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  • Saturday 29 December to Wednesday 2 January

  • Tromsø, Northern Norway

  • Brussels Airlines, Norwegian & private bus

  • 3* or 4* hotels in downtown Tromsø

If you have never seen the famous Aurora Borealis, now is your chance! This natural phenomenon is so incredibly special and so out-of-this-world beautiful, mesmerising, magical and mysterious, that you simply cannot afford to not have it on your bucket list. For next New Year’s Eve Expat Club organises an 5 day trip to one of the most Northern cities in the world: Tromsø in Norway. Join us to celebrate the end of 2018 and to welcome 2019, a year full of new chances and opportunities.

Tromsø and the mesmerising Aurora Borealis | V.Balov – Shutterstock

Our departure is on Saturday 29 December in the morning (9h40) from Brussels Airport with a direct Brussels Airlines flight to Oslo. We will spend 1 night in the Norwegian Capital and explore various parts of the city. Subsequently we fly with a direct flight to Tromsø in the late afternoon of Sunday 30 December with Norwegian.

The flight time from Brussels to Oslo is almost 2 hours, but to arrive in Tromsø we will need another 2 hours airtime in Northern direction. Can you imagine this domestic flight equals the distance from Brussels to Rome? Once on the ground you can claim that you have been above the Polar Circle. Check it off from your bucket list!

We stay 3 nights in Tromsø and return on Wednesday 2 January in the afternoon with Norwegian flights via Oslo to Amsterdam, with an onward direct private bus connection to Place Schuman in Brussels with a scheduled arrival of 23h30. We can stop also in Antwerp (highway exit), and in Brussels at Evere, Meiser, Diamant, Merode, Montgomery and Roodebeek.

All transfers are included, you just have to come to Brussels Airport on your own for our departure.

[map id=”49″]

One night in Oslo The trip to Tromsø cannot be made on one single day due to lack of flight availability. Lucky us, because now we can stay one night in the Norwegian capital. This historic town, which beautifully mixes old with modern, counts 1,5 million inhabitants in its metropolitan area, and is by far the largest city in the country.

Oslo port with boats and yachts at twilight. We will spend one night here | © orpheus26 – Fotolia.com
A city where history meets modernity | © Morten Almeland – Fotolia.com
Modern Oslo | © miroslav110 – Fotolia.com
Oslo’s iconic red-brick city hall | VanderWolf Images – Shutterstock.com
Large parts of the city are directly on the waterfront | © Anna Jedynak – Shutterstock
The Oslo Opera building | © yegorovnick -Shutterstock
Great views from the Opera
The Olympic Holmenkollbakken ski jumping hill | © Laila-R – Shutterstock
Who’s next? | © By Homsani – Shutterstock
The Parliament building | © S-F – Shutterstock
The National Theater | © S-F – Shutterstock
Akershus Castle | © Kiev.Victor – Shutterstock
Akershus Fortress | © Paulo-Miguel-Costa -Shutterstock

Our trip to Tromsø Tromsø is one of the world’s most Northern cities with about 75.000 inhabitants. Some parts, including the old town centre, are located on islands, whereas other parts are on the mainland. These parts are connected by bridges and a tunnel. Despite its Northern location, it is relatively warm in the city due to the Gulf Stream that reaches all the way to the top of Norway. This leads to surprisingly warm winters. Even trees still grow here.

Enjoy a magnificent overview over the entire city | © Alexander Aigner – Shutterstock

The city was officially established in 1838, with some houses dating back to the 18th century, whereas archeological discoveries show traces of civilisations from 10.000 years ago. Bottom line, you are travelling to a city with history and character. During our visit you will be able to do many things, either as part of the fixed program, or as part of an optional group outing, or on your own, your partner or a smaller group.

