The Arctic Circle marks the most northerly of the five major circles of latitude – the invisible lines as shown on world maps. Aside from Norway, the other countries that are in the Circle are Sweden, Finland, Russia, USA (Alaska), Canada, Denmark (Greenland), and Iceland. What’s so special about it is during summer months, the sun remains visible at midnight. That means the sun never sets! Imagine standing at the North Cape at 12 midnight and the sun is still in the horizon? Isn’t that a magical sight?
I have recently sailed to the Polar Circle and as of writing, our boat is docked in the second biggest city in Norway – Bodø. In this blog post, I will be sharing with you my itinerary plus tips on how to plan including the budget to allocate for this trip.
Then there’s also the Antarctic Circle, however, the trip to Antarctica still seemed too far and too expensive for me; the journey to the Arctic Circle, however, appears to be more attainable. I have chosen Norway’s Arctic Circle because:
Summertime is perfect for witnessing the midnight sun
During June – August, say hello to warm and sunny weather! Due to the country’s location, you can experience plenty of sunshine, with the sun setting at about 10 pm. Shall you go further north, you can experience the natural phenomenon called the Midnight Sun. This is when the sun remains visible even at midnight. How cool is that?
Easily accessible through cheap flights
Living in South East Asia, Norway is a such a long way, but I can fly via the Middle East to Europe which offers reasonably priced airfares. The cost of my airfare is cheaper than flying directly to Europe.
Norway offers a variety of things to do
You can hike, visit beautiful towns filled with colorful houses, see its churches and museums, or take a cruise.
Taste fresh food and experience the good life
Norway offers the freshest of seafood and other produce. You can enjoy Norwegian cuisine while inhaling fresh air the world has to offer.
Go for the fjords
Aside from trolls, Norway is known to be the home of hundreds of fjords offering breathtaking views. If you are feeling adventurous, climbing some of it is also an option.
Those were just a few of the many reasons to visit Norway. If you need more reasons to go, you may head to www.visitnorway.com.
Now, for my itinerary
Day 01: Hong Kong/ Dubai
Fly Hong Kong/ Dubai EK 385 2130/ 0445 (11h 15m)
Day 02: Dubai/ Oslo
Fly Dubai/ Oslo Gardemoen Airport EK 159 0725/ 1230 (7h 5m)
Take the train from Oslo airport to Oslo Central Station. Once settled, stroll along Tjuvholmen (Thief Island) and the city’s new urban waterside, Aker Brygge. Overnight in Airbnb.
Day 03: Oslo/ Bergen
Walk to Grünerløkka, Oslo’s hippest area and go to Godt Brødt for an awesome double cappuccino.
Walk to Bergen Station and board the train.
Train schedule: 1202/ 1855
The Flåm Railway is one of the most beautiful journeys in the world – be sure to book in advance.
Upon arrival, walk around the UNESCO-listed Bryggen district with and see its colorful wharfs dating back to the 14th century.
Overnight in Marken Guesthouse (hostel).
Day 04: Bergen/ Hurtigruten Cruise Embarkation
Walk to Godt Brødt for an awesome salad breakfast.
Enjoy a leisurely morning and walk around the town. Visit the works of Edvard Munch in the Kode Galleries and enjoy a lunch meal at 2×2.
At 5 pm, proceed to the Hurtigruten cruise terminal and at 6 pm, check into your cabin.
Day 05 – 07: Cruising along Norway’s coast
Sailing with Hurtigruten Cruise, you will experience varied and beautiful coastal nature, large and small towns, as well as lectures and activities with the expedition team on board.
- Florø – Molde
- Kristiansund – Rørvik
- Brønnøysund – Svolvær
- Stokmarknes – Tromsø
Day 08: Tromso/ Lygen Lodge
Disembark from Tromso and take the 1600 bus to Lyngen Lodge. Rest and overnight.
Day 09: Lyngen Lodge/ Tromso/ Stockholm
Take the shuttle to Tromso city center. Walk around the town before taking the flight to Stockholm.
Fly Tromso/ Stockholm SK 1492 1615/ 1805 (1h 50m)
Take the bus to Stockholm city center.
Then walk 15 minutes to Airbnb accommodation.
Once settled, walk around Gamla Stan.
Day 10: Stockholm/ Dubai/ Hong Kong
A leisurely morning before taking the bus shuttle to the airport.
Fly Stockholm/ Dubai EK 158 1505/ 2320 (6h 15m)
Fly Dubai/ Hong Kong EK 384 0250/ 1805 (11h 15m) with stopover in Bangkok
Traveling solo, my budget looks like this:
Train from Oslo Airport – Oslo city center: HK$100
Oslo Airbnb: HK$369 Train from Oslo – Bergen: HK$620
Marken Guesthouse (1 bed in a 6-bed female dorm): HK$279
Hurtigruten Cruise Arctic Superior Cabin in single sharing (fully-inclusive of meals): HK$17,752
Lyngen Lodge: HK$1,938
Roundtrip bus in Stockholm: HK$200
Stockholm Airbnb: HK$561
Emirates flights: HK$4,899
Grand Total: HK$26,718 / (USD 3,425)
The above calculation does not include my meals outside the cruise trip, but a good meal in Norway would cost about HK$100 – 150 per person. If you would like to save money for food, it is also a good idea to hit the supermarket.
You may notice that I stayed only a night in Lyngen, but if I have more time, I recommend to go for three nights in Lyngen Lodge because it offers a lot of other special arctic experiences such as horseback riding, whale watching, glacier walking, and trekking. I would also suggest at least two nights stay in Sweden’s capital, Stockholm. But because I only have a limited number of annual leaves in a year, I prefer to touch and go.
Norway and Sweden are not only known for the midnight sun. If you don’t mind the freezing cold in winter, you can also catch the Northern Lights.
Lastly, here are my tips for planning your trip to the Arctic Circle during the summer:
- Make sure to pack an umbrella and waterproof gears because even if the sun does not set, summer also brings rain. Temperate can range from 6 – 23 degrees Celsius so dress in layers.
- Go green and bring a water bottle wherever you go. Tap water is drinkable and bottled water aren’t cool anymore.
- Pack some snacks. Knowing the prices of eating out in Norway, it will be wise to bring your own tea bags, chocolate powder, and peanuts in case of sudden hunger.
- Get a SIM card with data. This will allow you to use Google map for navigating around town.
Enjoy the moment. Make sure that you have taken the beauty in with your very own eyes before snapping a picture. These moments do not last forever.
Norway’s Arctic Circle should definitely be in your bucket list. Besides, taking a break will definitely help you on how to be happy at work or perhaps you just want to start over your life positively? Go for it! There should be no excuses now why you can’t travel.
Hope that helps and give you an idea on how to plan for a Norway trip. Feel free to let us know in the comments below if you have any questions. Bon Voyage!