the Captain invites guests to taste stockfish on deck. The ship now sails into the area along the coast where you have the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights between September and March, and we gather on deck to search for this breathtaking phenomenon.
Optional Add Ons
Day 3 - Honningsvåg and the North Cape
Ports visited today: Øksfjord, Hammerfest, Havøysund, Honningsvåg, Kjøllefjord, Mehamn, Berlevåg.
Following the scenic sailing through Magerøysund and after an early stop in Hammerfest, you arrive in Honningsvåg. This small port is the gateway to the wonders of the spectacular North Cape which rises 300m from the ocean, and at 71° 10’ 21” north it puts you a mere 2,000 kilometres from the Geographical North Pole.
Included in this holiday is the chance to stand atop the North Cape Plateau where you’ll get the eerie feeling of being at the end of the world. The area is also known for its birdlife, and Gjesværstappan, a bird sanctuary with up to 250,000 seabirds, is home to some High Arctic species that can only be observed here on the Norwegian mainland, including the ever cute puffins. In summer, you might see herds of reindeer and campsites belonging to the indigenous Sami people. In winter, experience the snow-clad valleys, the fresh winter air and your best chances to see the mesmerizing Northern Lights.
During winter and spring, if you are lucky, local fishermen from the village of Kjøllefjord visit us to share their catch of the day (King Crab & cod).
This evening, as you approach Kjøllefjord, you pass a rock formation that is sacred to the indigenous Sámi people, Finnkjerka.
Optional Excursions depend on the season: Birdwatching Safari, A Taste of Lapland, Sami Autumn and Snowmobile trip in Lapland.
Optional Add Ons
Day 4 - Arrive into Kirkenes port, transfer to the Snowhotel with a Arctic King Crab Safari
Disembark in Kirkenes and transfer to the snow hotel. Today you will join an 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.
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!
Day 5 - Transfer to Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort and settle into your Glass Igloo
Private transfer from Kirkenes to Kakslauttanen (3.4 - 4 hrs). 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.
Finnish Glass Igloos provides 'one-of-a kind' opportunities to admire the Northern Lights and millions of stars in the crystal clear sky while enjoying 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 (KELO).
Day 6 - 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 7 - Depart to Ivalo airport for your flight onwards
Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to Ivalo airport.
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
20 Apr 2019
20 Apr 2019
Please note that this tour can also be run in reserve, starting in Ivalo.
Interactive Tour Map
Travel insurance is compulsory for all tours with 50 Degrees North. Please ensure that you have this organised as we will need to see proof of this upon issuing your tour documentation. Please contact us for a quote or visit http://www.suresave.net.au/
Practical information about Scandinavian Hotels
- Hotel rooms in Scandinavia 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Practical budgeting information before your departure to Norway
Norway 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.
We recommend that you bring all the alcohol you’re allowed to bring into the country when you arrive. There are many lovely parks and balconies where you can enjoy your duty free. However, be sure not to bring more than you’re allowed!
As of May 2014, the allowances according to Visit Norway are:
Minimum age: 18/ 20*
1 litre of beverages with more than 22% up to and including 60% alcohol per volume as well as 1½ litre with more than 2.5% up to and including 22% alcohol per volume or three litres with more than 2.5% up to and including 22% alcohol per volume
2 litres of beer with more than 2.5 % or other beverages with more than 2.5% up to and including 4.7% alcohol per volume.
This means that you may for example bring with you five litres of beer provided you do not have any other alcoholic beverages with you.
*For importing alcoholic beverages with more than 22% alcohol per volume the minimum age is 20.
It’s illegal to bring extra alcohol into Norway and can end up costing you. Another thing you should bring and not buy in Norway is razor blades. Good razor blades in Norway are expensive.
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.