World's Northernmost Roadtrip
Another one for the bucket list: driving above the Arctic Circle
Travellers who want to get away from the crowd, and are not scared of long distances
A once-in-a-lifetime road trip above the Arctic Circle which includes spectacular stops on your way through beautiful nature. Up here everything is an adventure, driving in the midst of an Arctic coastal and mountain environment provides a powerful sense of serenity. But North or the Arctic Circle it is extremely important to be aware of the weather and its genuine power.
The Norwegian landscape at this latitude is characterised by an exotic climate. Watching the midnight sun start a new day late at night is a memory that will stay with you forever. That being said, we believe it will be the genuine people of the North who will immerse you in local life and their cultural heritage who will enrich you and leave the strongest everlasting impression.
On this journey, we want to 'Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage' in alignment with the UN SDG 11.4. Travel at the intersection between the resilience of the Northern wildlife flourishing among the Arctic tundra and the fragileness of our majestic glaciers. You are invited to follow the indigenous Sami rhythm of living by weather and season and explore their nomadic lifestyle with the challenges they face in today’s world.
Itineraries are designed by our travel curators in collaboration with our partners to give you the most rewarding experience possible.
Please note that itineraries can be tailored to your specific wishes when you make an inquiry.
Your journey starts in Kirkenes
Brave travellers make the bracing journey all the way north to Finnmark, an area of Arctic tundra at the topmost region of Norway, where extraordinary wildlife flourishes. Those who make it here are confronted by powerful landscapes, warm-hearted Northerners, and a rich culture commemorated in both historical relics and spectacular modern art. You are about to experience the long, bright days in an almost lunar landscape, where the North Sea hits land.
To travel to the top of the world is not as hard as you might think. Kirkenes can be accessed with SAS or Norwegian from Oslo, alternatively one could also fly into Ivalo in Northern Finland via Helsinki and make your way to Kirkenes from there.
After collecting your hybrid rental car on arrival, your first Northern home is in a luxurious version of a traditional ‘gamme’; a wooden wilderness cabin, within the premises of the local snowhotel. Kirkenes Snowhotel is the only hotel in the world completely made of snow and ice which is open all year. This is a place where every adult gets the chance to bring out the child within.
Cruise across the Barent Sea to Vardø
Hurtigruten is referred to as the Norwegian Coastal Express. The 11 coastal ships sail almost the entire length of the country, completing the round-trip journey from Bergen to Kirkenes and back again in 12 days, calling 34 ports. The trip along the Norwegian coast has been described as the "World's Most Beautiful Sea Voyage."
Drive onboard in Kirkenes for departure at 12.30, enjoy lunch and panorama views and a leisurely afternoon before arrival in Vardø at 16.05. The Varanger Peninsula is untamed and the rustic Vardø town is the home of rugged people who live through the diverse seasons in the North. Varanger is about the long lines in the landscape as well as the long lines of history. You sense the culture, the crucible of people and dramatic life.
On arrival, we'll have our favourite locals meet you at your town apartment or the local hotel which will be your home for the next 3 nights. Your local insider will briefly introduce you to the program we have planned for you over the next few days.
Dinner is served at the local hotel where the mantra is ‘Cod is Great’.
Hornøya Island and Vardø Street Art
Imagine stepping into the middle of an incredible David Attenborough documentary – except that this is live, with sounds, smells, and overwhelming sensations from the abundant wildlife. A day trip to Hornøya island will delight lovers of nature and wildlife. Nearly 100,000 birds, including sea eagles and the beautiful puffins, have their habitats in its nature reserve at different times of the year.
In the afternoon your local host will take you around town to see some of the street artworks initiated in 2012 by the controversial Norwegian artist Pøbel with the idea of bringing attention to the depopulation of Northern Norway. Having decreased from about 4000 inhabitants to just below 1900 since the 1980s, Vardø hosts a lot of old and tarnished houses where time and weather - as well as bad politics - have clearly taken their toll. Through street art, the artist’s aim was to breathe life back into these old buildings.
However, when it comes to art, Vardø has more to offer than street art. You will also be introduced to intriguing local artwork and installations by the Norwegian architect firm Biotope and the Russian art group Taibola.
Witchcraft at Vardøhus Fortress and Steilneset Memorial
This morning will be spent getting immersed in evil, and if you were not interested in history before, we can guarantee you that today will change perspectives! You will start at Vardøhus Fortress; the world's Northernmost fortress and an important national symbol for protection against Eastern powers. This is where the most tragic witch-burning history in Europe once began.
In the 17th century, 77 women and 14 men were tried for witchcraft; they were kept captive at the fortress before they were tried on the water. If they drowned they were not witches, and if they kept afloat, they were burnt at the stake in the location where the Steilneset memorial is now located. This extraordinary installation by artist Louise Bourgeois and architect Peter Zumthor commemorates the last of Europe’s witch burnings. Embrace yourself for an evil history conveyed in a powerful way through impressive architecture, art and storytelling.
