Northern Lights in Norway

RCGS: Norway Arctic Lights & Whales with Jill Heinerth

5 days
Suitable for:
Age 16+
Activity level:
Leisurely / Moderate
Activity Rating - Leisurely/Moderate
Trip code: 
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Short Breaks
Winter Holidays
Group size:
Min age:

An adventure travel legends are made of...

Inspired by the very first Arctic explorers, journey to the far reaches of Norway’s northern tip led by RCGS Explorer-in-Residence, filmmaker, photographer and world-renowned underwater explorer, Jill Heinerth. A veteran of over thirty years of exploration, Jill has made TV series for PBS, National Geographic and the BBC. On this exclusive RCGS departure, you’ll have the opportunity to hone in on your photography skills with tips and tricks from Heinerth herself all while exploring the Arctic wonders of the Vesteralen Islands.

The otherworldly archipelago sits within the Arctic Circle and offers an intoxicating cocktail of fjords and mountains all teeming with wildlife, from soaring eagles to sea otters and reindeer. Venture out to the more remote islands and visit local fishing villages, then try your hand at ice fishing. Bring science to life during a visit to the Andoya Space Center – which regularly launches rockets to study the aurora – and attempt your own mission simulation. Suit up in arctic oversuits and head out on a whale watching excursion in search of Humpbacks, Fin, and Killer Whales. Watch a dazzling light display in the sky as the Northern Lights dance above you in the evenings. As your adventure comes to an end, you’ll enjoy a traditional meal around a roaring fire – a fitting goodbye to this remote region.


  • Visit the Andoya Space Center and learn about the Aurora Borealis.

  • Search for Humpbacks, Fin and Killer Whales.
  • Try your hand at ice fishing at Lake Kringelvann.
  • Explore the Norwegian Arctic with RCGS Explorer-in-Residence, filmmaker and world-renowned underwater explorer, Jill Heinerth.

Key information

  • 4 nights in wilderness cabins or Aurora guesthouse with shared facilities 
  • 3 days exploration of the island, including whale watching and research centre visit
  • Group normally 5 to 14, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs
  • Countries visited: Norway

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 4 dinners included
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • Airport transfers
  • Tour leader throughout

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Flights
  • Single accommodation - available on request
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for Tailor Made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 


  • Day 1

    Fly to Evenes via Oslo, transfer to Andoy (approx. 3 hrs).

    We meet at the Friluftssenter on Buksnesfjord for a warm welcome before settling in to our accommodation and heading to the restaurant for dinner.

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Morning exploration of local area on foot; trip to the nearby valley for outdoor lunch and ice fishing on Lake Kringelvann.

    Weather in the Vesteralen is unpredictable, and we may well re order some of the activities to better suit the conditions, however we often start our trips by exploring our immediate surroundings. The Friluftssenter enjoys a fanstastic location, just 50m/164ft from the shores of Buksnesfjord with views over the surrounding mountains. Our main focus today will be nearby Lake Kringelvann which sits a few kilometres from our accommodation in an impressive valley. This area is home to moose, reindeers and many species of bird. The lake itself can be reached on foot or in an adapted trailer pulled along by Nigel on his quad bike.

    The track is easy to follow for those that wish and winds through the forest and down to the shores of the lake itself, at the head of the valley. We can head out onto the lake, try some ice fishing or explore the valley a little further, trying to spot wild moose amongst the trees. Lunch is taken outdoors by a fire and consists of a simple but satisfying soup with locally made bread. Should the ice fishing go well there may be an arctic char or two to add to the grill!

    In the evening, a professional photographer joins the group to share some photography tricks! 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Tour of Andoy passing through fishing villages on the arctic coast, including northern Europe's longest beach and to the world's largest Northern Lights research base.

    Though our base on Buksnesfjord is spectacular, it is well worth exploring these islands further. Today we take to the bus and drive across the main bridge to the next island, Andoya. This island is home to some of Norway's most beautiful beaches including northern Europe's longest, by the village of Bleik. We will also see the fishing village of Nordmela, one of those at the heart of the island's fishing industry. If conditions are with us we may see seals and eagles from the road.

