Tailormade tour Across Norway’s Arctic Circle by train and boat Norway

9 nights/10 days

Trondheim • Bodø • Svolvaer • Harstad • Tromsø

This luxury touring holiday transports you by train and boat to the wild and magnificent landscape of Norway’s Arctic Circle renowned for its seascapes, reindeer herds, colourful fishing villages and Northern Lights or Midnight Sun. You travel from Trondheim, ancient capital of Norway, across the Arctic Circle by train and continue by ferry to the Lofoten Islands before venturing further north on the Hurtigruten coastal cruise to Tromsø, the Arctic Capital, where you can visit the Polar Museum and the Arctic cathedral.
Holiday price guide

Available year-round subject to the opening period of the hotels. From £2,520 per person.

Luxury touring holiday of Norway by train and boat to Norway's Arctic Circle visiting Trondheim, Bodo, the Lofoten Islands and Tromso

Highlights

Trondheim • Nordland Railway • Bodø • Hurtigruten cruises • Lofoten Islands • Tromsø

Day by day

Your holiday starts with a flight from London to Trondheim via Oslo. Check-in to your hotel and soak in the atmosphere of this colourful and vibrant historic Norwegian city.

Trondheim lies on the southern shore of the Trondheimfjord and has played a significant role in Norwegian history. As the country’s first capital city, it was the site where Norwegian kings were crowned for over 700 years, specifically in the Nidaros Cathedral. We highly recommend taking a visit to this beautiful building, which is the world’s northernmost mediaeval cathedral and started construction in 1070. South of this is the striking Archbishop’s Palace Museum, which offers an insight into the 1000-year history of the cathedral and its diocese. You will also find here the Royal Regalia, including the 200-year-old Crown of Norway. For a glimpse of the more rustic side of Norwegian life, a visit to the Trøndelag Folk museum is essential: dominated by the ruins of Sverresborg castle, this outdoor museum consists of eighty historic buildings giving information about folk culture as well as rural monuments and the Haltdalen stave church, which dates back to 1170. Another picturesque area of the city is Bakklandet, a small neighbourhood of painted wooden warehouses home to galleries, cafes and restaurants.

After two nights in Trondheim you board the direct Nordland Railway line service to Bodø. This 729 km railway line is Norway’s longest and presents huge variety in culture, climate and landscape. The journey starts by skirting around Trondheim Fjord, reaching the small town of Steinjker two hours later at the head of the longest arm of the fjord. From here you head into the hills. Be sure to notice the colourful station buildings at the small Norwegian towns as you pass by. Leaving the steel works town of Mo I Rana the train skirts the Saltfjellet-Svartisen National Park, passing close by the Swedish border. Shortly after this you cross the Arctic Circle, before heading back towards the coast to reach the shores of Skjerstad Fjord. You continue along this spectacular natural beauty until you reach the station of Bodø, the final stop on the Norwegian railway system and your base for the next two nights.

The city of Bodø is an excellent base from which to explore some of Norway’s best scenery and natural attractions. One of its most well-known features is the Saltstraumen maelstrom, a small strait home to the world’s strongest tidal current. Here you can witness whirlpools bigger than 10 metres with the water moving as fast as 40 km/h. Slightly further out of the city is Kjerringøy, a small, rural community featuring beautiful alpine landscapes ranging from mountains to white sandy beaches. The Kjerringøy trading post is a museum offering a unique insight into the lives of the powerful local merchants and information about the fish trade of the 19th century. For those looking for more adventurous activities, Bodø offers kayaking, RIB tours and even snorkelling in the surrounding fjords, and fishing is a popular local activity. There are also numerous hiking routes including Keiservarden, which leads up to Keiservarden hill overlooking Bodø, and Mount Ronvikfjellet, one of the top viewing spots for the Midnight Sun in the country. Within Bodø itself the beautiful harbour offers views from its pier dating back to 1904 and the Norwegian Aviation Museum offers an insight into the civil and military aviation history of Norway.

After two nights in Bodø you board the Hurtigruten service in the mid-afternoon heading to the Lofoten Islands. This is a journey of roughly six hours which takes you across the open waters of the Vjestfjord to the port of Svolvaer. As you draw closer to the Lofoten Islands its majestic peaks will welcome you as you pull into Svolvaer, the largest town on the islands. We arrange for a taxi to collect you from the port to take you to your hotel.

