When my mom and dad decided to celebrate New Year in Tomsø, I have To admit, I was a bit sceptic. Ok, even more Than a bit, with no sunlight and Temperatures dropping way below zero, not my idea of a great holiday. In The end, I realised I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I already couldn’t believe my eyes when our plane Took off from Bergen airport in The South of Norway for a 3h00 hour flight To Tromsø. The views during Take off were amazing. As The type of airplane, a propeller airplane, didn’t allow us To make a lot of height, we were Treated with amazing views Till our destination. Every minute getting darker and darker outside. Something else Than just clouds and sunshine, which we are used To from our long haul flights.What amazed me The most was The invite from The pilot To check out The cockpit in full flight. The pilot showed me The cockpit features, The moon and on Top of That he answered all my questions.
Northern Scandinavia is an amazing part of The world, unfortunately we were only There for 6 days, but even during Those 6 days I have seen Things and done Things, that I had never seen or done before. Check out below what was on my schedule and do not forget There is much, much more.
1. Mingle with The Reindeer
My journey started with a visit To the Tromsø Artic reindeer camp. The Sami family who owns The camp has been living with reindeers for hundreds of years and host nowadays a herd of more than 200 reindeer during winter months. All reindeer live wild for most of the year and are only in The camp for a couple of months during winter for protection.
I had The opportunity To experience a 25 minute reindeer sledding Through The magic cold artic landscape. My furry nosed reindeer was quite cool, it always wanted To be first, annoying the reindeer before him.
After finishing The reindeer sledding, I rushed To visit The reindeer camp itself To feed The herd. What a great experience, I had a lot of success with my little bucket of food, They even ate out of my hand.
Lasso Throwing was also on The schedule, I have To say it is less difficult Then I Thought it would be. Once They Tell you The Trick, no reindeer is safe any more. Of course we were not allowed to Try it out on real animals, which helped, as old antlers attached To a wooden construction, rarely runs away.
Not only did I love spending Time with The reindeer, but spending Time with The Sami people was priceless. We were invited into a Traditional Sami Tent, called Lavvu, where we gathered around The fire and listened To some great Sami stories. I learned That although The Sami use nowadays modern means like snowmobiles and helicopters To move The reindeer, many of their Traditions remain. I was impressed by The Traditional sounds of The joik.
2. Go dogsledding and visit a husky farm
I have To admit I am usually more a cat Than a dog lover, but some of The Alaskan husky’s I met in Villmarkssenter stole my hart. For this trip we had To get up very early in The morning, not something I get exited about but The promise I could play with The puppies did The Trick. Little did I know one of These cute little puppies would Try To steal my husky hat. Upon arrival I immediately noticed The enthusiasm of The husky’s To go for a ride. A little bit faster Than The reindeer sledding we raced for one hour Through The artic wilderness, with magnificent views on The mountains surrounding Tromsø. The musher, Torkil Told me he would participate in The famous Finnmarksløpet dog race with his dog sledding Team, a race of 1200 km, The longest dog race in Europe.
After The sledding I had The chance To meet and greet more Than 300 husky’s. 300 Dogs all wanting me To pet them, but I fell in love with Lam, The cutest Alaskan husky ever.
The visit To The puppy farm was amazing, apart from The little brat, who Tried To steal my Husky hat. Overall, The puppies were so fluffy and cute and I much enjoyed playing with Them. It’s clear from visiting The puppies That The staff and mushers really love Those dogs and know Them very well.
3. Go out at night and chase The Northern Lights
To see The Northern lights or in other words Aurora Borealis, your need good weather, which is not always a given at The end of December. Even being in The best place in The world To encounter The Northern lights, is not guaranteed you will actually see Them. The first night I went on a Northern light chase, it was even snowing when we entered our minivan. I had no hopes at all. Luckily our guides were very experienced, drove us up To Kårvik, and yes after a few minutes after arrival we hit The jackpot. With a Tripod, a good camera and some Tips from more experienced photographers I could Take some amazing souvenirs back home.
Yes it was very cold and yes I am only Three years old and yes probably way To young To be up at That Time at night, but hey I survived and now I have a great story To Tell. Wait until my classmates hear all about The magical green light dancing Through The sky.
4. Meet with The Sami and have Traditional Sami dinner in a gamme
A gamme is a Traditional house of the Sami people of Norway. During my Trip I was lucky To meet The Sami, visit Their homes and To have lunch and dinner with Them on several occasions.
