Steigen Arctic wilderness expedition (December)
If you like explore nature with superb surroundings like impressive mountains, waterfalls, forests, fjords and beaches, then this expedition might be the one for you. We travel with our 4x4 to a variety of wilderness areas and nature reserves. This region, named Steigen in northern Norway, covers 1000 km2 and most of it is pure nature and quite remote. We will go out hiking, snowshoeing and wildlife spotting. The coastline with its mountains is impressive, and we plan great kayak and boat trips. Also, hikes to the summits of mountains are on the menu. This expedition is one of our most popular ones, because of the variety of activities and sceneries. Costs are 1275 Euro (9 days).
This expedition is (also) perfect for first-time Norway travellers. You will explore all kind of typical Norwegian landscapes like scenic fjords, jagged mountains and much more. We travel to remote places in the Arctic wilderness and it is awesome here for shooting pictures.
Facts, dates, costs and general information
Here are the facts of this expedition. Feel free to contact us if you have questions or if you want to discuss your plans. Check also our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for answers on general questions.
Dates and booking information
16 December 2018 - 24 December 2018 (9 days)
Expedition name: STEIGEN ARCTIC WILDERNESS DECEMBER
Booking code: DUTCH12A
This expedition is also organised in other months. Snow conditions are the best in the period November to April. Northern lights are visible in the period September to April. The period of the midnight sun is from the end of May until the end of July. The polar night is from the beginning of December until the beginning of January. Choose a month and check the details.
The costs of joining this expedition is 1275 Euro.
Flights and transfers are not included. Daily expenses like food, drinks, diesel are shared among the participants and the staff. See FAQ for more details.
LOCATION and how to get there
This expedition starts and ends in a small fishing village named Helnessund in the municipality of Steigen (Nordland) in the north of Norway. There is a good ferry connection from Bodø. This fast ferry (hurtigbat in Norwegian) takes you in approximately 1 hour from Bodø to Helnessund. Daily departures in the afternoon, check the timetable here. It is a 20 minute walk from the airport to the harbor in the city center where the ferry departs.
The nearest airport is Bodø. You can take a domestic flight from Oslo for instance or enjoy a 17 hours train ride from Oslo. Check nsb.no for more information about travelling by train. The so called minipris ticket can be an economic way to travel (only online available and you have to buy it well in advance).
We recommend that you arrive 1 day before the start of this expedition in Bodo and take some time to acclimatize and get rid of travel stress and work stress. We can give you suggestions for hostels or hotels in Bodo if you like.
LEVEL AND SKILLS
Moderate. This expedition can be tough in case we have bad weather.
You will stay on our expedition ship (our basecamp), in (mountain) cabins, occasionally in expedition tents and a tipi tent with wood stove.
If you like to upgrade to more luxury or to more privacy on days, that we are not in mountain cabins or remote areas we can offer a shared rooms, private rooms or an apartment. Prices are from 40 Euro per night per person.
Number of participants: Max 8
We like to have an international team for this expedition. Also suitable for solo travelers.
This expedition is one of our most popular ones, because of the variety of activities and sceneries.
Great hiking and outdoor expedition for people that like to explore remote nature areas that are not often visited. We will hike through a variety of landscapes. Superb beaches, impressive fjords, dramatic mountains, coastal trails and dense forests are main ingredients of this expeditions.
Superb expedition if you like to observe the northern lights.
If mountain hiking and camp with tents is new for you, then we will teach you everything you need to know.
Very interesting spots to do some paddling with our kayaks. We teach you the basics if you do not have kayak experience.
This expedition takes place in areas that are off-the-beaten-track.
This expedition is also excellent if you are a bird watcher, because many species including a huge population of white tailed sea eagles can be observed.
gear and preparations
This expedition is organized north of the Arctic Circle. So, you need warm clothing, good shoes and outdoor gear like sleeping bags and more. You receive a detailed packing list after you made your booking. This packing list tells you about the things you need to have and also gives you a lot of practical information. In case you do not have all the gear or if you do not want to invest, you can rent gear from us, like backpacks, sleeping mattresses, snowshoes and more.
