Sámi: an indigenous peoples under the northern lights


In the far north of Europe, ancient chants, handicraft traditions and distinct languages live side by side with contemporary trends and lifestyles. This is the Sámi culture, the oldest culture of Norway, dominant in Tromsø, and across the region’s charming fjords and picturesque mountains.

Europe’s only Indigenous Peoples

The Sámi are Europe’s only recognised indigenous peoples and have been living in the far north of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia since time immemorial. Traditionally, the Sámi have been fishermen, trappers and reindeer herders based on cross border activities. Today, it is estimated that approximately 60,000 Sámi live in Norway, 2,600 of whom are still practicing reindeer herding. Reindeer herding is more than just a profession, it is a way of life for the Sámi carrying  important cultural and spiritual value.  Next to herding, Sámi craftwork, widely known as duodji, is also a meaningful activity for Europe’s northernmost  indigenous peoples and nowadays bejewels Tromsø’s stores and restaurants. 

6 Things you didn’t know about the Sámi People

  • Due to the close connection between Sámi culture and reindeer herding, the Sámi calendars have been traditionally divided into 8 seasons instead of 4, based on the yearly cycles of the reindeer.
  • The Sámi word for aurora borealis is “guovssahas”, meaning “the light you can hear”.
  • In the past, reindeer milk was produced into cheese made in low basins.
  • The Sámi peoples of the three Scandinavian states have established their own parliaments which operate alongside with the three national parliaments.
  • Depending on the nature and terms of division, there are at least ten or more Sámi languages.
  • Sámi National Day is February 6 and in Tromsø we celebrate with National Sámi Week which includes a thrilling Lasso Throwing Championship and Reindeer Racing! 


Welcome to Sápmi, the cultural region of the Sámi People

Join our team of expert guides to learn more about Sámi culture. We will introduce you to duodji, joik and the 180 Sámi ways to name snow and ice. Be our guest in a historic walk through Tromsø Museum’s comprehensive exhibitions and learn how the Sámi peoples have traditionally survived the cold Arctic weather and how they continue to fight for rights and recognition. Listen to Sámi myths and legends about the Northern Lights, the moon, and the holy mountain Tromsdalstinden. 


And, who knows, if we are lucky enough, we might encounter a reindeer in one of our adventures!

Dear Guests,
Dear Partners,

On March, 12 2020 the Norwegian Directorate of Health Bjørn Guldvog has adopted comprehensive measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and to help maintain the necessary health and care services.

The Directorate of Health decided that everyone who comes from outside the Nordic countries should quarantine for 14 days, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not. Retroactive from 27 February. This means if you booked a tour with Northern Norway Travel and you are within the Nordic Country before 27 February 2020 with approved documentations, we will try to run the tour with you.

If you arrived after 27 February to the Nordic country, you have to be in quarantine and are not allowed to attend the booked tour with us. Due to this new measure, we would like you to reach out to us and cancel the booking if you have to go into quarantine or to reschedule the booking free of charge within the year 2020.

If you have to cancel the booking please contact your travel insurance company for refund due to your quarantine.

Guests who booked via online travel agents or other third parties are advised to contact their booking provider for information on their policies and for assistance. All tours until 26 March 2020 are affected until further notice.

Thank you for your support and your loyalty. We will keep you updated through this dynamic situation and cannot wait to welcome you at one of our tours soon.

All the best,

Your Northern Norway Travel team