- A night in a unique glass igloo, where you can lie in bed and gaze at the stars (and if you’re lucky, the Northern Lights!)
- 2 nights at Kirkenes Snow Hotel in Gamme cabins
- City tours of Helsinki and Bergen
- A visit to Rovaniemi, the home of Santa Claus and winter activities
- Visit a husky farm, and weather permitting do a husky sled ride through the arctic wilderness
- Visit to a traditional reindeer farm and experience Sami culture
- A relaxing 5-night classic south bound voyage with Hurtigruten, by far the best way to experience Norway’s stunning fjords and historic coastal towns
- Farewell dinner at Cornelius Restaurant in Bergen
- Optional pre-touring 2 nights/3 days package of Tallinn.
- 5 nights in 4* star hotels in central locations, 1 night at Aurora Cabin/Glass Igloo, 2 nights at Gamme Cabins and 5 nights cruise accommodation in an outside cabin
- Breakfast daily, 7 lunches, 9 dinners
- Porterage service in & out of all hotels
- The long distance bus from day 3 – 5 offers WI-FI
- English speaking Tour Director, who is an expert in the destination
- English speaking local guide for city tours in Helsinki & Bergen
- All tours and transportation as mentioned in the itinerary
- Visits, excursions and entrances as mentioned in the itinerary
- Flight from Helsinki to Rovaniemi
- Outdoor clothing for winter activities/safaris as mentioned in the itinerary.
Bentours 'Chase the Lights' escorted small group tour 2019/20 gives you the ideal opportunity to see the Northern Lights and delve into Lapland's Sami culture with its incredible ever-changing scenery.
Chase the northern lights in one of the most magical regions of the world - Finland and Norway. For 14 days experience untouched wilderness, the home of Santa Clause, Rovaniemi, and tour Helsinki and Bergen. There will be ample opportunity for unforgettable experiences with a night in a glass igloo where you may be able to marvel at the northern lights from the comfort of your bed, and exhilarating husky rides!
Please remember the Northern Lights are a natural occurrence and visibility is subject to weather conditions, and sightings are never guaranteed. However, our carefully planned itinerary puts you in the right locations, and our knowledgeable guides will give you the best possible chance.
Day 1 ARRIVE HELSINKI Arrive in Helsinki and make your own way to hotel and check-in. This evening your tour manager will greet you and you will take part in a welcome meeting, at which point you will be given important information about the tour and also some suggestions etc. After this, enjoy a welcome dinner with the group. Hotel: Glo Hotel Kluvi or similar. Meals Included: Dinner.
Day 2 HELSINKI - ROVANIEMI Breakfast at the hotel is followed by a three-hour sightseeing tour of Helsinki, the capital of Finland, also known as “The Daughter of the Baltic Sea”. The tour includes the Senate Square, the University and the Lutheran Cathedral. We will also see the colourful Market Square, Kaivopuisto Park, diplomatic residences, the imposing statue of Marshall Mannerheim, the Parliament Building, Finlandia Hall, the Orthodox Russian Church, Uspenski, and the Sibelius Monument. A visit is also made to Temppeliaukio Church – also called the “Rock Church” as it is carved into solid rock (the church reserves the right not to allow the entry of visitors in case of ceremonies). The tour concludes back at the hotel. In the afternoon there will be a group transfer to airport and an early afternoon domestic flight for the next step on the adventure in Rovaniemi. Upon arrival at Rovaniemi airport and a transfer service to the hotel for check-in. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure or there are optional evening Northern Lights excursions available. Hotel: Santa’s Hotel Santa Claus or similar. Meals Included: Breakfast.
Day 3 ROVANIEMI The day begins with breakfast at the hotel and a morning visit to the world-famous Santa Claus Village, built right on the Arctic Circle and home to Santa Claus. Stop by his busy post office where you can ask Santa to send a letter to your loved ones. Take a step into the magical world of Santa’s home and meet Santa himself. No words can describe the emotions of this fairy-tale-like moment. It is something you will always remember. A must for any visit to Lapland. The day continues with a visit to the Sami reindeer farm where you will meet the traditional Sami farmers who will tell you about the reindeer, the Sami and teach you how to throw Suopunki (Sami lasso). Sitting in a two-person sleigh, pulled by your reindeer, you will experience this traditional and peaceful way of moving through the white landscape, where the only sound you will hear is the melody of reindeer bells. (***Sleigh ride is weather dependant***) A typical three course lunch is served at the farm. Evening at your leisure. Optional evening excursions are available. Hotel: Santa’s Hotel Santa Claus or similar. Meals Included: Breakfast.