The rough plan of the Steigen Arctic wilderness expedition
One of our most popular expeditions
The reason why this expedition is so popular is because of the variety of activities you can do combined with all the Norwegian landscapes that you can imagine.
Impressive nature of Steigen
The municipality of Steigen (1000 km2) is located in the north of Norway, just above the Arctic Circle. We find here awesome beaches, jagged mountains, dense forests and coastline full of fjords and islands.
Travelling by 4x4
We start exploring nature close to our basecamp in the fishing village of Helnessund. Later we travel with our 4x4 land rover to places further away and stay overnight in cabins or tents (option). The drives are never too long and you can enjoy scenic views on our way.
Hiking and snowshoeing
Depending on the conditions we will hike or use our snowshoes to explore trails that lead into the mountains, valleys or forests. We will visit remote sandy beaches and follow trails near the coastline with jagged mountains rising out from the sea. We also plan to go cross-country and explore wilderness areas where there are no paths. We cross rivers and pass frozen waterfalls for instance.
Awesome winter kayaking in Steigen
We have great plans in mind for some Arctic paddling with our kayaks to one of the archipelagos close to the shore. It is a great way to explore the small rocky islands and gives a unique opportunity to observe for instance birds, otters and seals if we are lucky. We teach you the basics if kayaking is new for you.
Exploring remote places by boat
With our small but sturdy expedition vessel Xplore1 we take you to remote places to hike, observe wildlife or just exploring the beautiful coastline. We like to catch some fish and you are invited to try your luck. We teach you everything you need to know like fishing techniques, filleting and preparing. We can cook on a fire outside or use our smoke oven to get a tasty meal.
Wildlife in Arctic Norway
Nature is not a ZOO. So we need to be lucky to have encounters with wildlife. Giant sea eagles and moose are commonly seen. Foxes, hare, otter and seal are shy animals. There is also a group of reindeer around, the challenge is to find them. But very rewarding if we do. Encounters with dolphins or small whales is possible when we are out on sea.
We make plans on daily basis and you are involved (we like to hear your ideas and wishes).. Weather forecasts and road conditions are important factors in planning activities. So you need to have a flexible mindset, plans change fast and so is the weather.
The place where this expeditions takes place is easy to reach with a fast ferry that takes you daily in one hour to Helnessund in Steigen.
Map of the area
Here is a map of the area in which this expedition takes place. Take a close look and you get an idea of the natural environment, distances and possibilities.
Background information about Steigen
We like to tell you some more about the area where this expedition takes place, information about the northern lights, climate and wildlife is included.
nature of steigen
So, here is some information about the area that we explore during this expedition. Steigen is 1000 km2 big and has a variety of landscapes and terrain.
The coastline is characterized by dramatic jagged mountains that reach sea level. The coastline has many sandy beaches and very typical are the birch and pine forests that almost meet the sea. There are many islands and islets close to the shore, but also further away. The water is crystal clear and is full of life. It is a great playground for kayaking or (if you dare) some Arctic snorkeling with a drysuit. Some of the archipelagos are nature reserves or bird sanctuaries. There is also a lot of history and remains of older times. There are interesting fjords to explore and just a hike up a hill and get a view over the wide Vestfjord with the Lofoten islands in the background is a treat for your eyes and camera.
The mountains of Steigen
The mountains are steep, but there are trails that also can be done in wintertime (we take crampons or snowshoes with us). The views are magnificent and there are cozy cabins in the mountains and also in the lower areas that we can use for staying overnight. Most of the mountain lakes freeze in the winter time and offer possibilities for ice fishing.
The valleys and forests
The valleys in Steigen offer great opportunities for hikes on sea level, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. If the temperatures are above zero the valleys can be quite wet and swampy with many small streams to cross. So hiking is quite adventurous out here. There are a lot of waterfalls and some of them will be frozen in the winter. Encounters with foxes, moose and reindeer are quite common. Pine and birch forests are inviting for a hike and we like to stay overnight in tents or (heated) tipi in wild surroundings.