This morning awake to the majestic scenery of the Lofoten Islands, collect your hire-car and then start exploring. The Lofoten Islands have some of the most incredible landscapes in the world, ranging from mountains to fjords to white sandy beaches. Your base of Svolvaer is the largest town in the Lofoten Islands and offers fishing excursions and cruises around the islands. Using your hire-car we recommend visiting some of the other picturesque fishing villages such as Henningsvaer and Hamnoy, which offer excellent authentic dining options. Nusfjord is one of the best-preserved fishing villages and is now an open-air museum with a sawmill and a factory producing cod-liver oil. A perhaps unexpected attraction of the islands is their top-quality beaches. Framed by towering mountains, these stretches of white sand and clear water even offer excellent surfing opportunities, although this is a much more comfortable experience during the summer months. Uttakleiv Beach and Haukland Beach are easily accessible by car and can be reached in just over an hour from Svolvaer. For the best views the Lofoten Islands have to offer we recommend indulging in some of their hiking trails. Reinebringen is the most popular of these with its lookout onto the numerous villages and jagged peaks resting on the calm waters, although this is a relatively challenging hike. For those looking for an easier option Ryten, Svolvaer Floya and Festvagtind are shorter, easier options which still have a rewarding view from the top.

Today drive across to Harstad on Norway’s largest island Hinnøya, a journey of roughly two and a half hours. Harstad is in the middle of the Northern Lights belt, making it an excellent location to try and spot these, or in the summer months you will have 24 hours of daylight, and is known for its high-quality restaurants. Drop off your hire-car late afternoon today.

Early this morning depart from Harstad on the Hurtigruten service to Tromsø. This is a journey of seven hours and will take you through more stunning Arctic scenery, skirting around the far western coast of Norway before delving into the narrower fjords as you draw closer to the Arctic capital. Arrive in Tromsø just after midday and check in to your hotel for the final two nights.

Tromsø is renowned as the Arctic capital, and for good reason. With its plethora of interesting activities, there is plenty of choice here. The city is perhaps best-known for being an excellent location to see the Northern Lights. The Polar Night, from mid-November to mid-January, is the best period to witness this extraordinary natural phenomenon, as the sun never rises above the horizon. For an excellent view of the city and the surrounding landscape, the Storsteinen mountain ledge, which can be reached by cable car, offers an uninterrupted panorama. This is also a popular location from which to see the Midnight Sun during the summer months. Some of the more adventurous activities offered in Tromsø are whale and dolphin safaris and fjord cruises, where you will witness stunning scenes of snow-capped mountains and cascading waterfalls, and possibly the occasional reindeer. Within the city itself the most striking feature is the Arctic Cathedral. Consecrated in 1965, this aluminium and glass building is luminescent during the long polar nights and during the summer there are special Midnight Sun concerts given by professional musicians. Tromsø is also home to several museums; the Polar Museum offers an insight into the lives of polar pioneers, whilst the Tromsø Museum explores the history and geology of the region and its inhabitants.

On the last day, take a taxi to Tromsø airport for your return flight to the UK via London.

Special offers for this holiday>

It was an excellent holiday - due to excellent planning on your side. Super efficient, very professional.
Mrs F, Holiday to Norway, Oct 2023

Holiday price guide From £2,520 per person. £120 supplement per person for premium class on Nordland Railway.

Holiday Code SCFR04

Luxury touring holiday of Norway by train and boat to Norway's Arctic Circle visiting Trondheim, Bodo, the Lofoten Islands and Tromso

Special offers for this holiday>

It was an excellent holiday - due to excellent planning on your side. Super efficient, very professional.
Mrs F, Holiday to Norway, Oct 2023

Holiday price guide From £2,520 per person. £120 supplement per person for premium class on Nordland Railway.