Day 4 ROVANIEMI - SAARISELKA In the morning after breakfast, the adventure continues with a transfer towards Saariselka, following the winding roads through Northern Lapland and located 250 km from Rovaniemi. We arrive at the Northern Lights Village where you will check-in to your private Aurora Cabin/Glass Igloo. Enjoy the warmth of your cabin and weather permitting you will have the opportunity to marvel at the amazing Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) and the millions of stars from the comforts of your bed. In the evening, you are invited for a three course or buffet dinner with local specialties. Hotel: Northern Lights Village or similar. Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 5 SAARISELKA - KIRKENES Breakfast at the hotel followed by an early departure. You will be traveling the 270 km further north to Kirkenes (in Norway) by coach, an approximately 4-hour journey transporting you through the beautiful northern Lapland. Along the way, you will visit the SIIDA Museum (closed on Monday, Sami Cultural Center Sajos* will be included instead). Your eyes will feast on some breath-taking natural scenery as you make your way up north. Arrival at Kirkenes Snow Hotel and check-in to your private Gamme Cabin. In the evening, enjoy the local dinner at the hotel. The evening is at your leisure. Hotel: Kirkenes Snow Hotel, Gamme Cabins or similar. Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner.
Day 6 KIRKENES Today after breakfast at the hotel, we enjoy a morning husky safari. Weather permitting, you will experience an exhilarating husky sleigh ride. Let your personal pack of huskies and musher drive you around in the scenic Sandnesdalen and indulge
in a post sleigh picnic or hot drink en-route. Afternoon is at leisure or there are optional excursions to choose from. Please note: Sleigh ride is weather dependant. Hotel: Kirkenes Snow Hotel, Gamme Cabins or similar. Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner .
Day 7 KIRKENES – SOUTHBOUND HURTIGRUTEN VOYAGE Breakfast at hotel and check-out. In the mid-morning a transfer from the hotel takes you to the Hurtigruten Terminal. As the ship starts its voyage south, you can first enjoy lunch followed by views of the surrounding Arctic landscape on deck or from the panorama lounge. As we depart Kirkenes, prepare for the new sights and experiences that our voyage along the Norwegian coastline has to offer. In the afternoon, the ship again docks at Vardø, Norway’s easternmost port. Weather permitting, we may invite you to experience ice bathing in the Arctic Ocean. Heading south, we cruise along the Varanger peninsula to Båtsfjord, before reaching Berlevåg in the evening. The latter town is home to one of Norway’s most famous male choirs, consisting mainly of local fishermen. Overnight on Hurtigruten Vessel. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.
Day 8 MEHAMN - TROMSO In the middle of the night, we dock at Mehamn, where it is “possible” (weather permitting) to join an unforgettable snowmobile trip through one of Europe's most extreme and exciting natural areas during winter time. Experience snow-clad valleys, fresh winter air and perhaps the mesmerising Northern Lights in the clear, starry sky. Later in the morning we stop at Honningsvåg, then continue onwards to Hammerfest.
Hammerfest was founded in 1789, and over time became Norway's polar capital, serving as a base for hunting expeditions into the High Arctic. Here you can see the UNESCO-listed Meridian Column, erected in 1854 to commemorate the first precise geographic measurement of the globe. In winter, you can also join a mini-mountain expedition to experience the Arctic outdoors and learn about local polar hero and cook, Adolf Henrik Lindstrøm. Continuing south to Øksfjord. After crossing open water, we make a brief stop at the old trading post of Skjervøy. We then dock at Tromsø, just in time to enjoy a magical midnight concert at the Arctic Cathedral.
Alternatively, a walk around the town provides you the chance to enjoy a local brew at one of the cities many friendly pubs. Overnight on Hurtigruten Vessel. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.
