Welcome to the community! Tell us about yourself, about where you come from and about how and when did your passion for traveling start?
Hi! Israel here! I am originally from Spain, from a town in the countryside of Zaragoza, although right now I live in Frankfurt am Main, Germany since I got a new position in the Stock Exchange Market. Thanks to this change, I found an urge to discover new places and cultures all around the world. Traveling really opens your mind and offers new opportunities, since I moved to Frankfurt I grew faster professionally and saw the world with a different perspective.
Today you are going to share your recent trip to Norway, witnessing the breathtaking Northern lights. Quite exciting! How did you decide on this location?
Just being able to watch the aurora borealis is one of the humankind’s dreams, of course, it was one of mine. I needed to be present, watching videos or pictures on the internet wasn’t enough. My girlfriend and I researched the best location and the best time of the year to see it. The months of March and October have the highest activity of the aurora borealis. As for the location, as you can see on the map, the most north part of Norway is the perfect spot, since it is over 300 km over the Arctic Circle and even farther north than Iceland! The towns of Lofoten and Tromso, not only offered a perfect view of the lights but also breathtaking landscapes and exciting activities to enjoy during the day.
Tell us a little about your trip.
We planned an eleven days trip. Tromso (4 days) and Lofoten Islands (7 days). Tromso is one of the biggest cities in the Arctic, often referred to as the Capital of the Arctic. Despite not being a specially beautiful city, it is very appealing since it is the only place that far that actually offers a variety of activities to do. like:
- Reindeer or Husky Sledding
- Aurora Borealis Hunting
- Whale and Orca Watching sea tour (whales migrate south in mid-February)
- Northern eagles watching sea tour
- City walk tour, local bars, museums…
We arrived by plane in the evening and through the plane window, we could already see a different color tone in the sky, violent, purple-ish. it looked dreamy. Right after settling in at the hotel, we went for a walk in the city and the Aurora borealis was there already! by the time I was ready to shoot a picture to it, it was gone! They are less noticeable in the city, due to the light from the buildings.
The next day, we went to the Tourist Office to get information about the activities we could do in the city, it was full with tourist! we had to take our turn and wait about an hour! when it was time, we reserved for a small group van tour to watch the Aurora Borealis. Everything is covered at the excursion, warm clothing, professional photos and even a grilled dinner on a lake under the northern lights. Back at the hotel at 4 am. unforgettable experience. the guide went in detail and explained the scientific reason the Aurora borealis occur. The moment the northern lights appear everything stops takes your breath away. It is so strong, no subtle at all. You can’t believe it.
The next day we enjoyed a Husky sledding trip, it was amazing! after an hour long bus ride, we arrived at the huskie camp where they explained a little about how the sleds are made, and how to ‘drive’ it. and suddenly, we were riding one! my girlfriend and I we each drove the sled for about 30 minutes while the other enjoyed the view and the ride. it was pretty exciting! the huskies are perfectly trained also (let me just say, they won’t wait to the next stop in order to ‘aliviate’ themselves) After this excursion, we walked around Tromso. It’s modern cathedral caught our eye, it resembles ice, an iceberg and it’s called “The Arctic Cathedral” then we discovered they had a chairlift to a viewpoint and a restaurant. the views at sunset were so pretty, and while having dinner, we could see the Aurora Borealis again!
On the next day, we were flying northbound to the Lofoten Islands, to Leknes, where with no doubt we needed to rent a car. We did so and proceeded to explore the Islands around. There is one road only (E10) connecting the islands, which is in pretty good shape but you need to watch out for slippery snow/ice. In about two hours you can drive around the islands from Svolvaer (biggest city) to Reine (prettiest place, where we spent the night). It takes about two hours, but if you feel the need, as I did, to stop very often to snap a picture, it takes longer.
The ride is really pleasant, with its unbelievable landscapes, merging the ocean and the fjords. Once we arrived, we tried to visit as many little towns as we could, we visited:
- Reine: the prettiest. the place we stayed at.
- A (pronounced as O): fisherman’s town on the south side
- Sakrisoy: 2 minutes from Reine, very eye-catching, with bold colored houses.
- Nusfjord: the most touristic town, for the number of rentable wooden cabins.
- Henningsvaer: The Venice of the north.
- Flakstadt: A red wooden church in the center of a vast grassland facing the ocean.
- Kavelvag: Where the Arctic Cathedral is located.
