Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations in Norway
About Bergen, Norway
Lonely Planet describes this ultimate Hurtigruten cruise as "The world's most beautiful voyage." We take you from Bergen to Kirkenes and back in 12 days. See 34 ports and journey more than 2,500 nautical miles, allowing you to explore every inch of Norway's coastal magic.
At any time of year, it's a cruise like no other. The drama of the scenery and wildlife will stir the explorer in you. Twenty-two of the ports lie north of the Arctic Circle – and you have the opportunity to join excursions tailored to match your exploration level. Whatever you miss on the northbound sailing at night, you can see during daytime on the southbound sailing.
In the Classics League
The Hurtigruten cruise duly earns its place in the hall of fame of iconic travel routes, together with such global classics as the Orient Express, Amazon, and revered Route 66. Visit cities like Bergen, Ålesund and Trondheim, before crossing the polar circle and sailing into the Arctic. Southbound, you see Lofoten and Trollfjorden in daylight, before sailing along the Helgeland coast, passing the Seven Sisters mountains. Admire the overwhelmingly beautiful west coast of Norway on the way to our final destination, Bergen.
Northern Lights Season
Your winter holiday visit is perhaps the most special time to explore Norway´s pristine, wild landscapes. The ground is covered in white snow and the air is fresh, crisp and pure. Clusters of cozy houses glow on the shores like embers. Stunning backdrops of snowy mountains reflect the polar twilight. Sailing with Hurtigruten to Norway's far-northern reaches is to experience a magical winter wonderland and hopefully the mesmerising Aurora Borealis. For thousands of years, locals, visitors, artists and scientists have marveled at these spectacular displays that occasionally light up the night sky. Sailing with Hurtigruten provides the best chances to see this mystical colorful light show flickering across the Arctic sky.
Expedition Teams Onboard
Onboard you will meet our dedicated experts with one single mission: to enhance your experience by leading activities and interpreting the cultural and natural treasures you encounter during your cruise. When you travel with us, you not only observe – you have the chance to truly interact with the landscapes we sail through. Not only do you experience some of the most beautiful places on earth, you have the chance to taste fresh local specialties prepared by culinary artists.
Guests from Norway and abroad love us - they want the original. They want to go where no one else goes, with a crew and ship that belongs there. They want to experience and learn from guides who truly know this coast, who have Norway not only in their DNA but in their soul. We invite you to join our Expedition Team on outdoor activities and hikes in Ålesund, Trondheim, Bodø, Tromsø, Honningsvåg, Kirkenes, Lofoten, Brønnøysund, and other sites.
- Make Christmas decorations together with fellow guests and crew
- Learn Norwegian Christmas carols as we practice and sing together
- Decorate gingerbread houses together with fellow guests and crew
- Enjoy traditional Norwegian 'Julegrot' (Christmas porridge). Find the almond in the porridge and win a prize!
Your voyage prices includes
- Voyage in cabin category of your choice, on a full-board basis
- English-speaking Tour Leader on board
- Flights & transfers
- Travel insurance
- Optional excursions
- Luggage handling
- Prices are in USD ($) per person based on two people traveling together sharing a twin cabin
- Not all categories are available for all departures
- Single cabin pricing available on request
- Hurtigruten has a flexible pricing system and all prices are capacity controlled and subject to availability.
The Journey Begins at the Gateway to the Fjords - Bergen
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 colorful 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.
After embarkation, we invite you to enjoy our tasty dinner buffet, based on the best ingredients from the coast. We sail north from Bergen along the Hjeltefjord, the same route the Vikings once plied to the Shetland Islands and beyond. We are heading to the high north. Spend the rest of the evening relaxing as you admire the spectacular landscapes, either from deck or in our panorama lounges.
- Want to know when the different ships are in port? See the complete sailing plan here.
A Day for Architectural and Natural Masterpieces - Florø - Molde
If you wake up early the next day, you can enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Nordfjord, followed by a delicious breakfast. As we sail past the West Cape, we enter the open ocean before navigating through skerries and islands to reach Ålesund. Distinguished by its numerous spires, towers, and ornate buildings, Ålesund is renowned for its beautiful Art Nouveau architecture. A devastating fire in 1904 burned a large proportion of the city to the ground, and it was 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 saltwater aquariums. The tour includes a visit to the open-air pool to see the resident penguins. After visiting Atlanterhavsparken, we continue onward and upward to Mount Aksla, where you get an amazing panorama view of the area. You also have the opportunity to explore this charming Art Nouveau city from a sea kayak.
