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Arctic Lights & Whales

from $2,949.00

Natural beauty in the Arctic Circle

  • Reviews 9 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Leisurely / Moderate
  • Group Size Small Group
    5 - 14
All about the Arctic Lights & Whales.

‘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.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners included
* All accommodation (see accommodation section)
* Airport transfers (at designated times)
* Tour leader throughout

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • 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
  1. Day 1 Start Buksnesfjord.

    We meet at the Friluftssenter on Buksnesfjord for a warm welcome before settling in to our accommodation and heading to the restaurant for dinner.

  2. Day 2 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!

  3. Day 3 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.

  4. Day 4 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.

  5. Day 5 Transfer to Evenes.

    Our trip ends at Evenes Airport.**

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Where you stay

Andoy Friluftssenter

Andoy Friluftssenter

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.

The Aurora above the Friluftssenter
The restaurant at the Friluftssenter
Eating and Drinking

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.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 12/12/2019
5/5

Arctic Lights Holiday

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Being bathed in a heavenly green light so bright, that you didn't need a torch to see your way.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    He always strive to ensure that everyone got the most out of our short time. I still can't believe it was only 4 days, it seems like it was a two week break, we did so much.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you wan't to see the Northern Lights in a remote location on your doorstep (weather and lights permitting), with excellent accommodation, fantastic food, book it now.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Whilst the trip is shown as moderate for fitness, it may be worth making reference that some of the best locations to photograph the Northern Lights, may have deep uncleared snow which may be difficult for those with limited mobility.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Northern Lights with Paul Goldstein

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I don't know that I had any inspirational moments but I loved the silence and the feeling of remoteness PLUS the whale trip with five sightings in between blizzards was wonderful
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul's passion is boundless and his obsession for ensuring his group squeeze the hell out of both their shutters and the potential he finds in a range of situations is legend. He's clearly a disciple of Rabbi Ben Hei Hei who said "According to the pain is the gain" - be prepared to work as hard as he does - put in the effort and graft so that by the end of your time with Paul you are a better photographer - you'll see your work and technique improve.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    On the photography side - us poor Nikon users or heaven forbid Fuji or Sony or worse still mirrorless will be pilloried and belittled because [according to the oracle] only Canon know how to make cameras. So be prepared to stick up for your brand but more importantly make sure you know how your camera works and if you don't then bring your manual. Bring a polariser too in case you get to go on the whale safari. On the clothing side - I feel the cold and even though I had all the right gear my hands were frozen - Paul gave me some of those hand warmers which really helped

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Artic Lights Holiday

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On the Sunday night we had a fantastic display of Northern lights which started at about 6pm and went on, on and off well into the early hours. Views of the lights up by the frozen lake were particularly spectacular with mountains as a backdrop.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    As always Paul delivered in his own inevitable style. He made a great call on the whale safari. When we turned up on the Saturday, there was another 40 tourists waiting to go out on the same trip. Always wanting to do the best for his group Paul managed to negotiate a separate trip just for our group on the Sunday, which meant that we had more space, on what would otherwise been quite a crowded boat. Thanks Paul!
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Individuals should expect long days, well on into the early hours if they want to get the most out of this Northern Light adventure. Some of the best light showings were between 2 - 3am.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Although the holiday is graded as moderate, there were some people in the group who clearly missed out on getting to some of the better photographic locations as they were unable to negotiate the deep snow as a result of injury or their general fitness level. This probably needs to be made more obvious in the holiday description.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Great trip to see Northern Lights

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The last night was very special. Wonderful food cooked in the Lavvo, dashing in and out to look at the changing Northern Lights.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Nigel was excellent. Went out of his way to ensure we had as enjoyable a holiday as possible.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to have a wonderful time, even if you don't see the lights. Pack as if going on a ski trip.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Amazing lights

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the Northern Lights, they are magical and you do need to remember at some point to put down your camera and watch what is happening around you, as at times for us is was a full 360 degree view.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Paul is passionate about getting you in the right spot so not for the fainthearted as he works tirelessly to get all of you there.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Make sure that you know your camera, and are confident that you can make changes to the settings in the dark. Wrap up warm - you can be out there for a long time so layers are important.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A great long weekend, packed with activities so that even if the lights don't appear you will still have things to do.

LEAVE YOUR COMMENT

Package Confirmed Dates Trip Status Trip Status Price (PP) Excluding Flights Price (PP) Including Flights  
February 13, 2020
Available
$3,099.00
N/A
March 12, 2020
Available
$2,949.00
N/A