Glaciers, nature reserves, and national parks
In the south of Steigen, we find the Helldalsisen glacier and this area is part of the Sjunkhatten national park. There are no roads here and the area can only be visited by boat.
Steigen has quite some interesting things to see of the iron age, the times of the Vikings and more recently fortifications from WWII.
observing the Northern lights
In the evening and at nighttime the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, may be visible. We need enough solar activity, no clouds (that's an important thing because it blocks the view) and it's necessary that we frequently check outdoor. It appears at certain times in the evening or at nighttime, but we never know when. Sometimes it lasts for 10 minutes on other times it goes on for hours. Also, the strength might vary every day.
If you are serious about taking pictures then an important accessory is a tripod. So don't forget (it is on the packing list that you receive from us).
We can use our 4x4 Land Rover to go to great spots to watch the northern lights or do a hike on a hill to get a good view.
facts about the WEATHER AND CLIMATE here
The temperature in this period is just above or just below 0 degrees Celsius. The lowest temperatures are around minus 10 and the highest +8 probably. The warm Gulfstream provides a mild climate and there is not always snow along the coastline, but a few miles inland we have snow conditions. In the mountains and on the higher areas (plateaus) there is snow this time of year.
Weather changes quickly in the Arctic, so we have to be prepared for all kinds of weather. Because our plans are depending on weather conditions we make daily plans for our activities. So you need a flexible mindset and expect that the plans we make can change due to weather or road conditions.
Roads are often icy and gear like crampons or spikes are very useful. In case we have deep snow, snowshoes are needed for hiking.
Water temperatures are just above zero. So you need a drysuit for sea kayaking. You can also rent the suits from us.
wildlife in the area
There are not many people living in this area (2500 in 1000 km2) and there is a lot of wild nature. So, this makes it a perfect place for encounters with wildlife. Remember it is not a ZOO and we have to be lucky, silent and determined.
There is a huge amount of the giant sea-eagles living in Steigen and they can be spotted in the mountains and also near the coastline. We will certainly spot these amazing birds.
Moose and (wild) reindeer can be spotted in the forest, valleys and sometimes close to the beaches. While driving we have to be careful, because they can cross the roads.
Well, there is more to see for example foxes, hare, lynx, grouse, and seabirds.
Near the coast and on the islands we might see seals, otter and sometimes small whales or dolphins. When we are out on the sea with our small expedition vessel we even might see killer whales, but we have to be very lucky for that. that.
More details of things you might like to know
Here are some more details about the plans and activities for this expedition. For general questions and answers check our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Hiking and snowshoeing during this expedition
We plan to do a lot of nice hikes during this expedition. Some of the hikes will be on sea level, like coastal areas or valleys and some of them will be on the higher plateaus or in the mountains. We always mix trails that we walked before and new ones based on research or stories of locals. There are lot possible trails in this huge nature area, and it is easy to get remote.
The duration and level of the hikes will be tailored to your strength and endurance and that of the other participants. And of course, we take a close look at the conditions and weather forecasts.
If we have deep snow, we will use snowshoes during our hikes, and when it gets icy and slippery, we will use crampons. If snowshoeing or hiking with crampons is new for you then we teach you the basics.
You will explore different nature areas like mountains, valleys, beaches, forests and more. Some of those areas are nature reserves and are protected. We also hike in areas where there are no trails, and at times we need to cross streams or pass a waterfall.
So here is a short list of things we have in mind for this expedition. If you like to prepare a bit, then you can try to find this places on the map.
Brennsund is a remote area close to the sea with the high jagged mountains of the Brennvik massif right next to it. It can only be reached by boat!
The valley of Asjørda
Asjørda, a magnificent valley with high mountains and (frozen) waterfalls around it. A superb place for snowshoeing if there is enough snow.
