This Hurtigruten voyage takes you north from the beautiful, historic city of Bergen, to Kirkenes in the far Arctic wilderness, sailing through beautiful fjords and past many islands. Explore the rugged coastline and a collection of the country's natural wonders, with the chance to enjoy various optional excursions en route. Then sail south back to Bergen. The return voyage stops at some different ports, giving you a changed perspective and experience.
Day 1 The journey begins: Bergen
Your twelve day round trip journey to the high north starts in Bergen, a city surrounded by seven mountains. After embarkation enjoy a tasty dinner buffet, based on the best ingredients from the coast. We sail north from Bergen along the Hjeltefjord, the same route the Vikings once sailed to the Shetland Islands and beyond – we are heading to the high north. Spend the rest of the evening relaxing as you take in the spectacular landscapes, either from deck or in one of the panorama lounges.
Day 2 A day for masterpieces: Florø to Molde
During the night, we stop at Florø, Norway’s westernmost town, and then Måløy, home to the mushroom-shaped Kannesteinen rock. After that, we head to Torvik where if you wake up early, you have the chance to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Nordfjord, followed by a delicious breakfast. Sail past the West Cape and then out into open sea, before the ship navigates through skerries and islands, towards Ålesund. The first thing you might notice about Ålesund is the unique architecture. The larger part of the town was destroyed in a blaze in 1904, after which much of it was rebuilt in the Art Nouveau style. Look out for brightly coloured buildings with semicircular windows and charming rounded towers that wouldn’t look out of place in a fairytale. Time to explore Alesund on your own or join an optional excursion. Those visiting in spring and winter will have most of the day to explore this delightful town. For summer and autumn guests, you’ll head off for fabulous fjords before returning here in the evening.
For summer sailings, we’ll leave Ålesund and make our way to UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord. The worldfamous fjord is located deep within a branching fjord system that stretches more than 90 kilometres. As we sail in and out of Geirangerfjord, Storfjord, and Sunnylvfjord, you’ll be treated to some of the most magnificent scenery Norway has to offer. As we navigate the Geirangerfjord, you may be able to see one of the most famous Norwegian waterfalls, the Seven Sisters, made up of seven separate streams. Depending on recent rainfall, the streams can be seen most clearly around early June, fed by meltwater from last winter’s snow. N.B. ONLY guests on a pre-booked excursion can disembark the vessel at Geiranger.
During an autumn cruise, rather than Geirangerfjord, we’ll instead sail on Hjørundfjord. Overlooked by the Sunnmøre Alps as high as 1,300 metres, Hjørundfjord is a hidden gem Geirangerfjord / Seven Sisters / Summer UNESCO World Heritage Site rarely visited by others. Look out for thousand-year-old small farms and communities clinging to the lush mountainsides. At about midday during an autumn cruise, we reach Urke, a little village in the Sunnmøre Alps. This area has been visited over the years by famous hikers and members of European aristocracy who admired the quiet and scenic landscape. Sip coffee outside a local café and gaze at the towering mountains and their reflections in the fjord below.
The last port of the day is Molde, where we arrive late in the evening. If sailing with us in the summer, there might still be enough daylight for you to see the breathtaking view of 222 mountain peaks across the fjord.
Optional excursions today: Geiranger with Trollstigen Pass (02 Jun-01 Sep), Atlanterhavsparken Aquarium and Mount Aksla (02 Nov-01 Jun), Art Nouveau walk Autumn (02 Sep-01 Nov) Art Nouveau walk (02 Nov-01 Jun), A Taste of Norway (02Sep-01 Nov), Mountain hike in Hjørundfjord (02 Sep-01 Nov), Hike with a visit to a shieling (02 Sep-01 Nov), Hjørundfjord, Geiranger, and Ålesund (01 Oct-31 Oct), Kayaking in Ålesund (01 Jan-31 May), Alnes Lighthouse (02 Nov-01 Jun), Sunnmøre Open Air Museum (02 Nov-01 Jun) and The Romsdal Gondola (02 Nov-01 Jun).
Day 3 In the footsteps of the Vikings: Kristiansund - Trondheim - Rørvik
Morning arrival in beautiful Trondheim. Trondheim was founded in 997 by the Viking King Olav Tryggvason, making it the country’s first capital. Rich in history and is Norway's third largest city. The architecture and surroundings here create a beautiful and almost mythical setting.