Tromsø Cathedral in the old town, our hotel is just a few minutes walking from here | © Carlo Emanuele Barbi – Shutterstock
The Artic Cathedral in Tromsø | © Horia Bogdan – Shutterstock
The stunning stained glass panels | © LSphotos91 – Shutterstock
Take a cable car up with us to enjoy the most stunning views over Tromsø and enjoy a great lunch | © Terje.l.m – Shutterstock
Tromsø, our home for 3 days | © Horia Bogdan – Shutterstock
Tromsø Harbor, your hotel is either right here or at just a few minutes walking | © belov3097 – Fotolia
Tromsø as the region’s economic engine for fishing and tourism | © Kuznetsova Julia – Shutterstock
Celebrate the New Year with Expat Club under the Northern Lights | © Marchy-Yu – Shutterstock
Welcome 2019!!! | © arcticphotoworks – Shutterstock
The panoramic views of the Aurora Borealis are magical | © Joel Askey – Shutterstock

The Northern Lights
There are few reachable places as good as Tromsø to see the Northern Lights. These magical displays are also called Aurora Borealis or Polar Lights, and Aurora Australis or Southern Lights on the Southern hemisphere. But what are these lights exactly? “The Northern Lights are actually the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere. Variations in colour are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. The most common auroral color, a pale yellowish-green, is produced by oxygen molecules located about 60 miles above the earth. Rare, all-red auroras are produced by high-altitude oxygen, at heights of up to 200 miles. Nitrogen produces blue or purplish-red aurora.” (Source: Northern Lights Centre)

Tromsø lies right in the middle of an oval-shaped circle around the Earth’s magnetic pole

The Aurora Borealis is a spectacular natural phenomenon that is visible from anywhere in the oval region (sometimes even beyond as well) and is a result of solar activity a few days before. It namely takes time for the Sun’s particles to reach the Earth’s atmosphere. It is often visible from the city itself, but of course it is better visible from a darker place.

The white and yellow/green lights above Northern Norway
The rare red lights | © PaoloBruschi – Shutterstock
The lights over the waters near Tromsø | © y-V. Belov -Shutterstock
The surroundings of Tromsø allows for amazing photography opportunities | © Oxana Gracheva -Shutterstock
Marvel at these magical lights with your partner or new friends | © Tsuguliev – Shutterstock

To make sure our group gets the best possible views in the most scenic environments we rented a bus for 2 evenings (probably the first evening on a late night visit, and the last evening). The bus will drive us around the area and takes us to some of the best panoramic spots for viewing the Northern Lights, both in terms of scenery (e.g. mountains, water, trees etc) and weather conditions. In case of extremely good activity in Tromsø itself, we may decide to stay in town. [map id=”50″] Hotels and room options For all Expat Club trips we arrange well-reviewed hotels in good locations. For this trip we have secured rooms in a good 3* hotel in Oslo city centre (everyone stays there).  In principle you stay in the same room type as in Tromsø, but if you would like a single room, please note there is a €45 surcharge. In Tromsø we stay in  3* and 4* hotels in the middle of Tromsø, either directly on the waterfront or at just a few minutes walking. For more information about those hotels, see below.   Oslo – First Hotel Millennium*** This nice 3* hotel lies bang in the city center of Oslo. Getting to places could not be easier from here. The main shopping street is just 2 minutes away and the waterfront not much further. This will make our visit to Oslo as convenient as it can possibly be. The rooms have either a single bed, a double bed or twin single beds. And the best thing is, we managed to make breakfast included in the price already! Everyone will stay in this hotel, regardless of the hotel you choose in Tromsø.

Tromsø – Smart Hotel*** Our first hotel lies in the centre of Tromsø at just a stone’s throw from the main shopping street. The rooms are compact but certainly very comfortable with high quality beds and large heavenly pillows, free wifi, a flatscreen TV and a private bathroom with a shower. It lies at just a 2 minutes walking from the main shopping street. Breakfast is optional. Furthermore you can get sandwiches, salades and drinks in the hotel’s lobby. If you want, you can also join our group for a light dinner in the Clarion hotel for €30 per night (only available in 1 package of 3 nights). You can book a single room or a double room (no surcharge, possibly a room with 2 separate beds).

Tromsø – Hotel Clarion Collection Aurora**** The 4* Aurora hotel lies perfectly located right on the waterfront. It’s a modern hotel that is geared towards welcoming groups. If you choose for this hotel then breakfast, complimentary afternoon tea with waffles, and a light dinner are included in the price. The hotel furthermore has a nice relaxation area with a gym, sauna, and and outdoor with an amazing view of Tromsø. The cozy rooms measure at least 14m2 and have a large double bed (160 cm wide, for singles or couples) or 2 single beds (for 2 guests sharing a room). Eventually a 3rd bed can be placed in some of the rooms (at request). All rooms have a flat screen TV, a desk and a separate bathroom with a shower or bath/shower and a hairdryer. Some rooms are carpeted, others have parquet flooring.

