A travel for all.
ARCTIC NEW YEAR’S EVE
With Northern Lights
Start the new year in a very special way under the magical Northern Lights, surrounded by the beautiful snowy Nordic fjords.
DURATION: 5 days
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: min 6 – max 7
DATES: December 30 – January 03
ACCOMMODATION: Hotel – Guesthouse
TRANSPORTATION: SKUA Nature van – Boat
MEALS: Restaurants – Packed lunch
DIFFICULTY: Easy – Support from guides expert about the area
INFORMATION: SKUA headquarters: firstname.lastname@example.org – +39 0141 918349
FOR INFO AND BOOKING email@example.com
A journey beyond the Arctic Circle between imposing, snow-covered fjords in search of the spectacular Northern Lights. After crossing the taiga with its vast snowy forests, we will enter Finnmark, which in Old Norse gave its name to the land of the Sami, the “reindeer herders”. We will meet one of them who will allow us to see his reindeer up close, feed them with our own hands and feel their warm and durable winter fur. We will cross the border between Finland and Norway and drive through the Arctic tundra until we reach our destination: Kongsfjord.
We will spend the night in a small fishing village on the shore of a picturesque fjord, where some of the oldest houses in Norway are located, some of which are still inhabited. A traditional dinner to welcome 2022 will be held at Kongsfjord Guesthouse, followed by an evening snowshoe hike to the top of the hill that protects Kongsfjord. Once at the viewpoint, we will toast to 2023 and enjoy our New Year’s spectacle: the Northern Lights. Other activities in Kongsfjord include Arctic snorkelling, midnight barbecues, the contrast between the warm sauna and the cold Barents Sea, and night walks in search of the Northern Lights.
We will travel along the Varanger Peninsula and explore the village of Berlevåg in the far north of Norway, where we can observe the colourful bird of the season sought by many wildlife photographers: the King Eider. In the municipality of Båtsfjord, we will take a boat out into the Barents Sea to catch the famous King Crab and then taste our delicious catch. In the frozen environment of the Tana River, we can take part in a sled dog expedition where we will feel part of the Nordic culture.
Accompanied by our experienced photo and wildlife guides, we will embark on an Arctic expedition to hunt for Northern Lights and discover the secrets of the Norwegian winter – a New Year’s Eve like you’ve never experienced before!
Basic fee: €2,280
The price includes
- local transportation and excursions
- drivers and guide with experience in wildlife observation
- accommodation for 5 days
- photo hide sessions
- equipment for excursions/Nordic activities
- entry tickets for sites/activities that require an entrance permit
- breakfast, lunch, dinner
The price does not include
- roundtrip airfare
- travel insurance
Itinerary in brief
We start our journey in Ivalo, where the group will be picked up at their accommodation after breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Depending on the flights each participant has booked and whether you wish to stay overnight in Ivalo, please contact the office at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a meeting point where the guide will pick you up to begin the tour.
Once the entire group of photographers and ornithologists is in the van, we will drive into the snowy taiga, a landscape that will characterize the first part of our expedition beginning 250 km north of the Arctic Circle. Along the way we will stop to admire and enjoy the geometries that ice and snow draw in the landscape. With a little luck we will find the White-throated Dipper and we will make a stop to meet the reindeer herders. We will experience the Sami culture up close through their reindeer herds, which we can feed and pet – a unique experience in contact with the local wildlife.
We will continue our journey to Kaamanen, in the middle of the Finnish taiga. The local restaurant has set up a series of bird feeders, which are visited by the colourful Pine Grosbeak. Red squirrels also swarm to these feeders and so we can take wonderful photos of these acrobats, both in pose and in action.
After lunch we will continue our journey through scenic landscapes along the great frozen Tana River. At sunset we will arrive in Kongsfjord, where we will stay for four nights in the local Guesthouse and with a little luck, we will be greeted by the Northern Lights in the small fishing village.
From our accommodation in Kongsfjord we will drive to the nearby village of Berlevåg, the northernmost municipality on the Norwegian mainland. The drive there is one of the highlights of the trip: The road winds through three small fjords where snow and ice stalactites cover the jagged rocks and steep cliffs of the Barents Sea. The glacial valleys, formed millions of years ago, are now home to the imposing White-tailed Eagle, which will watch us from the steep cliffs.
