Hurtigruten Cruise Ports
Overlooked by seven mountains, and a UNESCO World Heritage City, Bergen is the gateway to Norway's magnificent fjord region. Founded in 1070 the city is steeped in history. Hometown of the famous Norwegian composer, Edvard Grieg.
Bergen is also a centre for culture, with a concert hall, theatres and several art galleries. Every spring the city hosts an international music festival, the largest annual cultural event in Norway.
Visit the old Hanseatic painted warehouses of the town’s Bryggen district, or take a step back in time on a stroll through the steep and narrow alleyways of old Bergen. Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the Fish Market, visit the Aquarium, or take a trip on the Funicular Railway to Mount Fløyen where, on a clear day, there are magnificent views of the city and its surroundings.
After it was destroyed by fire in 1904, this pretty little town was rebuilt in the fashionable Art Nouveau style of the era. So much of Ålesund is surrounded by water, the very town itself appears to be floating serenely alongside our vessel. Visit the viewing point at Mount Aksla for fantastic views of the town. Smoked wild salmon is a delicious local speciality.
Between 15 April and 14 September, we voyage into the famous Geirangerfjord, recently established as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we have the opportunity to join excursions ashore and weave through hair-pin bends to overlook one of the world’s longest fjords. Waterfalls cascade down the cliffs that rise 1400m above the Norwegian Sea, into some 500m of water below. This is truly a mountain lover’s delight.
Molde is famed for its fabulous gardens and also known as the ‘City of Roses’. It is a thriving coastal town set in magnificent scenery, and surrounded by 87 snow-capped mountains. The town is host to an international jazz festival in July, and the older parts are filled with charming wooden buildings.
This attractive city was Norway’s first capital, between 997 and 1380, it was here that the new kings of old Norway received their ceremonial blessing. Rebuilt in the 17th century, this cosmopolitan city boasts wide streets lined with brightly coloured houses and gabled warehouses. The magnificent Nidaros Cathedral is one of the main attractions.
Like many towns in northern Norway, Bodø was completely rebuilt after the war. It is a very modern town with a buzzing commercial centre. The Norwegian Aviation Museum is one of the most popular museums and off the coast is Saltstraumen, the world’s strongest maelstrom or ‘whirling stream’.
The Lofoten and Vesterålen Islands
These beautiful, mountainous island chains, rising to 1,000 metres in places, are some of the oldest in the world, fjorded during the Ice Age. Many of the fishermen’s cabins are built on stilts along the waterfront in the small settlements here. Tiny islands like Røst are home to nesting seabirds such as puffins, guillemots, kittiwakes, eider ducks, cormorants and sea eagles. See the Legends of the Lofoten Islands Tour, which spends more time here.
The birthplace of Hurtigruten, where an interesting museum explores their illustrious history. The original MS Finnmarken, dating back to the 1950s, rests in dry dock here and is open for visitors.
Originally a flourishing centre of the herring trade, Harstad moved into the shipbuilding industry with equal gusto. Fertile farmland to the east supplies raw materials for dairy and meat processing industries, whilst to the west, the offshore harvest of oil from the ocean bed has meant continued prosperity.
Tromsø has been the starting point for many polar expeditions. A university town, blessed with a girdle of peaks reminiscent of Switzerland, Tromsø is one of the most pleasant of coastal towns.
Hammerfest, the world’s most northerly town, is at the same latitude as northern Siberia, but largely ice-free thanks to the Gulf Stream. The fur trade and international trade with neighbouring Russia brought prosperity, as did the growing fish processing industry. Its strategic position made it the ideal base for Germany’s fleet during World War II. Visit the amusingly named Polar Bear Club for a taste of Arctic natural history.
Honningsvåg and The North Cape
Honningsvåg is the largest fishing village in Finnmark and was completely rebuilt after the last war. It is the nearest port of call to the North Cape and from here it is possible to take an excursion to Nordkapp at 71º north.
Kirkenes, turning point of our Coastal Voyage, has fewer than 10,000 inhabitants – but its airport handles around 100,000 passengers a year. Just 10 kilometres from the Russian border, the town was razed to the ground in 1944. The deep fjord in which the harbour lies limits the effect of the Gulf Stream, and in winter it can begin to ice over. Mining, saw mills, and catering for the Russian fishing fleet all help to keep this vibrant little town alive and kicking, despite its remote location.
Please note that different itineraries may visit some or all of the places mentioned