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Travel With Wes to Tromso, Norway (Northern Lights Group Trip)

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Have you ever dreamt of seeing the Northern Lights? If you’re like me, then this is something that has always been on your bucket list.

Last year I decided it was finally time to turn that dream into a reality and so I started my research to figure out a travel destination that would maximize my chances of catching the elusive Aurora Borealis.

That research led me to what some call the ‘Paris of the North’. Located in the northernmost reaches of Norway, above the Arctic Circle, is a bustling town called Tromso.

After visiting Tromso myself in November 2023, I knew that this place was something I wanted to help other people experience. So in November 2024, I’ll be leading two separate groups of travelers back to Tromso to hunt the Northern Lights and to experience many other fun Arctic activities!

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A little bit about Tromso, Norway

Tromso boasts a population of over 60,000 people and it has a reputation for being one of the best places on earth to witness the Northern Lights.

Tromso has the perfect blend of extreme northern latitude, moderate weather and short daylight hours during November to create excellent conditions for seeing the Northern Lights.

By mid-November, the 9:30am sunrise and 1:30pm sunsets mean that there’s only 4 hours of daylight. The daylight that you will experience, is a beautiful, almost permanent golden hour glow as the sun sweeps extremely low across the Arctic sky.

Arctic Twilight in Tromso Norway

The short windows of daylight are perfect for exploring town and enjoying some of the activities that we have planned during the trip.

While you can experience 24 hours of darkness here during December, the weather is more challenging and the lack of any sunlight can make it difficult to enjoy certain activities. For these reasons, November tends to be the better all around option for visitors.

A little bit about Wes

I’m a 34 year Cincinnati native who grew up on the west side of town. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati I enjoyed a nearly 14 year long career at Great American Insurance.

Man posing with a snowman wearing a Cincinnati Reds jersey

I recently decided to hang up my corporate career to try building something that focuses on two things I’m more passionate about, which are travel and photography.

Since then I’ve been working diligently to build this travel blog (welcome!) and grow a following on YouTube where I showcase my travels. But now I’m launching the project that I’m most excited about, which is bringing group travel to Cincinnati!

Northern Lights display above the Bruarfoss waterfall at night in Iceland
This moment was a highlight from my two week camper van trip across Iceland

As an avid traveler, I’ve visited over 25 countries. Most recently I spent two weeks exploring the southern coast of Iceland in a camper van where I had the adventure of a lifetime chasing waterfalls, visiting black sand beaches and witnessing another incredible Northern Lights display.

You can rest easy knowing this trip is planned by a person who has actually visited the destination, will be traveling with you during the trip and has years of experience visiting dozens of different countries. If you have any travel related questions or concerns, I’m at your service.

Northern Lights displaying above a Fjord in Northern Norway
I took this photo during the first night I ever saw the Northern Lights outside of Tromso

And while Iceland has a reputation as another place you can see the Northern Lights, there was only 1 viewing opportunity during my two week trip. Whereas during my trip last November to Tromso and Northern Norway, we saw them on 4 out of 5 nights that we went out looking.

Tromso is further North and typically has better weather than Iceland, making it a better Northern Lights chasing destination.

And on that note, let’s discuss details about the trip.

About the trip

This small group trip to Tromso, Norway will be limited to 14 travelers. The trip is being primarily marketed to the Cincinnati area with the intention of helping people who are passionate about travel living in the Tri-State get connected.

Shortly before the trip, I plan to host dinner and drinks for the group in Cincinnati so everyone can meet their fellow travelers.

The trip will include six nights of 4-star accommodations at a hotel located in the city center that is extremely convenient for walking around town (you do not need a rental car). Airport transfers and roundtrip transportation for all activities is included in the cost.

Boats in the Tromso Norway harbor area
Views of the Tromso harbor area

You’ll have a dedicated guide for the entire trip (that’s me!) along with local guides that we hire for various portions of the trip. I planned and took a near exact copy of this trip back in November myself, so rest assured I’ve been there and scoped out the itinerary already!

We have organized activities on the first 5 nights in Tromso that will offer us great opportunities to see the Northern Lights. And although we’re visiting Norway during an optimal time of year for viewing them, no one can guarantee a Northern Lights sighting! It will be dependent on weather and solar activity.

Vivid green Northern Lights display above red house
There’s nothing more amazing than seeing the entire sky lit up by a river of green!

Three of the evenings we’ll utilize a private small group Northern Lights tour operator that will take our group outside of Tromso to darker areas with clearer skies. This will maximize our chances of seeing the Northern Lights.

These tour operators will even drive us to nearby Sweden or Finland if that’s what it takes to reach clear skies. Not only that, but they include thermal winter gear rentals that will keep you nice and warm while we hang out outside watching the night sky.

The other two opportunities for Northern Lights viewing will be after riding the Fjellheisen Cable Car up to Storsteinen mountain and during an evening visit with a group of local Sami reindeer herders.

