Arctic in Summer: unlimited adventures
I visited the Arctic for the first time in January, when the white and blue of the fjords were dazzling. The hiss of the snow hit my face as I traveled behind sleds pulled by howling and happy dogs. I recently returned there and had the opportunity to experience a completely new side of the destination. From surfing to discovering the oldest pub in Northern Norway, without forgetting the kiss to the wolves. That said, here are the five summer adventures to enjoy in the Arctic.
Svolvær (picture on top) is located in the Lofoten archipelago. For the cities of Lofoten, Svolvær is one of the largest with a population of about 5.000 people. It is from here that you can take a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB), or a rigid inflatable boat (RIB). Both are fast and high-performance boats. Travelers can get a RIB boat to go out the Trollfjord and follow the sea eagles and move quickly through the water. It is an electrifying experience, especially when the eagles approach, so close as to have the opportunity to see their eyes fixed on their target.
Drinking at Pub
Tromsø is the largest city in northern Norway, located 350 km above the Arctic Circle. In summer, because of the midnight sun, there is no real night, the darker sky is a twilight color. The sun teased the horizon, rising instead of going down, every morning. Here I visited the Ølhallen, the oldest pub in northern Norway. Opened in 1928, Ølhallen is the seat of the Mack Bryggeri brewery, open only from 10:00 to 18:00. Every day, the same timetable since its inception. It’s a rather dark bar and in a corner, there’s a taxidermy, a tall polar bear, a gift from a patron. Patrons, typically fur hunters, can choose from a wide selection of beer, written in chalk on a blackboard. For years, Ølhallen was open only to men, but from the early 70s it was also granted to women to access it.
Unstad has only 30 permanent residents and is home to the Unstad Arctic Surf, a quiet enclave that includes a surf school, an hotel, a sauna, a Jacuzzi and a restaurant. The main attraction of this place is its perfect cliff that breaks the big waves, a semicircular bay and the relatively warm water. The owners, Marion Frantzen and Tommy Olsen, are surfers and Marion’s father, Thor, was the first to take surfing in Norway. The facilities are simple, but surfing and paddleboarding even in winter are spectacular.
Horseback Riding & Golf
Gimsøya is an island in the district of Vågan, in the county of Nordland, in the Lofoten archipelago. The Hov Hestegård Riding Center is located in the village of Hov on the island of Gimsøya. It is here where you can ride Icelandic horses and Shetland ponies, directly on the mountains or on the beaches. Horses are descendants of those who were around during the Viking era. They are energetic, strong, reactive and beautiful. In addition to horseback riding, golfers can also visit Gimsøya for a few trips to Lofoten Links. It is one of the 18-hole golf courses further north in the world. Also, thanks to the Midnight Sun, you can play golf 24 hours a day during the two summer months. The links next to the beach and close to unusual rock formations make it an absolutely unique experience. Also if you look good, you could even spot an arctic fox trotting through some links on the beach.
A kiss from a Wolf
Yes, you read that right, this was one of those most unique but at the same time scary and memorable experiences of my life. Polar Park is located in Bardu on the road to Tromsø. The habitat is a 114-acre zoological park, where at the Wolf Lodge, guests can meet and greet the wild wolves who greet with a kiss. Although they are not really wild, they wander in large enclosures that mimic the true mountain habitats. The animals have been monitored since they were puppies and a guide will take you into their habitat to meet them. As they approach, they smell you, they understand you and greet you with a friendly lick, literally a kiss from a wolf.