Holiday Code SCFR04

Our prices include ● Return flights with British Airways, Norwegian or SAS from London to Trondheim via Oslo and from Tromsø to London via Oslo
● Second-class travel on all trains (Plus class available on certain trains can be booked at a supplement)
● Hire of a group C car from Svolvaer to Harstad
● Hurtigruten ship from Bodø to Svolvaer and Harstad to Tromsø
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Superior double room at Hotel Britannia, Trondheim
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard double room at Thon Hotel Nordlys, Bodø
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Rorbu S room at Svinøya Rorbuer, Svolvaer
● 1 night’s bed and breakfast in a Standard double room at Thon Hotel Harstad, Harstad
● 2 nights’ bed and breakfast in a Standard double room at the Clarion the Edge or the Scandic Ishavshotel, Tromsø
● Taxi transfer in Svolvaer from port to hotel on night of arrival
● Concierge service and Expressions Holidays regional helpful hints

Our prices do not include ● Early check-in or late check-out at any hotels (although we can arrange this on request at additional cost)
● Any other services not mentioned above, such as transfers and meals except breakfast at hotels
● Personal holiday insurance. This is essential and cover should be in place from when you book the holiday.
● Possible local tourist tax, usually the equivalent of £1 to £3 per person per night, and payable locally to the hotel
● Transfers in any cities
● One-way drop-off fee for the hire-car to be paid locally (about £150)

Additional information This holiday can be arranged throughout the year, subject to the opening dates of the hotels. Timings can vary depending on the month and day of the week of travel. We recommend adding extra nights in Oslo at the beginning and end, and perhaps having three nights in Tromsø, depending on the activities you might want to do.

Luxury touring holiday of Norway by train and boat to Norway's Arctic Circle visiting Trondheim, Bodo, the Lofoten Islands and Tromso

Hotels included in this tour

Special offers

Save £200 per booking 2024 offer Book a holiday to Norway, Sweden and/or Denmark of a duration of 10 nights or more by 29 February 2024 and receive a reduction of £200 per booking.

It was an excellent holiday - due to excellent planning on your side. Super efficient, very professional.
Mrs F, Holiday to Norway, Oct 2023

Holiday price guide From £2,520 per person. £120 supplement per person for premium class on Nordland Railway.

Holiday Code SCFR04

Luxury touring holiday of Norway by train and boat to Norway's Arctic Circle visiting Trondheim, Bodo, the Lofoten Islands and Tromso

Highlights of Norway

The numerous fjords: Eidfjord – branch of the Hardangerfjord, Geirangerfjord – precipitous, one of Norway’s signature images, Hardangerfjord – rolling hills and pretty villages, Jossingfjord – vertiginous fjord in the flatlands of the south, Lysefjord – plunging cliffs, cruises and look out points, Naeroyfjord – narrow and very pretty, Sognefjord – Norway’s longest and one of the most beautiful, Trollfjord – very steep fjord on Lofoten, Vestfjord – sheltered bays and pretty villages separating Lofoten from the mainland. The Hurtigruten ferry that covers over 2500 km from Bergen to Kirkenes with over 30 stops. The Midnight Sun and the Northern Lights. Stave churches, beautifully preserved in wood, dating from Viking times, for example at Borgund, Lom, Ringebu and Urnes. Viking ships and artefacts, burial mounds and trinkets in museums throughout the country. The red, wooden houses perched stilts over the sea on the Lofoten Islands. The modern architecture of Oslo. Picking wild blueberries, sampling aquavit made from potatoes and caraway, and tasting reindeer steak with cranberries. The charm of Oslofjorden with its pretty, arty village and towns, harbours with sailing boats, islands offshore and beaches. Hike over the Jotunheimen and relish the natural landscape of this stunning National Park.

Cultural highlights of Norway

The architecture of stave churches dating from the Viking era and Viking treasure in museums around the country. The literature of Henrik Ibsen and Knut Hamsun. Folk tales and mythology. The music of Edvard Grieg and the art of Edvard Munch. Contemporary jazz and folk music.

Gastronomy of Norway

Norway’s gastronomy is a clear reflection of its land and sea. From the land come reindeer, venison, lamb, cured meats and potatoes of all types: boiled, roasted and fried. From the freshwater lakes and streams come salmon served grilled and smoked, and freshwater fish. Sea fish is a vast array of cod, haddock, shrimps, mackerel, fish soup, fish balls, salt cod. From the orchards particularly around the Hardangerfjord come apples, cherries and plums as well as berries of all sorts including blueberries, cranberries, bilberries and, a great delicacy, cloudberries. Cheeses include Jarlsberg and brown cheese. Coffee is almost certainly the national drink, followed by beer, of which there are all sorts of craft beers brewed locally, and Aquavit is the national spirit made from potatoes and caraway.

Facts in brief

Capital Oslo
Airport Oslo Gardermoen
Size 323,878 sq km
Population 4.4 million
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