Brennvika, an awesome beach with nice trails that go up in the mountains. These trails can be challenging in winter conditions. There is a very cosy mountain cabin on top, suitable for overnight stays.
Sjunkhatten national park
Sjunkhatten north is a part of the national park where the Helldalsisen glacier is located. This park with impressive fjords can only be reached by boat, and we need calm conditions to do the crossing of the fjord.
Stokvattn is a scenic lake surrounded by high mountains. In winter time we often need snowshoes to hike to the small cabin that is located close to the shoreline.
Storvatnet and Hopvatnet
Great areas to explore! The mountains and the freshwater lakes are tempting, remote and a bit far away (but the drive is breathtaking).
Kayaking along the coast of steigen
We have some seaworthy kayaks ready for you, and they are excellent for exploring the coastal areas of Steigen. So usually we will find a sheltered area to do some winter paddling in one of the archipelagos. There are fantastic places to explore with kayaks, like small islands with sandy beaches, cliffs and wrecks that are visible with low tide.
Kayaking is a great way to observe wildlife, and we can get close to seabirds or places where we can find the giant sea eagles or if we are lucky some small whales or dolphins. Otters and seals can be part of the observations if we have a windless day and a flat sea. If you are new to kayaking, we will teach you the basics and keep you dry and safe. No worries.
Camp overnight in tents and cabins
During this expedition, we will also stay overnight in cabins in valleys and higher up in the mountains. These cabins are located in wild and scenic places. The comfort level is basic. They have good wood stoves and simple cooking facilities. Usually, we have to do some wood chopping to fill up the stock. We take sleeping bags with us or a liner (some of them have already blankets). We cook inside or on fire outside.
Tents en tipi
If you feel like staying overnight in an expedition tent or a tipi tent with wood stove, we can arrange that.
If you want to taste more extreme overnight stays, than we can build a snow hole (if we have enough white powder in the area).
The rhythm of the arctic
During this expedition, you have time to do your own thing, especially in the evenings. You can hang out with the other participants, read a book, go out for a stroll or grab a fishing rod and go out fishing.
We like it if you get into the rhythm of the Arctic by enjoying the silence, nature and the elements. Life in the Arctic differs from living in the big cities. The speed is much slower, and you do one thing at a time instead of two or more. Put your phone in flight mode and connect to the Arctic.
cooking, food and fishing
We like to cook outstanding meals with primitive means and if the weather permits preferable outside on a bonfire.
Fish is easily caught, and we can learn you how to fish, clean the fish and do the filleting. We have a smoke oven, so if you catch for instance a mackerel or halibut, we can make great meals.
We like the traditional Norwegian kitchen, and we like to take it a step further. So we plan to make meals with salted and dried fish, reindeer, moose and other local products. In case you are vegetarian don't worry, we take care.
You are also welcomed to grab our pans and show us what you know.
We often bake our bread, and we like to do that outside on a hot but small fire.
If you are interested in expedition food, we can show you how to make nutritious bars or vegetarian burgers, ready to be packed and great food during hikes.
If you are interested in food drying to preserve, then we teach you what we know.
Exploring with our 4x4 landrover defender
We will use our 4x4 Land Rover Defender to get to remote wilderness areas. In this time of year, we put on our spikes (studded tires) because the roads can be snowy or icy. We can take quite some things with us, for instances inflatable expedition kayaks, tents, food, snowshoes and other gear.
Discover the arctic with our expedition vessel
To go to the sea, we will use our small expedition vessel Xplore1. With this boat, we can go to one of the hundreds of islands and islets that are close to the coastline of Steigen, or we use the Xplore1 for fishing (we teach you all the techniques, and we promise you it can be quite an adventure). This boat gives us also possibilities to observe wildlife like seals, otters and for instance sea eagles. We can also use the Xplore1 to do hikes at places where there are no roads. If you like it on the water, you are also welcomed to use our zodiac to cruise around.