A once-in-a-lifetime road trip above the Arctic Circle which includes spectacular stops on your way through beautiful nature. Local flavours like king crab, char and reindeer are on the menu. Up here everything is an adventure, driving in the midst of an Arctic coastal and mountain environment provides a powerful sense of serenity.
North of the Arctic Circle, it is extremely important to be aware of the weather and its genuine power. The Norwegian landscape at this latitude is characterized by the exotic climate. While the sun shines all day and all night during the summer, it doesn't even peek over the horizon during winter. Cold, dark winter nights are spent in good company under the northern lights, and in summer, watching the midnight sun start a new day late at night is a memory that will stay with you for ever.
Season: Prime season May - October. Trip is available throughout the whole year, but available activities vary. Some roads may close occasionally in winter due to weather. The route can be tailored to your preferences.
Highlights: The North Cape; Scenic Route Havøysund and Varanger; introduction to Sami culture and a local wildlife including Arctic birds, king crab and reindeer; carefully selected accommodation including the Kirkenes Snowhotel and Engholm Husky Design Lodge, and amazing local food experiences.
Price per person from: NOK 15 800 / € 1650 / $1810*Based on two people travelling together.
Includes: 8 nights accommodation with breakfast, dinner experiences at Kirkenes Snowhotel and Engholm Husky Design Lodge (3 dinners); 9 days rental car, entry tickets to the Northern cape, guided tour at Steilneset Memorial, return boat transfer Vardø - Hornøya, the Birding Varanger Guidebook by Biotope, Up Norway digital travel guide.
DAY 1: ALTA - Havøysund (201 km)
Scenic Route Havøysund & reindeer dinner at one of the world's remotest restaurants
It's time to hit the road! The route leading out to the Arctic Ocean starts in Northern Lights town Alta, reachable by a 2 hr flight from Oslo. The road from here out to Havøysund is fascinatingly varied and even though it is only a couple of hundred metres above sea level at the highest point, you get the feeling of driving above the tree line. In the middle of this apparently barren landscape you can spot sea eagles and reindeer. The little fishing village of Havøysund located at 71 degrees north is literally the end of the road, and a picturesque final stop. Check into your very own rorbu (fisherman's cabin), and then why not try a local reindeer dinner at Arctic View, a restaurant hanging over the Barents Sea?
DAY 2: HAVØYSUND - honningsvåg via North Cape (270 km)
Iconic Visit to the North Cape Plateau; the End of Europe
For centuries, the North Cape has been the great adventure for travellers. 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. The globe is a treasured place for photography and contemplation, the culmination of all journeys.
Overnight at Honningsvåg harbour in walking distance from the town centre. Try the local bistro & bar for dinner; get in touch with the locals and enjoy freshly caught fish or king crab.
DAY 3: honningsvåg - Karasjok (237 km)
Into Sami Territory
Enjoy a slow morning and get ready for a three hour drive in beautiful landscape to Karasjok, going from a coastal to a highland environment.
Karasjok is the capital of the Samis; Europe's northernmost indigenous population. The attractions and experiences of the local area - Finnmarksvidda - reflect Sami history and culture. Explore the town before heading to the hotel 6 km outside of the city centre.
Your home for the night, Engholm Husky Design Lodge, is built on sustainable principles and gives guests a truly personal encounter with Sami territory. This place is an experience in itself.
DAY 4: Karasjok
Explore Finnmark from Engholm, take a break from driving
Engholm is the perfect base for both outdoor activities and total relaxation. Take part in life on the husky farm where sled dogs are in training and puppies are learning to socialize. Discover a book in the "Dogmusher library" or enjoy the wood heated sauna and outdoor hot tub. More active guests might want to go salmon fishing or canoeing in the creek, hike or ski - all depending on mood and season. Here you are guaranteed a truly special northern heritage experience.
DAY 5: Karasjok - vaDSØ (262 km)
Moving into Bird Country in Varanger
Starting at the Arctic highland in Karasjok, it takes approximately three hours' driving along Tana river to Scenic Route Varanger. Varanger is a unique place where time seems to stand still. You drive past birch woods, marshland and a rugged cliff landscape. The light is special and the bird and animal life are incomparable. Along this stretch of road, several birdwatching hides have been constructed where you can sit, sheltered against the vagaries of the weather, while you take a break and marvel at the landscape.
Ekkerøy offers attractive accommodation close to the sea in the authentic fishing community of Ekkerøy. Here, you will find peace and quiet while gazing at Ekkerøy Bird Cliff and the expanse of ocean, with waves lapping endlessly at the shore. A wood fired sauna is available.
DAY 6: Hornøya bird CLIFF
Day trip to one of Europe's top wildlife attractions
Drive the last stretch of Scenic Route Varanger from Vadsø to Vardø in less than an hour. A boat will take you to Hornøya; Norway's easternmost point surrounded by the vast expanse of the Barents Sea and the habitat of more than 100,000 seabirds. The island is like walking into the middle of an an incredible David Attenborough documentary – except that this is live, with sounds, smells, and overwhelming sensations from the abundant wildlife. Species of bird that you can’t see anywhere else in the world are relatively easily accessible; but even if you’re not a birdwatching enthusiast, this is a must.
Today's second highlight is the visit to Steilneset. Here, artist Louise Bourgeois and architect Peter Zumthor have created a memorial commemorating the 91 people who were found guilty of witchcraft and burnt at the stake here.
Second night at Ekkerøy.
DAY 7: VADSØ - Kirkenes (187 KM)
King Crabs, Huskies and reindeer outside your door
King crab capital Kirkenes and the Kirkenes Snowhotel is an exotic element of this trip both summer and winter. There are plenty of activities to choose from, including King Crab fishing in the fjord with local fishermen. From Høyloftet Restaurant you will be able to enjoy both the view of Langfjorden and local ingredients such as self-picked herbs, homemade jams and local cheeses. Whether you arrive in winter and stay in the hotel made of snow, or in summer and sleep in the modern "gamme"-hut, watch out for reindeer!
DAY 8: kirkenes - KAUTOKEINO (393 km)
Through Sweden to the Last Stop, Kautokeino
Waking up from an unforgettable night, get ready for the trip's longest daytime drive: 5 and a half hours through inland Norway and Sweden to Kautokeino.
Although sparsely populated, Kautokeino is the municipality with the highest number of Sami-speaking inhabitants, and reindeer herding has been the main occupation for hundred of years. Here are thousands of lakes to go fishing in, and your hotel for the night even has a drive-in movie theatre for snowmobiles with a canvas made of snow. A visit to the local Silvergallery is highly recommended.
DAY 9: KAUTOKEINO - ALTA (134 km)
Final stretch to the city of the Northern Lights
Enjoy breakfast while enjoying the last views of the spectacular Finnmarksvidda plateau, before it is time to head back to Alta Airport for departure South. After a week in the wilderness, even Alta may feel urban.