|Voyage like a Viking with Hurtigruten! The Nordlys sails along the Hjørundfjorden near Ålesund, Norway. © Furmanek, Visitnorway.com and Hurtigruten USA. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
The allure of maritime exploration beckons to us all at one time or another with the promise of a seafaring voyage to lands afar, perhaps the same charted courses followed by the Vikings and other legendary explorers from the past. I have long dreamed of sailing upon the cresting waves of the North Sea along a rugged Norwegian coast; a majestic setting where spectacular fjords carve their way between the mountains and the only sounds breaking this idyllic silence is the crashing of the waves, thundering waterfalls heard on high, and perhaps a cacophony of seagulls flying alongside my vessel. This is the stuff of dreams, the voyage of a lifetime.
|Glide along on board your authentic Viking longship in Norway! Photo is the property of Visitnorway.com. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Tracing its roots back 1893 when a fledgling shipping line began operations along the hurtigruten or "swift route," the Hurtigruten line sailed along the western coast of Norway from Trondheim to Hammerfest, far above the Arctic circle. More than a century later, Hurtigruten expeditions venture beyond the Norwegian coast—Spitsbergen, Svalbard; Iceland; Greenland and even to ends of the earth—Antarctica!
|A Norwegian sunset as seen from the decks of Hurtigruten. Photo: Harald Hansen / Innovation Norway. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Sail upon a Norwegian vessel designed not only for maritime trade and transport but for leisure travel as well. While the ship's operations get underway each day, you and your fellow travelers are off on your next adventure to explore and discover the rich heritage and traditions of each new port of call. And when you arrive, be sure to take a good long look at your surrounds. What sets this port apart from the last? How has the landscape changed? What indelible impressions from the past will you discover? "Connect with your inner explorer" is Hurtigruten's hallmark and it's easy to understand why!
Now see for yourself.
Feeling like an explorer from the past
Hurtigruten's "Voyage of the Vikings" is one such journey through the present as well as into the past. Expedition Norway is underway!
|The voyage north. Image: Googlemaps.com.|
The voyage begins at the Gateway to the Fjords—Bergen—then travels far north beyond the Arctic Circle and back down again along the Norwegian coast. In between, more than 30 ports of call await with the promise of expeditions all your own: adventures beneath a midnight sun or the dazzling dance of the Northern Lights; a cultural immersion into art, history, architecture; and let's not forget scrumptious bites of Norwegian cuisine, freshly caught of course!
|Photo: Knut-Jenssen and Hurtigruten USA. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Voyage of the Vikings
|The colorful Hansa houses in Bryggen, Norway. Photo is the property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Second largest city in Norway after Oslo, Bergen is a major commerce center that's also a popular port-of-call. Along the quayside, the Hanseatic Wharf charms visitors with its iconic Hansa houses—one-time homes and warehouses that were built in the early 18th century. Rise high above it all aboard the Fløibanen funicular to the top of Mt. Fløyen for jaw-dropping views of port city! Nearby in Troldhaugen, visit Edvard Grieg's summer home and the spectacular Chamber Music Hall built into the hillside and covered in grass.
|All aboard the Fløibanen funicular! To the top of Mt. Fløyen we go! Photo is the property of EuroTravelogue™. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
|Hurtigruten's MS Polarlys calls on Florø. Photo is the property of Torodd Solheim and Hurtigruten. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Born of the herring industry that flourished in the mid 19th century, Florø is a coastal village on the edge of the sea near Ålesund and home to the Sogn og Fjordane Coastal Museum with its collection of antique boats.
|Hurtigruten's Nordnorge arriving in Trondheim and Munkholmen Island. Photo: ©Fotoknoff.no. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Located near Trondheim and named after the Danish king, Christian VI, Kristiansund was established in 1742 and is comprised of three islands steeped in maritime history. Today the city is one of the largest exporters of klippfish, or dried cod. On the island of Innlandet, you'll find a customs house that dates back to the late 17th century.