Room sharing for single travellers If you are joining this trip on your own, you can of course get a single room. But since there is a surcharge to stay in a single room, you can also opt for the room sharing service. This means you do not pay a surcharge. During the outbound journey we will introduce you to the other travellers who also want to share a room. We do not assign a room partner, but you can mutually agree to share the room. We only offer female/female and male/male rooms. This is a great way to save some money while you get to know another nice person on this trip. Note that we only offer this service for the Clarion hotel (with a surcharge), and that we may offer this for male rooms only until mid July (after that you can only take a single room, or find a room partner yourself).

Trip fee The trip is nearly “all-inclusive”, meaning it includes most of the essential items (flights, accommodation, breakfast, main excursions). The regular basic trip fee is €1747and you can benefit from an early-bird offer if you book on time, or until the cheaper spots are sold out. Please note that the trip prices may go up without prior notice in case we are sold out in certain booking classes for the hotel and flights. Also be aware that Norway is one of the world’s most expensive countries and that we are travelling during absolute top season, which of course affects the prices significantly. Still as we travel as a group we managed to keep the prices relatively low. What is included?

  • All flights from Brussels to/from Oslo & Tromsø in economy class (taxes included)
  • One checked bag of 20kg
  • Transfers from/to Oslo Airport and to/from Tromsø Airport (you have to come to Brussels Airport on your own)
  • Transfer from Amsterdam Airport to Brussels Place Schuman (and other stops in Brussels)
  • 1 night accommodation in a 3* hotel in Oslo with breakfast
  • 3 nights accommodation in a 3* hotel in Tromsø without breakfast
  • 3 nights accommodation in a 4* hotel in Tromsø with breakfast, afternoon tea/coffee and light dinner (this hotel is optional, but selected by the great majority of guests)
  • 2 Aurora Borealis excursions
  • A visit to the Tromsø Museum & Polar Museum
  • The free group program (group activities in the hotel / city)
  • New Year’s Eve party (in public place, t.b.c.) & fireworks

What is not included? The trip is meant to be rather complete already, even if you opt out of the additional programs:

  • Breakfast if you choose for the 3* hotel in Tromsø (for the 4* hotel it is already included)
  • Single surcharge for the hotel in Oslo and Tromsø (if applicable)
  • Lunches in Oslo and Tromsø. We may organise a lunch every single day to ensure that everyone has the possibility to join the group, but this will be optional.
  • Transfers inside the city of Tromsø, e.g. to go to a museum. We can walk most distances, but some are a bit longer (e.g. to the cable car or the Arctic Cathedral). In that case you can take a public bus or share a cab ride. Note that the bus will pick us up from the hotel when we go for the Aurora Borealis excursion outside of Tromsø.
  • Optional program parts are for a fee. We may offer the below programs, but all depends on availability and interest.
Watching wales with your own eyes is as special as the Aurora Borealis | © wildestanimal – Shutterstock
Ice fishing in a tent | © Splingis – Shutterstock
Husky sledding is a great optional excursions | © CherylRamalho – Shutterstock
Visit an authentic Sami village | © V. Belov – Shutterstock
Go on a reindeer sledding excursion | © VPales – Shutterstock
Experience ultimate freedom on a snowmobile safari | © ginger polina bublik – Shutterstock

Additional programs Our program is fully focused on getting to know Tromsø as a city, enjoy Norwegian hospitality and of course to learn about and see the Aurora Borealis. Still there are many more things one can do in and around the city. During the reservation you can indicate what optional programs you are interested in. We cannot yet tell you which ones we organise and when exactly. It depends on the level of interest, but do not feel obliged to join any of them. Just staying in the hotel, going for a walk, relaxing in the gym etc. is perfectly fine as well. It is certainly NOT the case that “everyone else” goes on every single possible excursion (besides the ones that are a fixed part of the program).   Why book early? To plan your NYE even before the summer has started means the destination must be really special. And of course Tromsø is. But here are a few other good reason why booking your spot early is smart.

  • Enjoy a special early-bird rate.
  • Avoid unexpected price hikes due to limited lower-priced flight seats and hotel rooms
  • Upon arrival we give the best rooms to the first bookers.
  • Your desired room choice may sell out.
  • Get first choice of seats on all flights. Indeed, if you book late you may end up on the middle seat for all 4 flights.
  • If you would like to share a room with another participant, you may not be able to do since may stop offering this option to single travellers without prior notice.

