Northern Norway is a dreamlike realm where jagged mountains rise out of crystalline seas and exquisite islands, bays, and fjords shelter tiny villages and a deep Viking heritage. High above the Arctic Circle, we’ve created a spirited adventure in the incredibly spectacular Lofoten and Vesterålen islands, the jewels of Arctic Norway. Breathtaking coastal hikes, Viking culture, Sámi reindeer herders, tracking whales at sea, and kayaking under the midnight sun are all part of the journey. Overnights are in historic rorbuer—traditional seaside fishermen’s stilt-cottages converted into charming (though rustic!) lodges. Along the way, we’ll meet the welcoming islanders, dine on the bounty of the sea, and revel in majestic mountains and seascapes, all in the glorious northern summer light.
This was a truly wonderful trip in a wonderful country, with great landscapes, and our activities, whether ferry rides or the goat farm or the Sami visit or the museums or the Arctic Cathedral, helped us learn and experience many dimensions. The hiking was spectacularly good.
— Joan G., Portola Valley, CA
Bodø / Lofoten Islands
From Bodø, Norway, we ferry across cobalt-blue waters to the Lofotens, enjoying striking panoramas of the magnificent Lofoten Wall, an 80-mile stretch of sheer mountains rising above a string of fishing villages. In the picturesque town of Reine, with its red and white fishermen’s cottages, we hike to the tiny hamlet of Kjerkfjorden, nestled at the head of a deep fjord, for a beach picnic in a spectacular setting.
Lofoten / Svolvaer
After a farm-to-table lunch at an organic farm, we explore the Viking heritage of Lofoten, which dates to 500 AD. At the Viking Museum, we can try our hand at axe-throwing or rowing a traditional boat, then settle in for a feast in a longhouse, complete with mead, stories, and song.
Vesterålen / Senja / Sami Culture / Midnight Kayaking
We hike to the ancient village of Nyksund and visit a reindeer farm to learn about the culture of the reindeer-herding Sami, Europe’s oldest indigenous people. If the weather is on our side, we’ll head out by boat to look for sperm whales. On one evening, we’ll kayak at midnight under the Arctic night sky, watching as the sheer cliff faces glow with pink light.
After a hike along Husfjellet, a spectacular ridge above the sea, we head to Tromsø, Norway’s northern capital. One evening, we visit the Arctic Cathedral for a midnight—yes, midnight—concert featuring Norwegian composers, including Edvard Grieg, and we’ll explore the Polar Museum, with its artifacts from the life of legendary explorer Roald Amundsen. Depart on Day 12.