The Classic Roundtrip Voyage, labeled “The World’s Most Beautiful Voyage” by Lonely Planet, takes you from Bergen to Kirkenes and back in 12 days. Any time of year, it’s a voyage like no other. The drama of the scenery and the wildlife stir the explorer in you. Along the route visit 34 ports – 22 of them north of the polar circle – and be given the opportunity to join excursions tailor-made to match your exploration level. Whatever you miss on the northbound sailing during nighttime, you are able to see them in daylight on the southbound sailing. In other words, you have an opportunity to explore every inch of the coastal magic Norway has to offer.
Join customized excursions along 34 port destinations
Explore Bergen, cultural gateway to Norway's fjords
Kayak on the river Nid and into Trondheim's smaller channels
View the unique wildlife of the Arctic on daily excursions
Snowmobile through Mehamn, one of Europe’s most extreme and exciting areas
Sail through the wild and picturesque Lofoten Islands
Bergen was founded in 1070 A.D., and was the capital of Norway for over 200 years. The Bryggen district - a historic UNESCO World Heritage Site - is just one example of how much local character and history remains in this charming city. Take a stroll around this compact city, spend some time in one of the outdoor cafés or restaurants, enjoy a trip on the Fløibanen funicular (a cable tram), or visit the fish market. After embarkation, it’s time for a tasty dinner buffet made with the best ingredients from the coast while you sail north from Bergen along the Hjeltefjord.
Admire the breathtaking beauty of the Nordfjord before you pass the West Cape, then venture into open sea during your voyage. Next up: the spectacular, UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord.
The optional Geiranger with Trollstigen Pass Excursion (for all June – August departures) begins with a drive up Ørneveien with its magnificent views. Enjoy a picturesque ferry ride from the beautiful Eidsdalen Lake then off to the stark, wild, high-alpine areas. One of the many highlights is the series of 11 hairpin turns down the winding Trollstigen Pass. The excursion ends with a dinner in Molde before returning to the ship. After Geiranger, visit Ålesund, a town renowned for its beautiful Art Nouveau architecture.
Founded in 997 A.D., Trondheim is Norway's third largest city. Enjoy the views from Gamle Bybrua (the Old Town Bridge), dating back to 1861, and the restored wooden buildings of the Bakkland district. Trondheim is also the home of Nidaros Cathedral - Norway’s only Gothic-style cathedral and the burial place of St. Olav, Norway’s patron saint. There's also the Ringve Museum of Musical History - a beautiful manor house surrounded by a wonderful botanical garden, with fantastic views of both the city and the fjord.
*For May departures there is an optional excursion to see the sights of Trondheim by bicycle. In summer, you can enjoy a kayak excursion on the river Nid.
The Arctic Circle marks the border to the Arctic region. In summer, this means 24-hour daylight - sometimes called the midnight sun. If you are sailing in Arctic waters for the first time, the captain makes sure that the occasion is a memorable one when you participate in the Arctic Circle ceremony on deck. The Lofoten Islands charm you with their small, picturesque fishing villages and bohemian atmosphere. The majestic granite cliffs and white, sandy beaches found here are breathtaking. Take a stroll between the stockfish racks and rorbuer (traditional fisherman’s huts). Join a historical journey to the Lofotr Viking Museum on an overland trip between Stamsund and Svolvær. You are invited into the chieftain’s house: a full-size reconstruction of a longhouse features artifacts dating back to the Viking age. The chieftain and the lady of the house invite you to join them for a real Viking feast in the banquet hall, giving you a taste of the Viking age, complete with traditional food, drinks, costumes, singing, and dancing.
Get ready for a day full of exciting optional activities, whatever the season!
Whale watching - These astonishing marine mammals graze at the edge of the vast, deep basin by Andenes, resurfacing to breathe. Watch for young kittiwakes as you sail through the scenic and narrow Sundsvollsundet. After several hours on the open sea, re-join the Hurtigruten ship at Finnsnes, just in time for lunch! The ship continues to Tromsø for a prolonged stay. Many epic Arctic expeditions used Tromsø as a starting point. On your all-year excursion, ‘The Arctic Capital Tromsø’, visit the Polaria center, with an Arctic aquarium, seal pool, educational displays, and a panoramic movie theater. The tour also includes a stop at the famous Arctic Cathedral, an architectural masterpiece and town landmark.
Meet more than 250 dog sledding huskies and puppies that live at the Wilderness Centre in the off-season. Learn more about dog sled driving and the world’s longest dog sled race, the Iditarod. If you want to experience the peace and tranquility of the sea, why not join a kayaking excursion? Paddle in the waters off the coast of Tromsø with the mountains as a stunning backdrop. This is a great way to peacefully travel through these pristine waters and get close to the marine wildlife. Or put on your hiking shoes and follow the Expedition Team on a mountain hike with fantastic views over Tromsø city, the spectacular mountains, and islands.
Arrive in Honningsvåg, the gateway to the spectacular North Cape. The optional excursion to the North Cape Plateau puts you at 71° 10’ 21” N, only 1,243 miles from the Geographic North Pole. Standing on top the 1,000-foot North Cape plateau gives you a sublime feeling of being at the end of the world. Close to the North Cape you find one of the world’s most exciting nature reserves, Gjesværstappan.
Continuing north, sail into the heartland of the indigenous Sámi people. Pass their ancient sacred site, the Finnkirka rock formation. In Kjøllefjord, you have the opportunity to learn more about the Sámi people and explore the wonderful scenery all year-round on various excursions.
