7 days for £3,799 18 January 2022
Norway boasts some of the most beautiful natural experiences, home to the northern lights as well as a rich diversity of marine life in its fjord coastline. On this New Scientist Discovery Tour, you will gain an in depth insight into the science behind the Aurora Borealis and the behavioural ecology of the humpback and orca whales.
You will explore Norway’s iconic fjords by boat, where you can meander through the frozen forested valleys from the picturesque city of Bergen at their heart. You will travel north and stay in an observatory where you can witness and learn about the splendour of the northern lights. Norway in winter is a beautiful environment, and you will also get the opportunity to see some of its wildlife adapting to the winter conditions, where whales take advantage of the freezing landscapes for food, and where humans long relationship with sled dogs allow us to survive the long winter.
In partnership with Intrepid Travel.
DAY 1: ARRIVE BERGEN, VILVITE SCIENCE CENTRE AND WELCOME TALK
Welcome to Bergen! Upon arrival in Norway’s second largest city, meet your driver at the designated meeting point and travel to the city’s centre where you will be able to drop your luggage at the hotel and have a welcome meeting before walking to the Vilvite Science Centre. Here, you will enjoy your first talk of the week by marine biologist, author and journalist Helen Scales. Helen will explore the secret lives of marine species, hoping to change our perception of some of our common misunderstood fish species. Return to your hotel for dinner.
DAY 2: FJORD BOAT TOUR AND GUIDED CITY TOUR OF BERGEN
This morning you will go on a 3-hour round trip from Bergen on a fjord cruise along the narrow Osterfjord to the rugged Mostraumen. You will be accompanied by Helen Scales who will be able to talk to you about fjord and other deep water ecosystems and how human activity such as fishing and global warming are impacting these.
Several waterfalls cascade from the steep mountain sides along the 27 km long Osterfjord towards Modalen. The boat will stop and bring the bow up close to one of the waterfalls. Watch out, otherwise you will get a refreshing shower!
When you get back to Bergen you will have some time for lunch before meeting your local guide for a walking tour of Bergen and find out why many consider Bergen the most beautiful city in Norway. Explore charming wooden streets and historic sites like St. Mary’s Church; Vågen harbour; and the Bryggen quarter, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Your guide will be sure to give you a taste of contemporary life as well.
Dinner tonight is included at the hotel. After dinner, you will have a talk by Helen Scales on whale biology and behaviour ahead of your journey north to see humpback whales.
DAY 3: TROMSO, SENJA ISLAND AND THE AURORA OBSERVATORY
Today you will transfer to airport for your flight to Tromso (flight time approximately 2 hours). Upon arrival in Tromso you will be transferred to Polaria, the world’s most northerly aquarium. Here you will see some of Norway’s native species and enjoy a film about life in artic Norway. Filmed on Svalbard island, it is a perfect introduction to your time in artic Norway.
Afterwards walk to the harbour to board a fast ferry to Senja island where the Aurora Borealis Observatory is located. Here you will be met by observatory staff who will give you an introduction to the facility, before sitting down for an included dinner. After dinner Melanie Windridge will hold a talk on the science behind the Aurora Borealis before you have the opportunity to search for the northern lights and other wonders of the universe yourself.
DAY 4: AURORA OBSERVATORY, ICE SWIMMING, SNOW SHOEING AND CAMPFIRE TALK
You will spend today in and around the observatory. You may choose to try snowshoeing, or enjoy a talk on the benefits of ice-swimming and perhaps have a go at it yourself.
In the late afternoon you will have campfire talk by Melanie Windridge about the science behind fusion energy, where researchers are trying to replicate the nuclear reactions which take place inside the stars themselves.
Spend the evening stargazing with Melanie and seeing fusion energy in action alongside the Aurora Borealis.
DAY 5: TROMSO, SCIENCE CENTRE AND TROMSDALEN CABLE CAR
Return by ferry to Tromso for the next two nights, where you will explore the Northern Norwegian Science Centre. The centre is a popular science experience centre containing almost 100 interactive installations, divided into four themes on three floors.
You will be able to explore the centre at leisure before heading to the cable car at Tromsdalen. The amazing views from the top of the cable car will give you a different vantage point to explore the night car.
DAY 6: FULL DAY WILDLIFE BOAT SAFARI
Today you will embark on a full day wildlife fjord safari by boat. As you pass through the frozen coastline, you will get an opportunity to look for sea eagles, seals, elegant cormorants whales. The recent years have been fabulous with hundreds of humpbacks and orcas visiting the northern fjords, and your boat expert crew will help you spot them during the day. The humpback whales are following the herring migration, which takea advantage of this particular area due to the rich food source and the fact that the waters do not freeze over in certain bays, creating a high density of both predators and prey.
DAY 7: DOG SLEDDING THEN DEPART NORWAY
This morning head out into the wilderness as you board a shuttle to a husky kennel. Here you will find the dogs eagerly waiting for a run into the wild. An experienced musher drives you safely through the gorgeous landscape. Enjoy a guided tour of the dog yard where you can learn about the Alaskan husky breed, dog sled racing and animal welfare. Relax and warm up around an open fire in a cosy Gamme-Hut where you will be served hot drinks and lunch. You may also want to try Bidos, a traditional Sami reindeer dish.
After some free time in Tromso, transfer to the airport in the afternoon for your flight home.