Day 9 TROMSO - STAMSUND This third day of our Hurtigruten voyage, the ship negotiates an intricate network of isles and inlets as you pass through the legendary Lofoten Islands. The island groups of Lofoten and Vesterålen offer some of the most stunning scenery you will see during the entire coastal voyage. The Lofoten region is renowned for its natural beauty with steep mountains, wild nature and small, picturesque fishing villages. The daylight sailing route through the Lofoten Islands is a highlight for the group. Stop at Stokmarknes, where Hurtigruten was founded more than 120 years ago. Go ashore and pay a visit to the Hurtigruten museum here. Continuing southwards, it looks like we are sailing straight into the mountain wall, but we inevitably slip through an opening leading to the narrow Raftsund. This 20-km passage between Lofoten and Vesterålen takes you through mountains soaring 1,000 metres directly out of the sea. Pass through the spectacular Trollfjord, only 2 km long and 100 metres wide, surrounded by majestic mountains, finally reaching Svolvaer. From Svolvær, we continue to Stamsund, where we see the majestic peaks of the huge Lofoten wall. We leave Lofoten during the evening and set course for the mainland. This remarkable day ends with an evening stop at Svolvaer before you bid farewell to the islands at Stamsund. Overnight on Hurtigruten Vessel. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.
Day 10 BODO - RORVIK Crossing the Arctic Circle at 66°33’N is an important ‘rite of passage’. Today we celebrate the event out on deck with a `taste´ of Arctic tradition – a spoonful of cod liver oil. As we sail along the Helgeland coast, you pass hundreds of islets, fertile farmland and steep granite walls rich in local lore. On deck you can see the strange mountain Torghatten (rising 258 m above sea level), famous for its distinctive hole right through the middle. We continue past the Seven Sister Mountain Range, along the Helgeland coastline. Next, we make a short stop at Nesna, an idyllic old trading post before moving on to Sandnessjøen. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Vega Islands is close to Sandnessjøen. This unique cultural landscape consists of dozens of islands. The UNESCO designation was awarded due to the unique interaction between the eider duck and island population. Overnight on Hurtigruten Vessel. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.
Day 11 TRONDHEIM - ALESUND Today provides an opportunity to explore the city of Trondheim. Once you are back on board, the ship heads out into the majestic Trondheimsfjord, which is 170 km long and up to 25 km wide. Like all other Norwegian fjords, it is deep, plunging to 577 m. We sail along to the coast to Kristiansund, the dried Cod Capital, and beginning of the Atlantic Road, one of Norway’s most visited tourist destinations. It is 8.2 km long, built on a total of eight bridges and surrounded by picturesque landscapes and open sea. Overnight on Hurtigruten Vessel. Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.
Day 12 ALESUND - BERGEN During the night, the ship calls at Ålesund, Torvik, Måløy, as the world’s most beautiful voyage draws to a close. Before we dock in Bergen, there are some nautical miles of fascinating scenery ahead of us, including the picturesque Nordfjord below the enormous Jostedal Glacier. Here the fjord widens to the east and forges 90 km inland to Loen and Olden. In the morning, we call at Florø, a modern coastal seaport that is also the Sogn og Fjordane region´s oldest town and Norway’s westernmost community. Despite constant changes, the city of Florø has maintained its special features. A few nautical miles south of Florø, we navigate the mouth of the mighty Sognefjord, and enjoy superb views of this magnificent island-studded coastline en route. You disembark in Bergen, at 2pm and are transferred to your Bergen hotel where you will have the rest of the day at leisure. Hotel: Hotel Bergen Børs or similar. Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch.
Day 13 BERGEN Breakfast at the hotel followed by a 3-hours sightseeing tour during which we will delight in St. Marys Church, the colourful and picturesque fish market (Closed on Sundays’s) and the old Bryggen area. View Bergen from the peak of Mount Fløyen. The Fløibanen funicular in Bergen in the heart of Bergen is one of Norway’s best-known attractions. The journey up to the peak of Mount Fløyen (320 m above sea level) takes 5–8 minutes. The journey is an experience, cutting through the steep mountain side and forests revealing more of the city below. At the top you can enjoy fantastic views over Bergen and the Norwegian coastline. Walk from the hotel to the pier where you will take the boat to reach the well-known Restaurant Cornelius. Here you will be delighted with local specialties. Inspired by the weather of the day, Cornelius serves its famous Meteorological Menu of exquisite seafood and trimmings, prepared using innovative culinary techniques and with a genuine passion for seafood. Hotel: Hotel Bergen Børs or similar. Meals Included: Breakfast & Lunch.
Day 14 DEPART BERGEN After breakfast, our small group tour ends. Meals Included: Breakfast.