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Norway + Finland lapland 2 weeks itinerary check

My wife and I plan to go to Norway + Finland next year around Feb so that we can see the northern light and snow and we feel it is perfect given there is some decent daylight that sunsets around 5pm on average

Anyways, here is my itinerary that we have panned out and feel free to give comment, thank you in advance!

Day 1:
Arrive Oslo in morning.  Walk town in Oslo Overnight in Oslo

Day 2
Start Nutshell in Winter
Oslo to Myrdal (sit left hand side)
Myrdal to Flam (sit left hand side)
Arrive afternoon
Walk in town
Do Fjord sauna Overnight in Flam

Day 3:
Take the morning schedule to Gudvangen (Aurlandsfjord into the World Heritage-listed Nærøyfjord)  @ 9:30am (2 hours)
Take bus to Nærøydalen to Voss (sit left hand side and sit right in front of the bus).  Arrive approx 12:45pm
Then train to Bergen (sit right handside).  Arrive 2:15pm
Check in hotel and go to Mount Ulriken cable car around sunset
Overnight in Bergen

Day 4:
Walk in town, wharf
Take Fløibanen Funicular to Mount Fløyen
Board Havila Voyage sample for 2 nights (Depart at 7:30pm)
Overnight in Havila Voyages cruise x 2
PS: We did consider Hurtigruten for the same 2 nights stop but surprisingly, it is actually more or less the same for the price and the new ship includes the meals onboard whereas Hurtigruten incur extra charge, so of course we would go for the new ship (which is the same itinerary)

Day 5:
Scenic winter coastal voyage from Floro to Molde, enjoy cruise scenic and it includes a 3 hours stop in Alesund. Walk in town. Get back to ship and relax
Overnight in Havila Voyages cruise x 2

Day 6:
Get off ship Trondheim at 9:45am.  Spend the day in the town
Overnight in Trondheim

Day 7:
Take early flight from Trondheim to Tromso @ 8:15am.  Arrive approx. 10am
City tour + Fjellheisen cable car (if good weather).
Overnight in Tromso x 3

Day 8:
Tromsø Ice Domes day tour + Reindeer Sledding Northern lights tour (if it is cloudy on previous day)
Overnight in Tromso x 3

Day 9:
Dog sledding,Northern lights tour (if it is cloudy on previous day)
Overnight in Tromso x 3

Day 10:
Take early flight from Tromso to Rovaniemi lapland.
Stay Ice hotel
Overnight in Rovaniemi x 2

Day 11:
Need extra day for dog sledding, relax? etc (still unsure). Please give suggestion unless 1 night is enough?
Overnight in Rovaniemi x 2

Day 12:
Santa Clause house.  Take night sleeper train to Helsinki departing @ 9pm
Overnight in train x 1

Day 13:
Train arrives in Helsinki @ 9am and tour the city.  Take night flight  back home @ 10pm

Posted by
1929 posts

Norway part looks OK, I am not familiar with the Finland part.
Shorter day times with very low sunstand you mentioned yourself, therefore I assume that tours at 9.45 in fjords with high mountains can be - depending on additional weather - an event with darker light conditions.

Winter conditions may impact your plans additionally. I had snow storm with around 0° C end of May this year in Tromsø (traveling with own car) - so I will not know how that can feel in February. btw: coffee at Kaffebønna is really good.

Good luck!

Posted by
5974 posts

What are you actually trying to achieve? That is a lot of moving around in two weeks. To be honest it seems like you have just tried to fit as many places mentioned by travel bloggers and instagrammers as you can in two weeks.

Posted by
103 posts

What are we trying to achieve?
As Norway/Finland is our dream destination, flying all the way from Australia is not an easy feat and we are not bloggers or Instas. Therefore I admire people who live in Europe or USA as it is just within reach of destination, unlike here, regardless of the destination in Europe, the minimum is 24 hours, so 2 days is already stripped off for the entire trip

We want to experience a lot of things i.e. train, cruise, Nutshell, northern light, snow activities, igloo etc but unfortunately, we only have limited annual leaves so we want to taste a bit of this and that and strike a balance in between, hence why moving here and there makes sense. If we live in Europe, we probably focus 1 or 2 places and then come back again every few months and then given it is very close and convenient but not in this case. As we would love to spend 1 month up there but it is impossible, 2 weeks is probably the maximum for our holiday, so you can see why I would like to know the feedback for anything that we have missed or must do etc given we are travelling by public transport. Cheers

Posted by
4948 posts

I would not travel all the way from Australia expecting to see the Northern Lights- the weather may very well not allow that at any time when you are in Norway. In February a large part of your "scenic coastal cruise" between Floro and Alesund will be in darkness, even if the weather actually allows you to see the coastal scenery. It could all be hiding behind clouds and rain or a snow white out.
Hurtigtruten do offer the same cruise (meals inclusive) from Bergen to Trondheim- not sure why it is not currently giving availability, when in winter they should be wanting to fill their ships.

