Lapland Husky Adventure: Photo of the Month

Lapland is a dream destination for many travel enthusiasts. A region of pure wonder and adventure, the stark white winters provide the ideal backdrop for dog-sledding, as well as snowmobiling and northern lights hunting!

Mike Frost, our first Nordic Photo of the Month winner for 2017, had a blast experiencing the rugged beauty of the unique Lapland landscapes during Nordic Visitor‘s 4-day Husky Tour in the Wilderness of Lapland. We caught up with Mike to ask a few questions about his recent trip.


What made you want to book this trip to Lapland?

I wanted to experience a real winter in the wild. So why not do this with your own husky tribe! On the back of my recent trips to Iceland and Norway, Swedish Lapland was my goal destination leading into the new year. Another piece to add to my Scandinavian puzzle since moving from Australia to Sweden. Next up is Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

This trip was a subtle reminder to regularly escape the modern mania of the working life and get back to basics; to soak in the surrounding nature without cell phone coverage, start a fire to keep warm, fetch water to drink and work hard to earn the right to relax. This was as much of a cultural experience as a new adventure for me since moving to Sweden. Thanks to my guides, I’ve finally learnt how to embrace a real winter full of snow, survive it, man a husky sled and eat like a viking.

View from accommodation in Kiruna, Sweden

Talk about a room with a view!

What were the highlights of your tour?

Seeing a tonne of snow as I hadn’t for 10 years and getting back to basics. There was no cell phone coverage and you are living the cabin life — no electricity or running water. Just a wood fire, candles and good company. Another highlight was meeting new people. Our guides were from all over — Denmark, Poland, Sweden and Germany to name a few. It was great seeing them in their element, their true love for nature, their jobs and their huskies.

Dog sledding guide with husky

Mia, one of the husky tour guides.

Did you enjoy any traditional foods during the trip?

A pot of reindeer stew was the winner in minus 25 degree weather! As was the ‘svart kaffe’ [black coffee in Swedish]. 5-6 cups per day.

Cooking reindeer stew in Swedish Lapland

When in Swedish Lapland, eat like the locals and try a bowl of reindeer stew.

Tell us about your winning photo.

This photo [at the top of the blog post] simply captures my then lead dog Ettan in his own backyard. He was an eager character who’d love nothing more than to keep on running or howl solo. This was a short lived moment of silence as I sat beside my sled watching the sun drop through the valley. His right blue eye caught mine after he dunked his head in the snow.

Howling huskies in Kiruna, Sweden

Huskies can travel up to 130 km in a day and average a speed of 32 km/h for distances up to 40 kilometres!

Can you describe the landscape?

There was a kaleidoscope of colours splashed across the sky — pinks, oranges and blues while gliding on the sled.

Dogsledding at sunset in Swedish Lapland

Did you know? Dog sledding has been used for hunting and travel in the Arctic since the 10th century.

Do you have any tips for those that want to take good photos in Lapland?

Get to know how your camera works. Whether it’s your iPhone, DLSR or smaller format camera you don’t want to miss that split second moment distracted by dials and the ‘on’ button. Take your time. if you’re not in a rush, take a few minutes to frame and compose your photograph. Make your photos stand out. Add a subject in the frame. A person, animal or object can dramatically improve the story your photograph tells. It can also help give a sense of scale. Change up the perspective/angles and be different. Use the rule of thirds as a guide when composing your shot and get creative.

Arctic skyline during husky tour in Kiruna

A team of sled dogs typically ranges from 3 to 24 dogs, usually breeds like Siberian Huskies or Alaskan Malamutes.

Was it challenging to photograph in the limited light of winter?

Make the most of the ‘golden hours’. Get up early! Capture that beautiful landscape or portrait just following the sunrise or leading into sunset. It’s these periods of the day when lighting is on it’s softer more natural side and colours most vibrant. Add a polarised filter to boost colour and reduce glare. Especially when there is snow.

Snowy boreal forest in Kiruna, Sweden

Much of the landscape surrounding Kiruna is dominated by pristine boreal forest.

Any tips about what gear to bring?

Travel light, keep gear to a minimum and don’t forget the essentials. Think spare batteries and spare memory cards. There’s nothing worse than running out of space during a trip. Weather tends to change sporadically in the Nordic countries so use a rucksack or camera bag that can handle a little rain.  A pair of fleece glove liners can go a long way in the cold conditions. You don’t want that wind chill to make you drop your camera!

Finally, don’t forget to soak in the experience without your camera. Yes it’s great to capture moments but nothing beats the memory bank from your own two eyes! Take time out to sit and admire your surroundings.

Well said, Mike!


Pro tip: You don’t have to be a seasoned arctic explorer to travel in Lapland! If you’re in good health, and you’ve got a spirit of adventure, you’re ready to go. All activities like snowmobiling, dog-sledding, snowshoeing and other excursions are supervised by local guides.

Of course, you will need to bring warm clothes. To dress for arctic conditions, we recommend all-weather garments from our friends at 66 North. As this month’s winner, Mike will receive a cosy primaloft jacket to use on future cold-weather photography adventures.