    Our journey includes a stop at the dramatically named Andoya Space Center which launches rockets regularly to study the Aurora. On arrival we watch a short film on the science behind the Aurora and the work done on Andoya to study it. Then we take part of a guided tour round the visitor centre where we see the telemetry station, the science centre and range control, and get a unique insight in how northern light research is done at the centre.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Drive to Andenes for whale watching; return to Friluftssenter for free time before the evening meal in the lavvo.

    We have introduced a whale watching excursion this year, and for our last full day we drive up to Andenes at the northern tip of the Island. Here we are issued with Arctic oversuits and get ready to board the boat. In winter these waters play host to Humpbacks, Fin and Killer Whales and the whale centre itself has plenty of information and displays to complement the trip. This excursion in particular may be changed to another day if conditions dictate.

    We will take a packed lunch to eat once back on dry land, after which we transfer back to the Friluftssenter for free time to explore and enjoy further photographic opportunities, as Nigel fires up the outdoor hot tub for those that wish.

    Larger groups will have to split into two 'shifts' for the hot tub. Other options include a short walk to a small frozen lake just behind the Friluftssenter. The lake feels totally secluded as it is surrounded on 3 sides by steep slopes and a walkway has been installed to allow easy access. Alternatively the shores of the fjord are just over the road, and worth exploring to enjoy the views across and behind it.

    For our final night we head up to the Friluftssenter's Lavvo for a traditional meal around a roaring fire, a fitting end to our time in the Arctic.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Transfer to Evenes.

    Our trip ends at Evenes Airport.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info



No visa required for British passport holders.



There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All meals are included, and the food here is excellent, particularly the freshly caught salmon and char, to say nothing of the legendary moose pie. Our meal in the lavvo will contain traditional Norwegian dishes including reindeer.

Nigel, Ingvild and the team will always do their best to cater for dietary needs, please ensure you inform us prior to travel.


Winters in the Vesteralen Islands are much milder than those of inland northern Norway on the same latitude, thanks to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream. As such winter temperatures are usually between -2 to -10°C/28 to 14°F in winter. Daylight hours are scarce in January, rising steadily through February and into March, where there is around five hours of daylight. Even in January, however, it is not pitch black, instead there are hours of what the locals call 'blue light' meaning it is perfectly possible to be outdoors for several hours per day.

Is this trip for you?

This trip is not active, however be prepared to walk over uneven terrain and encounter changing, sometimes powerful weather. Exploration is done mainly on foot by bus and boat, and to take full advantage of the magnificent landscape a reasonable level of fitness is advised.
The weather is of course unpredictable, and this far north storms are possible. As such the running order of the itinerary remains flexible to allow us to make the best use of our time and conditions. In particular the whale watching excursion may be moved, or in some cases cancelled in the case of poor conditions. In this situation other activities would be offered. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for Tailor Made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


Andoy Friluftssenter

Built and run by Ingvild and Nigel Turrell, the Friluftssenter enjoys a wonderful location just 25 metres from the shore of Buksnesfjord, surrounded by rugged mountains and forests. It consists of one main building with the lounge and restaurant, the Aurora Guesthouse and a number of smaller wilderness cabins.

The Aurora Guesthouse has 5 rooms and a lounge and shares 2 bathrooms. The wilderness cabins are a similar set up on a smaller scale, with one twin room and bunk bed room (used for single occupancy), sharing one bathroom and a small lounge. Exodus groups are split across the Aurora Guesthouse and the cabins. All are a few minutes’ walk from the main building.

Above them is the Friluftssenter's Lavvo, a traditionally styled Sami teepee with a roaring open fire, where we enjoy our last meal.

A limited number of single rooms are available, please enquire for details.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for Tailor Made trips:
020 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Have you been on this adventure? Tell others what it’s like by writing a review.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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