It has been a busy time for Off the Map Travel this season! We have visited so many new and exciting destinations this year trying to find you the very best and most exclusive places to visit.
One of these destinations was Alta and then travelling up to one of the far-reaching Northernmost points of Norway to Honningsvåg near the infamous North Cape.
The first stop was Alta – a town on the Northern Coast at the head of the Alta Fjord and named the ‘Northern Lights City’ – a reputation which, for me during my visit there at least, remains undisputed! Alta is also steeped in history with some impressive rock carvings from 7000 years ago seen at the Museum and was the home of the Sami Rights court case in the 1980s. The countryside is definitely diverse with the Sautso Canyon (the largest in Northern Europe) but also the impressive tundra on the Finnmark Mountain Plateau.
During my visit to Alta I was lucky enough to get to try some of the amazing activities available but a highlight of the trip was certainly Dog Sledding accompanied by a fine-dining experience! Not commonly two things you would put together but our hosts for this experience are a dynamic and very talented couple combining each of their strengths to create a unique and thoroughly enjoyable experience. Trine, is a worldclass dog sledder. She is in charge of the yard and has an amazing attitude towards encouraging people to get involved as much as possible with the dogs – the sledding was really beautiful in the evening where you could switch off your head torches and glide through the snow in complete silence under the moonlight. Once finished, Johnny is an extremely skilled professional chef using only the highest quality, local and fresh ingredients. The food he provides is mind-blowing and really must be eaten to be believed! You can enjoy the food as he prepares or take part in a cookery course to learn the skills yourself!
Among other activities in Alta we visited the Northern Lights Cathedral, the Slate quarry for a Northern Lights experience where we had some of the best Aurora displays I have ever seen and a visit to Sarves to try out some skiing, snowshoeing and zip lining!
Usually taking a transfer of 3 hours would not be that attractive to most people but I can assure you a drive through this incredible country no matter the length will be over too soon. The landscape is simply breathtaking.
Arriving into the pretty little harbour town of Honningsvåg you really do feel that you have reached a destination in the middle of a different world. In the Summer months Honnningsvåg is on the Hurtigruten cruise route and has many visitors desperate to visit the beauty of North Cape but in the Winter it remains relatively untouched making it the perfect getaway for a quiet Northern Lights break. This year marks the opening of the Northern Lights convoy up to North Cape so you can witness this amazing phenomenon from the edge of the cliffs for yourself. Watching the Aurora from the ‘edge of the earth’ is one of the most incredible and breath-taking experiences you will ever have the chance to witness and is certainly one I will never forget.
It is not just North Cape that attracts people to Honnningsvåg – during my time here I was also able to take part in an amazing ATV ride up through the mountains and also an incredible King Crab fishing experience so there is plenty else to do in this amazing part of the world.
Speak to one of our experienced Travel Designers now to get some further information about these destinations and see if Alta or Honnningsvåg could be next on your bucket list of destinations!