Northern Lights Small Group tour | Visit Norway and Finland
Odyssey's small group tour following the Northern Lights allows you to experience serene snow-covered Arctic landscapes. Throughout our journey guides and specialists will outline the history of this stark region and the nature of the peoples who wrested their living from it. A unique opportunity to view this natural phenomenon travelling as part of a small group.
- 1. Visit Tromso, the capital of the Arctic
- 2. Experience seven nights in the Arctic circle
- 3. Visit the Royal & Ancient Polar Bear Society Museum
- 4. Study the rock art in the UNESCO listed Alta Museum (if weather permits)
|05 October 2023 |
Ends 14 October 2023 • 10 days
|12 January 2024 |
Ends 21 January 2024 • 10 days
|10 October 2024 |
Ends 20 October 2024 • 11 days
|11 January 2025 |
Ends 20 January 2025 • 10 days
|09 October 2025 |
Ends 19 October 2025 • 11 days
Northern Lights Small Group Tour
Odyssey offers easy, convenient, and relaxed escorted small group tours across Arctic circle and beyond. We explore Norway and Finland fairy-tale natural beauty in winter, their heritage, and world famous cities, all with some truly spectacular scenery along the way. This and more is all waiting to be explored on one of Odyssey’s small group tours to view the Northern lights, designed for the senior traveller, and led by experienced, and enthusiastic like minded people.
Experience the Northern Lights with our Northern Lights small group tour in the outermost regions of Finland and Norway - from Saariselkä to Tromsø, high up beyond the Arctic circle. This vacation with Odyssey Traveller will give you the best chance of hunting down the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights), both by sea and by land. Along the way you also have the opportunity to try a variety of winter activities. These include a reindeer safari, husky dog sledding and snowmobiling whilst also learning about the Sami people and the Vikings.
Northern Lights Tour Itinerary
We start our tour in the wonderful capital of Finland, Helsinki and spend time to visit all the must-see attractions of the city. Then we transfer to Saariselkä, where we enjoy a sleigh ride (sledge pulled by snowmobile) and catch the first glimpse of the Northern Lights. We then cross the border to Norway and visit Karasjok, the Sami capital (the Sami are the people indigenous to the area). Next day we are headed to North Cape, the northernmost point of Europe situated on Magerøya Island. We then travel back south to reach Tromsø, where we enjoy a Northern Lights safari taking us away from the city giving us the best chance to catch the Aurora borealis.
Of course everyone would like to document this once in a lifetime opportunity so Odyssey Traveller have you covered with an article on Photographing the Northern Lights. You can also read our FAQs which answers the most common questions about the Northern Lights.
You can learn more about Finland and Norway with our country profile where all other tour departures are listed as well. If you are interested in visiting Scandinavia, we offer tours to Denmark, Iceland, Greenland, about Scandinavian Design visiting several countries, or you could take the Trans-Siberian Railway from Helsinki to Irkutsk.
For more details on this tour, click the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Itinerary’ buttons above! If you’re keen to experience this tour, please call or send an email. Or, to book, simply fill in the form on the right hand side of this page.
External articles to assist you on your visit to see the Northern Lights
Day 1: Helsinki
Accommodation: Sokos Hotel Presidentti or similar
We make our way individually to the hotel. We meet for a welcome dinner and program orientation this evening.
Day 2: Helsinki
Accommodation: Sokos Hotel Presidentti or similar
Today, we enjoy a panoramic, half-day tour of Helsinki. Meals: B
Day 3: Saariselkä
Accommodation: Santa's Hotel Tunturi Oy or similar
Today, after breakfast, we transfer to the airport to fly to Ivalo airport. From there, we transfer to Saariselkä. In the evening, we enjoy a Northern Lights journey by sleigh ride (sledge pulled by snowmobile). We travel to the nearby fell district to see the beautiful fell scenery and, if lucky and the sky is clear, experience the extraordinary and bewitching Northern Lights.
