Day 1: Bergen, Gateway to the Fjords
Your voyage starts in Bergen, a city surrounded by seven mountains. Before departure you may wish to explore this cultural gateway to the fjords. Bergen was founded in 1070 AD, and was the capital of Norway for several years. The city is a central point for Norwegian travel, and has retained a great deal of local character and history. One example of this is the historic UNESCO-listed Bryggen district with colourful wharfs that date back to the 14th century. Take a stroll around this charming and compact city, spend some time in one of the outdoor cafés and restaurants, enjoy a trip on the Fløibanen Funicular or visit the famous fish market.
Day 2: Floro - Molde
If you wake up early the next day, you have the chance to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Nordfjord, followed by a delicious breakfast. As we sail past the West Cape, we are out on the open sea. The ship then navigates through skerries and islands before reaching Ålesund.
Distinguished by its numerous spires, towers and highly-ornate buildings, Ålesund is a town renowned for its beautiful art nouveau architecture. It owes this to a devastating fire that burned a large proportion of the city to the ground in 1904. The entire town was subsequently rebuilt in the fashionable style of the time, art nouveau. If you like marine life, join us on a visit to Atlanterhavsparken - one of Northern Europe’s largest salt-water aquariums. The tour includes a visit to the open-air pool to see the resident penguins. After visiting Atlanterhavsparken, we continue onwards and upwards to Mount Aksla where you will get an amazing panorama of the area.
Day 3: Kristiansund
Few large cities have managed to preserve their intimacy as effectively as Norway’s third largest city, Trondheim. Viking king, Olav Tryggvason, founded this ancient city as early as 997. Join our optional excursion to Norway’s national shrine, Nidaros Cathedral, the country´s only Gothic-style cathedral built over the burial place of St. Olav, Norway’s patron saint. Here you can marvel at the cathedral’s incredible architectural details and exquisite works of art.
Day 4: Brønnøysund - Svolvær
Today we cross the Arctic Circle! This invisible line is situated at 66 degrees 33 minutes north and marks the border to the Arctic Region. In summer, this means 24-hour daylight - often referred to as the ‘midnight sun’. During winter, being above this latitude provides the best chances for experiencing the Northern Lights. Even if you aren’t awake to see the Arctic Circle, the captain makes sure that the occasion is a memorable event. If you are sailing in Arctic waters for the first time, you can participate in a daytime Arctic Circle ceremony on deck.
Near Ørnes, you find Svartisen, Norway’s second largest glacier. Join us for a trip to the Svartisen Tourist Centre in summer, where you can admire the beauty of this enigmatic ice world. Afterwards, the journey continues along the beautiful coast of Helgeland to Bodø, where you re-join the ship. In Bodø, you can join an adventure in harmony with nature, eagles and the deep blue sea. We head to Saltstraumen in a RIB, where you witness the world’s most powerful tidal current. On this exciting journey through wild landscape, there is also a good chance to observe sea eagles.
Majestic, beautiful Lofoten
Later this afternoon, the sight of the 1,000 m high Lofoten Wall appears on the horizon. Tucked between majestic granite cliffs and white sandy beaches, Lofoten is an experience that is out of the ordinary. The charms of the Lofoten Islands are revealed in the small, picturesque fishing villages with their bohemian ambience. Take a stroll between stockfish racks and ‘rorbuer’, the traditional fisherman’s huts.
At Stamsund, join a historical journey to the Lofotr Viking Museum, where you are invited into the chieftain’s house, a full-size reconstruction featuring exhibits of finds dating back to the Viking Age. The chieftain and the lady of the house invite you to join them for a real Viking meal in the banquet hall, providing a taste of the Viking Age, complete with traditional food, drinks, costumes, singing and dancing.
Between Stamsund and Svolvær, you have the chance to experience life on a herb and cheese farm in Lofoten, or visit the Lofoten’s only craft brewery, situated in an old fish landing facility in Svolvær.
Hunting the Northern Lights
In winter, crossing the Arctic Circle is when the hunt for the Northern Light begins. We celebrate the event by presenting a multimedia show, ‘The Magic Light, Aurora Borealis’, featuring pictures, words and music. As we sail through the narrow Raftsund, we stop at the entrance to Trollfjord. Here we serve freshly made fish cakes out on deck. You also hear the story of ‘The b
Day 5: Stokmarknes - Skjervøy
Get ready for a day full of exciting activities, whatever the season! During the morning hours, we briefly dock at Risøyhamn, Harstad and Finnsnes. The ship then continues to Tromsø, `Capital of the Arctic´, for a prolonged stay. Many epic Arctic expeditions used Tromsø as a starting point. Join our `Polar History Walk´ in winter to learn more about the explorers and Arctic hunters, and to taste beer made at the world´s northernmost brewery.
