The idea of hunkering down in a snug, cosy retreat rather than an anonymous design hotel is only heightened in the wilderness. Lyngen Lodge, in the extreme north of Norway is ideal for those who like their landscapes empty, their skiing powdery and their activities adventurous, but don’t want to compromise on fine food and creature comforts. The emphasis is on mingling with fellow guests in a social area around a huge roaring fireplace and embracing the outdoors.
The Lodge’s traditionally built pine wood cabins with bare log walls and Nordic-chic furniture support a thick grass roof that blends the property into the hillside. Vast panoramic windows invite the outside in. Emerge from the cotton sheets of your pastel-painted, purposefully compact bedroom, step outside and you’ll feel like you’re gazing into eternity. Spend your days adventuring. Snowshoe through the forest or mush your own dog team across the snowy wilderness. Let a local take the reins for a romantic horse sleigh ride long the frozen lakeshore. Get up close to a glacier or embark on a sea safari, watching out for sea eagles hunting and whale tails breaching in the fjord waters. If you want the adrenalin rush of downhill skiing, but in a virtually untouched landscape, sign up for the Lodge’s signature adventure, a quiet alternative to heli-skiing using a boat to access off piste areas. Cruise to the start point, ‘skin’ up the side of a fjord in skis with special bindings and grip before carving your way through pristine powder to arrive once again on the water’s edge where the boat is waiting for you. Time your trip to coincide with the longest day of the year and go midnight skiing, on north-facing slopes to get the full glare of the Midnight Sun. In the winter evenings, venture just a few feet from the Lodge to find an optimal viewing spot for the displays of the Northern Lights. Between appearances, talk to the staff and in-house photographer about how to capture the ephemeral phenomenon on film.
During the summer there’s an equally diverse range of activities from fishing on rich beats for Catfish, Halibut and Redfish to water sports, horse riding and boat-accessed hikes and gentle walks through the forests. Go further afield and explore more deeply though on one of the Lodge’s private heli-hikes.
After a long day in the field, collapse into oversized armchairs and warm yourself by the large open fireplace in the welcoming social stua. Soothe aching limbs in the sauna or sink into the outdoor Jacuzzi to toast the impressive views of the nearby mountains and glaciers flowing through the white peaks with a glass of champagne. After dark, this is a second perfect place from which to witness the displays of the Northern Lights. Recovered from your exertions, retire to the bar for a drop of craft beer or something from the well-curated cellar and swap accounts of your adventures. Move through to the dining area, at the heart of the building, and prepare for a Nordic feast. Perhaps you’ll choose dishes of local reindeer, lamb or salmon, all beautifully presented by the talented chef. There’s no flashy aprés-ski scene or showing off high tech kit. So pull up a blanket, order a spiced wine and will the Northern Lights to appear.