It’s prime Northern Lights season at the moment and it seems like every provider of Northern Lights safaris throughout Northern Norway, Swedish and Finnish Lapland, as well as Iceland, says that their destination is the best one to watch the Northern Lights – for so many different, not always actually entirely true, reasons. Thus, I thought I’d talk about some common Northern Lights myths I’ve encountered recently with you in this video!
Is autumn in full swing where you live? I have to admit, I’m not a fan of the lack of daylight and bad weather that come with autumn in Norway but I’m absolutely in love with the colours of this season! Unfortunately, it doesn’t last very long here in Stavanger. Either the leaves are blown away in a storm quite quickly or they start to rot almost immediately after falling to the ground as it rains so much here. There seems to be one place in the Nordics that does a proper Indian Summer, though: Finland! Or rather, Finnish Lapland!
One of the biggest (and least crowded) gems in itself is the region of Finnmark, stretching all the way to 71 degrees north. I was lucky to experience life in the outskirts of Europe when I did my Workaway stay in the small village of Gamvik, and still regret that I didn’t went further east to explore the Norwegian-Russian border area around Kirkenes. Therefore I was all the more excited when I was contacted by Prityazhenie, asking if I’d be interested in writing a post about the region and specifically about Pasvik Nature Reserve - a national park that actually stretches over areas of Norway, Russia and Finland, and apparently is a heaven for bird watchers! If you’d like to really explore the wilderness of Northern Norway, Pasvik Nature Reserve seems to be perfect place. Here’s why:*
Winter is approaching and you are planning a trip to Tromsø? You've maybe heard of the ice hotel in Kiruna or Kirkenes? As of last winter (2017/2018), there is also such an ice hotel near Tromsø. Initially not designed as a hotel, demand soon required the option to stay there and this should be possible from this winter onwards. Last winter I took part in an organized bus trip from Tromsø and experienced the following:
Norwegians quite simply have a different understanding of a simple hike than someone who grew up in the plains of Germany (in other words: me). Understandably so, Norwegian kids grow up hiking in the mountains while I, even after 4 years in the country, still can’t get myself to even attempt to hike Pulpit Rock - that edge just looks too scary! So, when I say “easy hikes”, I really mean it! The following 7 hikes all feature relatively flat terrain and well-maintained trails, and could probably easily be done by any Norwegian 2-year old ;) ... Well maybe not quite a 2-year old but at least, these hikes are manageable even if you’re not in best shape and/or suffer from a fear of heights! Happy hiking!
Why you would want to stand in line (and this is no joke!) at Pulpit Rock, Trolltunga and co. when there's an entire country of over 1600 km in length to explore, is beyond me! Therefore, I've decided to put together a small selection of alternatives to the "must-sees" of Norway - for anyone who'd like to escape the summer crowds in the country and those of you, who are seeking to discover Norway like a local!
With only a dozen hotels to choose from, accommodation options on Svalbard are pretty limited - and certainly not for those travelling on a tiny budget. I was surprised to find hostel prices in Longyearbyen at the same rate as you'd get a stay in a decent Scandic Hotel on the mainland of Norway. Nevertheless, the accommodation costs are totally worth to experience Svalbard up close and while it might not be entirely possible to visit Svalbard on a backpacker's or student budget, it certainly isn't impossible to save a few bucks - or splurge, if that's what you prefer!
Living in Tromsø for 3 years, I thought that packing for a trip to Svalbard in the summer would be a walk in the park. After all, I had all the proper winter gear and outdoor equipment and thought I'd be done packing in no time! Turns out, however, that things are a little more difficult… I thus decided to make a list of all the things I really ended up needing in the High Arctic and will also tell you why you can leave your down jacket at home, in this article!
After all, I would have been stupid not to head to Svalbard when the archipelago only is a 1 1/2-hour flight away - am I right?! I definitely fell in love with the region and would have loved to stay just a night or two longer to explore even more. Personally, I'd say that Svalbard can best be explored in summer as opposed to the 24-hour darkness of the polar night that lasts from October to February - but I guess it depends on what you come there to do and see.
I totally get the wish, of course, but I'd also like to make sure that if you go, you choose a tour operator that cares well for the animals. What you need to consider before booking that trip and what to look out for before choosing a dog-sledding/reindeer-sledding or whale-watching tour, will thus be the topic of this article!
Imagine my excitement over getting the chance to visit a reindeer farm in Lapland this winter! Feeding and cuddling baby reindeer in a winter wonderland? That does sound like a day too good to be true, doesn't it? Well, you're lucky because I'm going to recap the entire day for you in this post - and don't worry, there's plenty of cute reindeer footage coming along!*
Despite my blog's name, the snow in Tromsø doesn't actually last all that long. In fact, winters in Tromsø nowadays, are more characterized by ice and slush than a firm snow cover that lasts 5 months. This winter, however, I was introduced to a place that actually offers 200 days of snow a year - a place that's perfect if you love snow as much as I do: Ruka-Kuusamo in North-Eastern Finland!*
Up until this year, I had never even heard about Lahti. Turns out, however, that I've been really missing out. The city of Lahti in Southern Finland is a culinary hotspot with plenty of options to sleep somewhere with a view. The city seems to truly come alive in the summer but there also is a ton of things to do if you're planning on visiting in winter - that is beside watching ski tournaments and stuffing your face with Finnish cuisine (as you definitely want to do if you've read my last post). Here are, thus, 12 things to see and do in the Lahti Region in winter!*
When my friend Christina asked me what I wanted to do during my one full day in Helsinki with her, I had to think for a minute. It took me 26 years to finally visit Finland and although the country had been on my bucket list for ages, I realized that I actually knew very little about its capital. Sure enough, I knew I wanted to visit Helsinki Cathedral because that's what you HAVE to see when visiting the city - but other than that? I had no idea. Until I stumbled upon an article on Twitter showcasing urban nature in and around Helsinki - which had me hooked immediately!
The cold weather can make you want to snuggle up next to a fire and drink hot chocolate during the winter time. But if you have an adventurous spirit, the cold weather just makes you wish for the warmth so you can get back to exploring the outdoors.Luckily, you don’t have to wait till summer to let your adventurous spirit run wild—not in Norway, at least. It is one of the best countries to visit during the winter season for any adventurer. Here are five amazing things to do while you’re there.
Lysefjorden Hiking Festival takes place in early September each year and after having lived in Stavanger for 4 weeks at that time, it seemed like a great opportunity to finally explore the famous fjord and at least get a glimpse of Preikestolen and Kjerag from the boat. It felt like a win-win situation: Heading all the way to the end of the fjord at Lysebotn (that way seeing the entire length of the fjord on the trip) and gaining insider knowledge from our local guide - what could possibly go wrong?
Autumn is a popular time to visit Norway and I'd recommend people to come to Tromsø or the Lofoten Islands in September and October in a heartbeat. Western Norway in autumn, however, isn't even all that popular among the locals, so that should give you a hint about the weather here at this time of year!Aside from the usual autumn storms, there are a few more things you should keep in mind before heading to Stavanger, Bergen, and co. in autumn, which I'd like to present you in this post.
As there are no roads in Sjunkhatten National Park, the only way to get to Sjunkfjorden is by boat. The few hours of daylight during polar night in winter and temperatures of up to -35 degrees Celsius in the most extreme cases, contribute to this being one of the wildest places in the area – but for exactly this reason, Sjunkfjorden has got to also be one of the most stunning spots in the national park.