There’s just something about Norway that always appealed to us. Maybe it was the magnificent fjords, the rich culture or the endless beauty the country has to offer, who knows. All we knew was that we just had to head up north and explore this winter wonderland. Even though we only spent 3 full days in and around a small village called Grovfjord, we completely fell in love with the country and can’t wait to go back. It may not seem like a lot of time but let us tell you how we spent 3 days in Northern Norway and you’ll be ready to pack your bags!
After a full day of traveling and a midnight arrival at our destination, we woke up in awe the next morning. We were staying in the small village of Grovfjord, which was approximately within an hour radius by car of everything we planned on doing. Our perfectly located Airbnb offered stunning views of the fjord and the mountains. We can highly recommend staying here, the house was beautiful, spacious and clean and the hosts were really nice and helpful.
We decided to spend our first full day exploring the area which was absolutely beautiful. Driving in and around Grovfjord offers some great photo opportunities! Grovfjord, or Grov, is a small village in county Troms. And by small, we mean small. As far as facilities go, there’s a small grocery store, a tiny gas station and a restaurant that’s open a couple days a week. The days are very short in Northern Norway towards the end of January. With sunrise around 10 am and sunset around 2 pm we only had about 4 hours of actual daylight which took a little getting used to for sure! However the lighting did make for some wicked pictures.
After exploring Grovfjord we made our way to a bigger village named Evenskjer where we got some groceries. Driving around in Northern Norway was an absolute breeze, there is beauty of the magical kind everywhere you look, there are plenty of opportunities to pull off on the side of the road to take it all in and we found the roads quite empty. I do have to mention that my husband Tommy has 10+ years of experience driving in brutal New England winters though, so that definitely helped! Also please pay attention to your speed since we’ve had moose crossing right in front of the car on multiple occasions. By the time we left Evenskjer the sun had already started setting and we decided to head back home for an early dinner.
Our main reason for this trip was a visit to Polar Park in Bardu, the world’s northernmost wildlife park. Polar Park is not your regular zoo, it is an arctic wildlife center with only a few, rather large, enclosures. The animals looked happy and very well taken care of, which we found extremely important as the huge animal lovers we are. This is not a busy place (at least not in the dead of winter when we visited) so you’ll have a good view of all the enclosures. However given their substantial size you may not see the animals right away. The park is small enough to do a couple of loops though. We would definitely recommend paying a visit here!
Kissed by wolves
Now you might wonder why the main reason for our trip was to visit a somewhat small wildlife center. Even though we had an amazing time exploring the park in its magical winter setting, the highlight of the day was the wolf visit we booked ahead of time. After detailed instructions we headed over to the wolf enclosure to experience the wolves from up close. Very close I might add since the wolves’ way of greeting us was by licking our faces and softly nibbling on our lips. Needless to say this was a very humbling and absolutely beautiful experience that we will forever carry in our hearts. To learn about these magnificent animals by observing their behavior in the pack from up close is just out of this world.
What we love about this program is that it was set up to ensure better welfare of wolves in captivity and increase knowledge about wolves. With the animals’ wellbeing in mind, visits are only available twice a week in small groups. We were actually the only people there when we did our visit. The animal keepers were clearly very passionate and knowledgeable about the wolves. Everything was done on the wolves’ terms, which we loved since we would never participate in any animal activity that is not enjoyable for the animals. All in all our visit to Polar Park made for an amazing, once in a lifetime kind of day that ended with us seeing the northern lights for the first time ever, right outside of our Airbnb! A perfect ending to a perfect day.
Still being on cloud 9 from the previous day, we decided to head to Narvik for the day and treat ourselves to dinner at a restaurant in Harstad for our last evening in Northern Norway.
The scenic drive to Narvik alone was incredible! We decided to head to Narvikfjellet, a unique ski resort surrounded by mountains and fjords. Neither of us ski but we had fun taking the cable car up the mountain to enjoy the stunning views. Don’t forget to purchase tickets for the cable car first! You can see the town of Narvik at the foot of the mountain from this incredible viewpoint. There’s also a restaurant where we planned on getting lunch, unfortunately it was so busy there that we opted out. You might be more in luck visiting on a weekday as opposed to a Saturday like we did.
De 4 Roser Café & Restaurant
Since we had been doing our own cooking so far, we wanted to treat ourselves to a nice dinner for our last evening. Our choice fell on De 4 Roser in Harstad. Now this place has a restaurant as well as a cafe, so we were under the impression we needed to be at the restaurant for our dinner so that’s where we made our reservations. Upon arrival we stepped into a warm and welcoming cafe with an amazing atmosphere. We slowly started realizing we could have just had dinner here. After hearing the restaurant upstairs was a true fine dining experience with multiple courses and a set menu, we decided to stay at the cafe.
Our waiter was incredibly nice and helpful, we had no idea we had to place our order at the bar and we also didn’t speak the language so his help was greatly appreciated! Our meals were delicious, we felt welcome and the vibe there was just perfect. So if you are looking for a great and welcoming place to get an amazing (traditional Norwegian) meal, with outstanding service, somewhere tourists usually don’t come but the locals do, go to De 4 Roser cafe in Harstad!
Time sure flies when you’re having fun! Even though this was only a short trip, we had an unforgettable time in Northern Norway and we will most definitely be back to explore more of it. If you’re looking for a quick and relaxed getaway where you will be wowed by stunning landscapes in a pretty remote area, while still being close enough to bigger cities, this trip might just be what you want. As for some final tips: definitely rent a car, keep the weather circumstances and the amount of actual daylight in mind while planning your trip and plan some activities before you go to avoid any language barriers or let downs. We would love to hear your thoughts or answer any questions you may have. For now we wish you happy and safe travels!
By TOMMY & DJAMILA from @togethertheytravel