Hiking Above the Arctic Circle


Northern Norway is an ethereal realm where jagged mountains sheer out of cobalt seas and deep fjords shelter a strong Viking history. On our unique adventure north of the Arctic Circle, we explore the staggeringly beautiful Lofoten and Vesterålen islands, the jewels of Arctic Norway, arcing from Bodø to Tromsø. To explore this mountainous archipelago, we’ll take breathtaking coastal hikes, travel by ferry and inflatable boat, paddle sea kayaks in the amethyst light of the midnight sky, visit a Sámi reindeer farm, and go whale watching. Overnights are in historic rorbuer—fishermen’s waterfront cabins converted into rustic yet charming lodgings. As we explore, we’ll meet the welcoming islanders, visit villages that date to the Viking era, and relish the majestic scenery and traditional culture of these unforgettable islands.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-4
Bodø / Lofoten Islands

From Bodø, we ferry across the deep waters of the Norwegian Sea to the Lofotens, enjoying striking panoramas of the magnificent Lofoten Wall, a dramatic 80-mile stretch of granite mountains rising above a string of coastal villages. In picturesque Reine, with its red and white fishermen’s cottages, we hike to a tiny hamlet nestled at the head of a deep fjord and visit charming Nusfjord, a quintessential Lofoten fishing village and a World Heritage Site. At the Viking Museum, a reconstructed longhouse next to a Viking archaeological site, we can try our hand at axe-throwing, and we enjoy a Viking-style feast in a longhouse, complete with mead, stories, and song.

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Days 5-9
Vesterålen Islands / Senja / Sámi Culture / Midnight

Kayaking Crossing northward to the Vesterålens, we hike to the restored fishing village of Nyksund, now an artists’ haven, and visit a reindeer farm to learn about the culture of the Sámi, Europe’s oldest indigenous people. We also go whale watching, looking for sperm whales in one of their major feeding grounds, and head out to sea kayak after dinner in the long evening light.

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Days 10-12

After a hike along Husfjellet, a spectacular ridge above the sea, we head to Tromsø, Norway’s northern capital. A cable car brings us high up above this stunning city for a hike, we visit the city’s Polar Museum, with its tales of legendary explorer Roald Amundsen, and attend a midnight concert in the city’s Arctic Cathedral. Depart on Day 12.

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Hike and explore the Arctic islands of Norway: Lofoten, Vesterålen, and Senja
Explore by Zodiac-style inflatable boat and by sea kayak, enjoying the long summer light
Visit a traditional Sámi reindeer farm
Go whale watching to look for sperm whales
Search for colonies of Arctic seabirds on sheer cliffs
Stay in converted fishermen’s stilt-cottages at water’s edge
Attend a midnight concert at Tromsø’s impressive Arctic Cathedral


Length: 12 days
Cost From: $6995  
Arrive: Bodø, Norway
Depart: Tromsø, Norway
Lodging: 11 nights rustic hotels
Meals: All meals included (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Hiking / Trekking
Trip Level:

11 hiking days on moderate to steep trails in sometimes rugged terrain, 4-6 hours most days. This is a strenuous hiking trip, read “What the Trip is Like” for more details.