Hurtigruten loosely translates to “the fast route.” At the time of its launch in 1893, the ferry line was established to deliver mail, cargo, and passengers on a regular basis to the northern communities that were somewhat isolated from southern Norway.
Prior to this, services, although numerous, were infrequent, unreliable and rarely sailed during the night time, making the journey north a long and exhausting experience. However, in 1936 ships started departing daily from Bergen covering the 2,500 nautical miles to Kirkenes in six days, docking in 34 ports along the way. At Kirkenes, the ships turn around and head south to Bergen, passing through the same 34 ports on their return journey.
Over the years, the Hurtigruten ferry line has evolved to become the leading Norwegian cruise line and an important national symbol. A cruise with Hurtigruten has been described as “The World’s most beautiful Voyage.”
A typical Norwegian cruise starts at Bergen heading north to Kirkenes and back to Bergen. This will take 12 days covering over 2,500 nautical miles. Along the way, you will explore the 34 ports and the coastal magic of Norway.
It doesn’t matter the time of the year that you decide to take the voyage. Every season offers something unique and stunning. There is always the wildlife and the beautiful scenery for you to observe. Of the 34 ports visited en-route, 22 of them lie north of the Arctic Circle.
Along the way, you will have the opportunity to join numerous shore excursions suitable to your level of exploration.
Three Spectacular Seasons to Enjoy a Voyage
As noted earlier on, no matter the time of the year that you travel with Hurtigruten, you are always surrounded by stunning scenery and amazing wildlife.
The Season of the Northern Lights
The season of the Northern Lights is a very special time to explore the untamed and wild Norwegian landscape. You should travel during the winter months to see this spectacular natural phenomenon. During the winter the land is covered in white snow, and the air is pure and fresh and the nights are long and dark. The beautiful backdrops of snow-filled mountains reflect the polar twilight creating a magnificent view.
While sailing north of the Arctic Circle, you get a chance of experiencing this magical winter wonderland and possibly, the stunning Aurora Borealis. The spectacular displays that light up the night sky continue to marvel both the locals and visitors. Sailing with Hurtigruten provides one of the best opportunities to experience this magical show as it gradually lights up the Arctic sky with flickering shades of green, purple, pink, yellow and blue. Once experienced, the Northern Lights will never be forgotten.
The Season of the Midnight Sun
Summer is also a great time of the year to explore the Norwegian coast. The sunshine provides extra warmth to people and the beauty to the coastline. During summer time, you can experience a full 24 hours of daylight as you sail the Norwegian coast above the Arctic Circle.
The giant waterfalls begin cascading towards the oceans while rivers fill with fish. The beautiful scenery creates a perfect picture of a fabulous summer holiday. During summertime, the ships cruise into the Geirangerfjord in southern Norway and north of the Arctic Circle you can experience the midnight sun. This far north, on June 21st, the summer solstice, the sun doesn’t dip down below the horizon.
The Season of Colours
Lastly is the season of colours that you will experience when you sail in autumn or spring. The autumn sailing will include a trip to the incredibly stunning Hjorundfjord. There is an excursion that lets you explore the amazing mountains that surround the area while enjoying the fresh and clear coastal air. The hilltops and mountains are full of intense yellow and purple vegetation which makes the area even more spectacular. Sometimes the Northern lights will appear as the days get shorter and evenings darker.
Whenever you decide to enjoy a voyage with Hurtigruten, you can be sure of spectacular scenery, great experiences and welcoming people, a journey never to be forgotten.