Among all destinations one can visit in Old Europe, Norway is by far one of the most fascinating. Just like other Scandinavian countries, Norway offers breathtaking landscapes characterized by an immaculate nature and a wild flora and fauna. Lately, one characteristic that has been calling the attention of many tourists and biologists from all over the world, is the opportunity to go whale and dolphin watching in the Arctic Ocean. Here whales frequent the waters off the coast, offering visitors the unique opportunity to swim next to these cetaceans. It is clearly a different kind of holiday compared to spending some time in a resort or going on a traditional city tour.

In order to have the opportunity to live this experience, you need to travel as far as to Andenes; it is the northernmost settlement of the island of Andoya, in the Nordland county. Andenes is a fishermen village where, back in the past, local people used to own a second house in order to spend their holidays in this area. Within the last few years, though, this traditional fisherman village started to experience a different type of tourism characterized by visitors who are passionate about cetaceans. If you are traveling from Olso or Bergen (the two main cities located below the Arctic Circle), you will need to do at least two stopovers in order to get to Andoya. You can fly by Widerøe – the national airline – which is specialized in connecting traditional cities located in the Arctic region. Widerøe works in cooperation with SAS, so it is possible to book a flight directly on the website of the airline company. Even if you may waste some extra time due to too many stopovers, it is still worth spending some time at the airport in order to explore the beauty that only the cities from the Great North can offer. Once in Andenes, it is possible to stay at hotels and private houses; sleeping in a hotel may be the best solution if you are planning to spend only a few days in the area.

Once in Andenes, you can choose between two types of tours: Whale-Safari and Sea-Safari. The first one allows you to go whale watching on a vessel; for the second one, instead, visitors travel on a rubber boat and get to dive and swim with killer whales.
Besides killer whales, you can also spot seals, blue whales, humpback whales, sei whales and (on very rarely occasions), pilot whales. Both excursions can be booked online or on site.

Once the tour is booked, you will be provided with the appropriate outfit: those who stay aboard the vessel have to wear a snowsuit; those who decide to jump into the Arctic waters, have to wear a diving suit, a mask, fins and a snorkel tube. The tour (I have experienced it in first person), is just incredible. Having the opportunity to swim with whales and enjoy the Arctic landscape is just unbelievable. There is no danger for those who decide to dive; killer whales are very friendly and they never attack humans – despite literature over the years has been describing them as very dangerous animals. The youngest whales usually are very curious and tend to temporarily abandon the group in order to get close to their new human friends. Once you find yourself next to these cetaceans, you won’t feel scared anymore. Sometimes, due to low visibility, you may find yourself very close to a whale, but this is all part of the game. On internet it is possible to find photos and videos posted by people who have already lived this experience.

Nature, of course, can not be controlled, therefore there may be a few days were it is not possible to swim in the water due to weather conditions. You also need to be lucky enough to find whales swimming in an area full of fishes. Orcas rarely interact with people, but the opportunity to watch them in their natural environment is unique. This tour became extremely popular within the last few years; however, there might be the risk that whales will eventually stop swimming in the Norwegian waters. Biologists, indeed, agree on the idea that these predators got so close to the shore only because they follow the flow of herrings. If these fishes will eventually change their habits, whales will definitely change their habits too. These cetaceans are indeed new to Norway. At the moment there are 70 different species of whales in these waters, and biologists hope that these cetaceans will eventually settle in Norway, just like they did in Canada, Alaska, Patagonia and New Zealand.
It is possible to go whale watching all year long; however, those who are interested in snorkeling should plan their trip in January. Excursion times (during winter time) run from 9:00 to 16:00; you may even have the opportunity to experience the Aurora Borealis. As locals say – any moment could be the right moment. If there are not clouds in the sky then chances can be very high.
Whales and orcas are not the only attraction of the area; indeed one can book sea-eagles watching tours, or you can go trekking around stunning landscapes. You can also visit local farms aboard traditional sleds carried by reindeers or huskies. If you are interested in these tours you can also visit destinations like: Alta, Tromso, Bodo and the Lofoten archipelago.

Andenes is a small town that doesn’t offer many bars; however, there are many traditional restaurants where you can taste codfish served with a local beetroot sauce. Those who love Italian food, though, will be happy to know that there is a pizzeria in the area.

Your trip to Norway will be an unforgettable experience. Whether you prefer to stay aboard the vessel instead of diving, you know that there are many reasons for you to visit Norway and the Arctic.

andenes aurora

orca pumps


norway fjord

A proposito dell'autore

Ingegnere🌟 Pusher of Enthusiasm Consulente Digitale. Prof Universitaria Fondatrice di beauty. book. family. podcast. travel.

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