Arctic Lights & Whales
Natural beauty in the Arctic Circle
Reviews 9 Reviews5/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Leisurely / Moderate
Group Size Small Group
‘Spectacular’ is no overstatement for the Vesteralen Islands in Northern Norway. The archipelago sits within the Arctic Circle and offers an intoxicating cocktail of fjords and mountains all teeming with wildlife, from soaring eagles to sea otters and reindeer. Crucially, thanks to the Gulf Stream, winters here are relatively mild.Our base in Buksnesfjord is perfectly located to explore the beauty of this landscape by day and its skyscape by night. Needless to say, this far north the Aurora is rarely troubled by light pollution and displays, though never guaranteed, can be extraordinary.
* All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners included
* All accommodation (see accommodation section)
* Airport transfers (at designated times)
* Tour leader throughout
- Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
- Great location for Northern Lights
- Dramatic Arctic Scenery
- Whale watching and other fantastic wildlife – moose, seals, sea eagles
- 4 nights in wilderness cabins or Aurora guesthouse with shared facilities
- 3 days exploration of the island, including whale watching and research center visit
- Group normally 5 to 14, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
We meet at the Friluftssenter on Buksnesfjord for a warm welcome before settling in to our accommodation and heading to the restaurant for dinner.
Morning exploration of local area on foot; trip to the nearby valley for outdoor lunch and ice fishing on Lake Kringelvann.
Weather in the Vesteralen is unpredictable, and we may well re order some of the activities to better suit the conditions, however we often start our trips by exploring our immediate surroundings. The Friluftssenter enjoys a fanstastic location, just 50m from the shores of Buksnesfjord with views over the surrounding mountains. Our main focus today will be nearby Lake Kringelvann which sits a few kilometres from our accommodation in an impressive valley. This area is home to moose, reindeers and many species of bird. The lake itself can be reached on foot or in an adapted trailer pulled along by Nigel on his quad bike.The track is easy to follow for those that wish and winds through the forest and down to the shores of the lake itself, at the head of the valley. We can head out onto the lake, try some ice fishing or explore the valley a little further, trying to spot wild moose amongst the trees. Lunch is taken outdoors by a fire and consists of a simple but satisfying soup with locally made bread. Should the ice fishing go well there may be an arctic char or two to add to the grill!In the evening, a professional photographer joins the group to share some photography tricks!
Tour of Andoy passing through fishing villages on the arctic coast, including northern Europe's longest beach and to the world's largest Northern Lights research base. Evening meal in the lavvo.
Though our base on Buksnesfjord is spectacular, it is well worth exploring these islands further. Today we take to the bus and drive across the main bridge to the next island, Andoya. This island is home to some of Norway’s most beautiful beaches including northern Europe’s longest, by the village of Bleik. We will also see the fishing village of Nordmela, one of those at the heart of the island’s fishing industry. If conditions are with us we may see seals and eagles from the road.Our journey includes a stop at the dramatically named Andoya Space Center which launches rockets regularly to study the Aurora. On arrival we watch a short film on the science behind the Aurora and the work done on Andoya to study it. Then we take part of a guided tour round the visitor centre where we see the telemetry station, the science centre and range control, and get a unique insight in how northern light research is done at the centre.
Drive to Andenes for whale watching excursion; return to Friluftssenter for free time before the evening meal in the lavvo.
We have introduced a whale watching excursion this year, and for our last full day we drive up to Andenes at the northern tip of the Island. Here we are issued with Arctic oversuits and get ready to board the boat. In winter these waters play host to Humpbacks, Fin and Killer Whales and the whale centre itself has plenty of information and displays to complement the trip. This excursion in particular may be changed to another day if conditions dictate.We will take a packed lunch to eat once back on dry land, after which we transfer back to the Friluftssenter for free time to explore and enjoy further photographic opportunities, as Nigel fires up the outdoor hot tub for those that wish.Larger groups will have to split into two ’shifts’ for the hot tub. Other options include a short walk to a small frozen lake just behind the Friluftssenter. The lake feels totally secluded as it is surrounded on 3 sides by steep slopes and a walkway has been installed to allow easy access. Alternatively the shores of the fjord are just over the road, and worth exploring to enjoy the views across and behind it.For our final night we head up to the Friluftssenter’s Lavvo for a traditional meal around a roaring fire, a fitting end to our time in the Arctic.
Transfer to Evenes.
Our trip ends at Evenes Airport.**
Built and run by Ingvild and Nigel Turrell, the Friluftssenter enjoys a wonderful location just 25 metres from the shore of Buksnesfjord, surrounded by rugged mountains and forests. It consists of one main building with the lounge and restaurant, the Aurora Guesthouse and a number of smaller wilderness cabins.
The Aurora Guesthouse has 5 rooms and a lounge and shares 2 bathrooms. The wilderness cabins are a similar set up on a smaller scale, with one twin room and bunk bed room (used for single occupancy), sharing one bathroom and a small lounge. Exodus groups are split across the Aurora Guesthouse and the cabins. All are a few minutes’ walk from the main building.
Above them is the Friluftssenter’s Lavvo, a traditionally styled Sami teepee with a roaring open fire, where we enjoy our last meal.
A limited number of single rooms are available, please inquire for details.
All meals are included, and the food here is excellent, particularly the freshly caught salmon and char, to say nothing of the legendary moose pie. Our meal in the lavvo will contain traditional Norwegian dishes including reindeer.
Nigel, Ingvild and the team will always do their best to cater for dietary needs, please ensure you inform us prior to travel.
This trip is not active, however be prepared to walk over uneven terrain and encounter changing, sometimes powerful weather. Exploration is done mainly on foot by bus and boat, and to take full advantage of the magnificent landscape a reasonable level of fitness is advised.
The weather is of course unpredictable, and this far north storms are possible. As such the running order of the itinerary remains flexible to allow us to make the best use of our time and conditions. In particular the whale watching excursion may be moved, or in some cases cancelled in the case of poor conditions. In this situation other activities would be offered.