Dog sledding in Norway

Whizzing across the pristine snow, pulled by a team of fluffy huskies – it’s a once-in-a-lifetime activity. And you know what? Norway is pretty much the best place in the world to try it.

Dog sledding in Norway is a bucket list activity

The initial excitement of the dogs barking contrasts with the stillness of the scenery, as you glide past picturesque landscapes, snowy fjords and jaw-dropping mountains. 

Huskies have helped humans live in Arctic climates for centuries, and now taking husky tours has become an important source income for the local Sámi people.

Why Norway is a great choice for dog sledding

With its steep valleys, dramatic mountains, deep lakes and narrow fjords, Norway’s unique landscape makes it a great place to try dog sledding.

Play with husky puppies at a dog kennels in Norway

And although the native Sámi people were traditionally reindeer herders, some have embraced dog sledding as a tourist activity.

This means dog sled tours in Norway also be combined with more traditional Sámi cultural activities, such as reindeer feeding, Sámi story-telling and visiting an authentic Sámi lavvu (tent).

5 epic dog sledding tours in Norway

So, how do you choose which dog sled tour to take? Here are our five favourite epic dog sled tours in Norway.

  • Classic dog sled adventure. This is the ultimate half-day husky tour, where you’ll learn how to mush then drive your own team of dogs across the Arctic wilderness. 
  • See the northern lights by dog sled. On this evening dog sled tour, you’ll take it in turns to drive the sled and be pulled along by the dogs as you look out for the northern lights in the sky above. 
  • Help to train husky puppies. Who could resist visiting a dog kennel and playing with the cutest fluffy husky puppies, before taking them for a walk and helping them learn how pull a sled?
  • Go whale-watching, see the northern lights and drive a dog sled. This three-day bucket-list yacht trip includes whale-watching, northern lights viewing and dog sledding – the ultimate Norwegian adventure!
  • Go on a dog sledding expedition in the wilderness. Spend a week camping in the Arctic terrain in an authentic Sami lavuu and exploring the frozen lakes and high plateaus by dog sled.

The best places for dog sledding in Norway 

So where is good for dog sledding in Norway? Here are five of our favourite dog sled destinations in Norway.

Tromsø

The self-styled gateway to the Arctic, Tromsø is a great base for dog sledding, with a wide variety of tours available. We like this fun dog sled trip that includes a traditional Sámi lunch of reindeer cooked round a campfire.

Dog sledding tours in Tromso, Norway include lunch round a campfire at a Sami camp.

The central Tromso Activities Hostel is a good-value place to stay with dorm beds and twin rooms and the staff can arrange a variety of tours and activities.

Alta

Known as the “city of the northern lights” (although they can be viewed almost anywhere in Northern Norway), Alta sits at the tip of the Altafjord way up in the northern district of Finnmark.

Home to some amazing rock art (now a Unesco Heritage site) and the striking contemporary Northern Lights Cathedral, Alta is also the start and finish point of Europe’s longest dog sled race, the Finnmarksløpet.

But if a three-day endurance race across north Norway seems a bit much, we suggest this half-day dog sled tour along the beautiful Alta river valley. 

The best place to stay in Alta, in our opinion, is the Holmen Husky Lodge. It has comfortable heated yurts, some with their own sauna, a spa, and, of course, plenty of cute huskies.

The Lyngen Alps

Surrounded by fjords on both side, the Lyngen Alps run for about 20km along the Lyngen peninsula on Norway’s rugged north coast. 

You get great views of this picturesque mountain chain while driving your own sled on this fun dog sled trip from Breivikeidet.

One of our favourite places to stay in the region is at these converted fishermen’s cottages, XLyngen. Right on the waterfront they have wonderful views of the mountains with a sauna and outdoor hot tub from where you can watch the northern lights. 

Varangerbotn

Close to the Finnish and Russian borders, Varangerbotn sits at the foot of the Varangerfjorden surrounded by pristine wilderness. 