On the trains I am not at all sure that you can specify with Vy which side of the train your compulsory seat reservation is on. You don't just pick a seat as you board. If the train is full nor will you be able to switch seats.

Take bus to Nærøydalen to Voss (sit left hand side and sit right in front of the bus
Are you not aware that there may be elderly or disabled local people who may be far more entitled to those seats?

I get that you are trying to squeeze things in, but you are giving two capital cities scant time.

If it's wet (something Bergen is famous for) you will see not very much going up Mount Ulriken, if it's windy the cable car won't even be running.

To do this itinerary in February just to encounter snow and the elusive Northern Lights I would query.

Posted by
1929 posts

In my opnion OP's plan shall be more respected and not put into an own brain's corner of dislikes, biases or possiple experiences.
Constructive and helpful critique and / or opinions look and feel different to me.

If someone wants to travel a specific way or speed and with a certain hope - why not?

Personally I respect the result of planning detail and wish OP all the best and a good journey.

Posted by
572 posts

I agree, Mark. It appears Anderson has put a lot of thought into what they want to see and do on this trip.

If the path/stairs aren't too slippery when you are there, I would suggest going at least part way up Mt Aksla for the iconic view of Alesund.

Posted by
4948 posts

In my opnion OP's plan shall be more respected and not put into an own brain's corner of dislikes, biases or possiple experiences. Constructive and helpful critique and / or opinions look and feel different to me.

That is exactly what the above is- constructive and helpful critique. It is important for the OP to be aware that even being in Tromso for 3 days the northern lights may not oblige. Also that the Floro call is at 5am if not sooner, well before daylight in February. Actual experience of missing the lights several times, and actual experience of sailing the route and of being up for every port call, no matter the time of day or night.

I am actually aware of several people who haven't been on the 'correct' side of the train recently (one on a booked out train)- it is not clear if the trains have been in reverse formation or there has been an equipment change, but those are the facts, from people who have planned like this, and been disappointed.

To be constructively helpful on the Vy website when you book the system allocates you a seat- so click the 'change seats' button and choose your seat from the car plan- but note the disclaimer on the plan, which is much as above. Not everyone can be on the 'correct' side of the train anyway!!- half will not be, statistically.

The 1256 from Voss to Bergen is a regional service, not an ex Oslo service, so there are in fact no reserved seats on that service- first come, first served, arriving on the bus 10 minutes before departure. Voss is a busy station in February so the OP may not get his wishes. In fact Vy specifically state "we cannot guarantee a seat" [any seat]

Posted by
103 posts

Thank you for the feedback and encouragement Mark, isn31c and Annie

Mark, you are right Mark, I had put a lot of thoughts in planning and it is not our first time going to Europe so I would be aware of the jetlag and stuffs so we are used to it. I am surprised the people in Europe look surprise like "how can you travel all the way for 24 hours that long? I can't imagine that, I feel bad for you guys etc" becuase they already feel super dragging and tiring like after 10 hours of flight, let alone 24 hours. I guess we are just unlucky living in the middle of the earth and they live in Europe, that's the difference, lol

isn31c, in regards to the Norway northern light, I did a lot of research that the best chance for NL is between Oct to March and Jan to Feb is absolute the peak for seeing the northern lights, unless I am wrong. I feel Feb is probably the best and suitable for us to go because Jan is dark most of the time plus Feb you can get some snow and also some daylights too up to 5pm on average (in Oslo and 4pm in Trosmo) so it gives us a breathing space to also enjoy the daylight activity. In fact we originally intended to go in Nov this year as it is our 5th wedding anniversary until I learnt that there is only a couple of hours daylight and no snow etc so we postponed it to Feb next year instead

And for Floro call, we don't intend to hop off but just saying it as what is according to the cruise port. The 2 nights cruise,even though it stops a lot of ports, the official port that we can really get off and explore is Alesund for 3 1/2 hours while we want to experience the scenic coastal cruise in a new ship i.e. Havila (new ship 2021) instead of Hurtigruten traditional old ships despite the ports are the same.

"Hurtigtruten do offer the same cruise (meals inclusive) from Bergen to Trondheim".

I went to their website and as you check-out, it ask whether you want dinner or half board or full board and that's extra cost, so unfortunately, it is not included. The only inclusion is when you buy the whole package including the Nutshell tour, then yeah, it is included. I guess if it is broken into portion of the trip, then the meals aren't included and are optional

"To do this itinerary in February just to encounter snow and the elusive Northern Lights I would query."
I understand it is hard to have both so we would rely a bit of luck i.e. Trosmo/Rovaniemi would be clear sky and Bergen/Rovaniemi snowing or mixed etc =)

Annie, thanks for the added suggestion for Mt Aksla Viewpoint as we will take that into consideration

Thank you once again