When in Norway, do as the Norwegians do: Go dog sledding! But forget all of those ride-along experiences if you want a little adventure with your dog sledding in Norway. You really can mush your own team of huskies through a snow-covered forest.
HI Travel Tales had the opportunity to do just that, having the golden chance to be taken out by four-time Iditarod competitor Ketil Reitan and his Alaskan Husky Tours when we stopped into to the mining village of Roros. Normally, Roros is an area with very cold and stable winters, but the winter of 2014 was a little late arriving. Our timing, however, was excellent for dog sledding in Norway: Ketil told us the snow had just started falling! Our sledding experience with him in late November was to be the first time he and his dogs had gone out on snow with sleds rather than on training carts with wheels. That made it an extra special experience.
Jump on, and let’s go dog sledding!
We think Ketil (and his dogs, including Nanok, Nara, Mira and Baldo, among others from his pack of 45 or so) were just as thrilled as we were with the big soft flakes and the white layer on the ground.
Now this is not a dog sledding experience like you may have if you were somewhere in the United States where liability and lawyers and lawsuits are in everybody’s thoughts: Ketil picked us up in Roros at our inn, then we drove out a half-hour or so to his kennel and home. There were no contracts or liability waivers or medical clearances. You suited up. You worked with him in harnessing the dogs (stepping in a bit of poop here and there). He basically said something like, ok, stand on the runners this way,… here is the brake,… lean this way if you want to go that way,… lean the other way if you want to go that way,… let’s go!
Showing off dog sledding in Norway
Michael had tried dog sledding before (at an Iditarod race a number of years ago as a journalist), but this was my first time. Certainly, I’m ready for the next adventure wherever that takes me, but suddenly zooming out of the kennel being pulled by dogs who were on the snow for the first time (i.e. jumping out of their skins) was quite the dog sledding experience in Norway!!! (We are of course convinced Ketil is subtly sizing you up while talking to you to determine how much you can do and adjusting dogs, sleds and your dog sledding experience based on that assessment.)
“I like to show my favorite sport to people from all over the world,” Reitan told HI Travel Tales. “People are always very happy. Many people say this is the best thing they’ve ever done in their life.
“Some people come and are afraid of dogs,” he said, “and after awhile they are not. It’s nice that you can do something to change people too.”
Combo mush and ride during dog sledding in Norway
Ketil mushed one team, and Michael and I took turns mushing the other team, with the non-musher trading out for the passenger seat on Ketil’s sled. Can I say exhilarating??? (Although I’m not sure the dogs thought so since they kept looking over their shoulders, with this doggie grimace, like, what the h— are you doing?!?!?)
Alaskan Husky Tours offers half-day and full-day trips with some guests just coming in for the day from Trondheim, Reitan told us, since that city is only two hours north (We do recommend a real stay in Roros, however, since it’s a quaint little UNESCO World Heritage Site.). Do check in with the Roros visitor office if you have any questions, since the group there is wonderful too!
In 2015, Reitan moved back to Alaska, where he had lived seven years a few years ago, to run his company offering guided polar bear tours. In Norway, dog sledding near Roros is being managed by Markus Ingebretsen. The company also offers other adventures for groups, such as skiing, snowshoeing and outdoor meals, with kennel visits and training cart rides in the summer. Oh, don’t forget the puppy hugging. That’s available all year.
To see more of our adventure and to learn more about what mushing your own team with Alaskan Husky Tours will be like, enjoy this short video:
What to do in Norway
In the map below, pins mark the location of all the sites mentioned in our articles on Norway. Zoom in or out on the map using the controls. Switch easily from map to satellite view. Click on each pin to pull up a tooltip with the name and any additional information. For more detailed planning help, refer to our What to do in Oslo and What to do in Bergen travel guides.