You will have approximately 3 hours to explore the city. Perhaps visit Trondheim’s Nidaros Cathedral which is a fine example of medieval Gothic architecture and is seen as the most sacred building in all Norway. King Olav Tryggvason – who introduced Christianity to Norway – is buried here. Next door to the cathedral is the Archbishop’s Palace, or Erkebispegården. Dating from the 12th Century, Norway’s Crown Jewels are housed here in a part of the building dedicated as a museum. Walk east from the cathedral, to arrive at the old city bridge Gamle Bybro which sits over Nid River. The bridge dates to 1681 and is also known by some as “The Gate of Happiness” after the lyrics of a 1940s Norwegian waltz. On the other side of the river is the old Hanseatic district of Bakklandet. Stand on the bridge for a picturesque view of the neighbourhood’s colourful old wooden wharves, propped up on stilts by the river’s edge.Or join one of the optional excursions on offer.
In the afternoon the ship sails northwest, passing the beautiful Kjeungskjær lighthouse and numerous charming islets and rocky outcrops. After passing through the narrow Stoksund, the ship arrives at charming Rørvik for a short stop.
Optional excursions today: Nidaros Cathedral and Ringve Museum (03 Apr-02 Sep), Trondheim and Nidaros (03 Sep-02 Apr), Kayaking on River Nid (01 Jan-31 Dec), Trondheim City Walk (01 Jan-31 Dec) and Cycling in Bakkland district (03 Apr-02 Sep).
Day 4 Welcome to the Arctic! Brønnøysund to Svolvær
Through the night, we sail along the Helgeland Coast into Nordland county, with short stops at Brønnøysund and Sandnessjøen. After a 10-minute stop in Nesna, the ship will cross the Arctic Circle around 7am. You’ll see the line marked on a globe statue on the small islet of Vikingen. The Arctic Circle marks the border to the Arctic region. Join us out on deck for a small tradition that is sure to be effective in fully waking you up! In summer this means 24-hour daylight - often referred to as the ‘Midnight Sun'. During autumn and winter, being above this degree of latitude provides the best chances of experiencing the Northern Lights.
The ship then sails towards charming Bodø, Northern Norway’s second largest city. The spectacular Børvass peaks, a chain of mountains dominates views of the area. In Bodø, take a walk to see the fabulous street art, visit the architectural gem Kulturkvartalet Stormen with its modern library, or join an optional excursion.
Next we head northwest across Vestfjord to Stamsund. Along this stretch, you can look forward to seeing majestic mountains, the famous Skomvær Lighthouse, a powerful whirlpool, and quaint fishing villages. The region is also rich in birdlife with over 250 species recorded, while seals and orcas can often be spotted in the fjord. Later this afternoon the sight of the 1000m high Lofoten Wall will appear on the horizon. The “wall” is, in fact, a string of islands packed tightly together, notable for their spectacular, jagged, granite peaks. The charms of the Lofoten Islands are revealed in all the small, picturesque fishing villages with their bohemian atmosphere. Continue along Vestfjord among stunning islands, steep mountains, beautiful beaches, and sheltered bays. In the evening, when you see row upon row of traditional fishermen’s huts on stilts, known as rorbuer, you’ve arrived in the picturesque harbour of Svolvær.
Optional excursions today: Svartisen Glacier (04 Jun-03 Sep), Arctic Coastal Hike (01 Jan-31 Dec), Experience Bødø and Saltstraumen (01 Jan-31 Dec), RIB Safari to Saltstraumen (01 Apr-03 Nov), Meet the Vikings (04 Nov-03 Apr), Highlights of Lofoten (04 Apr-31 Aug), Meet the Vikings Summer (04 Apr-03 Nov), Farm Visit in Lofoten (04 Apr-30 Sep), Lofotpils Brewery (01 Jan-31 Dec)
Day 5 Into the wild: Stokmarknes to Skjervøy
We dock at Stokmarknes and Sortland in the small hours of the morning before arriving at Risøyhamn. If you’re aboard with us in the summer, the Midnight Sun will be reigning in the sky for most of if not all night. For voyages between October and March, you may find that it’s the Northern Lights who come out to play, dancing across the dark Arctic sky glistening with stars. If you’re awake early in summer, the stretch between Risøyhamn and Harstad is also known to offer excellent birdwatching opportunities. Several bird colonies are found close by, including one with at least 160,000 nesting puffins. The deep, nutrient-rich waters here are also ideal feeding ground for sperm whales. Keep your eyes peeled - you might get lucky, especially during winter. Harstad is known to Norwegians as the “Culture Town of the North,” and its calendar is usually peppered with events like beer festivals and concerts. At the time of day we’ll be there though, it will likely be quiet, perfect for a peaceful morning stroll.
