Thursday May 23rd
In the early Thursday-morning, the Original Lapland tour-bus took off from Haparanda/Tornio and started its long route towards the north. After stopping in Övertorneå, Pello, Pajala, Kolari, Muonio, Kaaresuvanto and Kilpisjärvi we had gathered a group of 37 persons – all excited to see more of tourism in Northern Norway. Just across the border to Norway, in between Kilpisjärvi and Skibotn the sun broke out from the clouds and kept on shining for almost the entire trip. Our first stop therefore had to be to soak in the sun at Nallevuopio resting stop.
From there we headed off towards our accommodation for the first night – Malangen Resort (www.malangenresort.com) in Mestervik. Well there we started by walking off some stiffness from spending several hours on the bus and got to see the size of the resort – all the way from Sauna and Jacuzzi to Kennel and BBQ huts. It turned out to be quite the exercise, so I don’t think anybody minded reaching the cabins with huge windows facing the fjord where we had the chance to spend the night.
Dinner was served, not only with a view of the fjords and the mountains, but also with the side of a presentation about the tourism industry in Tromsø-region by one of the resort owners Mr. Hans-Olav Eriksen. The industry in the region have actually grown three times as much, compared to the rest of Norway and mainly consists of several micro-destinations within a couple of hours from the city. Mr Eriksen also runs the Aurora Spirit Distillery and offered a surprise-tasting of some of its products. A certain hockey-game thereafter got to end the evening – thankfully still on friendly terms.
Friday May 24th
Friday required for an early start from the hotel in order to catch the ferry from Brensholmen to Botnhamn and Senja. After less than an hour on the boat, we luckily arrived to the main destination of this trip – the island of Senja. This day we would spend visiting several companies around the area. Mainly with a focus on tourism, but also other important perspectives of the northern Norwegian business community.
First stop was Brødrene Karlsen (www.brkarlsen.no) at the small island of Husøy. A family-owned seafood corporation, which knows the value of commitment in its local community.
From Husøy we kept going towards Mefjordvær and Mefjord Brygge (www.mefjordbrygge.no). An all-year holiday resort focusing on marine and nature experiences, right now in the middle of expansions and improvements to the facilities.
Next up it was time for lunch at newly re-opened Skagi Senja Hotel & Lodge (https://skagi-senja-hotel-lodge.business.site/?m=true&fbclid=IwAR2AzWJqmgJAAAf0RbaHD1iAorU8wVPmhMohtH0s_dwK-04oNDAP5mFNexs). The smallest hotel in the destination with focus on good food and a new generation of owners.
After lunch we headed towards Bovær and Kråkeslottet (www.krakeslott.no). An old fish factory and artist home, that now rents out accommodation and arranges two well-attended festivals, Kråkeslottfestivalen (www.kulturslottet.no) and ArtiJuli (www.artijuli.no).
We took a short paus to admire the amazing views from Bergsbotn Viewpoint, before driving the short distance to our last stop of the day at Hamn i Senja (www.hamnisenja.no). After seeing a little more of the resort that have been awarded as one of the top 25 most attractive destinations in Norway, everybody got installed to their sleeping arrangements.
Dinner started with a presentation from the CEO of Visit Senja (www.visitsenja.no), Mr. Dan Björk. He told us a little about where Senja is as destination today and where they aim to be in the future. Some parallels can easily be drawn into the destinations of the Original Lapland-area.
Saturday May 25th
On Saturday it was time for us to leave Senja and head back over to the mainland. Before starting our journey back to Finland and Sweden, we stopped at SalMar Salmon Center (www.salmarcenter.no) in Finnsnes. At the center we got a guided tour through the history and future of Norwegian Salmon farming. During our way back we made a stop at Vollan Gjestestue (www.vollangjestestue.no) in Nordkjosbotn for a quick lunch and shopping stop.
After reaching Finland and Kilpisjärvi, we got the chance to make a bonus company-visit. Thanks to Mia Aitalaakso, who invited us all for coffee and to see her glass igloos at Arctic Land Adventures (www.arcticlandadventure.com). After that stop we continued the route south and eventually reached Haparanda/Tornio late in the evening.
During the three days we had a chance to experience the winding roads and breath-taking scenery of one of Norway’s National Tourist Routes. We accomplished three countries, more than 1 500 kilometres and visited 10 different companies along the way. Not to mention the interesting presentations from the different visits, meeting new people and enjoying the company of each other.
THANK YOU ALL for coming along and making it a memorable trip!