A lot of companies offer adventurous trips like whale watching, reindeer and dog sledding, overnight stays in Sami huts or aurora chasing tours. Every concept has a big and small group alternative. We extremely appreciated the small group activities, but if you’re on a budget you’ll see the same killer whales with the large cruise boat, the RIB, kayak or catamaran (at least in December).
Day hikes, even with children are also easy to organize on your own. Tromso Outdoor is the reference for gear rental in the city, ranging from winter boots and clothes to high performance climbing gear and even rental bikes with spike tires. They advise you on choosing the right trip for your expectations.
Whale watching: we tried it for you with an RIB tour, organized by Arctic Adventure Tours. They provide you with winter suits, boots, goggles and all so you don’t get (too) cold on the 3-hour trip on the water. This experience brought us really close to the whales in the Kjalfjord nearby the city centre. As a photographer, this proved the best way to photograph these creatures, being low on the water and so incredibly close. Didn’t even need my tele-lens. As we wanted to try the alternatives, we also explored the fjords with a really luxurious catamaran from Arctic Cruise in Norway. For travelers who don’t mind spending a little bit more for a lot more comfort, this is your kind of trip. We caught some fish ourselves on the way there and made a fine fish soup. We sailed to another fjord, and caught an abundance of killer whales and humpbacks.
(Websites: http://www.arcticadventuretours.no and http://www.acinorway.com)
By the way: have you ever eaten any whale? It’s really good, but sooo much! (now you have to laugh ☺)
Dog sledding: Fast than reindeer sledding and the biggest plus: you get to direct the sled yourself! For parents with small children you might prefer the scenic trip. Everybody else: all aboard the dog sled! These mean running machines take you to a 10 mile trip (or in non-retard units: 15 km) through the white planes. Afterwards you got delighted with a hot cocoa and chocolate cake in a Sami tent. We were really astonished by the ease of driving and the way these huskies were beautifully treated.
Aurora Chase: A lot of small and big tour organizers offer these kinds of trips. Larger busses leave every night to chase the lights. Considerably cheaper, but also a lot less magical and zen experience. If you’re searching for a guide who gets the job done and goes the extra mile (literally) Andrei from Enjoy The Arctic is your man. With 8 people in a small van, you’re very agile to adjust as you go. Especially with clouded skies, this has proven an essential asset. These small operators are in constant communication to help each other out in finding gaps in the clouds or strong lights. Furthermore he provides tripods and expert-level guidance for taking the perfect shot from the sky. We lighted a campfire and baked some sausages while waiting on the aurora borealis to get comfy and got rewarded for our patience. (Coincidence or not, we were the only chasing group that night that actually saw the dancing lights). A mystical experience, surrounding by snow-packed trees!
We also got the chance to join a night boat tour with the guys from Arctic Cruise in Norway. This was by far a much more comfortable way of ‘chasing’ the lights, but hard to take a solid and sharp picture with a rocking boat. Walk around on the deck, take a nap in the 4 double beds, sit on an actual toilet, grab an espresso etc. while you wait in your Crocs slippers for the magic to kick in. Thermal suits are there if you need them.
If you have questions or need some more tips and tricks: please contact us!