Continuing our journey north, you should be able to enjoy views of Senja’s varied landscape of rolling hills and fjords surrounded by steep jagged mountains – scenery that has earned the island a reputation among locals as a “Mini Norway”. We call at Finnsnes next, a small town next to the impressive Gisund Bridge, which joins Senja to Norway’s mainland. The ship then arrives at Tromsø in the afternoon. You’ll have just over four hours to explore Tromsø, where you can walk to the city centre to check out the many shops and restaurants the city has to offer or visit the iconic Arctic Cathedral with its beautiful stained-glass mosaic. Not far from the cathedral is Fjellheisen Cable Car which will whisk you to the top of nearby Storsteinen Mountain to soak up stunning views 400 metres above the city, mountains, and fjords. Or perhaps take one of the optional excursions on offer.
Leaving Tromsø in the early evening, we head north for the trading post of Skjervøy, founded in 1622. On our way, we’ll pass the Lyngen Alps which rise majestically from the sea. Leaving Tromsø in the early evening, we head north for the trading post of Skjervøy, founded in 1622. On our way, we’ll pass the Lyngen Alps which rise majestically from the sea.
Optional excursions today: The Actic Capital Tromso (01 Jan-31 Dec), Dog-sledding (01 Dec-04 May), Scenery and Huskies (18 May-04 Nov), Polar History Walk (05 Nov-04 Apr), Kayaking (01 Jun-31 Aug), Cross Country Skiiung (01 Dec-01 May), Snowshoeing in Tromso (01 Dec-01 May) and Electric Cruising in Tromso (01 Oct-15 Apr)
Day 6 The North Cape: Øksfjord to Berlevåg
During the night, we continue into Troms & Finnmark county, stopping in Øksfjord briefly. This is one of Norway’s largest yet least populated counties, characterised by beautifully stark landscapes of rugged mountains and deep fjords. We dock in the town of Hammerfest on the island of Kvaløya early in the morning. In summer, the island has herds of reindeer migrating here in their thousands. Some are known to wander into the centre of Hammerfest, especially at this time of day when it’s quiet and no cars are about. You’ll know we’ve reached Havøysund when you see the wind turbines of the landmark Havøyglaven windfarm which produces enough electricity to power 6,000 local homes. Just opposite Havøysund is Hjelmsøystauren, a nesting site boasting the highest number of different bird species gathered on a bird mountain in all of Europe. Spot birds like Atlantic Puffins, Common Guillemots, razorbills, and kittiwakes.
We arrive at Honningsvåg mid-morning, the gateway to the North Cape where a globe monument marks the top of continental Europe. The optional excursion up to the dramatic promontory is very popular so it’s best to pre-book early to secure your place. In the fishing village itself, you’ll find the North Cape Museum where you can learn more about the cape and the area’s coastal culture. Ten minutes away from the museum, you’ll find Honningsvåg Church from 1885, the oldest building in the area. It’s also worth checking out the Once Upon A Dream art gallery and the Artico Ice Bar here.
The ship heads eastwards to the village of Kjøllefjord. Near the entrance of the village, look out for the striking, building-like rock formation Finnkirka, an ancient Sámi sacrificial site. The surrounding hills and plains here form part of the larger Sápmi area and have been the summer pastures for Sámi reindeer herds for generations. The Sápmi region spans parts of Northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia, inhabited by the indigenous people for over 11,000 years. While the Sámi of Northern Norway have modernised their lifestyles, they also carefully preserve their customs including traditional herbal remedies, joik folk songs, and reindeer husbandry. We reach our northernmost port of call, Mehamn, in the evening. Fishing has always been the primary industry for the residents here. The months of February and March see them hang 300 tons of cod on outdoor wooden racks called hjell, mainly destined for export as dried stockfish.
