'Frozen', Disney's new feature movie, is now showing on cinema screens, giving cinema audiences all over the world the chance to lose themselves dreaming of a frozen fairytale world. It's also possible to experience many of the things that are so fascinating in the movie in a winter visit to Northern Norway.
Frozen beauty – the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights dance soundlessly on nimble feet, bathed in electric green with hints of pink and purple, across the biggest cinema screen in the world, the night sky of Northern Norway. Shimmering curtains, organ pipes, purple flowers that open and close and are never the same twice. Northern Norway is right in the middle of the Northern Lights zone, and you can see the Northern Lights more here than anywhere else in the world.
In November and December, Northern Norway wears a thick garment of snow. The fairytale mountains of Helgeland, the jagged peaks of Lofoten, the impressive mountain range of the Lyngen Alps, and the raw, naked coast of Finnmark have something unreal about them when twilight bathes the mountains, sea and sky in a deep, clear, ethereal blue.
Fishing villages with painted white houses, red jetties and 'rorbu' fisherman's cabins nestled between sea and mountain, and charming small towns with colourful wooden houses gathered around a port; many of the settlements in Northern Norway seem to come straight out of a Disney fairytale. On frozen winter days, it's good to know that there are plenty of cosy cafes and restaurants behind the pretty façades.
A night in a snow hotel might sound chilly. But metre-thick snow walls make it surprisingly cosy, and you sleep in warm sleeping bags. Carved ice sculptures in the bar and reception, with themes from Northern Norway culture create a bewitching, mystical atmosphere that could be ...well... straight out of a film.
Frozen prosperity – the Sami culture
For thousands of years, the Sami have not just lived but prospered in the frozen landscape. Reindeer graze in winter on the Finnmarksvidda plain, where the temperature often drops below minus 30 degrees. But you soon forget the chill when you throw a lasso or drive reindeer and a sled. Afterwards there's reindeer broth and reindeer stew ('bidos') in the Sami tent to warm you up and make your cheeks glow.
Frozen fun in the snow
Even in mid-winter, Northern Norway isn't as frozen as you might think, and with good clothing, you can be outside for hours, enjoying the snow. Dogsled trips through snow-clad landscapes, snowshoe trips under pine trees heavy with snow, skiing trips through the forest and over frozen lakes, and high-speed snowmobile trips across white plains — they're all great fun and extremely pleasant. Exploring snow caves on Svalbard and fishing for king crab on the ice in Kirkenes are among the many secrets of the north.
Frozen trolls and hunting eagles
The snow-clad peaks of Northern Norway are actually trolls that turned to stone when the sun rose. However, the Senja troll still enjoys good health. The natural world comes to life on a nature safari in search of photos of eagles diving for fish, or killer whales and humpback whales hunting for seals. Try deep-sea fishing for Arctic cod, which spawn in winter.
Below you can find a series of articles that we have put together, showcasing great ideas of what you can do in the winter in Northern Norway in the same spirit as 'Frozen'.