Day 4: Saariselkä
Accommodation: Santa's Hotel Tunturi Oy or similar
Today is at own leisure, and during the day you are able to choose from one of the many optional winter safaris on offer. Meals: B/D
Day 5: Karasjok
Accommodation: Scandic Karasjok or similar
In the morning, after breakfast, we begin our journey to Karasjok. On the way, we stop at Inari and visit the Siida Sami Museum. The Sami are a people indigenous to the area, and the museum showcases their culture and history. We then continue north west, crossing the border into Norway, and shortly afterwards arrive in Karasjok, the Sami Capital. This town has strong ties to Sami culture, and is home to the Sami parliament, “Samediggi”. Meals: B/D
Day 6: Honningsvåg
Accommodation: Scandic Honningsvåg or similar
After an early breakfast, we depart the hotel and head to North Cape. Travelling through the North Cape tunnel, we reach the Magerøya Island on which the North Cape is situated. Subject to weather conditions, we visit the North Cape cliff itself. We visit the North Cape Hall, which is a visitor centre at Europe’s northernmost point, mostly inside a cliff, with cinema, bar & restaurant. Meals: B/D
Day 7: Alta
Accommodation: Scandic Alta or similar
Today, we head south and travel back along the Porsanger fjord bound for Alta, “The Northern Lights city of Norway”. In the afternoon, we visit the Alta Museum to see the expositions about the local history of northern lights. The remainder of the day is free (optional Northern Lights excursion available). Meals: B
Day 8: Tromsø
Accommodation: Thon Hotel Polar or similar
Today, drive along the Arctic fjords bound for Tromsø, former starting point of many North Pole expeditions. We enjoy free time before embarking on an evening Northern Lights safari at the Aurora Camp. Enjoy the convenience or our Northern Lights visit only 25 minutes away from downtown Tromsø. You will be served hot drinks and you can grill sausages over an open fire in side a Sami Tent (lavvo) while you wait for the lights. Outside you can lay down on reindeer skins or sit on chairs while you scout the dark sky for the lights. Your guide will answer any questions you may have and while there is is no guarantee of the Northern Lights, however visiting the 300 Alaskan huskies is well worth it.
In the evening you will head back to Tromsø and enjoy a traditional sami reindeer stew (Biidos). Meals: B/D
Day 9: Tromsø
Accommodation: Thon Hotel Polar or similar
Today we enjoy a day at own leisure in Tromsø, where we have the opportunity to take an optional snowmobile safari, husky safari or many more exciting excursions. We come together in the evening for a farewell dinner. Meals: B/D
Day 10: Tromso
After breakfast at the hotel, we say our farewells and the program draws to a close. Meals: B
Includes / Excludes
What’s included in our Tour
- 9 nights accommodation.
- 9 breakfasts, 6 dinners.
- Flight (economy class) from Helsinki to Ivalo (near Saariselkä).
- Transport and field trips as indicated.
- Tour leader for the duration of the tour.
- Services of local English speaking guides.
- Service charges and gratuities.
What’s not included in our Tour
- International Flights.
- International comprehensive travel insurance.
- Meals not specified in itinerary.
- Items of a personal nature like laundry and phone calls.
Participants must be able to carry their own luggage, climb and descend stairs, be in good health, mobile and able to participate in 3-5 hours of physical activity per day, the equivalent of walking / hiking up to 8 kilometers per day on uneven ground.
Make it a private tour
Easing your journey
Crossing international borders with restrictions
The list of requirements to travel internationally has changed and will continue to change for several years. Odyssey is here to assist you in managing your way through these requirements:
For more information see our Crossing international borders with restrictions page.
Book With Confidence
If less than 30 days before your tour starts you are unable to travel as a result of Government travel restrictions, Odyssey Traveller will assist you with a date change, provide you with a credit or process a refund for your booking less any non-recoverable costs.
See Terms and conditions for details.
Peace of Mind Travel
The safety of our travellers, tour leader, local guide and support staff has always been our top priority and with the new guidelines for public health and safety for keeping safe for destinations around the world, we’ve developed our plan to give you peace of mind when travelling with us.
