Our most magical experience during our family trip to Scandinavia was Husky dog sledding in Norway through the snow blanketed fields of Tromsø.
Truly, we had some incredible experiences in the land of Trolls – a spiritual excursion to witness the Northern Lights in Kirkenes, an authentically cultural journey through the North Cape on the Hurtigruten, and even celebrating a Norwegian Christmas in Oslo.
Still, cuddling the dogs at Vill on our dog sledding adventure in Norway was without question the most extraordinary of everything we did.
Definitely! Dog sledding should be at the top of your list of experiences when you travel to Norway! These are 11 of the most incredible reasons we recommend ticking this item off your bucket list!
11 Magical Reasons to Take Your Family on an Extraordinary Adventure:
Husky Dog Sledding in Norway
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1. Learn History of the Sami Indians & Their Connection to Husky Dog Sledding in Norway
The unique opportunity of husky dog sledding in Norway, though not necessarily specific to only Norway but all of Scandinavia, gave us a glimpse of traditional practices that have taken place in the Arctic region since the Sami Indians cultivated this land hundreds of years ago.
Greenland, Siberia and Alaska is where our modern day dog sledding traditions originated as far back as the year 1000.
In Greenland, the dogs helped humans journey across frozen seas hunting polar bears.
The Chukchi tribe of Siberia navigated the dogs over the ice bridges between Russia and North America to both fish sea mammals and herd land animals such as Santa’s reindeer.
Much like in Siberia, the dogs of Alaska helped humans survive the harsh climate. They helped tribes hunt of course, but they also tended the children and guarded the home.
Husky’s have a long history intertwined with humans. They are a breed of dogs that are incredibly resilient, astonishingly strong and hard working, and fiercely smart and loyal.
2. Travel to Tromsø, Norway
Tromsø is an idyllic town almost as far North as you can reach on the main European continent.
The airport on a strip of land encased by water and located inside a cavern of fjords.
The city is well known for the Northern Lights, and is famous for century old wooden homes with skylights for viewing the lights.
We arrived in Tromsø the morning of our Husky Dog Sledding tour, after leaving our airbnb in Oslo several hours earlier at 5am. That might have not been quite so bad had we been able to fall asleep prior to 3am.
Compounding the excitement of Christmas the day before with the disorientating polar night and the time zone difference, we couldn’t bring on the euphoric joy of sound sleep, until of course, we were awoken by the chitter chatter and laughing of multiple groups of entertained Chinese tour groups and the sound of their camera shutters frantically taking photos.
Apparently we were quite a sight to see, all five of us fast asleep in the upright hotel lobby chairs, and likewise irresistible to resist taking photos of for the folks back home, to share in, I guess was one of the highlights of their trip to the northernmost part of Europe.
3. Full Service Excursion
We were completely taken care of!
Wiping the drool from my mouth just in time for our host to let us know our driver was almost here to take us to the property.
We booked our Husky Dog Sledding Tour along with our cruise on the Hurtigruten through Authentic Scandinavia. All we had to do was make our way to the Radisson Blu Hotel in Tromsø by the appointed time.
They picked us up, drove us out to the snow capped fjords in the countryside and took care of everything! Even letting the Chinese take photos of us sleeping.
4. You Don’t Have to Pack Anything
We were the first to arrive of the excursion groups and we quickly got dressed so we could board the family sled with the lead musher, Tor.
Though we had dressed for winter weather, we opted to use their full body snow jumpsuits and boots which were far more appropriate for the weather and the activity, and kept us quite cozy for the ride.
They had sizes for each one of us, from Mama to Papa to baby, and we were indeed kept quite warm as promised. For some added protection, you can also bring along skiing goggles to wear during the ride.
Family Hint: Bring your own warm hats to wear so you aren’t encumbered by the hood of the suit and can see and take in everything around you. It was also the one time during our trip that we wish we had had a winter face ski mask.
5. Get to Know the Entire Family of 300+ Dogs
We made our way outside, led by the sound of the dogs howling at the moon ready to chase the darkness and exercise their eager legs.