Oslo Main Train Station
Bergen Main Train Station - Bergen
Myrdal Train Station
Flam Train Station
Gudvangen Ferry Terminal
Roros Visitors Center
Sleggveien - Roros
Idrettsparken Hotel - Roros
National Museum of Decorative Arts - Trondheim
Ringve Music Museum - Trondheim
Trondheim Museum of Art
Old Town Bakklandet - Trondheim
Nidaros Cathedral - Trondheim
Archbishop's Palace and Museum - Trondheim
Old Town Bridge - Trondheim
Kristiansten Fort - Trondheim
Sverresborg - Trondelag Folk Museum - Trondheim
Stiffsgarden Royal Residence - Trondheim
Medieval Church Ruins in the Library - Trondheim
Alesund and Sunnmore Tourist Office
Centre of Art Nouveau - Alesund
Fjellstua Viewpoint - Alesund
Theta Museum - Bergen
Theta Museum — It was a secret room then and, for many, it still remains a secret museum and hidden room today. It is the itty-bitty Theta Museum, a minute 170-square-foot (16 square meters) low-ceiling room hidden away on an upper floor of the Bryggen wharf area in Bergen. The museum was the headquarters of the Theta Group, an important part of the Norwegian Resistance during WWII. Its hours are quite limited to plan around them to not miss this gem! Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Bergen Maritime Museum - Bergen
Bergen Maritime Museum — The Bergen Maritime Museum presents the history of shipping, its development and importance to Bergen and Norway. We loved the museum’s vast collection of ship models – including Viking ships. Getting There: The museum is situated 150 meters from Johanneskirken (the red church), in the middle of the University campus.. Admission is NOK 50 or free with a valid Bergen Card. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
University Museum of Bergen
University Museum of Bergen — Although the Natural History Museum is undergoing restoration and will not reopen until 2018, the History Museum is well worth a look, containing some of the largest cultural collections in Norway. Since it is adjacent to the Maritime Museum, time your visit to enjoy both on the same day. Admission is NOK 50, or free with a valid Bergen Card. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Bryggen - Bergen
Bryggen — This is what you likely think of when you think of Bergen. In 1360 the Hansas – a German guild of merchants – set up one of their import/export offices on Bryggen and dominated world trade for the next 400 years. Though destroyed many times by fire, each time it has been faithfully rebuilt, on top of foundations that were created in the 11th century. Now on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, Bryggen is made for wandering, slowly. Meander through narrow passageways and enjoy the myriad of tiny shops, offices and artist studios. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Fløibanen Funicular - Bergen
Fløibanen Funicular — Do not miss the breathtaking view from atop Mt. Floyen, 320 meters (1,050) feet above sea level). Certainly one of Norway’s most-often mentioned attractions, the Funicular runs every 15 minutes from early morning until 11 p.m. The journey lasts approximately 8 minutes up or down. We watched for Northern Lights from the summit one evening during a recent visit, though swirling mist obscured a view of the sky, but not the twinkling lights below. Admission is NOK 85 round trip or NOK 43 one-way. Bergen Card is valid for a 50% discount May 1 through September 30 and gives you a free ride the rest of the year. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Bergenhus Festning - Bergen
Bergenhus Festning – A bit further up the road from Bryggen Historic District, take the time to visit the historic fort, Bergenhus. Here you will see the Rosenkrantz Tower, considered one of the most important renaissance monuments in Norway and, when open, offering an impressive view of Bergen. Plus, there is Hakon’s Hall, built by King Håkon Håkonsson as a royal residence and banqueting hall in the 12th century – granted you won’t need a lot of time there. Bergenhus Festning, 5003 Bergen. Admission to each is NOK 70 or free with a valid Bergen Card. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Hanseatic Museum - Bergen
Hanseatic Museum — One of the best-preserved buildings in Bergen, the Hanseatic Museum shows how the German merchants from The Hanseatic League lived and worked. From 1350 to 1750 these merchants traded stockfish (chewy, dried fish) and grains from their office in Bergen. It is the only house on Bryggen that has kept its original interior. In summer, there are daily guided tours in Norwegian, German, French and English. Admission NOK 90. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Bergen Aquarium - Bergen
Bergen Aquarium – The Bergen Aquarium claims to house one of the largest collections of North Sea fish and invertebrates in Europe. The aquarium features indoor 60 tanks, a shark viewing tube, and two outdoor pools with seals and penguins. Cost – From March 1 to October 31, entrance runs NOK 200. A Bergen Card discounts that by 25%. The rest of the year, entrance is NOK 150 or free with a Bergen Card. Since the aquarium website is only offered in Norwegian, click here to find aquarium information on the official Tourist Information website, thankfully in English. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Det Lille Kaffekompaniet - Bergen
