2023/2024 Northern Lights Expedition to Norway, travelling by road and snow scooter, staying in mountain cabins. Including all food while at the cabins, ice fishing, snow scooter use and optional photo/video tuition (if you require tuition please ask). You must book your own flights to Alta, Norway.
2023/2024 Bespoke tours to fit your needs. I can organise bespoke Aurora tours from late September through to the end March each year. The cost for a fully escorted one week trip for a couple is £2,800 per person. For a group of 4 it is £1,750 per person, for a group of 6 it is £1,650 per person and £1550 for 8. Please use the contact form to request more information. The best months are Jan/Feb/March and then late Sept/Oct/Nov/Dec.
The sun is entering a more active period in it’s 11 year solar cycle, so we can expect more frequent bright Auroras in 2023 in to 2024. The reminder of this year, 2023 and early 2024 look like it will be a great time for Aurora hunters. Miss the peak and it is 11 years before it comes back around again. The Aurora will still be present away from the peak but there is a much greater chance of a once in a lifetime Aurora around the peaks.
2024 Arctic Aurora Tour 7 nights £1,550pp : Alta and Karasjok, Norway.
You should arrive in Alta to join the tour on Thursday February 1st 2024. Then you can depart Alta on Thursday February 8th. THIS TOUR STAYS AT THE CABINS FOR 5 NIGHTS, ONE EXTRA NIGHT COMPARED TO NORMAL. The sun will have only just risen above the horizon for the first time in the year about 2 weeks earlier, so for this trip the days will be a little longer and brighter. Mid tour the sunrise will be at 9.10am and sunset at 2.45pm. The moon will not rise at night for most of this tour, which gives the best possible Aurora viewing conditions, especially if the Aurora is faint.
2024 will be the 15th year of these tours. So far every single tour I have run has seen the Northern Lights. Our final destination offers some of the clearest winter skies in all of Europe and is at the optimum latitude for the best chances of seeing the Northern Nights. The tour dates are timed for optimum moon conditions. You don’t want a bright full moon making a faint Aurora invisible! While the prices may seem high do consider that food is included for most of the trip. Eating out in Norway is very expensive, breakfast, lunch and an evening meal could easily cost £75-£120 ($100-$150) per day. A one day snow scooter safari costs around £400 to £500, but we get to spend either 4 or 5 days getting about via snow scooters and towed sledges. So I hope you can see that these adventure tours really are excellent value. Where possible we now also go Dog Sledding on one day. There is an extra charge 1200 NOK (approx 110 Euro) per person for this. You will spend a half day with the dog teams and get to drive your own team of dogs during a 1 hour dog sled ride.
Please use the contact form to hold a place and for more details. Spaces are limited. Maximum tour capacity is normally 7 persons.
Every year I run small expeditions to Norway. These trips have proved to be so popular that I have had to turn people away most years and many people come back year after year.
These are magical experiences of a lifetime. These expeditions are very different to the more normal Northern Lights excursions to Tromso where you will often be transported by bus to commonly used Aurora viewing locations where you may have 40 or more people all trying to get the best vantage point, tripping over cameras and tripods and dazzling one another with torches. In addition when out for the night on a bus, if you get cold there is nowhere to go and warm up. This is not my idea of fun and it spoils the moment. That’s why I developed these amazing, memorable expeditions.
Day 1, the first day is the arrival day. You must make your own way to ALTA in Northern Norway. There are flights to ALTA FROM TROMSO AND OSLO with connections worldwide from to Oslo. If you arrive early enough, after diner if the weather conditions are good then we will spend the evening watching the Northern Lights from one of several locations that offer great viewing and photo opportunities. If you wish to fly in a day early I can book an extra night at the hotel for you from approx £120 per room, let me know if you require this. NOTE: To be honest there isn’t a great deal to do in Alta, if you do want to extend your trip I suggest flying up to Tromso and spending any extra time in Tromso before continuing up to Alta either by bus or plane.
On Day 2 we leave the hotel at 9.30 am to make the 2.5 hour drive to just outside of small town of Karasjok. On the way we will stop to photograph frozen ice falls along the roadside and often we encounter reindeer herds as we get closer to Karasjok. We should arrive outside Karasjok a little after midday.
Here we exchange our mini-bus for snow scooters as we prepare to head off into the remote Arctic wilderness. After a 60 minute (16km) snow scooter ride up through a beautiful snow covered forest. Most guests will ride in a sledge, wrapped in blankets and reindeer skins, towed by the snow scooters while your luggage travels on another sledge. The journey is bumpy but normally breathtakingly beautiful as we climb up beyond the tree line and across frozen lakes.
The sun will be low in the sky creating amazing photo opportunities. Eventually we will come to a group of small buildings at a remote place called Ravnastua.
This is a magical place, far from the stresses of our modern lives where life is simple, the air is clear and fresh and the scenery breathtaking. By arriving early in the day we have time to settle in and prepare to spend the evening watching out for “Thor’s Chariots” or the Northern Lights. A simple meal will be provided in the late afternoon/early evening as well as snacks later in the evening. The small valley the cabins nestle in shelters us from the wind. If you get cold you can pop back inside to warm up by one of the many log burning stoves or enjoy a drink or two. Soft drinks and tea/coffee are always available and included. You are free to bring your own alcoholic drinks.