The back property of the compound is where the dogs live. Each one has an individual dog house, marked with their name. 300 dogs live here, loved and cared for by their families who devote their lives to nurturing and caring for these amazing animals.
They love receiving visitors, both to pull on their sleds and to pay with in the yard. Both male and female dogs run the course, and the puppies are kept with their mother in a separate home until they are ready to run.
6. Be a Lead Musher for the Day
If you are traveling alone, or as a couple, you will act as musher and drive the dogs yourself! No need to be anxious, the dogs know the path well and will follow the pack, but you’ll be holding the reigns!
As we were traveling as a family with little ones, our adventure dog sledding in Norway was on a family sled.
Gabriel made up the caboose, I sat in front of him with Eclair on my lap, and the twins were in front of me. The kids were covered in both a wool blanket and a sleeping bag. We were warm and comfortable!
The only exception was Eclair’s face which was fairly exposed. We ended up covering most of it and she consequently fell asleep for most of the ride. Fortunately she woke up when we got back to the lodge, just in time to play with the 12 huskies who made up our team, and they were vibrant and playful.
7. Meet and Play with Famous Husky Dogs and Mushers
We learned that our guide has been living with and training these huskies for his entire life. His mother led the next pack of dogs directly behind us, started this family business, and taught him the skills of the trade.
Tor is preparing to race the Finnmarksløpst, a 1500 kilometer dog race that starts and ends in Alta. The very dogs that pulled our sled will be racing with him.
The dogs need no instruction. They are strong, talented, skilled and intelligent creatures that breath the land they run across. Tor would yelp or yip a few commands at them if he wanted them to run a different path or direction on our three kilometer journey, but they would have no trouble on this journey without his help.
8. See the Northern Lights
If the conditions are prime, you’ll be able to see the Northern Lights dancing in the black night sky!
Check out our guide on how not to ruin your chances at seeing the Northern Lights.
9. Cuddle the Racing Dogs and Puppies!
After our husky dog sledding trip in Norway, we spent some time with the individual dogs who led our sled.
We were able to pet and thank them, play with them and learn a little bit more about their personalities and who they were.
Not only that, but we were also able to meet the rest of the brood of 300 dogs. It was great to talk with the team about what the dogs were fed, how they trained, mated, grew, worked, and more.
We also got to meet the two newest puppies, who were just one month old during our visit. They were beyond adorable, chasing each other around and stealing our gloves.
They allowed us to hold them and love them, and our baby Eclair who has a love for animals exceeding anything else on this planet, was in absolute heaven.
10. Eat Chocolate Cake in a Tent in the Snow after Husky Dog Sledding in Norway
The night ended with chocolate cake and hot chocolate in a traditional Sami tent around a fire.
► For Kids: Do not pass up the opportunity to go husky dog sledding in Norway if you have the chance. This was a magical opportunity to experience and we couldn’t help but imagine our ancestors completing this same type of journey.
Playing with the puppies was our absolute favorite part, and as our children were the only ones there that night we totally monopolized this activity.
11. Live Out Your Childhood Dreams Dog Sledding in Norway
Who doesn’t want to take a trip dog sledding in Norway?
No really. Who hasn’t read Jack London’s book Call of the Wild?
Watched Iron Will or Eight Below and dreamed of taking a dog sled across a never-ending blanket of snow and develop one of the most meaningful and lasting relationships with a living non-human creature?
Like we said, dog sledding in Norway is a magical experience.
► What We Learned: We learned a lot about the dogs who worked on these tours, and it gave our children an opportunity to ask questions and learn about how to train, care for, and live alongside these beautiful animals. We felt very special watching these highly intelligent animals navigating the twists and turns expertly at home in their element.
What do you think? Would you rather lay back and relax in the sled admiring the scenery or grab the reigns over the fjords?
► Nap-Time Version: Our family trip Husky Dog Sledding in Norway during the polar night in the remote wilderness of Tromsø in Scandinavia.
We loved our time in Norway! Check out all our adventures!