Around dinner time the ship sets off for Berlevåg. On our way, we pass the Slettnes Lighthouse located on Gamvik’s shore. One of Norway’s tallest lighthouses, it has the distinction of being the northernmost mainland lighthouse on Earth. Berlevåg is protected from the crashing waves of the Barents Sea by four man-made breakwaters, enabling our ships to dock and deliver essential goods to the 1,000 residents who live here.
Optional excursions today: The North Cape (01 Jan-31 Dec), Bird Watching Safari (06 Apr-05 Sep), Sami culture (06 May-05 Sep), Snowmobile Trip in the Arctic (15 Dec-30 Apr), Sami Autumn (06 Sep-05 Nov), Fishing Village Walk (01 Jan-31 Dec) and RIB Expedition on 71 Degrees North (01 Jun-30 Sep)
Day 7 The Extreme North: Kirkenes - Berlevåg
We call at Båtsfjord before docking at Vadsø early in the morning. Fleeing famine in the early 1800s, settlers from Finland moved to Vadsø which still has a strong Finnish heritage today. In Vadsø, cast your eyes east of the ship’s berth for a piece of polar exploration history. You’ll see the 60-metre mooring mast for the airship Norge flown in 1926 by Roald Amundsen in his bid to reach the North Pole. The area around Vadsø is one of the most scenic and popular birdwatching spots in the Arctic, lying directly under the migration path of birds flying from east to west. Watch the skies for hooded crows and sea eagles. If you’re visiting in early summer, you might even spot the rare Steller’s eider duck. We sail along Varangerfjord towards Kirkenes. It was here in the 1980s that local fishermen began hauling up strange-looking, enormous crustaceans in their nets – the now-famous local delicacy Red King Crab. The crabs had spread from Murmansk further along the coast, introduced into the wild by Russian researchers.
We reach Kirkenes, the turning point of our 12 day voyage, after breakfast. Kirkenes is located just a few miles from the Russian border, here you’ll find many Russian influences; from road signs in both Norwegian and Russian, a monthly Russian market, and the Russian Monument commemorating how the Red Army liberated the area from Nazi occupation in 1944. Join one of the optional excursions on offer.
As the ship changes direction and heads south, several of the places we sailed to during the night we’ll now see during the day.We return to Vardø in the late afternoon. It is the only town in Norway actually situated in the Arctic climate zone. True enough, it gets very windy here, so much so that some locals claim that, in the Kirkenes / Winter old days, children carried rocks in their pockets to prevent themselves from being blown away! You can visit the solemn Witches’ Monument inscribed with the names of the 90 victims of the ‘witches’ trials in the 17th century. A ten-minute walk away, you’ll find the star-shaped Vardøhus Fortress, built in 1737. The northernmost fortification of any kind, it remains a part of the military to this day. We arrive back at the small, bustling port of Båtsfjord in the evening. If it’s still light here, you might notice the stripes of different layers of strata in the sandstone cliffs. The ship then makes for Berlevåg later tonight, crossing paths with the northbound ship. You might be able to make out Mount Tanahorn to the west, sacred to the Sámi. Or see Kjølnes Lighthouse blinking atop a cliff overlooking the Barents Sea.
Optional excursions today: The Russian Border (01 Jan-31 Dec), Riverboat to the Russian Border (01 Jun-10 Sep), Snowmobile Safari (15 Dec-05 May), Kirkenes Snowhotel visit (01 Jan-31 Dec), ATV/Quad Safari to the Russian Border (07 May-06 Oct), Husky Tour (20 Oct-30 May), King Crab Adventure Summer (21 Apr-30 Nov) and King Crab Adventure Winter (01 Dec-20 Apr)
Day 8: The Extreme North - Mehamn to Tromsø
During the night we call at Mehamn and Kjøllefjord before making an early morning stop at Honningsvåg. On our way to Havøysund, we sail through the narrow Magerøy Sound along the east coast of Magerøya, home of the North Cape. Following winter, the ocean current here is too strong for the poorly nourished reindeer that need to cross every spring to their summer pastures on Magerøya. As a result, the Norwegian Army deploys landing craft to transport around 3,800 reindeer across the strait each year. After docking briefly in Havøysund, we make an extended stop in Hammerfest, an urban surprise along a sparsely populated coast. The town defended its reputation as the northernmost town in the world for many years until the title passed to Longyearbyen in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago. Check out the UNESCO listed Meridian Column in Hammerfest. It marks the northernmost measuring point of the Struve Geodetic Arc, a chain of survey triangulations for geographic meridians that established the exact size and shape of the planet. Plotted by astronomer Friedrich Struve between 1816 and 1855, the arc stretches over 2,820 km through a total of 10 countries, from Hammerfest to the Black Sea. Amble to the highly informative Polar Bear Society and stop by the lovely souvenir shop. For sweeping views over the whole area, take the zig-zag path behind the town to the viewpoint on Mount Salen.