Scenic Route Varanger to Vadsø
The serenity you feel driving on Norwegian Scenic Route Varanger is an experience like no other. The lunar landscape in many ways makes it feel like you are on a journey to the end of the world. We recommend a detour to where the road ends; in the little Hamningberg village, before making your way to Nesseby.
World War II left deep traces in Finnmark, and for those interested in world war history, we recommend a stop at the Partisan museum in Kiberg and Kibergneset which conveys this intriguing part of our war history. This area was one of the areas with the highest military presence during the Second World War.
Right by the water’s edge, a stone’s throw from Nesseby harbour, you will arrive at your next arctic home; Varanger Lodge is a window to life in the arctic outpost. Life here by the ruggedly beautiful Varanger fjord begins and ends with the sea, the source of livelihood for thousands of years. Completed in 2017, the lodge is the brainchild of Edgar Olsen, a professional fisherman born and raised in Varanger.
The next day, venture out at the stunning Varanger Fjord in your local insider Edgar's own King Crab fishing boat. With several decades of fishing experience from all over the world, Edgar knows the best spots for crab traps. Today, you will get to taste the freshest seafood you would ever wish for.
Immersion in sami life and reindeer herding
The Samis are the indigenous people from the Northern hemisphere, with their own rich and fascinating cultural heritage, and the next few days will allow you to truly immerse in their life, history, traditions and rituals.
Today you will travel to the Nordkyn peninsula where you will be welcomed by our Sami friends Ellinor and Ailu at Davvi Siida. Every spring the reindeer-herding Sami family moves from Tana to Nordkyn, a journey of almost 200 kilometres. If you haven't already, settle into the rhythm of the local Samis who live in balance with nature and their reindeer. Learn about the ancient Sami herding culture, meet reindeer on land as they graze during their summer pasture, and hear about the Samis’ nomadic lifestyle and the challenges they face in today’s world. For the next couple of days you will follow the Sami rhythm and live by the weather and season. You will live in a private cabin and have your meals prepared by your Sami hosts.
Cruising to Havøysund via the North Cape on your way to Jøkelfjord
Under the rays of the Arctic sun, you will get a very early start today as you drive onboard Hurtigruten at 01.30 a.m and sleep while you cruise the Northern Norwegian coast passing the North Cape on your way to Havøysund where you will arrive at 08.00.
For centuries, the North Cape has been a great adventure for travellers, and a stop here is quintessential. The steep mountain cliff rises 307 metres above the Arctic Ocean, and marks the northernmost point of the continental mainland. The North Cape Hall offers a range of attractions including the globe; a treasured place for photography and contemplation, the culmination of all journeys.
From the little fishing village of Havøysund located at 71°, you will be driving on another Norwegian Scenic Route on your way to Jøkelfjord. Parts of the road traverse a barren rocky landscape with the Arctic Ocean on one side and rugged outcrops on the other. It is strange to experience that there are viable communities situated as remote as here.
Focusing on sustainability, The Glacier igloos are built on pillars to minimise their imprint on nature. A close cooperation with local companies ensure incredible activities on offer as well as all meals served made from mostly local products.
Check in for two nights at the foot of Jøkelfjordbreen Glacier with Tonny and Mira as your hosts. Your igloo home has a private bathroom within the igloo and access to sauna and jacuzzi.
Sea safari by RIB to the infamous Jøkelfjord Glacier
This morning you will get dressed up to take a 45-minute boat trip to the Jøkelfjord Glacier which covers an area of 42 square km and is Norway’s eighth-largest glacier. Its highest point is 1204 metres above sea level, which is also the highest point in Finnmark County. In fact, the special topography in the area has made this glacier the only one on Europe’s mainland leaning downwards. From the fjord you will witness the steep mountain walls; a mighty way to experience nature at its rawest. Preservation of this awe-inspiring glacier is vital as the bright surface of ice tends to reflect light and helps regulate temperatures.
Spend the rest of the day as you wish - enjoying the jacuzzi and sauna facilities, exploring by e-bikes, or tucked into a woollen blanket with a good book and a glass of wine.
Last days in Tromsø
The last part of your road trip takes you to Tromsø where you will return the rental car, and check in at a harbourside hotel in the city centre. Spend these last days at your own pace. Find your way to the Fjellheisen cable car, which will hoist you 421 metres above sea level, from where you can marvel at the panoramic views of Tromsø and the surrounding islands, mountains and fjords. Stroll around the streets of Tromsø, pick a lunch spot of your choice and tune in to the local life and colour. It’s not exactly a tropical climate so far north, but the local inhabitants, or ‘Tromsøværingene’, are possibly the warmest people in the country.
We’ll leave the door open for your return!
Personalize and book the World's Northernmost Roadtrip journey
This journey has been curated to offer another one for the bucket list: driving above the Arctic Circle. It can be booked as proposed or further personalized to you.
With our flexible terms, we hope to provide you with all the certainty and adaptability you need when booking your well-deserved escape.
Read more about our pricing here.
Want a journey fully tailored to you?
Our travel curators create bespoke itineraries based on your wishes.
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