A to Z of Destinations
Australia, NZ and South Pacific
A to Z of Experiences
Walking and trekking
Diving and snorkelling
Wildlife and safaris
Meet the locals
Frontier and expedition
Cycling and Mountain Biking
Visiting the Poles
Career breaks and BIG trips
Body and soul
Volunteer and conservation
Australia, East Coast
Everest Base Camp
Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway
Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights
Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
Legendary polar explorers, Sami culture and perhaps the world’s best place to see the northern lights – north Norway makes for the coolest winter break
Wanderlust team | Issue 117 | January 2011
Norway will be raising a glass to its national hero, polar explorer Roald Amundsen, throughout 2011: 100 years ago, on 14 December 1911, Amundsen reached the South Pole, becoming the first to reach the planet’s southernmost point. Celebrations kick off in January in Tromsø. Dubbed the gateway to the Arctic, Amundsen spent a lot of his time here, preparing for expeditions.
2011 is also prime time for the northern lights – 2012-2013 is the next solar maximum in their 11-year cycle. Tromsø is bang in the middle of the ‘aurora-belt’, and from 6pm to midnight you can watch the light show.
By day, peruse the city – start at the Polar Museum, to learn about the country’s expedition history (www.polarmuseum.no). Also, tick off the world’s ‘northernmosts’: Tromsø claims to be home to the most northerly botanical garden, brewery, university, mosque, Carmelite nunnery and Burger King.
In the afternoon, when the city’s bathed in magical light, admire the Arctic Cathedral before riding the cable car up Mt Storsteinen (421m) for a great view of Tromsø’s surrounding fjords and mountains.
After dark, it’s aurora time. Go dogsledding in the remote Tamok Valley (www.lyngsfjord.com), or join Gunnar for some aurora-spotting and Sami food by a lavvu tent (www.guide-gunnar.no).
Head to spellbinding Senja Island – the coastal route takes you past mountains carved with fjords. Stay in luxurious fishermen’s huts at Hamn where you can loll in a hot tub while looking up at the sky for those lights (www.hamnisenja.no).
You can also reach North Cape, mainland Europe’s northernmost point. Board the northbound Hurtigruten coastal voyage (www.hurtigruten.com) to reach 71° north, then travel through Finnmark, home of the Sami people (www.finnmark.com).
The Rica Ishavshotel has a bar with panoramic windows so you don’t miss the aurora borealis.
Small but modern Skansen Hotell is good for the budget-minded, while chic Clarion Hotel Bryggen has a rooftop hot tub for extravagant aurora-viewing.
Or learn how to survive the Arctic night with Tromsø Wildlife Centre; in the morning they’ll cook you breakfast and take you dogsledding (www.villmarkssenter.no).
Seafood is the order of the day. Try Fiskekompaniet for freshly caught fish or Rå for local halibut nigiri. For a pre-dinner drink, visit Verdensteatret, famous for its retro cocktails.
A three-hour direct flight from Gatwick costs from £53 one way (www.norwegian.com); flights from Edinburgh go via Oslo. SAS has daily direct flights from Heathrow, four-weekly from Manchester (via Oslo).
The myWanderlust community share their advice for hiking around Tromsø
Norway travel guide | Destinations... More
A camping and hiking weekend in Norway | Destinations... More
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login or get more from Wanderlust - register today!
Guide to short breaks, European mini-breaks, long weekend trips, city breaks, short break ideas, where to go on short breaks, mini-break travel advice and more
Wonders of the world you have to see before you die. Top 10 travel icons like Machu Picchu, Kilimanjaro, Petra, Taj Mahal, the Great Wall, Angkor Wat and more
The Colombian capital has a bad reputation, but it’s actually a colonial gem, offering parklife, people-watching, great graffiti and lots of gold
There's never enough time to see all of Scotland, but take the sleeper train to enjoy a prime slice of mountains, forests and lochs in a long weekend
Inspired by Le Tour de France but can't take the pace? Try this foodie French route instead - fuelled by fruit tarts, local honey and wine...
Escape the crowds and experience the thrill of seeing the world from above by taking to the skies in a hot air balloon... Here are our favourites
Over the years, you've told us your ultimate travel experiences – so here it is, the definitive travel wish list...
The success of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow's Commonwealth Games have woken the world up to what Wanderlust has known all along: Scotland is a great place to visit. Here’s your guide to getting there before the hordes arrive
Wanderlust's web intern Natasha Singh hails from the sunny island of Malta – here she shares her tips on how to stop being a tourist and start living local
Simply select the destination you’re interested in or the activities you’re looking
for and we’ll send your request to a select panel of tour operators.
Each operator will respond to your request individually. Your details remain private
and are not disclosed to any partners unless you decide to proceed with a booking.
SAVE 10% online with Rohan
Travel by coach for just £9!
Wanderlust sends out regular email newsletters – be the first to know about web
exclusives, competitions, hot offers and travel jobs. Register today!
I have read and agree to the Terms &
Where in the world are you? Add
#wanderlustmag to your tweets and share your latest travel adventures with
fellow Wanderlusters on wanderlust.co.uk
Get to know Wanderlust on facebook and bring all your travel-minded friends, too