- Svolvaer: this is the biggest town, the heart of the Islands. the place where we could reserve activities like the boat ride to the Troll Fjord, a magnificent ride witnessing the north eagles on natural habitat.
The water is just breathtaking. a pure mirror. Cristal clear. when we visited the Troll Fjord, the calm mirror waters made us feel like if we were sailing in gold. So shiny. Here is where we did the tour to see the Northern Eagles. Spectacular. The most famous beach is Kvalvika Beach, the whale beach. But we couldn’t visit it since it requires a walk of over an hour and the path was iced and slippery.
On the fisherman’s towns, they air dry fishes and fish parts, mostly heads for consuming of business exports. they dry the heads also, mince them and are sold as protein complement for undeveloped countries. Watch out for that smell!
If the weather doesn’t allow you to engage in any fun activity, you can visit the Viking Museum in Leknes. It is located in an upside down ship on a little hill. We visited and liked it, it was very informative. Right next to it there is an archaeological site from the ancient town of Borg, an important town in the Iron Age.
How did you travel to the location? Where did you stay? Is there/how is the transportation there? Did you use an agency, a guide or you did it all yourself?
We flew from Frankfurt to Tromso with SAS airlines, from Tromso to Lofoten Islands with Wilderoe airlines and back to Frankfurt with SAS airlines. in Tromso, there was public transportation, but the Lofoten Islands were isolated, it is needed to rent a car. We planned and explored everything by ourselves, which is how you come out with the best plans.
About lodging, in Tromso, we stayed at a centric hotel that offered an awesome breakfast and a 24hour supply of tea, coffee, and waffles.this definitely made us deal with the cold weather easier. In the Lofoten islands, we stayed in a fisherman cabin (Rorbuer) in Reine. the cabin was on top of the sea and was built in 1800, renovated in 2000. an impressive wooden cabin with 2 bd, 1 bath, kitchen, and chimney! All this surrounded by two fjords and strategically located to witness impressive Aurora Borealis. We would have stayed there forever!
Could you explore on your own? How was the language barrier?
We planned everything on our own and down to the detail, so we didn’t need much help once we were there. In Norway, or at least in that area, they speak perfect English so language wasn’t that big of a deal. Activities, tv, radio, restaurants, everybody spoke English.
Was the trip mostly sightseeing, or you enjoyed activities and shows as well?
It was a combination of both, which is what I would recommend everybody to do!
What surprised you there in a good way? Any strange/unpleasant experience?
The northern lights, the fjords, the fisher towns looking frozen in time. the Sky…
If I had to say something I didn’t expect was the prices, pretty much everything was expensive. lodging, activities, food, groceries… we felt the currency exchange, and not in our favor…
What did you learn from the culture and/or the locals?
We didn’t ‘socialize’ very much there, but every person we interacted with, tour guides, in restaurants, lodging… they seemed very friendly and willing to help.
Did you enjoy the cuisine there? Which were your favorite dishes?
The fish is just spectacular. Just caught from the ocean… we even ate whale! Being from Spain, we always appreciate good Cod fish, and here I learned it is imported from the Lofoten Islands. at a restaurant, I was told how big of a consumer the Spanish country was of their produce. Cod that migrates to the islands to mate and then it’s caught and sold back in Spain. Apparently, migrating north for so many kilometers in brave waters grows their muscle which makes for a juicier and more flavourful fish. –We also had a tanned cheese filled pancake which was sweet and sour, with sugar and cinnamon for dessert that was very popular, and we loved it!
What was your favorite sight/thing in Norway?
Nature and the sky. A unique sight, not available anywhere else in the world. And of course the Aurora Borealis.
Why should people visit it?
Just the fact of witnessing the Aurora borealis makes is worth it. the only advice I can give it: visit it!
Was is your next adventure? Anything planned yet?
After this trip, it is going to be hard to improve!. in about 2 weeks I’ll spend a weekend in Venice and next month we’ll visit London to take an English course and visit the area.
How can we see more about you and your trips? what is your website or/and social media?
You can find me on Instagram @iquaresmaaa. I like posting my trips pictures there, mostly shot with GoPro. I should say I don’t post too often, just sharing enough photos to remember my adventures and how pretty everything was!
FOR VIDEOS OF THE AURORA BOREALIS, WILD EAGLES AND MORE click HERE!
Hope you liked this post. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, don’t hesitate in commenting below or contact me. If you want to collaborate in the blog, with your experiences or your trip’s photos, get in touch!