Going to Norway in the winter is not for the faint-hearted. I took my brother on a 60th bucket list journey for one week to do things wed never done.
Jan Sortland was an excellent listener and provided such great guidance and advice. We had an amazingly knowledgeable and charming guide during our one day in Oslo. I think that Bergen was eminently missable- we did not find it to be the charming or beautiful city it was described to be, and after our wonderful Oslo guide this one was disappointing and a bit tired.
Going above the Arctic Circle was superb – dog sledding, reindeer racing with the Sami and hunting for the Northern Lights. All great fun.
I would not advise anyone to do 2+ hours of motor scooters over snowy trails – perhaps it was because we were there when the snows were unseasonably deep and the paths were not at all groomed and incredibly bumpy. I just wanted to get out of the whiteout and go have a cup of tea. Instead, I had my arms practically pulled out of my sockets.
And none of this comes at a cheap price so one must think about the events carefully!
As promised, we did see the Northern Lights. Yet I told the company that took us out that our first driver was far superior to the second night out when all we did was sit in one freezing spot for nearly 2 hours for naught. That was not the described “northern light safari” one expected.
By the way, Jan knows his restaurants and menus – his advice in this area was also superb!!
All in all, this was a fantastic and memorable journey.
I am a world traveler with high expectations and, at the end of the day, a very honest and clearly a rather critical reviewer.
We just returned from a trip we planned with Jan Sortland to see the Northern Lights in Alta, Norway and wanted to tell you that he is fantastic! What a pro. Everything was perfect. I highly recommend Jan, and thank you so much for what you do as you made it very easy for us to find him! We saw the Northern Lights 4 nights in a row (unbelievable experience), we dined with one of the world’s great chefs, went dog sledding, snowshoeing, ice fishing, cruising the fjord sand more, and loved every minute of it. Jan was great to work with from start to finish.
It was an excellent Norway trip, and an okay Iceland trip. We should have listened to Jan. The city he recommended—Alta, Norway—was amazing! At first we were not sure, since we never heard about it, but it became the highlight of our trip! We insisted on going to Iceland too, even though Jan warned us of possible disappointments. It turns out Iceland is way below Alta standards. Alta has the best food (thanks to the chef), and also fun and private activities!
I keep thinking that I will find the time to describe just how responsive Jan Sortland was and that he planned an excellent and flawless trip for us. Suffice it to say, I would recommend him unequivocally. And I will use your organization again based on the experience with Sortland.
Many thanks for the referral.
The trip went smoothly. The guides were excellent, very knowledgeable and courteous. They spoke English perfectly. The travel agent was able to find for us two tickets for the opera house for a sold out performance. Amazing!
March 2016. Just returned today from Norway. This was our first trip to Norway. We left the planning and recommendations to Jan Sortland of Norwegian Adventures. Our trip was predicated on attempting to view the Northern Lights. Jan recommended Alta Norway as the best place to view the lights. He was an absolute pleasure to work with. His communications were timely and his attention to details was fantastic. He made many recommendations to us about activities while we were in Alta. These included dog sledding, snowmobiling, ice fishing, hiking and of course Northern Lights “safaris”. He also arranged for a private experience in meeting Sami tribal people and learning about their culture with reindeer sledding. Everything worked to perfection and there were no hiccups in any of the details. Fantastic vacation and dealing with a fantastic travel specialist in Jan Sortland. There is a big advantage in using a local person to plan your vacation. He know all the little things that go in planning a high end adventure.
All in all, I would give Jan our highest recommendation and we plan on using him on our next adventure to Norway on a Fjords excursion.
While many of our friends have visited and enjoyed Scandinavia, their trips seem to me the equivalent of visiting New York and Chicago and calling it “America.” It is, of course… but there’s so much more. My husband and I wanted the “so much more.” Problem is, if you ask travel planners to put together an independent itinerary that’s even a little off the beaten path, as we did, not one was familiar enough with Scandinavia to offer anything beyond the typical Copenhagen-Bergen-Oslo-Stockholm track.
Photography is our biggest priority. We wanted our Scandinavian trip—with an emphasis on Norway—to provide lots of photo ops and local color. What we didn’t want was to continually run into every travel photographer’s nemesis: busloads of tourists.
Jan Sortland promised to show us “the Norway that only Norwegians see,” and (with a little Denmark & Sweden thrown in), that’s exactly what he delivered. We traveled to places where the Norwegians themselves were on vacation, big, wide-open spaces, along the way driving hundreds of miles through gorgeous country filled with fjords, farms, waterfalls, even a glacier or two, around every bend yet another extraordinary view. We especially loved our days in the Lofotens, north of the Arctic Circle, where we wound up on Rost Island, 50 miles out in the Norwegian Sea, a small fishing community with roots dating back to the 14th century, famous for its abundance and variety of nesting sea birds. It was one of our favorite spots.
Jan brilliantly managed a 23-day journey with a complicated itinerary that included (take a deep breath): 3 car rentals, 8 inter-Scandinavian flights, 2 fjord cruises, numerous car ferries and an assortment of other boats, a train, a funicular and 10 accommodations, ranging from 5-stars and spas to “the oldest hotel in Norway,” a cozy family-run place, to a couple of fisherman’s huts. It was truly the “adventure” we’d hoped for. In the cities, Jan provided excellent guides and, in Copenhagen, a day with a guide, car & driver, showcasing the beauty of the Danish countryside. Left to our own devices, we were well-supplied with pre-paid vouchers for museums, palaces, stave churches, and a journey out into the Stockholm archipelago.
Our trip concluded in Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea—our second favorite place. How fortunate for us that Jan arranged our arrival to coincide with the last day of their annual Medieval Fair—what a sight coming upon half the town in medieval garb in this meticulously preserved medieval town. A photographer’s heaven.
In short, we couldn’t recommend Jan Sortland more.
Exceeded our expectations! Everything was great—the accommodations were the finest, our guide was wonderful, and the views and scenery were superlative!