Iditarod Race and Northern Lights    *alt*

10 days, from £1742
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Description

Witness the excitement of Alaska's epic Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race! Extending for nearly 1,000 miles through some of the roughest, toughest wilderness terrain in North America, the Iditarod Trail crosses the state of Alaska from Anchorage to Nome. Every year intrepid mushers and their dog teams tackle this incredible journey, facing bitter cold, fierce winds and long lonely hours of darkness in a bid to become Iditarod champion.

Highlights

* Attend a pre-race banquet with champion mushers
* Enjoy two evening excursions in search of the aurora borealis
* Ride the legendary Alaska Railroad from Healy to Talkeetna
* Watch the Ceremonial Start and Official Re-Start of the legendary Iditarod Race

Departing from Fairbanks, this unique escorted holiday offers the chance to experience some of the Iditarod highlights such as the pre-race Musher's Banquet, the thrill of the race start and the chance to visit an Iditarod veteran at his kennels. Northern lights excursions, a journey on the Alaska Railroad and a day tour to the coastal community of Seward are also included.

During your stay you can also take in some of the unforgettable events of Anchorage's world-renowned Fur Rendezvous Winter Carnival. 'Fur Rondy' is a great Alaskan tradition, celebrating the end of the long winter with activities ranging from the fun, to the competitive, to the downright bizarre - Snowshoe Softball and Outhouse Races not least among these!

For those short on time we also offer a 7-night variation of this tour, starting and ending in Anchorage.

Itinerary


 Day 1: Fairbanks

Upon arrival in Fairbanks make your way to your hotel. This evening, conditions permitting, you will join an excursion in search of the northern lights.


 Day 2: Fairbanks

After a leisurely breakfast take a city tour around Fairbanks, including a visit to the Morris Thompson Cultural Centre and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Depart tonight for another chance to view the aurora borealis. (B)


 Day 3: Fairbanks-Talkeetna-Anchorage

Transfer to Healy to board the legendary Alaska Railroad for the scenic journey through the heart of Alaska to Talkeetna. Time is available at leisure in Talkeetna; you may wish to take an optional flight over Denali (additional cost). Continue by coach to Alaska's largest city, Anchorage. (B, L)


 Day 4: Anchorage

Enjoy a day at leisure to explore the city or perhaps try optional activities such as dog sledding or snow shoeing (additional cost). (B).


 Day 5: Anchorage-Seward-Girdwood

Today's excursion will take you via the spectacular Turnagain Arm to the coastal community of Seward. Visit the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Centre to see Alaskan wildlife up close, as well as the Alaska Sealife Centre for an in-depth look above and below the water. A visit to the Seward Museum is also included to learn more about the area. Later, travel to the resort town of Girdwood. (B, L)


 Day 6: Girdwood

Today is at leisure to take advantage of the many activities on offer at the Alyeska Resort, from spa treatments to skiing, snow shoeing or scenic flights over the nearby glaciers (additional costs). Included is a ride on the Aerial Tram, which ascends to a viewing deck offering panoramic views of majestic mountains, hanging glaciers, sparkling streams and dense spruce forests. (B)


 Day 7: Girdwood-Anchorage

Return to Anchorage this morning for a city tour through the historic downtown district, culminating with a 'behind the scenes' tour at the Alaska Zoo. This evening you will enjoy a special dinner at the Idiatrod Mushers Banquet, where you will have a chance to meet the mushers and talk them about the forthcoming race. Feel the excitement build as they draw starting positions for Saturday's race! (B, D)


 Day 8: Anchorage

Today travel north to meet 4-time Iditarod Champion Martin Buser at his Happy Trails Kennel. Hear personal stories while viewing a glimpse of the grandeur Alaska has to offer along the Iditarod Trail. Before returning to Anchorage visit the Iditarod Headquarters. (B)


 Day 9: Anchorage: Iditarod Race Ceremonial Start

Soak up the excitement as you take in the incredible sights and sounds of the legendary Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, which starts today from downtown Anchorage. After watching the mushers and their dog teams take off, you will then spend the afternoon exploring a different side of Alaskan culture at the Alaska Native Heritage Centre. Dinner is included this evening. (B, D)


 Day 10: Anchorage-Willow-Anchorage: Race Re-start

This morning head north to Willow for the official Re-start of the Iditarod Race. Unlike the relaxed fun of the Ceremonial Start, this is where the serious business starts and the race starts in earnest. From here is it a gruelling 922kms to the end of the trail at Nome. Dress warmly as you will be spending the day outside cheering on your favourite dog teams as they head off into the wilderness, whilst you return to your comfortable Anchorage hotel tonight. (B)


 Day 11: Anchorage

Your tour ends after breakfast this morning. (B)

Notes
The 7-night variation of this tour, our Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race, starts in Anchorage as per Day 4 of the full Iditarod Race & Northern Lights itinerary. The shorter tour focuses on the Iditarod and does not include Fairbanks, the aurora viewing tours or Alaska Railroad journey. Iditarod Trail Dog Sled Race (7-nights) Day 1: AnchorageDay 2: Anchorage-Seward-GirdwoodDay 3: GirdwoodDay 4: Girdwood-AnchorageDay 5: AnchorageDay 6: Anchorage: Ceremonial Race StartDay 7: Anchorage: Race Re-StartDay 8: Anchorage