In the summer months, we set course for the spectacular UNESCO-listed Geirangerfjord, passing steep, 2,500 ft cliffs and impressive waterfalls along the way. In autumn, we explore the Hjørundfjord, situated amid the majestic Sunnmøre Alps. Far from the tourist hustle and bustle, its seclusion and unspoiled natural landscape are what give this fjord its special character We take our guests past steep rock walls that you can nearly reach out and touch, emerald-green meadows, lonely mountain farms, and small villages.
Molde is known as the ‘City of Roses’. This attractive coastal city also has a wonderful view to 222 mountain peaks, called ‘the Molde Panorama’. Enjoy discovering the town on your own or with one of our excursions.
Discover Medieval Spirit in the Old Capital - Kristiansund – Rørvik
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 in 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 (Tryggvason), Norway’s patron saint. Here you can marvel at the cathedral’s incredible architectural details and exquisite artwork. During spring and summer, we continue to the Ringve Museum of Musical History, where the history of Norway’s music is brought to life. This beautiful manor house is surrounded by a wonderful botanical garden, and provides fantastic views of both the city and the fjord.
From September to May, you can experience Trondheim on the world’s northernmost cable car for a unique sightseeing experience. You can also explore Trondheim from sea level in a kayak along the river Nid throughout the year, or experience the city on a bicycle and try out the world’s only bicycle lift from April to September. Or, join the expedition team for a hike to discover more of the surroundings of Trondheim.
In the afternoon, the ship sets a northwest course, passing the beautiful Kjeungskjær lighthouse and numerous islets and rocky reefs. After passing through the narrow Stokksund, the ship heads toward charming Rørvik.
Welcome to the Arctic Region! - Brønnøysund - Svolvær
Today we cross the Arctic Circle! This invisible line is situated at 66 degrees, 33 minutes North and demarcates the Arctic region. In summer, this means enjoying 24-hour daylight and the midnight sun. During winter, this latitude provides the best chances to experience the northern lights. Even if you aren’t awake when we cross the Arctic Circle, the captain will make sure that the occasion is memorable: If you are sailing in Arctic waters for the first time, you can participate in a daytime Arctic Circle ceremony out on deck.
Near the village of Ørnes is Svartisen, Norway’s second-largest glacier. Join us for a trip to the Svartisen Tourist Center in summer and admire the beauty of this enigmatic ice world and visit a moose farm. Afterward, the excursion continues along the beautiful Helgeland coastline to Bodø, where you rejoin the ship. In Bodø, you can join an adventure in harmony with nature, eagles, and the deep blue sea. The excursion heads to Saltstraumen in a RIB (rigid inflatable boat), where you witness the world’s most powerful tidal current. There is also a good chance you’ll observe sea eagles on this exciting journey through wild landscape.
Later the same afternoon, we spot the 3,000 ft high Lofoten Wall on the horizon. Tucked between tall mountains, majestic granite cliffs, and white-sand beaches, seeing beautiful Lofoten is a truly extraordinary experience. The additional charm of the Lofoten Islands is revealed in its small, picturesque fishing villages with their bohemian atmosphere. Take a stroll between stockfish racks and traditional fisherman’s huts called ‘rorbuer’.
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 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 an organic herb and cheese farm, or visit the Lofoten’s only craft brewery, situated in an old fish-landing facility in Svolvær.
In winter, crossing the Arctic Circle is when our hunt for the northern lights 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 the Trollfjord. Here we serve freshly made fish cakes out on deck. You also hear the story of the battle of Trollfjord, which took place here in the winter of 1890.
Feeling Like a Polar Hero - 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 proceeds to Tromsø, the capital of the Arctic, for a prolonged stay. Many epic Arctic expeditions used Tromsø as a starting point. Join our Polar History Walk excursion 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 dog sled 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 our headlamps, the starry sky, and, if we’re lucky, the magical northern lights. You can also enjoy some winter fun by joining a cross-country skiing or snowshoeing adventure, or go deep-sea fishing on an Arctic fjord. Throughout the year you can join the expedition team for hikes and discover more of Tromsø and its surroundings.