In the harbour of Berlevåg we will discover large flocks of King Eiders, distinguished by their bright plumage in an icy water environment. These seabirds spend most of the year on the coasts of Svalbard and are almost impossible to see at other times of the year, but we will be in the right place at the right time! There’s also a chance to see Grey Seals trying to prey on birds in the harbour.
After lunch at a local pub to escape the cold, we will return to Kongsfjord Guesthouse. Once we regain our strength, we will prepare for the most beautiful night of the year: A delicious traditional Norwegian menu will be awaiting us to say goodbye to 2022. An hour before midnight, we will put on our snowshoes and climb the snowy hill that protects Kongsfjord Guesthouse. The trail will lead us to a cosy viewpoint sheltered from the cold, where we will toast the year 2023 with a glass of champagne – under a natural fireworks display: the Northern Lights. We will start the new year by exploring the underground bunkers from the World War II with flashlights. If the snow hasn’t covered them yet, we will venture inside and walk through the corridors and rooms, again following the guide’s instructions. Later we will return to our cosy rooms to enjoy a restful night’s sleep after an intense Arctic expedition.
The first day of the year begins with a free morning where you can relax in the Guesthouse facilities, snowshoe along the snowy beach or, for the more adventurous, wear a dry suit for an Arctic snorkelling session.
At noon we will drive up to Båtsfjord and cross the highlands that characterize the interior of the Varanger Peninsula, which will give us the opportunity to photograph landscapes reminiscent of Alaska. These white plains are home to Rock Ptarmigans and Arctic Hares that camouflage themselves in the snow in their winter coats, making the route a naturalistic challenge for those who want to spot them.
Once in Båtsfjord, we will take an incredible boat ride on the Barents Sea. Surrounded by dozens of seabirds, Grey Seals and, if we’re lucky, a whale or two, the boat will take us in search of the biggest crab of them all: the famous King Crab. Once we successfully catch them, we will return to shore for a well-deserved and delicious lunch straight from the sea. The prized dish King Crab is famous in Northern Norway and is considered one of the best delicacies in the world’s seafood kitchens.
As the sun slowly sinks behind the horizon, we will return to Kongsfjord, where a well-deserved sauna will be awaiting us. To round off the Nordic experience, the adventurous can take a short swim in the icy waters of the Barents Sea and experience a cold plunge. These activities are practiced in both summer and winter in Finland and Norway and help clear the mind and improve blood circulation.
After dinner at the restaurant in Kongsfjord, we will set out on an expedition to capture the Northern Lights on camera. Berlevåg lighthouse and the highlands around the fjord will be our background.
We will have an early breakfast in Kongsfjord and then make our way to the frozen Tana River, where we will have the opportunity to observe birds of prey such as the Northern Hawk Owl. There we will be greeted by some very special participants: the famous sled dogs. These animals, trained according to traditional Nordic methods, will take us on an expedition through the frozen tundra, further than we could get with any conventional equipment.
When the adventure is over and we have said goodbye to our furry friends, we will have lunch and return to Kongsfjord via the scenic route. We will arrive in Kongsfjord at sunset, where our guides will prepare a barbecue for dinner. By the light of the campfire, we will enjoy a variety of grilled meats and vegetables, as well as a delicious dessert of marshmallows and hot chocolate to warm us up under the beautiful Northern Lights.
On a final night hike around the snow-covered bays, we will pay attention to the colour of the sky and look for the green reflection of the Northern Lights on the Barents Sea.
We leave for Ivalo early in the morning to try to see the last herds of Reindeer in the Finnish taiga. We will arrive at the airport before noon, where we will say goodbye and look forward to our next adventure together.
- Photo lenses: Lenses with a focal length of at least 400mm are recommended for wildlife photography. For landscape and Northern Lights photography, a short or a wide-angle lens is ideal
- Clothing suitable for outdoor activities. Temperatures are below 0°C and can reach -20°C. It is very important to choose clothes that provide comfort and safety.
- Headlamp, ice crampons, winter barrier cream and/or moisturizer.
- Check the required documents for the ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19.
- Travel insurance is required.
- If you book flights independently, it is advisable to choose tickets that include a refund in case of cancellation or change of itinerary.