Enjoy a longer stay in Mehamn than the regular Coastal Voyage. It is one of the smallest settlements in Finnmark along the route. Join the Expedition Team for a walk here or explore it on your own.
The vistas become more dramatic as you approach Kirkenes, just a few miles from the Russian border. This area of coastal Finnmark is one of the most attractive and popular birdwatching areas in the Arctic since it is directly in the path of birds migrating from east to west. The advantageous biotopes combined with the rich resources in the adjacent Arctic Ocean attract myriad species and numbers of birds.
Just after breakfast, arrive in Kirkenes, putting you at 30° East, farther east than Istanbul and St. Petersburg. Kirkenes is Hurtigruten’s turning point, and known as the capital of the Barents region and the gateway to the east. The Russian border is close by, and all the road signs are written in both Norwegian and Russian. Spending time in Kirkenes gives you an opportunity to take part in some of the adventurous activities offered in this Arctic environment. Depending on the season, there are several different ways to make a visit to the Russian border. You can either go by bus, enjoy a riverboat safari, or an action-filled trip on ATV/quad-bike. Other optional excursions in Kirkenes include a king crab expedition in spring and a mountain hike with huskies in summer.
Leaving Kirkenes, you’ve only seen half of what the coast has to offer. Prepare yourself for many new experiences. In the late afternoon the ship docks in Vardø again, Norway’s easternmost port. Continue along the Varanger Peninsula during the evening.
Day 8: North Cape, Lyngenfjord or Bergsfjord and Tromso
In Honningsvåg, you can enjoy an excursion and breakfast at the North Cape while discovering hidden parts of Finnmark or join a mountain hike with the Expedition Team in summer.
Today also visit Hammerfest, which was Norway’s polar capital, acting as a base for hunting expeditions to the High Arctic. See the UNESCO-listed Meridian Column, erected in 1854 to commemorate the first precise measurement of the globe.
Continue south, crossing open waters as you sail towards Tromsø. During the month of May sail through the beautiful Lyngenfjord, surrounded by the snowy peaks of the Lyngen Alps. Here you might get a taste of freshly caught prawns on deck. In June through August sail through the scenic Bergsfjorden.
As you arrive in the charming city of Tromsø, known as ‘the Paris of the North,’ you may choose to attend the Midnight Concert at the Arctic Cathedral, or you can check out one of the town’s many friendly pubs.
The daylight sailing through the Lofoten Islands is a highlight for many of the guests. The region is renowned for its natural beauty with its steep mountains, wild nature, and small picturesque fishing villages. This day also offers several exciting excursions that make you feel like a natural-born explorer.
Arrive at Harstad this morning, where you have the opportunity to participate in one of the classics in Hurtigruten’s excursion program: A Taste of Vesterålen. Those who choose to stay on board can enjoy the views as you sail toward the Risøyrenna. This shallow channel is only 23 feet deep, and the sand banks are visible through the clear, green water. Lofoten and Vesterålen offer some of the most stunning scenery during your coastal voyage. Continue via Sortland to Stokmarknes, where Hurtigruten was founded more than 120 years ago.
Continuing south it looks like you are sailing straight into the mountain wall, but the captain finds an opening and sails through the narrow Raftsund. Now reach the spectacular Trollfjord, only 1.2 miles long and 328-feet wide and surrounded by mountains. The captain might take a detour here. The steep cliffs hug the ship’s side, and the dramatic landscape takes you to a land of trolls and fairy tales. Bird-watchers, Trollfjord is the realm of the sea eagle. There may be some opportunities to see them onboard, but your best bet is on the optional safari excursion.
Whether you choose to see Lofoten by hiking, horseback, or RIB safari, you're sure to be entranced by the amazing scenery and local flavor.
Cross the Arctic Circle at 66° 33’ N and celebrate this rite of passage with Arctic traditions out on deck. Stay out on deck as you sail past the Seven Sisters mountain range. All seven mountains are between 2,953- and 3,609 feet high, and according to Norwegian folk tales, trolls are turned to stone if they do not hide before the sun rises. This was the unfortunate case for these seven beautiful troll sisters who did not hide in time and were turned into mountains.
Stop at Sandnessjøen, where you have optional excursions to either The Vega Islands - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - or a visit to the Norwegian Aquaculture Centre to learn about Norway's significant salmon farming industry.
Here, take another opportunity to see the city of Trondheim and catch the city walk with Nidaros Cathedral.
Back on board, the ship heads out of the majestic Trondheimsfjord, which is 106 miles long and up to 15.5 miles wide. Like all other Norwegian fjords, it is deep – up to 1,893 feet deep. After a short sightseeing tour in Kristiansund (a national hub for fishing, shipbuilding, and industry) continue to Averøy and visit Kvernes Stave Church. As you cross the open sea to Molde, known as the ‘city of roses’, notice the steep, gray, pointed peaks of the Romsdal Alps.
Day 12: Nordfjord | Disembark in Bergen
Before you dock in Bergen there are still a few nautical miles of fascinating scenery ahead of you, such as the picturesque Nordfjord below the enormous Jostedals Glacier. The fjord widens to the east and forges 56 miles inland to Loen and Olden. The rugged, coastal areas are a striking contrast to the inner-fjord areas where the wind is less fierce and there is less rain. Fertile fruit gardens and the fingers of glaciers stretch out toward glistening lakes and gushing rapids. Both types of landscape have their own distinctive charm and tourists are advised to experience both.
If you want to explore more of Bergen and see its sights and discover its history, you can join the optional Bergen City Sightseeing tour available for purchase on board.
Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!