We continue sailing south to Øksfjord to find a small but thriving community of around 500 people. Nearby, you might be able to glimpse one of Norway’s top ten largest glaciers, the mighty Øksfjordjøkelen, towering 1,204 metres above sea level. The horn of our ship is a welcome sound in these parts. Like many of Norway’s coastal towns and villages, Øksfjord is not easy to reach by road. On emerging out of the four kilometre-long dimly lit, narrow tunnel that leads here, one traveller described it as going from “hell to heaven in the blink of an eye”. Our next port of call is the picturesque settlement of Skjervøy, surrounded by mountain peaks. We’ve been docking at this vital fishing port since 1896. If you’re visiting in winter, you might spot orcas and humpback whales that gather here to feed on herring.
On our way to Tromsø, we’ll pass by the entrance of stunning Lyngenfjord. If weather allows, you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the Lyngsalpene mountains, where some of the highest peaks run all the way down to the shoreline. We dock at Tromsø just before midnight. In the summer months, you can stroll around the still busy city in glorious 24-hour daylight. Tromsø has more restaurants and pubs per capita than any other Norwegian town so perhaps you’ll enjoy a local brew before we depart at 01:30 am. If you’re not too tired, we recommend staying on deck to experience the Midnight Sun over nearby Fjellheisen Peak in summer. During the rest of the year, depending on solar storm activity in the atmosphere and clear skies above, you might see the Northern Lights reflecting on the sea.
Optional excursions today: Breakfast at the North Cape (08 May-07 Oct), The Northernmost Town in the World (08 Jun-08 Apr), Midnight Concert in the Arctic Cathedral (01 Jan-31 Dec), Snowmobile Trip in the Polar Night (15 Dec-30 Apr), Mountain Hike in Hammerfest (08 Jun-07 Nov), Into the Ice - Stories of a Polar Hero (08 Nov-22 Mar) and Arctic Midnight Adventure (08 May-08 Aug)
Day 9: The Lofoten Islands - Tromsø to Stamsund
We sail through the night from Tromsø, arriving at Finnsnes very early in the morning. A quick stop here and then it’s on to Harstad, located on Hinnøya, the largest island of mainland Norway. Our popular “A Taste of Vesterålen” bus excursion departs from here, driving through beautiful scenery to Sortland. As the third largest city in Northern Norway, Harstad’s history is connected to herring fishing, the military, and in more recent times, oil. You should be able to spot the white walls of Trondenes Church, the world’s northernmost medieval stone church, on the peninsula to the north. Next is Risøyhamn on the island of Andøya. At 200 inhabitants, it is our smallest port of call. Our founder Captain Richard With moved here in 1875, spending the next few years having sand dredged from the nearby Risøyrenna channel to expand it. Thanks to his efforts, our ships were later able to sail here to support the local villagers.
The ship now heads south to Sortland where the landscape slowly transforms from hills to steep 1,000-metre-high mountains rising up from the ocean. Sortland is sometimes called “The Blue Town on the Sound” thanks to a local artist’s idea to have many of the town’s buildings painted shades of blue. Stokmarknes on the north side of Hadseløya is where Captain Richard With first began The Coastal Express back in 1893. Take a short stroll from the port to Hurtigrutemuseet, a shipin-a-bottle building that chronicles our legacy, centred around retired ship MS Finnmarken.
On our way to Svolvær, we sail along Raftsund and pass Raften at around 4-4:30pm. Locals and any camping guests here normally like to wave to us from shore. This is something that always makes our Captains and crew proud, and just goes to show how much our ships are appreciated. Trollfjord is well worth a detour if weather allows. It’s a breath-holding moment as the Captain skilfully manoeuvres the ship to enter the tiny, narrow fjord. The mountain walls will look so close you’ll think you can reach out and brush them! To exit the fjord, the ship will rotate on the spot by 180 degrees, then sail back out. Remember to look out for sea eagles here too, after catching your breath.