|Chase after the ever-elusive Northern Lights in Norway. Photo: ©Fotoknoff.no. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Venture to Brønnøysund and you've nearly crossed the Arctic circle. Visit in the summer, it's the land of midnight sun. Visit in the winter, and the northern lights may blaze across a dark winter night.
|Stokmarknes, Norway. Photo is the property of Ingrid Maasik. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Lying just south of Tromsø, Stokmarknes promises exciting excursions including dog sledding, whale watching, hiking, kayaking and history walks. Actually, Hurtigruten can trace its roots back to this idyllic village where the company's founder Richard With first began operations more than a century ago. You'll also find the Hurtigruten Museum where you'll voyage through the company's past including a tour of the permanently moored "MS Finnmarken," an incredible sight in and of itself!
|On approach to Øksfjord. Photo is the property of Ole Størksen and Hurtigruten. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
On approach to Øksfjord and the North Cape, you're closing in on the northernmost point of the European continent. While herds of migrating reindeer may block your journey ashore, cultural immersion awaits with the opportunity to meet Norway's indigenous Sámi. Discover fascinating insights into the heritage and traditions of these citizens of the north!
Båtsfjord and Kirkenes
|Leaving Båtsfjord at sunset. Photo: Eva Antonsen and Hurtigruten. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Within miles of the Russian border, Kirkenes, known for its fishing, farming and reindeer husbandry, will be the final port of call before the ship reverses course to travel south to Bergen.
The Voyage Home
|The voyage south ends in Bergen, Norway. Image: Googlemaps.com.|
Visit in the winter and embark on an unforgettable snowmobile excursion through the Norwegian wilderness and you may just be lucky enough the see the light—the Northern Lights.
|Tromsø, Norway. Photo is the property of Georg T. Schoppmann - Gästefoto and Hurtigruten. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Truly one of the highlights of the Voyage of the Vikings is the daytime cruise through the Lofoten Islands, one of Norway's most beautiful and photographed regions.
Home to the Norwegian Aviation Museum, Bodø found prosperity in the latter 19th century thanks to the fishing, mining and shipping industries. One of its iconic landmarks is Torghatten Mountain, the mountain with a hole. According to legend, the hole is the result of unrequited love, the love of the Hestmannen troll who pursued a beautiful girl named Lekamøya. When he realized she would never be his, he attempted to kill her with an arrow but when the Troll King of Sømna discovered the fatal shot, he threw down his hat to intercept the arrow. The hat transformed into Torghatten Mountain with a hole still seen today.
|Do you know the legend of the Hestmannen troll? Photo: Wikimedia.org.|
|Summertime at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway. Photo: Fotoknoff.no. Unauthorized use is prohibited.|
Founded In 997 by King Olav Tryggvason and originally known as Nidaros, Trondheim was Norway's capital from 1030 to 1217. In the heart of the city stands the magnificent Nidaros Cathedral, the largest stone building in Scandinavia and a St. Olav pilgrimage site for centuries until the Reformation in 1537. Although the wooden buildings along the wharves harken to medieval times, they were built in the 18th century when the prosperous fishing and timber industries dominated the city and its harbor. Today, Trondheim is the home to SIN-TEF, Scandinavia's largest foundation for scientific and industrial research.
|Spectacular views await at the top of Aksla hill in Ålesund, Norway. Photo: Wikimedia.org.|
Because of a catastrophic fire in 1904, many of wooden buildings in Ålesund were destroyed, hence the abundant Art Nouveau architecture throughout the city. Climb up 418 steps to reach the summit of Aksla hill and behold the magnificent views of Ålesund islands. Did you know that ALL of them are now linked via 8 miles of underground tunnels?
Our Hurtigruten Voyage of the Vikings comes to close and we find ourselves in Bergen for disembarkation. But your dreams of becoming a sea voyager don't have to stop here.
An Epic Voyage of the Vikings
|Voyage of the Vikings! Photo is the property of Visitnorway.com. Unauthorized use is prohibited.>|