Norway is one of the best places in Europe to try dog sledding.

This half-day dog sled tour is a great way to explore the scenic frozen rivers and lakes of this remote Arctic tundra region.

If you want to stay in this beautiful unspoilt area, the 8Seasons guest house is our top choice. Right in the middle of the village on the edge of the fjord, it has comfortable rooms and attractive traditional Sámi decor.

The Sognefjord

Norway’s longest and deepest fjord, the picturesque Sognefjord delves deep into the Norwegian hinterland from the coast north of Bergen. 

Known as the King of the Fjords, it’s surrounded by high mountains, with gushing waterfalls and some of Norway’s wildest scenery. 

Tucked into one of the fjord’s many smaller arms near the Jostedalsbreen National Park, the village of Sogndal has a lovely husky kennels, where you can meet the dogs and go for a sled ride.

The long-established family-run Hofslund Fjord Hotel is our favourite place to stay in Sogndal with comfortable rooms overlooking the fjord.

How much dog sledding costs in Norway

Prices for dog sledding tours in Norway vary according to how long the trip is, what’s included, where you are and whether you need transport to the husky kennels.

Prices for dog sledding in Norway depend on how you go for and what is included in the tour.

Some tours include training so that you can actually drive the dogs yourself, while others just include a ride on the sled. Tours that include full training tend to cost more.

Prices for a simple half-day sled trip start from around £115 (around $140) and can range up to £1700 ($2150) for a week-long husky expedition including camping, northern lights and all gear and meals.

Best time of the year to dog sled in Norway

Winter is the best time of year to go dog sledding in Norway, when there’s a thick covering of snow on the ground for the sleds to glide across.

In December and January, there a good chance of snow and long dark nights which are ideal for northern lights viewing – but you won’t have many hours of daylight for sightseeing.

Overall, March and April are probably the best months, when the days are slightly longer and the temperatures are starting to get milder.

Perhaps surprisingly, it’s also possible to go dog sledding in some areas during the summer. Some companies run magical midnight sun trips when the dogs pull along sled with wheels.

Preparing for your dog sledding trip

If you want to learn how to mush your own sled, you’ll need a reasonable level of fitness. Those tours where you just sit back and enjoy the ride are suitable for anyone.

Most tours provide all the gear you need including warm arctic suits and winter boots, though it’s a good idea to bring your own hat, gloves and scarf and to wear a warm coat and thick socks.

Layers are useful as it can get hot if teh sun comes out when you’re driving the sled.

Animal welfare concerns

There is plenty of debate as to whether dog sledding is cruel to the animals or not. Some people argue that the dogs should not be tethered and forced to pull sleds, while others claim that dogs love running and are happy to pull sleds.

Check how the drivers interact with the dogs when choosing a dog sled tour in Norway.

The good news is that Norway has strict animal welfare regulations to help ensure that dog sled companies are ethically run and treat the dogs well. 

If you do chose to go dog sledding, make sure you pick a responsible company with strict welfare standards.

Here are things to look out for when you are choosing a good dog sled tour.

  • Check that the kennels are clean and well-maintained
  • Look at the condition of the huskies – are they well-groomed with bright eyes?
  • Are the dogs enthusiastic and keen to run when they attached to the sleds? 
  • Check how the staff interact with the dogs. Do the dogs respond well to the staff and are they treated with kindness?

Generally, tour providers on booking sites like GetYourGuide have a good reputation and high standards of care – but do your own research before booking.

Alternative and complementary experiences

You may want to combine a dog sled tour with alternative Arctic experiences and there are plenty of other fun and interesting tours and trips that you can do in Norway. 

For more info, see our guides to Cross-country skiing in Norway, Snowmobile tours in Tromsø and Reindeer herding with the Sami in Norway.

See also:
Dog sledding in Sweden
The best dog sled tours in Tromso 
Dog sled tours in Kiruna

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