Enough reasons to book on time!   Who is joining this Expat Club trip? Our trips are attended by expats and locals from Brussels/Belgium. Participants have various professional backgrounds, come from all around the world and are generally between 30 and 70. What brings us together is the wish to visit nice places and to be in a relaxed and informal group of international people. Membership is not required to join our events or trips and you certainly won’t end up in a group with ‘exclusive cliques’. Instead we foster integration by organising nice get togethers, but if you would like to draw your own plans during this trip that’s also perfectly fine. How to book? And what’s next? Simply click on the “Book now” button in the grey panel above or the panel below. Add one or more tickets to the cart after answering a few questions about your travel preferences. Some questions are just for us to have the right information, such as your passport name or your plane seat preference, whereas other questions are essential for assigning you to the right room, e.g. a single room or a twin room. Depending on the answer a surcharge may be added to the ticket price. After you have made your ticket selection, simply click on the ‘Add to cart’ button, ensure the item(s) in your cart is correct and click the “Proceed to checkout’ button. Then fill out your details and confirm your reservation with a final click on the button. For this trip you can only pay by regular bank transfer. The confirmation screen and email contain the bank information of Xross Global Group Expat Club: Xross Global Group BVBA Rue du Lac 37 bte 12 1000 Brussels ING Belgium BE89 3630 8012 6585 BIC: BBRUBEBB Pay in instalments If you would like to pay the fare in two instalments, that is possible for an administrative fee of €25. During the reservation process you will be asked whether you would like to pay everything upfront or in 2 instalments. The first instalment is €750 to be paid within 2 days after booking, followed by an instalment of the rest by 1 October. Note, these instalments are per person, so if you book for 2 persons, the amounts are double. Also, the checkout screen will show the full amount only, but if you select the instalments option, then it suffices to pay €750 directly after your booking.   Comments and special conditions

  • The trip will be carried out with Brussels Airlines and Norwegian, as well as by trusted coach partners.
  • This trip is carefully planned. Still, all timings are indicative and may change if required by circumstances or schedule changes.
  • The trip is sold as a package. You cannot go with your own transportation or arrange your own accommodation. However, if there are specific things that you do not want in the package, please let us know.
  • You are personally responsible for getting a good cancellation and/or travel insurance that covers you for unforeseen emergencies and medical expenses before or during the trip. Expat Club is not liable for illness or any other reason that may prevent you from joining parts of or the entire trip.
  • You are personally responsible for using the hotel room in an appropriate way. Any missing or broken items will be billed after the trip.
  • Expat Club cannot be held liable for long delays that influence the program (e.g. missed guided tours), neither can Expat Club be held liable for weather-related cancellations or any other unforeseen events that influence the course of the trip, including, but not limited to technical problems with the planes or coach, strikes, weather etc.
  • Expat Club cannot be held liable for personal injuries during the trip, such as, but not limited to, things that happen during the guided tours. Joining this trip is safe but still at your own risk.
  • If you do not find a room partner on your own, we will find one for you (male/male, female/female). During the outbound trip we will connect you with others in the same position. If you decide to take a single room during the trip, then you will have to fully pay for it yourself.
  • If you book a double / twin room and your travel partner cancels, you will have to pay the single room supplement or share a room with another person (if available).
  • The deadline for a cancellation with a refund, as described in the terms & conditions, is 8 weeks. Within this period you cannot cancel the trip and get a refund.
  • If you would like to pay in instalments, the first instalment is €750 and should be made within 2 days after booking, the second instalment (the rest) should be made by 1 October.
  • The Clarion hotel group does officially not work with the hotel star system. The Aurora hotel can be considered equal to a 4* hotel.
  • The Aurora Borealis is a natural phenomenon. It depends on the solar activity and of course visibility also is to a great extent dependent on the actual weather conditions. We stay 3 nights in Tromsø and our entire trip is focused on seeing this spectacular light show. However, Expat Club and Xross Global Group BVBA are in no way liable for bad weather conditions or the absence of any Northern Lights activity. We will do our very best to get to the best spots, but in case of a full overcast in the wider Tromsø region we may decide to cancel the bus tours. There will be no refund for such cancelled tours. Still, we are there 3 days/nights and during the best time of year, so lets cross our fingers that we’ll have perfect conditions!


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