Bergen is made to get lost in on foot because it’s so compact and so walkable, albeit hilly. Explore narrow side streets, particularly those around the base of the funicular’s lower terminal off Lille Øvergaten. Just follow your nose. Take the time to sit and enjoy a coffee and delectable in one of the many small cafes you will encounter … we loved Det Lille Kaffekompaniet in the Lille Overgaten. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Skottegaten - Bergen
Bergen is made to get lost in on foot because it’s so compact and so walkable, albeit hilly. Explore narrow side streets, particularly those around the base of the funicular’s lower terminal off Lille Øvergaten. Just follow your nose. Also worth exploring is the hilly area all around Skottegaten just west of the main part of the old town and between there and the Hurtigruten terminal. Your nose and your feet will be your guides. Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Bergen Visitors Center - Bergen
Hurtigruten Terminal - Bergen
Shipping and ferry services are Bergen’s connection to the outside world as well as much of Norway. You will arrive or depart from here by ferry for part of the Norway in a Nutshell tour, if you choose that version. And this is also where the well-known Hurtigruten (the Coastal Express) ferry tours depart daily for trips up to Kirkenes in the far north (stopping in numerous Norwegian coastal towns and villages along the way). Click here to read our What To Do In Bergen travel planning guide.
Hurtigruten Terminal - Kirkenes
Hurtigruten Terminal - Trondheim
Vigeland Park - Oslo
Royal Palace - Oslo
Take the time to wander down Karl Johans Gate, starting at the Central Station. Karl Johans Gate is the main street in central Oslo and features a tree-lined promenade bordered by restaurants, cafes and upscale stores. There is, naturally, great people watching and at the end of the walk you will find yourself at the Royal Palace, home of the Norwegian royal family. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.
Old Aker Church - Oslo
Oslo Domkirke - Oslo
Edward Munch Museum - Oslo
Edward Munch Museum — Edvard Munch – probably best known for modern painting known as “The Scream” — has a unique position among Nordic painters and is considered a pioneer in expressionism. The Munch Museum’s collection, left to the city of Oslo by the artist, consists of paintings, graphical prints and drawings. By constantly changing the exhibitions, the museum presents the variety in his life. Be sure to visit the museum website prior to planning your trip as the museum does close for short spans due to exhibition changes. Admission: NOK 100. Free with valid Oslo Pass. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.
Norwegian Museum of Cultural History - Oslo
Norwegian Museum of Cultural History — Located on Bydgoy next to the Viking Ship Museum the Museum of Cultural History is a large open-air museum that is full of wonderful replicas of traditional Norwegian buildings throughout Norwegian history. The most famous building is the intricately carved stave church – which is truly stunning. Admission is NOK 80 or free with a valid Oslo Pass. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.
The Viking Ship Museum - Oslo
The Viking Ship Museum — The Viking Ship Museum presents historic Viking ship discoveries discovered during excavations at Gokstad, Oseberg and Tune as well as other finds from Viking tombs around the Oslo Fjord. Most significant are the displays of the world’s two best-preserved wooden Viking ships, built in the 9th century. Admission is NOK 80 or free with a valid Oslo Pass. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.
Akershus Fortress - Oslo
Akershus Fortress — Akershus Fortress, located in the city centre overlooking the Oslo fjord, is a great place to take in wonderful views of Oslo as well as the surrounding fjord. The building of Akershus Castle and the fortress began in 1299 under King Håkon V. The medieval castle, which was completed in the 1300s, was strategically located at the end of the headlands overlooking the fjord. King Christian IV (1588-1648) modernized the castle and had it converted to a royal residence. Admission is free. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.
Resistance Museum - Oslo
Norway’s Resistance Museum — The Resistance Museum is located in a 17th century building on the grounds of Akershus Fortress, right adjacent to the memorial for Norwegian patriots executed during the war. It is a fantastic museum – plan on a couple of hours (or more depending on your passion) to view the displays covering five years of occupation recreated with pictures, documents, posters, objects, models, original copies of newspapers and recordings. Read our What To Do In Oslo planning guide here.