Have you travelled with Nordic Visitor and want to be in the running for our Nordic Photo of the Month contest? Tag your travel photos with #NordicVisitor to share them with us on InstagramFacebook or Twitter!

Read all about this contest here

Icelandic Yule Lads at Dimmuborgir

Christmas in Iceland with the Yule Lads

Christmas folklore In Iceland, like its food, language and landscapes, is a bit more extreme than in neighbouring Nordic countries. While Scandinavia has its fill of unique Yuletide traditions (for example, the “Sauna Elf” in Finland) Iceland takes the prize for having the most hair-raising Christmas creatures.

Instead of just getting a visit from Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, Iceland has the 13 Yule Lads (Jólasveinar) who descend from the mountains to wreak mischief in the nights leading up to Jólin (Christmas).

Yule Lads at Iceland National Museum

Each December, the Yule Lads come to visit children at the National Museum of Iceland in Reykjavik. (Photo: Mbl.is/IcelandMonitor.is)

Continue reading…

Photo of the Month: Airwaves & Aurora in Iceland

This is the time of year when travellers in Iceland hope to get a glimpse of the majestic northern lightsalso known as aurora borealis. With luck and patience, an aurora hunt can pay off!

As it turns out, our Nordic Photo of the Month winners for December 2016, Madeleine and Nick Bielby, were at the right place at the right time.

We found the lights! 💛

A photo posted by Madeleine 📷 (@madeleine.cain) on

The husband and wife co-winners from Australia travelled on a customised version of Nordic Visitor’s Iceland Full Circle-Winter self-drive tour. After attending the famous Iceland Airwaves Music Festival, the duo set out on a 10-day journey around the scenic Ring Road, taking in waterfalls, hot springs, moonlike surroundings, glaciers, iceberg lagoons, volcanic beaches and much more.

Besides waiting for aurora displays at night, Nick and Madeleine saw beautiful Icelandic horses

Even the horses are strange here. #Icelandichorse

A photo posted by Madeleine 📷 (@madeleine.cain) on

 

…and black sand beaches…

The black sand beach at #Vik, not quite like the ones at home.

A photo posted by Madeleine 📷 (@madeleine.cain) on

 

…went on a glacier walk….

 

…and even checked out Icelandic rappers at Airwaves!

Icelandic rap. Angry. @icelandairwaves

A photo posted by Nick Bielby (@nickbielby) on

 

Congrats Nick and Madeleine!

Pro tip: As the seasons change in Iceland and elsewhere in the Nordics, you need to think layers, layers, layers when packing for your trip. To dress as the locals in Iceland, we recommend garments from our friends at 66 North. As this month’s winner, Nick and Madeleine each will receive jackets to use on future photography adventures.

Good to know: A self-drive tour in Iceland gives you the freedom to choose your own photo stops and spend as much time as you need setting up that perfect shot. Nordic Visitor can even custom-make your own road trip if you have specific areas or attractions in mind, or if you want to do like Nick and Madeleine and arrange a tour around a major event, like the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival held each November.


Have you travelled with Nordic Visitor and want to be in the running for our Nordic Photo of the Month contest? Tag your travel photos with #NordicVisitor to share them with us onInstagram, Facebook or Twitter!

Read all about this contest here

Nordic Visitor is moving!

We’re moving! New head office in Iceland

After adding many new faces to the Nordic Visitor team in recent years, we’re moving our headquarters in Iceland to Bíldshöfði 20, 110 Reykjavík.


The big move is taking place on the afternoon of Friday the 2nd of December. 

During that time our main phone number and 24-hour emergency hotline will be available as always to our travellers, although email replies will take a bit longer than usual. Then at 9:00 AM (GMT) on Monday the 5th of December we will be up and running at our new headquarters at Bíldshöfði 20.

– Find out how to contact Nordic Visitor

The new space will not only allow a little extra breathing room for our staff, but it will also allow us to serve our clients better with additional resources and more meeting rooms. Our new headquarters is located about a 15-minute drive from the Reykjavik city centre.

– See online map of Bíldshöfði 20, 110 Reykjavik

new Nordic Visitor headquarters

After 2nd December, Nordic Visitor will be located at Bíldshöfði 20 in Reykjavik. (The logo marks the spot on this map!) We are moving from Bríetartún 13 in Reykjavik, where we had been since late 2012.

Bíldshöfði 20, 110 Reykjavik

Trying to find our new office at Bíldshöfði 20? This is what to look for! We’ll be on the top (4th) floor but don’t worry, if you’re not up for taking the stairs there is an elevator.

We can’t wait to welcome visitors to our new digs after the 5th of December!

A little something about Christmas in the Nordics

The Nordics are the homeland of Santa Claus, where we have delicious glögg to sip after hearty smorgasbords and colourful twinkling lights all over—even up in the sky! So it should come as no surprise that we really get into the Christmas spirit up here.

In case you want in on the Yuletide fun here in the Nordics, read up on what to expect… Continue reading…