Tours take you hiking through Norway

TRAVEL Q&A

January 24, 1993|By New York Times News Service

Q: Do you know of organizations that offer walks in Norway?

A: Here are some examples. Generally, walking trips are offered between late June and early September. Prices are for one person based on two sharing a room and unless noted otherwise do not include air fare to Norway but do include lodging and most or all meals and transportation, usually from Oslo. The hiking is generally moderately strenuous; companies often offer varying levels of difficulty.

* Above the Clouds Trekking, P.O. Box 398, Worcester, Mass. 01602; (800) 233-4499, fax (508) 797-4779. An 11-day trip includes five days of hiking, including one on the Hardanger Jokulen Glacier, in the central mountain and fiord region. Other days are spent on a boat ride on the fiords and in Bergen. The price is $1,650.

* Borton Overseas, 5516 Lyndale Ave. South, Minneapolis, Minn. 55419; (800) 843-0602, fax (612) 827-1544. On lodge-to-lodge trips, participants carry backpacks between mountain lodges, many of them former summer farms. The most popular length is eight days, $616. Hotel-to-hotel hikes, five nights, involve less strenuous hiking, with luggage transported by vehicles, and nights in hotels along the Peer Gynt Trail, northwest of Oslo. The price is $615.

* Cal Nature Tours, 7310 SVL, Victorville, Calif. 92392, (619) 241-2322, fax (619) 241-3135. Ten-day trips, in western or Arctic Norway, are $2,195 including air fare from Newark and stays in country or mountain inns.

* Mountain Travel-Sobek, 6420 Fairmount Ave., El Cerrito, Calif. 94530; (800) 227-2384, fax (510) 525-7710. A 13-day tour in the Jotunheimen Mountains and other areas includes strenuous hikes plus biking and rapids rafting, and stays in mountain huts ++ and lodges. The price is $2,190.

* Norwegian Arctic Trips, P.O. Box 700, Enfield, N.H. 03748; (603) 632-7654, fax (603) 632-5611. A 10-day trip combining hiking and canoeing in northern Norway includes camping and some stays in an inn or farm. The price is $975 from Tromso.

* Scan World Tours, 6645 N. Oliphant Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60631; (800) 323-8308, fax (312) 792-2053. Eight-day hut-to-hut walks in a variety of areas are $430.

* World Travelers, 6612 S.E. 24th St., Mercer Island, Wash. 98040; (800) 426-3610, fax (206) 232-6311. Six days, walking lodge to lodge in the Gudbrandsdalen region, is $690, including breakfast and dinner.

* Worldwide Nordic, P.O. Box 1129, Maplewood, N.J. 07040; (201) 736-8488, fax (201) 736-8480. A seven-day lodge-to-lodge hiking trip, available in several areas, is $885 ($935 in the Tafjord Mountains), including all meals and accommodations.

* Wilderness Travel, 801 Allston Way, Berkeley, Calif. 94710; (800) 368-2794, fax (510) 548-0347. An 18-day tour to the North Cape includes day hikes, three nights on a coastal steamer and one on a late-19th-century sailing ship. From $3,695, including lodging and all meals.

Q: Are there spas that accept children and include them in the programs?

A: Often, self-contained spas do not accept children as guests, according to Frank van Putten of Spa Finders, an agency that specializes in spas. Spas that are part of a larger resort may have day-camp programs that children can take part in while their parents use the spa. Here are some examples:

* Topnotch at Stowe, P.O. Box 1458, Stowe, Vt. 05672; (800) 451-8686; or (802) 253-8585. Children 14 and older can take part in spa activities. In summer, there is an activity program for younger children whose parents go to the spa. In winter, children of guests commonly ski. Children younger than 14 may get massages, "depending on their level of maturity," a spokeswoman said.

* La Costa, 2100 Costa Del Mar Road, Carlsbad, Calif. 92009; (800) 729-4772, fax (619) 438-3758. Children must be 16 to use the spa. Those aged 5 to 13 can instead take part in the Camp La Costa program of activities, free of charge. Children of any age may use the services of the salon portion of the spa for manicures, pedicures or hairstyling.

* Sanibel Harbor Resort, 17260 Harbor Point Drive, Fort Myers, Fla. 33908; (800) 767-7777, fax (813) 466-2150. Minimum age for spa use is 16. For children aged 5 to 12, the Kids Club offers activities and field trips at $15 a day.

Q: When are spring wildflowers at their peak in northern California along the coast, including the Napa Valley?

A: Wildflowers are in fullest profusion in April (and should be especially showy after this season's heavy rains), according to Wilma Follette, who leads field trips for the California Native Plant Society. April is also the best month to see flowers in Napa PTC Valley and the other valleys just east of the coastal hills, while in the higher parts of the Coastal Range, May and June are peak times.

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