In winter and spring, you can complete your stay in Tromsø with a thrilling husky dog sledge ride. On this mini polar expedition, the huskies pull you over the frozen landscape while you enjoy stunning views of the ocean, mountains and open plateaus. During the polar night, the only light comes from headlamps, the starry sky, and, if we’re lucky, the magical Northern Lights. Why not test your coordination skills and have some winter fun by joining a cross-country skiing or snowshoeing adventure or go deep-sea fishing on an Arctic fjord.
All year you can join the Expedition team for hikes and discover more of Tromsø and its surroundings.
If you want to experience peace and tranquillity on the sea, why not join us for a kayaking excursion in summer? Paddle in the waters off the Tromsø coastline with the mountains as a stunning backdrop. This is a great way to silently glide through these pristine waters and get close to marine wildlife.
After an exhilarating day in Tromsø, we continue our northbound journey. The ship is now sailing into waters where you have the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights between September and March. We gather on deck to search the skies for this breathtaking phenomenon.
Day 6: Oksfjord - Berlevag
Sailing north, Øksfjord is Hurtigruten's first port of call in the county of Finnmark. At above 70° we find ourselves in the true high north. To the southeast you can glimpse Norway’s fifth largest glacier, Øksfjordjøkulen (1,204 metres above sea level). This is the only glacier on mainland Norway to ‘calve’ directly into the sea, a uniquely arctic phenomenon. The district has a population of 500 and Øksfjord is the administrative centre for the municipality of Loppa. Fish processing plants and a shipyard tell us about an area dependent on outcome from the sea.
With 1,000 inhabitants, Berlevåg is one of the largest fishing villages in Finnmark County. Several fish processing plants encircle its large harbour. The film “Cool and Crazy” (Heftig og begeistret) from 2001 made Berlevåg well-known worldwide. The documentary on the local male choir touched hearts, and both the film and the choir were invited to events all around the world.
The Berlevåg Harbour Museum documents the coastal culture and the amazing story of the 70-year process of building the breakwaters in Berlevåg. Before roads came to Berlevåg in 1959, a safe harbour was a life necessity for the community. The story of the breakwater is a testimony of the strong will and ability to survive in this little fishing village. The breakwater also offers an inspiring walk - whether you want to experience the roaring ocean, the midnight sun or the northern lights.
In the centre of Berlevåg you find the shop and workshop of glass artist Daniela Salathe. She moved here from Switzerland more than 20 years ago, and creates colourful glass inspired by the Arctic landscape and culture.
Day 7: Båtsfjord - Berlevåg
Norway's Eastern Edge
We call at Båtsfjord and Vardø in the night, before docking at Vadsø early in the morning.
Looking to the skies
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 for hooded crows and sea eagles.
Next door neighbours
By the time we reach Kirkenes after breakfast, you’ll have travelled further east than St. Petersburg and Istanbul. You’ll have a choice of optional excursions to explore the area.
Located just a few miles from the Russian border, Kirkenes has many influences from Norway’s neighbour; from road signs in both Norwegian and Russian, a monthly Russian market, and the WWII Russian Monument.
Journey’s turning point
Kirkenes is where your Norwegian coastal cruise changes direction and the ship heads south. Several of the places we sailed to during the night we’ll now see during the day.
Back in Vardø, you can visit the solemn Witches’ Monument and 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 return to the small, bustling port of Båtsfjord and then make for Berlevåg for late evening, crossing paths with the northbound ship.
Day 8: Mehamn - Tromsø
From the Top of Europe
We make stops at Mehamn and Kjøllefjord during the night before early morning visits to Honningsvåg and Havøysund.
Almost the northernmost
In the early afternoon, you’ll spend time in Hammerfest, once the northernmost town in the world until Longyearbyen in Svalbard claimed the title.
Check out the UNESCO-listed Meridian Column, shop for souvenirs at the Polar Bear Society, or take the path behind the town to the viewpoint on Mount Salen.
Mountains and marine mammals
We continue cruising Norway’s coastline south to Øksfjord and then to 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.
As we make our way to Tromsø, you might also glimpse views of the Lyngen Alps which boast some of the highest peaks in all of Norway.
We dock at Tromsø just before midnight. In the summer months, you can stroll around the still busy city in glorious 24-hour daylight.
