The famous Hurtigruten vessels have been transporting visitors along Norway's magnificent West coast for over 100 years. This 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. There is also the chance to enjoy various optional excursions en route.
Day 1 The journey begins: Bergen
Your seven day 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 (02 Sep-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 Tromsø (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 Skiing (01 Dec-01 May), Snowshoeing in Tromso (01 Dec-01 May) and Electric Cruising in Tromsø (01 Oct-15 Apr).
Day 6 The North Cape: Øksfjord to Berlevåg
During the night, we continue into Tromsø & 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 Arrival
We call at Båtsfjord and Vardø in the night, 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 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. If time permits, join one of the optional excursion on offer in Kirkenes. Your northbound voyage ends in Kirkenes.
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).
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:
Add on the fantastic Norway in a Nutshell (all year) tour before starting your voyage from Bergen, 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.
Spend some extra time in Kirkenes at the end of your voyage and add on one of the short tours below.
1 nights accommodation in an Ice Room (or Gamme Cabin) at the Snowhotel including a King Crab excursion - see our Kirkenes SnowHotel Experience (all year).
2 nights in hotel accommodation in the city centre including a Northern Lights King Crab Safari by Snowmobile and a Husky Safari. There is also an option to add on an overnight stay at the Kirkenes SnowHotel in an Ice Room or Gamme Cabin - see our Snowhotel Delights & Kirkenes (Dec-Apr).
1 night in hotel accommodation in the city centre including a King Crab excursion and sightseeing to the Russian Border - see our Kirkenes Classic Break (May-Nov).
From Kirkenes to Helsinki, via Rovaniemi:
Take our Northern Lights Wilderness Independent tour (Dec-Mar) spending time in Kirkenes and then onto Inari and Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland, and Helsinki. There is also an Autumn version of this tour (Sep-Nov).
For more add on tour suggestions - please enquire.