If you are planning a winter trip to Tromsø or other areas in Northern Norway, you’ll probably be overwhelmed by a big choice of outdoor activities. Let me save you some time – dog sledding is one of the best things you can do in Tromsø in winter. It’s exhilarating, it’s fun, it’s unforgettable…
Dog sledding has been on my bucket list for a long time and now that I ticked it off the list I can’t wait to go back and do it again.
There are several places where you can go husky sledding in Tromso. No matter what you choose, you’re in for a thrilling ride and an experience of a lifetime! I visited Tromso in cooperation with VisitTromso! and they couldn’t have chosen a better place and more beautiful location for our dog sledding tour. There is no better way to experience the Arctic winter landscapes than from a husky sled!
In this article I want to share my personal experience with dog sledding in Tromsø. This information might not apply to all husky sledding tours in Tromso, but it should help you form a better idea on what to expect and decide which tour is right for you. Find out!
Dog sledding in Tromso – what to expect
If you book an organised husky sleigh tour from Tromso, your trip will start with a pick-up in Tromso city centre. Depending on the location you choose, you’ll drive 30-60 min to the place where dog sledding takes place.
The drive to Tromsø Villmarkssenter took us about half an hour. The landscapes here are incredible and the ride itself is really scenic. Upon arrival we were greeted by a local guide who pointed us to the reception and changing rooms. Time to put on those thermal suits!
Once everyone was set to go, we went to meet the guides. Depending on which tour you book – self drive or guided tour – you are assigned into two separate groups.
Guided dog sledding
People who book a guided husky sled drive basically just sit in a sled, take pictures and admire the scenery. All the sleds on the guided tour are driven by local mushers. Sit down and enjoy the ride!
Guided dog sledding is suitable for everyone, also for families with children. From what I see, there is no age limit on guided husky rides. Kids under 3 travel free and children between 4 and 13 get a 50% discount.
Two people can sit together in a sled, so kids will usually share a sled with one parent. I’m not sure how it works if you are a family with three kids; I think I’d let my husband go with one child, let the other two share a sled, and I would book a self-drive sled for myself (parents are not allowed to operate a sled with their children in it).
Self-drive husky sledding – your mushing adventure
I booked a self-drive husky ride. Our tour started with a short introduction on how to operate a sled and in just a few minutes we were set to go.
Is it difficult to drive a husky sled? Don’t worry, driving a dog-pulled sled is really easy and pretty straight-forward. The dogs are well trained, so they do most of the work for you. All you have to do is steer a bit and help the dogs by pushing the sled when it goes uphill. If you get overly enthusiastic dogs as we did, you have to use the breaks once in a while in order to avoid passing other sleds as this might be a bit dangerous. All in all, I found driving a dog sled a very easy and enjoyable experience.
Every self-drive sled also has two people in it – one driving and one sitting in a sled. You both drive half the time and the group stops half way to let the drivers switch. If you are traveling on your own, it’s a fun way to meet new people. I was sharing a sled with a doctor from Japan. It was the first time driving a husky sled for both of us and we agreed that it was one of the best experiences ever.
If you are wondering which sled drive to book, I’d say go with a self-drive dog sledding experience. It allows you to experience both – the thrill of being a musher, as well as the relaxing ride enjoying the scenery. Also, if for whatever reason you decide you don’t want to drive the sled anymore, you can always switch back with the other person.
Please note that you have to be at least 16 years old in order to drive a husky sled.
Ready, set, go. Dog sledding is so much fun!
From the moment you first meet the huskies, you’ll be amazed at how enthusiastic the dogs are and how much they enjoy running. If you have any concerns about the well-being of the dogs, all your doubts will go away when you meet the huskies and the mushers and see how they interact. Of course, I cannot say how it is in every place where you can go dog sledding, but the place we visited in Tromso takes care of their dogs really well.
Dog sledding usually happens in a group. The calmer, most experienced dogs (usually older females) lead the group and there are always experienced mushers driving the first sleds. The other dogs just follow the lead. We had the very last sled of the group with six young male dogs. They were incredible! We never had to help them run; on the contrary, we had to slow them down. They seemed to be having the time of their lives, and so were we…
The scenery near Tromso Villmakssenter surrounded by snowcapped mountains is simply spectacular. It’s such a beautiful place and it makes the whole dog sledding experience even better.
I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of the drive itself and was positively surprised that the sledding time was much longer than I expected. I thought we’d just make a short tour of 10-20 minutes as it’s often the case with tourist-oriented activities. In the end our ride took over 75 minutes and I loved every single one of them.
Without any doubt, dog sledding is one of the most unforgettable experiences ever. Highly recommended! If you visit Tromso in winter, don’t miss a chance to tick this off your bucket list.
Meet the husky puppies
After the ride we had more time to play with the dogs. To tell you the truth, I’m not really a dog person and I never feel comfortable around them. However, these huskies are so friendly that it’s really impossible not to cuddle them, and I’m not even talking about puppies… All the kids in our group just couldn’t get enough of playing with the dogs. Even I stayed with them longer than expected…
Warm Norwegian lunch
A Husky sledding experience also includes warm lunch and it’s actually really good. They have warm drinks and the best chocolate cake for desert as well!
The lunch was so good that I didn’t even think of taking pictures while enjoying it. But here is an image of the cozy bonfire just next to the restaurant. Beautiful place to warm up before or after the sled ride.
If you have some time left – meet the reindeer
Tromso Wilderness Centre offers more activities including reindeer sledding, but the people I met and talked to all agreed that dog sledding was by far the best and most worth the money. Anyway, if you have a minute after lunch, walk around a bit and discover the beautiful surroundings. I was lucky to find several cute reindeer.
Is dog sledding in Tromso worth it?
I guess you can already guess my answer. Yes, dog sledding in Tromsø is totally worth it. It’s really expensive, like in really expensive, but all the winter activities in the Nordics aren’t cheap. If you are already paying all that money to travel to Tromso in winter, then make sure to experience the very best of it. Seeing the Northern Lights, dog sledding, and Fjellheisen cable car are three things you really shouldn’t miss in Tromso. Here you can find more suggestions for what to do in Tromso in winter.
Dog sledding in Tromsø – practical information:
- Dog sledding tours run in winter only (you do need snow). In Tromso you can normally do dog sledding from November till April.
- If you come in another season, you can still meet the huskies. There are several summer activities available – check it out here.
- Regular dog sledding tours take about 4 hours in total. This includes transfers from/ back to Tromso. You spend about 60-75min sledding.
- Dress warm (don’t forget waterproof gloves!), but don’t worry too much about the cold. Thermal suits are provided, also for the children (I’m not sure about the smallest sizes though, but you can probably even ask for a blanket for the kids). Make sure to also check this post for practical tips on what to wear in Norway in winter.
- Warm lunch is included in the tour price.
- There are bathroom facilities and a little souvenir shop at Tromso Villmarkssenter.
- Book your husky sledding tour in advance to avoid disappointment. Dog sledding tours in Tromso are extremely popular.
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