Views from the Tromso Cable Car at night
Views of Tromso from atop Storsteinen Mountain

I have a ton more activities planned which you’ll find in the itinerary below, so I won’t spoil them here. I just wanted to emphasize the ample number of Northern Lights viewing opportunities you’ll have during the trip!

What are the trip dates?

I will be hosting two sets of travelers in Tromso, Norway during November 2024.

Signage on the ground in a Norwegian Airport

The first trip window will be from November 6th through November 12th (6 nights). Keep in mind that in order to reach Tromso by early afternoon on November 6th, you’ll typically need to depart Cincinnati the evening of November 4th.

The second trip window will be from November 13th through November 19th (6 nights). Keep in mind that in order to reach Tromso by early afternoon on November 13th, you’ll typically need to depart Cincinnati the evening of November 11th.

While flights or layovers are not included in the trip cost, I do have a set of recommended departure and return flights put together that I’ve already researched. I’ll provide this information to all trip participants.

Lodging & Transportation:

4-Star Hotel Accommodations (6 Nights)

Our 4-star hotel accommodations are centrally located next to the Tromso Harbor area. The city is very walkable from this location. The hotel is also conveniently located adjacent to the meeting points for all of our activities.

Hotel rooms and trip prices are based on double occupancy. If you are a solo traveler inquiring about the trip, please let me know if you would prefer to be matched with another solo traveler or pay an additional fee for a solo room.

Roundtrip airport transfers

Roundtrip transportation to and from the Tromso Airport is included.

I will discuss individual travel preferences and needs with each group member with regard to flights. I have a list of recommended flights for departures and arrivals. Keep in mind that to reach Tromso by 11/6/2024 afternoon you’ll typically need to depart from Cincinnati by 11/4/2024.

For the second set of dates, this means you’ll typically need to depart Cincinnati by 11/11/2024 to reach Tromso by 11/13/2024.

As a heads up, to reach Tromso you’re generally better off laying over for the night on the outbound and inbound travel. My recommended flights include a 1 night layover in London during the outbound travel and a 1 night layover in Oslo during the return trip.

Large Christmas Market with ferris wheel in Norway
If you visit Oslo in November, be sure to check out their Christmas Markets!

Airfare and any layover relayed lodging on the outbound or inbound travel is not included in the tour price. I would budget up to $1500 for economy airfare per person.

Meals (10):

Below you will find all of the meals included in the cost of your trip. This will cover about 50% of the meals during your trip. This is a great value because eating out in Norway isn’t cheap!

Traditional Norwegian Meal with red berries
Reindeer is a popular dish in Northern Norway

If you have any dietary restrictions, please make sure I am aware in advance of the trip. This will allow me to contact any restaurants or activity providers to ensure we have a suitable substitute in place.

Breakfasts (6)

Breakfast is included in your package each morning at the hotel. Several of the activities we’ll be enjoying during the trip will have shuttle pickups near our hotel in the morning.

Being able to roll out of bed and have easy access to breakfast is something I know everyone will be happy about. The buffet style breakfasts in Norway are elevated, with tons of hot and cold options, fruit and more.

Not only that, but where we are staying won the award for best hotel breakfast in the county during 2023!

Lunches (2)

Lunch will be provided during two of our group activities (huskies and whale watching).

Dinners (2)

Our first night together in Tromso will involve a four course sit down dinner. Dinner will also be provided during the Northern Lights Reindeer visit on day five.

Tromso Norway Travel Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Tromso!

Get to know your fellow travelers on your first night in Tromso that will include a 4 course meal at a highly regarded restaurant offering traditional Nordic foods.

Following dinner we’ll head for the Fjellheisen Cable Car which takes us up Storsteinen Mountain that towers above Tromso and offers sweeping views of the city lit up at night.

If the weather and aurora cooperate, this will be your first good opportunity to spot the Northern Lights!

Day 2: Meet the Huskies & Northern Lights Excursion

On your first full day in town we’ll stretch your legs and head out to Villmarkssenter to meet sled dogs and take them on hikes out into the snowy wilderness. Plan to be outside hiking for a couple of hours during this moderately active activity.

Man enjoying husky hike in Tromso Norway
Trudging through the snow is easy when your husky is doing part of the work!

After returning to town everyone will have a few hours on their own to find a meal and get ready for their first small group Northern Lights excursion. These can last into the early morning and we may drive to Sweden or Finland to chase viewing opportunities!

Day 3: Exploring Town & Northern Lights Excursion

On your second full day in town we’ll explore by foot so you can get acquainted with the area and learn about the local culture.

Man posing with a reindeer in a museum exhibit
One of the exhibits inside the Polar Museum depicting life in the Arctic

After breakfast we’ll head to the Polar Museum to learn about Arctic history, visit Polaria to see a Seal feeding and tour the Northernmost Brewery in the world.

