Winter in Northern Norway is the most glorious season: you can go dog sledding, get to know the culture of the indigenous Sami people in Finnmark – the Norwegian Lapland – or sample the most succulent delicacies of the season, such as reindeer, lamb and Arctic cod, known during its winter spawning season as skrei. There's even the chance you might see one of nature's most mysterious and magical shows, the aurora borealis, the northern lights.
Tromso is the Arctic capital par excellence and worth a visit at any time of year. Summer here is the season of the famous midnight sun, but from November onwards, the long days give way to polar nights when the stunning aurora borealis may paint her dancing colours across the inky canvas of the sky. Wherever you are when you see them, the northern lights – once thought by the Sami people to be the souls of their ancestors – are unforgettable. But imagine watching the spectacle from a hot tub on the deck of a boat sailing the icy waters of the Norwegian Sea.
This is the adventure offered by the Vulkana, a 1950s trawler that has found new life as a floating spa. Below deck on the refurbished vessel there's a zen lounge area with an open fireplace and library, and a hammam, the traditional Turkish bath, for relaxation. There's also a wood-fired sauna with a huge picture window looking out over the water. Up on deck, in the stern, there's a salt water hot tub and a diving tower seven metres above the water if you fancy taking a plunge.
Sailing out of Tromso, the Vulkana can be booked for groups of up to 12 people, and also offers polar safaris which include outdoor activities such as deep-sea fishing, off-piste skiing and hiking, and yoga safaris which combine yoga and meditation activities with a unique experience of the natural glories of the north. And to round off any of the many options available, the ship's facilities include a top quality galley staffed by chefs with international experience who create delicious modern dishes from local ingredients, with seafood cuisine a speciality.