Day 3 is spent exploring the local area by snow scooter. We often encounter Reindeer herds and husky dog teams. I run optional video and stills photography workshops during the short day. The days are short, the sun barely creeping above the horizon, but the light is beautiful as the snow becomes bathed in golden light.
Our accommodation in the cabins is shared, 4 beds to a room. Heating is from a log stove. On arrival the cabins may be cold, but we will light the log fires and the cabins will soon start to warm up. You will be encouraged to help keep the log burners topped up and to help with collecting wood from the wood store whenever the wood bins in the cabins need to be replenished. Toilets and washing facilities are very basic as it is too cold for running water. Outside it can get down to -40c. The coldest one of my expeditions has experienced is -43c. Typically you can expect -14c to -24c but you will be prepared for the cold and we are never far from a warm and cosy cabin. Inside it’s warm, comfortable and the atmosphere in the evenings is social and highly enjoyable sitting around the log burner enjoying our host Oskars local stories, enjoying a drink and watching the stars and Aurora. Meals are basic but plentiful comprising of local meat (Reindeer or Elk) or fish with potatoes and carrots. Ravnastua was chosen as the final destination due to it’s mountain location. The locals say that when the temperature gets down to -20c then the sky will be clear. Our experience is that this is indeed true and every year we have seen the Aurora from this location.
Day 4 will be spent further exploring the local area or ice fishing on one of the frozen lakes either drilling holes in the ice for fishing rods or cutting a larger hole with a chainsaw for Finnish style under ice net fishing. It should however be remembered that we will be in the arctic so all activities are weather and snow conditions permitting. Those that have not driven a snow scooter before will get a brief lesson on how to drive and handle a snow scooter. Again the evening is spent watching for the Northern Lights. On at least one evening Oskar will prepare the traditional Sauna Hut. This is a communal sauna hut with a large cast iron long burning stove. Water is poured on the stove to create steam and the hut becomes a very hot Sauna. This is how the locals stay clean. Rolling in the snow between sauna sessions is optional, but highly recommended! When you get back to your nice warm cabin after the Sauna there is no need for a hair dryer as you’ll be able to just brush out the ice. Your hair will freeze during the short walk to the main huts, but I promise you won’t feel cold at all.
Day 5 is a free day at the mountain cabins where you will be free to explore on your own by foot, using snow shoes or cross country skies or by snow scooter. Weather permitting we may take an excursion to another group of mountain cabins at Mollysjok further up the Finmarksvidda. On one day we will enjoy an optional dog sled excursion. We will either travel to a local Husky dog farm and then go on a dog sled ride from there, or 3 teams of dogs will come to the cabins and guests will be able to go on a dog sled ride directly from the cabins. In either case everyone gets the option to drive their own team of dogs. One evening we will put up a traditional Sami styly Lavvu tent. Inside the tent we will build a large fire and we will cook our diner of reindeer steak over the fire and eat out in the lavvu. For many this experience is one of the highlights of the trip.
Day 6 is our last at the cabins. After a leisurely breakfast we will load up the snow scooters and sledges for the trip back down the mountain to the minibus. Once back at the minibus we will drive into the town of Karasjok for hot drinks and lunch in a local cafe. If people want I can also then arrange for a visit to the Sami Parliament and a local traditional Knife maker. After this we will head back to Alta.
Day 7 is departure day. If your flight is later in the day you can explore some of Alta’s museums and galleries in your own time.
Note: Depending on where your are flying from it may be preferable to fly into Alta a day early. By flying in a day early you will be more relaxed when the tour starts and there is more room for flight delays etc. If you wish to fly in early I can arrange extra nights at the hotel for you.
From some of my guests from previous trips:
Judy & I have been back from our Northern Lights adventure for four days now and we are browsing photos and still buzzing! Being lucky enough to see the Aurora on five nights was sufficient, but thanks to you and your ‘in-house team’, we did so much more – so many new experiences.
From your comprehensive pre-trip advice on clothing, conditions and timetable we really were as prepared as we could have been and the whole group agreed that, once there, the leadership balance was right – a good mix of precise arrangements and flexibility for us to do what we wanted within a safe environment. Ice fishing, riding the ski scooters, ‘cross country’ skiing, sauna and naked snow rolling were all optional but were taken up by most of the group. And still time for us to take in the local (-24ºC) environment on our own, or enjoy your company in Oskar’s warm and cosy hut.
And we never thought we would get used to an outside loo in -24ºC but, this included, we wouldn’t have changed anything about the trip! Thank you, Alister
Judy & Ian
‘Thank you’ seems so inadequate to describe one of the best adventures of our lives. Our trip with you (January 2012) to Ravnastua in Northern Norway was exceptionally well organised, perfectly prepared and inspirationally led. We were lucky enough to see exceptional Aurora activity on 5 consecutive nights, but also experienced, and enjoyed, stars and galaxies, snow scooter rides, skiing, reindeer herds, husky sleds, fishing through a hole in the ice, sub-zero temperatures down to -32°C., sauna and jumping (naked) into snow drifts, meals of elk, reindeer, pike, snow berries and the most flavoursome salmon ever, fabulous frozen vistas and bonding friendships that can only come from such an adventure.