We reach Svolvær in the evening. The huge mountain here is named the Svolvær Goat due to its supposed resemblance. See if you agree! There are plenty of restaurants to enjoy in this thriving town, including a few with views out over the harbour. The ship will now sail for Stamsund. We pass the Vågakallen mountain range, where you might be able to admire the contrast between dramatic, dark mountains and bright green grasslands. You’ll also see Lofotveggen, the Lofoten Wall of giant granite mountains that seem to guard the entrance to these magnificent islands. Leaving Stamsund late in the evening marks the end of this day. In summer, we’ll have the Midnight Sun behind us, while autumn and winter might give us swirling aurora borealis above
Optional excursions today: A Taste of Vesterålen (01 Jan-31 Dec), Lofoten Islands (09 Apr-31 Aug), Sea Eagle Safari (24 Mar-15 Oct), Lofoten by Horse (01 Jan-31 Dec), RIB Adventure in Lofoten (09 Jun-08 Sep), Discover a Fishing Village (01 Sep-08 Apr), Vesteralen and Lofoten by RIB (15 May-31 Aug) and Electric Cruising in Lofoten (01 May-30 Sep).
Day 10: Crossing the Arctic Circle - Bodø to Rørvik
We sail south towards the glorious landscapes of the Helgeland Coast, passing skerries and small islands, interspersed with charming fishing villages. The ship calls at Bodø in the small hours of the morning and then Ørnes at 7am. We then cross over the Arctic Circle just after breakfast. Join us on deck as we commemorate the moment with a fun tradition that’s different to what we do on the northbound route – this time involving tasting cod liver oil. The Vikings were known to highly value this Vitamin D-rich tonic for its powers of healing, going so far as consuming cod livers dipped in the oil. It’ll just be a spoonful for you though!
We make a short stop at Nesna before sailing on to Sandnessjøen, gateway to the Helgeland Coast. To the west of Sandnessjøen, the Dønnamannen Mountain towers above the islands. To the east, you’ll see the modern design of the elegant Helgeland Bridge that crosses Leirfjord. Our journey continues south past the island of Herøy to the west with its five bridges and medieval cathedral. Be sure to spend some time looking east on deck to admire the stunning landscape of the Seven Sisters mountain range, with peaks up to 1,100m high. Legend has it that the seven beautiful troll princesses of King Sulis, fleeing from unwanted suitor Vågekallen, got caught out as the sun rose, turning them into the seven beautiful mountains you see today. You’ll not want to miss views of Torghatten Mountain, with the distinctive hole in it, on Hestmann Island to the east.
We reach Brønnøysund mid afternoon and you will have two and a half hours to explore this pretty coastal town, rich in maritime history. The town’s name comes from the Old Norse word “brunney” or “brunnur”, meaning a “well”– indicating seafarers of yore knew they’d find fresh water here. Explore the bustling marina on a walk along Havnegata. Venture into one of the local pubs or enjoy a delicious snack at one of the charming cafés. In the centre of town is Brønnøy Church: a stone church in the Neo-Gothic style dating back to 1870.
Along the next stretch, we pass through Bindalfjord and Tosenfjord, which mark the centre point of the Norwegian coastline. To the west, you can spot Leka, with its red mountains dating back 500 million years. Our last stop of the day is the cosy fishing port of Rørvik in the picturesque Vikna archipelago. Stroll around the coastal museum Norveg, an architectural landmark and maybe enjoy cod cakes and Viknasuppe, a local twist on traditional fish soup.
Optional excursions today: UNESCO Vega Archipelago (10 Jun-09 Sep), Visit the Salmon (01 Jan-31 Dec), Hike to Torghatten (01 Jun-31 Oct) and Visist Hildurs Urterarium (01 Nov-31 Mar).
Day 11: In the footsteps of the Vikings - Trondheim to Ålesund
Early morning arrival into Trondheim. Stroll around its narrow alleys and streets, many dating back to the Middle Ages. Visit landmarks such as the Nidaros Cathedral and the Gamle Bybro “Portal of Happiness” bridge over Nid River. Take a walk up to Kristiansten Fort and be rewarded with great photo opportunities of Norway’s third largest city. As the ship leaves Trondheim, we’ll pass the tiny island of Munkholmen, the site of a former fort, prison, execution site, and German submarine base during WWII. After retracing our path up the majestic Trondheimsfjord, we’ll enter the channel which separates the marshy island of Hitra from the mainland. Coined the “Island of Deer”, Hitra has the densest population of deer in Northern Europe.