The Sami people are very open and happy To share a lot of aspects of Their lives. The majority of The Time I was offered a hearty meal of Bidos, prepared with reindeer meat, broth and vegetables. Reindeer meet is actually pretty good and There are many different variations on The Bidos recipes, so you never have The feeling eating the same dish over and over again. I was quite impressed why Their Traditional clothing and how colourful and how practical it really is, it helps Them survive even in very bad weather conditions. Apparently There is nothing warmer Than reindeer skin.
5. Discover The Northern Norway Fjords
There is nothing more amazing Than driving Through the Norway Fjords with a minivan, stop wherever you Think it is worthwhile and just enjoy The view.
The landscapes are just breathtaking.
6. Wander Through The streets of The ‘Paris’ of The north
Tromsø, The largest urban area of artic Norway has a lot To offer. I loved exploring The vibrant marketplace, The fisherman monument and was always in for a quick walk along The city’s bustling pedestrian street, with its many cute little shops.
If you have Time, don’t forget To visit The Domkirke, being one of The largest wooden churches in Norway, build in 1861 and centrally located in The hart Tromsø. Opening Times were quite restricted, so I was not able To visit The church from The inside, but already from The outside I could see it is an unique Treasure.
A big hit was also The Tromsø harbour area, with its authentic houses, many bars and restaurants.
However The food is a bit pricy in This part of Town, The quality is excellent. I especially enjoyed The king crab.
The harbour is considered The gateway To The Arctic and became famous as launching point for arctic expeditions. I was amazed by all the sailing ships, cruise liners and other Type boats that I spotted during our visit.
7. Walk The Tromsø bridge and visit The Artic Cathedral
Who’d have Thought That walking across a bridge could be so Thrilling? Well it is definitely worth crossing This bridge on foot To get The views of The city, The harbour and The Arctic cathedral. The bridge connects Tromsø with Tromsdalen and gives you access To The Artic Cathedral. It Takes about 20 minutes To walk across and There is a bit of a slope, but basically it is dead easy. Feel The winter air, as it can get very windy, The day we crossed it was around -7 so it was cold but worth it!
The Ishavskatedralen or Artic Cathedral, a modern church build in 1965, made out of iron and steel recovered from a sunk German war ship, is probably The most famous landmark of Tromsø and definitely worth a visit. The Cathedral, with its beautiful architecture replicates jagged icebergs, striking white with The stained glass colored accents.
This cathedral is a must on anyone’s visiting list
8. Go in-land, where The Temperatures hit -25°C and get warm up at The Ice Domes
Visiting an ice hotel was something That was on my bucket list. Located in The beautiful Tamok Valley surrounded by high mountains, These ice domes are something new on The Tourist map This year. It is not a real hotel yet, which will change as from next season when four hotel rooms will be added To The concept of The Ice Domes.
Currently The Domes feature a magnificent ice bar, an Ice cinema where a short movie about The background regarding The construction is shown, an example of an ice hotel bedroom and ice restaurant.
The entire place is decorated with wonderful ice sculptures.
During my visit, I had The opportunity To meet The owner of The place and had an interesting discussion on The impact The snow has for The survival of The arctic animals and how global warming had an impact during The last 10 years in The area. I was impressed To hear The owner had sold his house To realise This project.
9. Winter BBQ on The beach
In my opinion There is nothing better Than a good barbecue and as much as I love summer barbecues, winter barbecues are even better. We made a campfire along one of Norways stunning beaches and grilled sausages and marshmallows.
I even had Time To Try out one of the best playground in the area and it definitely came with a view.
10. Do some fish Tasting
Norway has some excellent salmon, so infectious you plan a visit, don’t forget To hit one of The places where you can Taste a few variations of smokes salmon. Good for you To know is That you can bring some of it back home, sealed it last up To three weeks, no need To keep it refrigerated.
Other cool stuff To do
As we were really lucky with The weather we mostly spend our Time outdoors. Nevertheless There are some great Things To do with kids indoor, such as Polaria and The Polar museum.
Unfortunately our Time was limited, otherwise we would also have visited The Tomsø Fjellheisen (cable car), The artic zoo and The Artic Brewery, located in The Lyngen alps. All good excuses To come back another Time.