Norway is the ultimate destination for adrenaline junkies. Characterized by rugged peaks, jaw-dropping fjords and phenomena like the Northern Lights and Midnight Sun – this Scandinavian country harnesses the power of nature unlike any other place. Getting outdoors and embracing the elements is part of any trip to Norway, no matter the purpose of your visit.
The typical itinerary is to fly into Oslo, head to Bergen and do Norway in a Nutshell. While this trip has its merits, there is so much more to experience than just mass pre-packaged tours. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the rugged environment of Norway is to book one of the boat tours with World Sea Explorers. Their range of small group trips and private charters take you to the hidden gems of this magnificent country.
Sailing in Norway with World Sea Explorers
Seeing Norway on the water with World Sea Explorers has several advantages. Firstly, some islands and fjords aren’t accessible unless you travel in a small yacht-sized vessel rather than a large cruise ship. The Arctic Ocean is full of nooks and crannies waiting to be explored. Stella Oceana is the name of the yacht utilized by World Sea Explorers and she is beautiful.
Weighing 118 tons and standing at 24 meters long and five meters wide – this ship is intimate in size while guaranteeing a smooth and steady sail. Onboard are three guest cabins (two of which have two single beds and one having four single beds), accommodating groups of up to eight. This lies in contrast to cruise ships which host hundreds of guests.
The second advantage of booking with World Sea Explorers is that travelers can choose from a set of prearranged itineraries or they can create their own custom charter depending on preferences. Guests might want to jump into a sailing expedition like the Coastal Voyage which cruises along the Norwegian Coast from Bergen to Lofoten, or design a multi-day charter of their dreams in consultation with the company experts.
Whatever the aspiration, World Sea Explorers can help you create the most magical Norwegian holiday possible. Kenneth Tarnes and Sachi Maekawa are the two operators of this business based out of Svolvaer in the Lofoten Islands. Kenneth is a Sea Captain with over 26 years experience under his belt, while Sachi is Operations Manager and the official host on the Stella Oceana. Together, the duo lead some of the best boat tours in all of Norway.
5 Best Boat Tours in Norway
1. Norwegian Coastal Voyage (12 Days)
Sailing expeditions don’t get any better than the 12-day Coastal Voyage that cruises along the entire Norwegian coastline from Bergen in the south to the Lofoten Islands in the north. This bucket-list experience offers up some sensational highlights along the way such as visiting a puffin colony in Vaeroy and venturing on a fjord cruise to the spectacular Trollfjord.
Relax on the Stella Oceana as your captain sails you to quaint villages and remote islands well off the beaten path. Norway boasts the second longest coastline in the world with over 200,000 islands/islets to see. Nature-junkies will get their fix of adventures on this voyage as there will be many opportunities for kayaking, fishing and hiking. Anchor at a new bay or dock at a new harbor every night, and soak up the sunset with a glass of wine.
2. Arctic Summer Sailing (9 Days)
Some of the best days of your life will be spent on this adventure as you set sail to hidden islands, beaches, mountains and fjords. The summer season in Norway produces moderately warm weather and the chance to see the Midnight Sun phenomenon. Beginning in Bodo and finishing in Svolvaer, this sailing vacation will take guests on a relaxed journey for nine days hopping from one island to the next in a slow and steady manner.
Summers can get busy in Norway but on the Arctic Summer Sailing trip you won’t have to worry about crowds as many of the places you stop at can only be visited by private boat. Imagine hiking in dramatic mountains without other humans in sight, or throwing a line overboard and eating the fresh fish you caught, or sailing to a remote island and relaxing over a beach bonfire at night. These are just a few of the experiences on offer.
3. Lofoten Highlights Sailing Trip (6 Days)
If you have seen those incredible photos of the Lofoten Islands pop up on Instagram then chances are you already have this destination at the top of your list. The Lofoten Islands are known for their epic peaks, picturesque villages and fresh seafood. On this six day sailing trip with World Sea Explorers, guests will travel through the heart of Lofoten and enjoy a series of thrilling adventures along the way like hiking and whale watching.
The Lofoten Highlights voyage runs from May to September when the climate in this part of Scandinavia starts to warm up. Temperatures are moderate but during July and August (for example) you might get a few days in the mid to high twenties. This warmer weather encourages you to go swimming at the white sand beaches, hike through the jaw-dropping mountains and soak up the sun onboard the Stella Oceana.
4. Whales & Aurora Sailing Trip (5 Days)
Wildlife-lovers will cherish this expedition as seeing orcas and humpbacks everyday is all but guaranteed. Throw in the Northern Lights and you have yourself one of the best boat tours in Norway. Running from October to December, the Whales & Aurora sailing trip is a fantastic option for those thinking of traveling to Norway in winter. With snow on the mountains and in the fishing villages, you will be transported to a true winter wonderland.
Make sure you bring some jumpers to wrap up nice and warm at night, and also pack your bathing suit because there is a hot tub onboard. Get warmed to the bones in the tub as you stare up at the Northern Lights. Even on nights without Aurora Borealis, the stargazing opportunities will keep you entertained. Since you will be sailing for five days in search of whales, the sightings are much more likely in comparison to short day trips.
5. Ski & Sail Lofoten (4 Days)
Last but certainly not least on our list of the best boat tours in Norway is the Ski & Sail Lofoten trip. Skiing probably isn’t the first activity that comes to mind when you think of Lofoten vacations but this experience is perfectly suited for skiers looking for a unique adventure. For four days enjoy sailing to remote mountain peaks where you will set anchor on water and then head up the mountain for some incredible backcountry skiing.
With the guidance of an IFMGA certified mountain guide, be led to powdery slopes where you can tear up the snow and take in breathtaking views. A dinghy will bring you back to your floating base each day and the hot tub onboard will be waiting for you to soak in each night. Safety is a high priority on these excursions so you don’t have to worry about skiing on dangerous terrain. Only the best skiing conditions are accepted.
Need to Know Before you Go
While the sailing trips mentioned above have surely piqued your interest, you still might have a few questions about the details of these boat tours in Norway. So to finish, we will provide you with some concluding tips to ensure your concerns are answered and your queries met. If you have any further questions you can always get in touch with Sachi on her email here.
- Stella Oceana is built for all weather conditions. Even during rough seas, she can handle herself with ease as the vessel is strong and heavy. If the wind starts to pick up and becomes icy cold there is the possibility of sitting outside with a thermal suit or heading inside in the saloon.
- Sea sickness is rare but prepare accordingly. Since the yacht is so stable it’s uncommon for people to get seasick. You still might want to bring some seasickness pills with you just in case a bad feeling strikes.
- The food onboard is delicious local produce. All the food served on the Stella Oceana is sourced from local farmers and producers. You can expect high quality meals such as fresh cod, roast lamb and shrimp for dinner. Lunch usually consists of sandwiches, salads, pastas and soups. For breakfast there are options of cereals, fruit, bacon and eggs, etc.
- Wildlife sightings are common both on land and sea. One of the highlights of a sailing expedition with World Sea Explorers is getting to see a variety of birds and animals along the way. You might see orcas, humpback whales, seals, puffins and Arctic birds on the sea. On land there is every chance of seeing reindeer, horses, foxes and sheep.
- Seeing the Northern Lights is subject to weather. Nothing is guaranteed during the Aurora Borealis season, however being out on the sea with very little light pollution and clear skies gives you a greater chance of seeing the Northern Lights. Solar wind activity changes every year. If you manage to catch a glimpse of the lights you will be amazed!