Just north of Hitra is Smøla, a flat, scenic island whose name is thought to mean “crumble”. This supposedly is in reference to the thousands of small islands and islets scattered around the main island, with at least one for each one of its 2,400 inhabitants. The area is home to the world’s largest population of Whitetailed Sea Eagles. See if you luck out as you sweep the skies for these massive birds of prey from the ship’s observation deck. Hidden within the Smøla archipelago is the historically significant island of Edøya. A 17-metre Viking burial ship was located near the old Edøy Church using radar technology in 2019. You might make out the old stone church, dated 1190, as we sail past the island.
Next, we encounter the magnificent mountain peaks of Tustna, rising some 900 metres above sea level. Soon, the island of Grip and its lighthouse come into view. A little over 100 people live in the clusters of houses built around the small 15th century stave church here. We dock at Kristiansund’s harbour late afternoon for an hour. This is a town spread over three islands. While its history as Norway’s “Bacalao Capital” is to do with drying and salting cod on the surrounding cliffs, it’s now also a base for North Sea oil workers and a place where boats are built and repaired. Take a walk around the cobblestone streets of the old town on Innladet island, and tour the lively port flanked by colourful houses and salted cod or klippfisk wharves. If you have time, it’s an easy walk to the Varden viewpoint, where an old watchtower gives breathtaking 360-degree views of Kristiansund and its neighbouring islands.
As we cross the open sea to Molde, you will spot the steep, pointed peaks of the lofty Romsdal Alps and a panorama of 222 peaks. Molde has a reputation as “The City of Roses” and if you’re sailing with us between mid-June and late August, the flower should be in bloom, decorating streets and houses in the late evening sun.
Optional excursions today: Trondheim with Nidaros Cathedral (01 Jan-31 Dec), The Hidden Rooms of Nidaros Cathedral (01 Jan-31 Dec), The Atlantic Road (11 Apr-10 Sep) and Bergtatt - Magnificient Marble Mine (15 Sep-30 Apr).
Day 12: A Hanseatic city – Arrival in Bergen
During the night, the ship will call at Ålesund and Torvik. The Norwegian coast never runs out of breathtaking scenery, and even on the last stretch of your voyage, there’s still plenty of beauty waiting to be admired. You’ll have a chance to glimpse Nordfjord, under the enormous Jostedal Glacier, mainland Europe’s largest. From here, the fjord widens to the east, reaching 90 kilometres inland to Loen and Olden. We’ll pass the islands of Gangsøya and Risøya as we cross over into the Bremanger municipality. The ship then takes you into Skatestraumen, a narrow strait with rapid tidal currents that have made it a productive fishing spot since the Stone Age.
The ship docks for a quick stop at Florø at around 08:15. This western town was built largely on the herring trade. The waters around the town have been a herring spawning area for possibly thousands of years. Although inconsistent, some periods saw extremely large herring catches, including a record 12.3 million hectares of herring in 1956.
It’s time to make our way to Bergen, our last stop. Leaving Florø, you’ll spot Stabben Lighthouse. This sturdy, isolated lighthouse, built on a slippery, solitary skerry in the middle of the shipping lane, is a favourite subject for photographers whatever the sea conditions. On our way to Bergen, we still have some nautical miles of memorable scenery to take in. Enjoy stunning views as we cross the mouth of the mighty Sognefjord, “King of the Fjords”. This is both the longest and widest fjord in the whole of Norway, stretching 205 kilometres inland and reaching a maximum depth of 1,308 metres. Upon arrival into Bergen your roundtrip voyage ends.
2023 departures: 3-4 times a week
Please enquire for further information and pricing regarding any of the optional excursions mentioned above.
Pre and post cruise extensions:
From Oslo to Bergen or Bergen to Oslo:
Add one of our fantastic Norway in a Nutshell (all year) independent tours at the end of your voyage, which includes a trip on the delightful Flam Railway. There are several different itinerary options, all of which can be offered in Bergen to Oslo or Oslo to Bergen direction.
For more add on tour suggestions - please enquire.