After enjoying a flight of beer at the brewery, everyone will be on their own for a few hours before we reconvene in the evening for our second small group Northern Lights excursion.

Day 4: Free Morning to Explore Town & Northern Lights Excursion

Following back to back nights of Northern Lights chasing, you’ll be rewarded with a free day for sleeping in late and exploring town on your own. This is a great day to go shopping, check out some cafes or restaurants and go exploring on your own.

Arctic Cathedral in Tromso Norway
The Arctic Cathedral is one of the most photographed spots in Tromso

In the early evening we’ll reconvene for our third and final small group Northern Lights excursion. But don’t worry, we’ll still have another opportunity to see them tomorrow!

Day 5: Group Bowling, Tromso Ice Bar & Northern Lights Reindeer Visit

While your morning will be free today, in the afternoon we’ll meet up for a social gathering to bowl, play billiards and hang out. We’ll head over to the Tromso Ice Bar for a drink (or two) before heading out on a Northern Lights Reindeer visit.

Surprised looking reindeer feeding from a bucket
Feeding reindeer during our visit with a group of Sami people was so much fun!

We’ll visit with a group of Sami people and their reindeer herd in the evening, feed the reindeer by hand, enjoy dinner at their camp and even go for a short reindeer sled ride. During dinner we’ll be educated by the Sami on their culture and traditions.

Since the activity will take place at night, if the weather and Aurora cooperates, you’ll have an opportunity to feed reindeer under the Northern Lights!

Day 6: Whale Watching Safari & Happy Hour at World’s Smallest Bar

Today we’ll hop aboard an eco friendly whale watching vessel that will take us to the rich Arctic waters outside of Tromso.

Whale watching ship in the Arctic Circle
During your journey to the whale watching area you’ll enjoy beautiful Arctic landscapes

This full day activity includes beautiful views of snowy Arctic landscapes while we sail out to the whales feeding waters.

Killer Whale above the water in Arctic Ocean
It was an incredible experience to see so many whales up close in their natural habitat

Along the way you’ll enjoy educational and fun lectures from educated marine biologists on board. There are beverages and light snacks available for purchase throughout the day, while lunch is included.

A small yellow bar in Tromso Norway
The World’s Smallest Bar in Tromso Norway

After spending an afternoon spotting Orcas (Killer Whales) and Humpback Whales we’ll return to Tromso for a happy hour send off at the World’s Smallest Bar. Enjoy a proper send off by having a beer on Wes’s dime with your fellow traveler’s before enjoying your final evening in town.

Day 7: Final Morning in Tromso

Sadly, this will be our final morning together. After breakfast most of our group will start making their way for the airport and the journey home.

If you’ve got the time off work and budget, this would be a great time to extend your trip elsewhere in Norway or Europe. My recommended route home includes a night layover in Oslo.

Woman sipping hot chocolate at the Oslo Christmas Market
Oslo’s Christmas Market is a can’t miss stop when visiting!

Spend a night here and consider checking out their open air museum, a floating sauna cold plunge in the harbor or a visit to their world famous Christmas Markets!

Cost and Payment Options

The total trip cost for this Northern Lights adventure is $3650 per person. If you have a promotional code or partner offer please be sure to mention it when submitting your inquiry for the trip and it will be deducted from your final total.

I accept credit card payment via Chase Pay, check, Zelle or Venmo. You can submit the $500 deposit in any manner you would like (without being subject to a convenience fee). However, if you pay your final balance via credit card, that portion will be subject to a 3% convenience fee.

Deposits are refundable for 30 days after booking, up until 90 days of the trip arrival date, less a 3% transaction fee. Deposits are non refundable within 90 days of the trip date.

The full trip payment is due 90 days before the trip arrival date. 50% of your final trip payment (excluding the deposit) is refundable up to 60 days before the trip arrival date. Cancellations made less than 60 days from the trip arrival date are nonrefundable.

I’d always recommend booking flexible airfare and purchasing travel insurance to cover the balance of your trip!

Submit your contact information to start reserving your spot!

To start reserving your spot on this trip, submit the below contact form and I’ll be in touch to answer any questions you have.

As a reminder, spaces are limited and the only way to guarantee your spot is by submitting your deposit! By submitting the below form you agree to receive email communications from Travel With Wes.

  • Name
  • Email Address
  • Please include the following information in the message box:
    • Are you a booking for two people or a solo traveler?
    • Preferred method of contact (if other than email, please provide info)
    • Any additional questions you have about the trip
    • Please mention any promo code you might have

If you’d like to discuss the trip in greater detail, I’m also available to take calls to answer any questions you might have. Just mention that in the comments! I’m looking forward to seeing you in Norway!

Reindeer waiting near a sled in a snowy landscape
I’ll save you a seat in Norway!

If you’re interested in learning more about the Whale Watching Safari, then check out the YouTube video below where I sat down to interview the ships captain during my visit in November 2023.

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