See Peace of Mind Travel for details.
Reading List Download PDF
The Northern Lights: The True Story of the Man Who Unlocked the Secrets of the Aurora Borealis
Science, biography, and arctic exploration coverage in this extraordinary true story of the life and work of Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland, the troubled genius who solved the mysteries of one of nature’s most spectacular displays.
Captivated by the otherworldly lights of the aurora borealis, Birkeland embarked on a lifelong quest to discover their cause. His pursuit took him to some of the most forbidding landscapes on earth, from the remote snowcapped mountains of Norway to the war-torn deserts of Africa. In the face of rebuke by the scientific establishment, sabotage by a jealous rival, and his own battles with depression and paranoia, Birkeland remained steadfast. Although ultimately vindicated, his theories were unheralded—and his hopes for the Nobel Prize scuttled—at the time of his suspicious death in 1917.
The Northern Lights offers a brilliant account of the physics behind the aurora borealis and a rare look inside the mind of one of history's most visionary scientists.
Northern Lights: The Science, Myth, and Wonder of Aurora Borealis
George Bryson (author), Calvin Hall (Photographer), Daryl Pederson (Photographer)
Electric green pierced by neon blue, shocking pink spinning into violent red, and shimmering purple sidled up against deep indigo: never before have you seen such high-octane colors in the sky, and never before has a book shown the northern lights-aurora borealis-in such vivid color. In Northern Lights, photographers Calvin Hall and Daryl Pederson bring to print nearly a hundred photographs of this amazing natural phenomenon, shot from remote locations all over Alaska and using no filters or digital enhancement. Just as fascinating are the legends, myths, and science surrounding this polar phenomenon, described by George Bryson. As 2002 marks the peak viewing time of the northern lights in an eleven-year cycle, this book brings the elusive magic of the northern lights to stargazers near and far.
Aurora : The Northern Lights in Mythology, History and Science
Harald Falck-Ytter (Author), Robin Alexander (Author), Torbjorn Lovgren (Photographer)
The colorful light of the aurora borealis appears in the sparsely populated polar regions of the North during its long winter nights. Little is known about this ethereal occurrence, which provides dazzling displays of ghostly light and movement. The author has spent years studying the aurora, and in this book he reveals the mythology that surrounds the aurora in various northern cultures as well as the science behind the phenomenon as it has developed through history.
The author also records various responses to the aurora, from Aristotle to modern geophysicists, and from different cultures and traditions, thus charting the gradual understanding of this most awe-inspiring experience. Demonstrating the influence of the Sun in the creation of the aurora, Falck-Ytter also compares the northern lights with other light phenomena, such as lightning and rainbows.
Beautifully illustrated, this book offers a conprehensive understanding of a very mysterious dynamic that has fascinated and alarmed northern communities for millennia.
Finland, Cultural Lone Wolf
Finland, Cultural Lone Wolf is the story of an accomplished nation and her extraordinary people. By pursuing a 'Lone Wolf' policy, Finland raised itself from a struggling, war-battered state to one of the most developed countries in the world over the course of only fifty years. The exponential rise of Nokia from tires and timbers to leading the world_s telecommunication industry is indicative of the Finns and their business style. These remarkable people speak a language unique in its origins and have kept their cultural identity intact despite the influences of powerful neighbors, Sweden and Russia. Uniquely qualified to write about Finland, best-selling author Richard Lewis traces the fascinating Finnish origins, as well as her history, geography, values and culture. His extensive experience with Finnish business provides him with keen insight on leadership style, negotiation strategies and the uniquely Finnish suomi-kuva, or Finland image. Lewis shines when describing Finnish humor, complete with laugh-out-loud jokes and stories. Finland, Cultural Lone Wolf shows both nation and writer at their best.
The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia
The Danes are the happiest people in the world, and pay the highest taxes.
'Neutral' Sweden is one of the biggest arms manufacturers in the world.
Finns have the largest per capita gun ownership after the US and Yemen.