Day 9: Tromsø - Stamsund
High Peaks and Idyllic Islands
Today, you’ll be exploring the archipelagos of Lofoten and Vesterålen, real highlights of our Norway scenic route.
After Finnsnes early in the morning, the ship calls at Harstad where the white-washed Trondenes Church, the world’s northernmost medieval stone church, sits on the peninsula.
Next is our smallest port of call Risøyhamn and then Sortland where the landscape slowly transforms from hills to 1,000-metre-high mountains.
Stokmarknes is where Captain Richard With began The Coastal Express in 1893. Visit Hurtigrutemuseet, a ship-in-a-bottle building that chronicles our legacy, centred around retired ship MS Finnmarken from 1956.
A ship-size fjord
Sailing along Raftsund, the Captain may choose to take the ship into tiny Trollfjord. 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 180 degrees on the spot, then sail back out. Remember to look out for sea eagles here too.
We reach Svolvær in the evening. The huge mountain that sits above the town is named the Svolvær Goat due to its supposed resemblance. See if you agree!
The ship then sails for Stamsund, eventually passing the giant granite cliffs of the Lofoten Wall.
Day 10: Bodø - Rørvik
A Landscape of Trolls
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. Commemorate the moment with a tradition of tasting a spoonful of good ol’ cod liver oil!
We make a short stop at Nesna before sailing on to Sandnessjøen, gateway to the magnificent Helgeland Coast.
Legend has it…
Admire the stunning landscape of the Seven Sisters mountain range, with peaks up to 1,100m high. The tale goes that seven beautiful troll princesses, fleeing from an unwanted suitor, got caught out as the sun rose, turning them into the seven beautiful mountains you see today.
You’ll also not want to miss views of Torghatten Mountain, with the distinctive hole in it. There is a local legend as to why and how this mountain came to have such a hole. Make sure you ask your Coastal Expert about it!
We reach Brønnøysund mid-afternoon. Explore the bustling marina on a walk along Havnegata. In the centre of town is Brønnøy Church: a stone church in the Neo-Gothic style dating back to 1870.
Our last stop of the day is the cosy fishing port of Rørvik in the picturesque Vikna archipelago.
Day 11: Trondheim - Ålesund
Coastal Communities and Klippfisk
Spend the morning in Trondheim, then sail past beautiful island scenery and some of Norway’s smallest communities before exploring Kristiansund and Molde.
Capital of the Viking Age
Stroll around Trondheim in the early morning as the city wakes. Visit the sacred Nidaros Cathedral, resting place of St. Olav. Then, walk to Gamle Bybro bridge for a photo opportunity over Nid River.
Treat yourself to quality coffee and a Nordic patisserie in one of the Bakklandet district’s many chic cafés then walk up to Kristiansten Fort for great views of Norway’s third largest city.
Dealing in dried cod
We dock at Kristiansund’s harbour in the late afternoon. The town is spread over three islands and known for being Norway’s “Bacalao Capital” for the salted cod that’s dried on the surrounding cliffs, called klippfisk in Norwegian.
Take a walk around the cobblestone streets of the old town and tour the lively port. You can also head up to the old watchtower at Varden viewpoint for a lovely panorama.
Peaks and petals
The penultimate port of the day is Molde where you can spot the tops of the Romsdal Alps. Nicknamed “The City of Roses”, flowers should be in bloom between mid-June and late August.
Day 12: Ålesund - Bergen
Until Next Time
Our Norwegian coastal cruise together, at least this time, will reach its end later today. During the previous night, we’ll call at Ålesund and Torvik. On our approach to Måløy, you might catch a glimpse of the northbound Coastal Express if you’re up early enough.
You’ll have a chance to glimpse Nordfjord, under the enormous Jostedal Glacier, mainland Europe’s largest.
The ship then docks at Florø in the morning where you can take in the harbour and marina.
The home stretch
Leaving Florø, you’ll spot Stabben Lighthouse, a favourite subject for photographers. There’s also stunning views to enjoy as we cross the mouth of Sognefjord, the longest and widest fjord in the whole of Norway.
As we reach our final port in the afternoon, the ship will navigate through the last islands and skerries of our Norway scenic route, and sail down Hjeltefjord to arrive into Bergen.
Explore more of Norway
Sadly, it’s time to say farewell to the Captain, crew, and fellow guests.
But your journey doesn’t have to stop after disembarkation. We offer a Bergen sightseeing tour as well as a range of post-voyage programmes that you can add to your trip, including seeing Sognefjord by train or a tour of Oslo.