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Northern Lights & Winter Nights

5.0 stars(1 reviews)

At the cusp of the Arctic, dive head-first into adventure with this 8-day expedition that includes a train ride deep into Manitoba to Churchill, where the aurora borealis dances overhead and the local culture is brought to life through dog-sledding, snowshoeing and once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

8 days Not yet on sale
Travel among a group of like-minded travelers led by a professional tour manager

2024 Tour code: FN-WLNN-24

About the tour

A place so remote that it is only accessible by train or plane calls to you for this thrilling adventure. Churchill lies in the furthest reaches of Manitoba, right along the Hudson Bay, and is renowned for two things: polar bear viewing and the northern lights. Come bear witness to both as you explore this arctic tundra alongside an Interpretive Guide. This journey begins in Winnipeg, where VIA Rail's Winnipeg-Churchill train awaits to whisk travelers through the wide-open plains and boreal forests to Churchill. Situated under the auroral oval, this community is one of the best places in the world to watch the green and red hues of the northern lights spring to life. But it is not just the evenings you can look forward to while here; rather, each day is filled with opportunities to immerse yourself in the local culture and get a taste of life in the far north. Enjoy a guided tour of the Churchill region, including points of interest like a polar bear holding facility and a visit to a local museum that portrays the history of the Inuit people. A snowshoeing expedition offers an up-close look at this frigid environment, while our dog-sledding excursion illustrates a way of life that is unique to this part of the world. In between adventures, experts share their knowledge about conservation, animals, history and more. Anticipation builds throughout the days, and then as the sun sets, the group ventures to different viewing areas around Churchill to soak in the wondrous sights. Whether it is round-the-clock excitement or arctic splendor you seek, there is no shortage of either on this 8-day journey.

Interpretive-Guided: These tours include lodging and transportation with a mix of cultural and wildlife or northern lights viewing activities built in. Interpretive-guided tours are medium-capacity, escorted departures so you can sit back and relax while we take care of all the details.


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What’s included


Day 1 - Welcome to Winnipeg

Arrive into Winnipeg on your own and check into your hotel. You have a free day to explore Winnipeg before an evening meet and greet with your interpretive guide. Overnight Winnipeg.

Day 2 - The Train Voyage Begins

Explore the area before you board VIA Rail this afternoon with your interpretive guide. Settle into your sleeper cabin to travel more than 1,000 miles north through Manitoba toward Hudson Bay. Overnight train.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 - Day on Train

Continue your journey toward Churchill and enjoy the incredible scenery transforming outside your window from treed prairies to boggy muskegs. Today you'll have a long stop in Thompson, the "Hub of the North" before continuing your rail journey. Overnight train. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 - Churchill Adventure Begins

Wake up in the subarctic as Churchill greets you on your morning arrival. Start the day on an area tour of the town of Churchill with an exploratory drive. Visit the Itsanitaq Museum before your evening excursion into the forest where you travel to a modern-style, illuminated yurt for your first aurora borealis- viewing. Overnight at Churchill hotel.  

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5 - Snowshoeing and The Dan's Diner Culinary Experience

Enjoy a visit and learning experience at Polar Bears International House and tour the Interpretive Center. This afternoon take part in an interpretive snowshoeing adventure through Churchill's boreal forest. In the evening, transfer across the frozen Churchill River aboard a Tundra Buggy to the Dan's Diner. Experience regional cuisine in a pop-up restaurant complete with panoramic windows and skylights for the best northern lights-viewing opportunities. Overnight at Churchill hotel. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6 - Dog Sledding and Thanadelthur Lounge

Pass through snowy landscapes on a mile-long dog sled ride. Hear stories and learn from a local expert and resident about Métis culture and the history of dog sledding in northern Canada.  In the evening, travel again by Tundra Buggy across the frozen Churchill River to Frontiers North's Thanadelthur Lounge. View the northern lights from inside through panoramic windows or climb onto the roof-top observation deck for an unobstructed view. Overnight Churchill.

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7 - Last Day in Churchill

Visit the Parks Canada Visitor Centre and admire the detailed wildlife dioramas and fur trade exhibits. As your day comes to an end, so does your time in Churchill. This evening you will be transferred back to the Churchill airport for your included flight to Winnipeg. Upon arrival in Winnipeg check into your hotel. Overnight Winnipeg. 

  • Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8 - Depart Winnipeg

Depart Winnipeg at your leisure.

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.


Inn at the Forks, Winnipeg

Inn at the Forks, Winnipeg

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Four Points by Sheraton Winnipeg International Airport

Four Points by Sheraton Winnipeg International Airport

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VIA Rail's Winnipeg – Churchill


5.0 stars5.0 / 5 · 1 review

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S Pasay

5 stars

Submitted 1/Mar

Trip of a lifetime and saw the lights all three nights we were there. Our guide was exceptional and added so much to our trip with her unbelievable knowledge of the area and people. Accommodations were very nice in Winnipeg and rustic but clean in Churchill. Seriously thinking about another trip to see the bears this time but will book directly with tour operator and not Vacations by Rail. Extremely disappointed with Vacations by Rail's lack of communication after they took our money. We were ill prepared for this trip because of the extreme cold we encountered. Thank goodness for our tour guide who was able to get us the proper clothing.

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