54 per cent of Icelanders believe in elves.
Norway is the richest country on earth.
Michael Booth has lived among the Scandinavians, on and off, for over ten years, perplexed by their many strange paradoxes and character traits and equally bemused by the unquestioning enthusiasm for all things Nordic and hygge that has engulfed the rest of the world.
He leaves his adopted home of Denmark and embarks on a journey through all five of the Nordic countries to discover who these curious tribes are, the secrets of their success and, most intriguing of all, what they think of each other. Along the way a more nuanced, often darker picture emerges of a region plagued by taboos, characterised by suffocating parochialism and populated by extremists of various shades.
Far from being just 'wild, barbaric, axe-wielding pirates', the Vikings created complex social institutions, oversaw the coming of Christianity to Scandinavia and made a major impact on European history through trade, travel and far-flung consolidation. This encyclopedic study brings together the latest research on Viking art, burial customs, class divisions, jewelry, kingship, poetry and family life. The result is a rich and compelling picture of an extraordinary civilization.
Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow
She thinks more highly of snow and ice than she does of love. She lives in a world of numbers, science and memories--a dark, exotic stranger in a strange land. And now Smilla Jaspersen is convinced she has uncovered a shattering crime...
It happened in the Copenhagen snow. A six-year-old boy, a Greenlander like Smilla, fell to his death from the top of his apartment building. While the boy's body is still warm, the police pronounce his death an accident. But Smilla knows her young neighbor didn't fall from the roof on his own. Soon she is following a path of clues as clear to her as footsteps in the snow. For her dead neighbor, and for herself, she must embark on a harrowing journey of lies, revelation and violence that will take her back to the world of ice and snow from which she comes, where an explosive secret waits beneath the ice....
Gustav Vigeland: His Art and Sculpture Park
Tone Wikborg and Ruth Waaler
Vigeland's work belongs within the humanistic tradition in art. He has been preoccupied with man at all stages of life. Oslo's Vigeland Park, is the largest sculpture park in the world by a single artist, boasting over 200 pieces by Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland. The collection, dubbed "The Weirdest Statues in the World" by The Daily Mail, includes everything from a woman embracing a giant lizard to a naked man fighting flying babies, and everything in between.
Letters written in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark (Oxford World's Classics)
This engaging volume was pioneering feminist Mary Wollstonecraft's most popular book during her lifetime. Difficult to categorize, it is both an arresting travel book and a moving exploration of her personal and political selves. Wollstonecraft set out for Scandinavia just two weeks after her first suicide attempt, on a mission from the lover whose affections she doubted, to recover his silver on a ship that had gone missing. With her baby daughter and a nursemaid, she traveled across the dramatic landscape and wrote sublime descriptions of the natural world, and the events and people she encountered. Fascinating appendices include Imlay's commission to recover his lost silver, Wollstonecraft's recently discovered letter to the Danish Prime Minister asking for assistance, the private letters she wrote to Imlay during her travels in Scandinavia, a chapter from Godwin's memoir of Wollstonecraft, and a selection of contemporary reviews.
Photographing the Northern Lights: The Definitive Guide
Photographing the Northern Lights. How to Capture the Beauty of the Northern Lights. The Aurora Borealis, commonly called the Northern Lights, as well as the Aurora Australis, the Southern Lights, are two the world’s most…
Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society, Hammerfest, Norway
The Society is dedicated to preserving the culture of Hammerfest. The polar bear is the city’s coat of arms and was therefore chosen as the society’s logo.
The Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is the most northernly major circle of latitude, at approximately 66°30′ N. It marks the area within which, for one or more days each year, the Sun does not set (June 21) or rise (December 21), and the length of continuous day or night increases northward.
Questions about Norway for senior travellers
Questions about Finland
Sami culture within the Vikings
Sami People of the Arctic
The Sámi people are the only indigenous people of the European Union and are one of the oldest living cultures of our planet. Article for senior couples and mature single travellers curious about the Samii people and Viking culture that stretches across the Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden and Finland on a small group educational tour.