While most tackle the beautiful fjords of Norway in the summer, Norway in the winter is a majestic and authentic place to visit. My wife and I flew into Tromsø and made our way down through Evenes, ultimately to the Lofoten islands at the very tip of the world. Along the way, we stayed in some fantastic historical hotels, such as the Sandtorgholmen Hotel, and the Elliassen Rorbuer (old, renovated fishing cabins). Beautiful, snow-covered mountains, frozen, ice-covered fjords, moose, feeding wild reindeer, and a quiet, snowy world were just a small part of our incredible trip. Because we were the only tourists crazy enough to attempt Norway’s icy and snowy roads in the winter (which require spiked tires, by law, just to drive on), we wound up with a quiet and authentic local-town experience getting to know all of the locals, and ended up friending some of them on Facebook. We were introduced to about a dozen locals and invited to sit down for a Christmas dinner, and made many new friends in the area, finally practicing a Norwegian Juletre (Christmas tree) lighting, with traditional hand holding and marching around the tree, singing songs, the winter brought us some wonderful new people as well as sights. Norway is a wonderfully innocent place, and it makes me wish my kids could grow up in such a peaceful society.
The back window out of our rorbuer cabin was breathtaking, and quite frankly surreal. The panorama in this photo is the exact view we had out of our back window, just feet away from the fjord. Stick your head out and you can feel the arctic air blowing, the snow falling, hear snow gulls flying, and absolutely nothing else – a still, quiet world. Norway is just an incredible place to visit, and given both our new friends, and the fact that much of my wife’s heritage lies in this Scandinavian country, we’ll likely be back.
Romantic evenings walking through and eating in Tromsø, enjoying the Christmas lights and festivities. Peeking out our window and seeing a helicopter flying in the town’s Juletre. Eating at authentic Norwegian cafes, and enjoying seasonal Christmas cookies (julekakers) and mocha lattes. Having the freshest ever salmon for lunch, with pollock at Bardus in Tromsø. Making Norwegian pancakes. Driving a dogsled in an arctic northern lights chase. Best bacon-blue-cheese burger ever and Jul øle at Egon. Amazing gorgeous drive across the fjords and mountains down into Lofoten. Nights in old, historic B&Bs, some standing before the US was even a country. English and Norwegian breakfasts at local restaurants, complete with brown cheese and herring. Whale steaks at the incredible Hamnøy restaurant and wine bar in Reine. Gorgeous sunrises and sunsets (sometimes, at the same time). Feeding a pack of reindeer roaming mischievously through town. Seeing Elk and Whale breaching in the Norwegian Sea, right next to the car. Staying over at a little renovated rorbuer fishing cabin with a breathtaking view of the mountains, while it snows for hours outside. Caramel pudding and rice cream. Candles everywhere, hearing the arctic wind howl against our cabin, the sound of the waves crashing against the rocks ten feet away, and the snow and freezing rain tapping on the glass making for incredibly romantic evenings. Sometimes only seeing a feint view of the snow covered mountains just a short distance away. Exploring all of the tiny towns in Lofoten, eating at local cafes, visiting little gift shops with locally made crafts. Amazing local breakfast sandwiches and lattes, and a hidden Julerøm (Christmas room) in one gift shop. Norwegian blog (mulled wine), Aquavit, Juleøle, a real traditional Christmas dinner buffer with a table full of rowdy, but very likable Norwegians. The Juletre lighting in Sorvagen, buying home made baffles and cakes for local fundraisers, holding hands and dancing around the Juletre, a personalized tour of a woman’s local shop, local bacon and eggs in our cabin for breakfast, home made cakes and delicious lunches at the cafe by the ferry in Moskenes, watching the ferry load and depart, more reindeer and elk, amazing moments, and just an incredible time.