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5 Summertime Adventures in Arctic Norway

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

I first visited the Arctic in winter in February, when the whites and blues of the fjords were dazzling in detail. The whoosh of the powdery silver snow hit our faces as we traveled behind the howling, happy sled dogs. Recently I went back in the summer and got to experience a whole new side of the destination. From surfing to visiting the oldest pub in Northern Norway and kissing wolves, here are five summertime adventures to enjoy while in the Arctic.

Tromsø
Photo Credit: Olhallen

Tromsø — Visiting a Historic Pub

Tromsø is the largest city in northern Norway, 217 miles above the Arctic circle. In summer, due to the Midnight Sun, there is no real night, the darkest sky was a twilight color. The sun teased the horizon, moving up instead of down, into the morning again. Here we experienced Ølhallen, the oldest pub in Northern Norway. Opened in 1928, Ølhallen is the home of Mack Bryggeri brewery, which is only open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, the same it’s been since its inception. It is a dark bar, and in the corner, is a taxidermy, 10-foot-tall Polar Bear, a memorable gift from one of the patrons. Patrons, typically fur trappers and hunters, can choose from a vast Mack beer and Ale selection, written in chalk on a blackboard. For years, Ølhallen was for men only, but since the early 1970s, women have been allowed to imbibe there as well.

Svolvær
Photo Credit: Susan Kime

Svolvær — Following Eagles

Svolvær is located in the Lofoten archipelago on the southern coast of the island of Austvågøya, facing the open sea of the Vestfjorden to the south, and with mountains immediately to the north. For towns in the Lofotens, Svolvær is large with a population of 5,000. It was there we took out a rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB), or rigid-inflatable boat (RIB). They are lightweight, high-performance speed boats. Travelers can venture out with XXLofoten on a RIB boat out on the Trollfjord to follow sea eagles and move quickly across the water. It’s a thrilling experience, especially when the eagles get closer to you, enough to see their eyes fixated on their destinations.  

Gimsøya
Photo Credit: Visit Norway

Gimsøya — Horseback Riding & Golf

Gimsøya is an island in Vågan municipality in Nordland county in the Lofoten archipelago. The Hov Hestegård Riding Centre is in the village of Hov on the island of Gimsøya. It is here that you can ride Icelandic horses and Shetland ponies on the mountains or beaches. The horses are the descendants of those who were around during the Viking age. They are spirited, strong, responsive and beautiful. In addition to horseback riding, golfers can also visit Gimsøya for a few rounds at Lofoten Links. It is one of the most northerly 18-hole golf courses in the world. Plus, due to the Midnight Sun, golf can be played 24-hours-a-day for two months in the summer. The links close to the beach, near unusual rock formations, making it a wholly unique experience. If you look close enough, you may even spot an arctic fox trot across a few links to the beach.

Unstad
Photo Credit: Unstad Arctic Surf

Unstad — Arctic Surfing

Unstad only has 30 permanent residents and is home to Unstad Arctic Surf, a quiet enclave that includes a surfing school, a lodging facility, sauna, hot tub and seasonal restaurant. The alluring draw of this place is its perfect, large point break waves, the semicircular bay, and the (relatively) warm water. The owners, Marion Frantzen and Tommy Olsen are surfers themselves, and Marion’s father Thor, was the first to bring surfing to Norway. The facilities are simple, but the surfing and paddleboarding even in winter are spectacular and worth the trip.

Bardu — Wolf Kissing
Photo Credit: Polar Park

Bardu — Wolf Kissing

Yes, you read this correctly, this was one of those experiences that was unique, scary and memorable. The Polar Park is in Bardu, on the road back down to Tromsø. The habitat is a 114-acre animal park, where at the WolfLodge, guests can meet and greet the wild wolves who will greet you with a kiss. Although they aren’t truly wild, they do roam about in large enclosures that mimic authentic mountain habitats. The animals have been looked over since they were pups and a guide leads you into their habitat to meet them. As they approach, they’ll sniff around, get a sense of you and say hello with a friendly lick, a wolf kiss.

Susan Kime

Susan Kime's career combines publishing, journalism and editing. She was the Destination Club/Fractional Update Editor for Elite Traveler, and senior club news correspondent for The Robb Report's Vacation Homes. Her work has been published in Stratos, Luxury Living, European CEO, The London Telegraph, Caviar Affair, ARDA Developments, and Luxist/AOL. She was the Editor-in-Chief of Travel Conno...(Read More)

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