Lapland: Home of the Sami People

March 23, 2015 - April 6, 2015

Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.

Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.

March 23 Depart USA

Depart on your independent flight to Oslo.

March 24 Oslo, Norway

Arrive in Oslo this afternoon and make your way to the Radisson SAS Airport Hotel. Gather this evening for a welcome dinner and briefing.

March 25 Oslo / Kirkenes

This morning board your short flight to Kirkenes. Upon arrival enjoy a city tour, including the Borderland Museum and the Andersgrotta, a bomb shelter where town residents sought refuge from Russian air raids during World War II. After lunch at a local restaurant, transfer to the Thon Hotel, with the rest of the afternoon at leisure to relax or explore on your own.

March 26 Kirkenes

After breakfast, attend a short introduction to snowmobile driving, with a bit of time to practice your newly learned skills. Then transfer to the Snowhotel. Made entirely of snow, a new structure is built every year, complete with ice-carved bed platforms, furniture, and decorations. This afternoon attend a dog mushing lesson. If the night is clear, walk to a viewpoint to watch for the Northern Lights.

March 27 Kirkenes / Svanhovd

Today choose to spend the morning either ice fishing, or cross-country skiing. After lunch at a local restaurant, board your snowmobile for a thrilling ride through snow-draped wilderness to arrive at the Svanhovd National Park Center. Take nature walks through pristine forests to search for resident wildlife.

March 28 Svanhovd / Kirkenes / Batsfjord

After breakfast, ride your snowmobile back to Kirkenes and board the Hurtigruten ferry. Cruise past photogenic coastal scenery as you enjoy lunch on board. Arrive in Batsfjord and check in to the Batsfjord Hotel.

March 29 Batsfjord / Kongsfjord

After breakfast, take a stroll along the harbor of Norway’s fishing capital, keeping an eye out for king and Steller’s eiders, among other species. Then board coaches for the drive to Kongsfjord, a tiny fishing village whose waters were fished out in the late 20th century, causing many people to move away. Now the fish are coming back, and so are the people, many for the quaint, slow-paced lifestyle. Don snowshoes for a scenic walk through the surrounding countryside. Dinner and overnight at Kongsfjord Gjestehus.

March 30 Kongsfjord

Explore this charming settlement by snowshoe and continue to the peninsula beyond town for impressive views. Here you will also find ruined fortifications installed during World War II. After lunch take a stroll through town, stopping at galleries and gift shops filled with local products and folk art. Those who are up to the challenge may join a local crabber to hunt for the region’s giant king crabs. For dinner this evening, enjoy your catch of the day. Overnight at Kongsfjord Gjestehus.

March 31 Kongsfjord / Hillagurra

This morning enjoy a scenic drive to Hillagurra. Here you will meet the Gaups, a Sami family who live in a modern house (for part of the year), but continue to make traditional clothes by hand, follow the summer reindeer migration, and celebrate Sami festivals. Meet the herd and take an exhilarating ride in your own reindeer-drawn sleigh, or you may choose to ride behind a reindeer on skis. Dinner is a traditional Sami meal which will likely include reindeer stew prepared over an open fire. This evening your hosts regale you with folktales and explain the language, customs, beliefs, clothing, and crafts of the Sami people. Tonight you have the unique opportunity to sleep in a traditional Sami lavvu—a cozy, communal tent made with wooden floors.

April 1 Hillagurra / Karasjok

In addition to its beautiful surroundings, Karasjok is the social and cultural center of the Norwegian Sami. Important Sami institutions have been established here, including the Sámediggi (the Sami Parliament) and a Sami language radio station. Enjoy a special private tour of the Sami Parliament Building and at the Sami National Museum, you will see excellent displays of traditional garments, tools, and crafts. Afterwards, visit a Sami knifesmith who crafts reindeer-herder knives. These knives have a distinctive look and are an integral part of Sami culture; they range from workaday to decorative, and make a memorable souvenir. Dinner and overnight at Rica Hotel Karasjok.

April 2 Karasjok / Ravnastua

Today you will with local dog mushers. Visit the kennels to meet his highly trained sled dogs, then board your own sled to make the 12-mile journey to the Ravnastua Mountain Lodge. Your accommodations tonight are rustic cabins equipped with cozy wood-stoves. Behind the main house is a separate building with a clever wood-fired hot tub and sauna, the perfect way to unwind after a busy day. This evening enjoy a hearty meal prepared by our host, accompanied by a performance of accordion music and traditional Sami songs.

April 3 Ravnastua / Kautokeino

Today we mush our sleds back to Kautokeino and enjoy lunch, before boarding buses for the short drive to Kautokeino. The “secret capital” of the Sami, Kautokeino hosts the annual Sami Easter Festival. This afternoon take a stroll around town to observe the bustle of activity. Dinner and overnight at Thon Hotel Kautokeino.

April 4 Kautokeino

Today the festivities culminate as you witness a variety of unique events including reindeer races, snowmobile races, ice fishing competitions, and theater productions. A celebratory farewell dinner will include a special yoiking performance. Overnight at Thon Hotel Kautokeino.

April 5 Kautokeino / Alta / Oslo

This morning join a short city tour and make a stop at Juhl’s Silver Gallery and workshop where you will find beautiful jewelry and decorative items using traditional Sami designs and motifs. Drive to Alta for your flight to Oslo, with dinner and overnight at the SAS Radisson Hotel.

April 6 Oslo / USA

Depart on your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the same day.