If you want to experience peace and tranquility 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 remarkable cosmic phenomenon.
At the Top of the World - North Cape - Øksfjord – Berlevåg
Enjoy magnificent sub-Arctic landscapes as we cross the 71st parallel on our journey toward the North Cape, one of the northernmost points on the European continent. In summer, you may see herds of grazing reindeer and small camps belonging to the indigenous Sámi people.
After a brief, early stop in Hammerfest we arrive in Havøysund, where you can disembark for an overland RIB expedition, where you will see the North Cape from the sea. Then you go ashore to visit the northernmost fishing village in the world, before a bus takes you to the North Cape where you can enjoy the spectacular view.
The ship arrives in Honningsvåg, the gateway to the spectacular North Cape. An optional excursion to the North Cape plateau puts you at 71° 10’ 21” N, only 1,245 miles away from the Geographic North Pole. Standing atop the 1,000 ft high North Cape plateau imparts a sublime sense of being at the end of the world. While admiring the view, be sure to take a picture of this amazing place! Close to the North Cape you find one of the world’s most exciting nature reserves, Gjesværstappan. Join us for a birdwatching safari to experience Finnmark’s largest flock of puffins, and a large number of kittiwakes. During the nesting season, this area teems with life, and mighty sea eagles hover above in search of prey. Guillemots, razorbills, cormorants, Arctic skuas, northern fulmars, Brünnich’s guillemots, and the large northern gannet fill the air with a cacophony of shrieks and screeches.
If you want to learn more about local life in this remote region, join a fishing village visit that takes you across the island of Magerøya’s fantastic scenery to the fishing communities of Kamøyvær and Skarsvåg. Along the way, your guide tells you about the area’s nature, its local culture, and history.
The ship then continues north, sailing into the heartland of the indigenous Sámi people. We pass their ancient sacred site, the rock formation of Finnkirka, as we approach our next stop, the fishing village of Kjøllefjord. Here you have the opportunity to learn more about the Sámi people, and explore the wonderful landscape in summer and autumn. Learn about Sámi traditions and their way of life, and hear traditional Sámi ‘joiking’ (song). In winter, you can join us on an unforgettable snowmobile trip to one of Europe’s most extreme and exciting natural areas. Along the way, guides tell you about the Sámi people, the geographic and climatic conditions, life on the Finnmark coast, and how the local population effectively utilizes nature in both summer and winter. Experience snowy valleys, fresh winter air, and perhaps even the mesmerizing northern lights in the starry sky. Sámi Autumn is an excursion where you learn about the Arctic’s natural ‘pantry’ and ‘pharmacy’, and sampledried reindeer meat, crowberry juice, herbal tea (made with nettles), and a roseroot tincture. You may also feel the presence of the Sámi shaman: Noaidi.
Capital of the Barents Region and the Turning Point - Båtsfjord – Kirkenes – Berlevåg
The vistas become more dramatic as we approach Kirkenes. We arrive early in nearby Vadsø, and just after breakfast, we arrive in Kirkenes. At 30° East, Kirkenes is farther east than St. Petersburg and Istanbul! It is also Hurtigruten’s turning point for the return trip west southbound along the coast. Kirkenes is known as the capital of the Barents region and the gateway to the east.
The Russian frontier is a just few miles away from Kirkenes. You may find it intriguing that the local road signs are written in both Norwegian and Russian. Depending on the season, there are many ways to visit the Russian border. Travel either by bus (all year), enjoy a riverboat safari, or join an action-packed trip on an ATV/quad-bike. Kirkenes also boasts several fascinating small museums recounting the remote region’s remarkably rich history and heritage.
Spending time in Kirkenes provides the opportunity to take part in numerous adventurous activities in the Arctic environment. In winter and spring, you can join several activities and excursions, such as exploring the Arctic wilderness on asnowmobile and driving over a frozen fjord. During the trip, your guides tell you about the history of the region, the extreme Arctic climate, and the area’s unique wildlife. On our dog sled adventures, huskies eagerly transport you across the frozen Arctic landscape. In summer, you can join an excursion where you catch and eat giant king crabs from the Barents Sea.
As the ship starts its journey southward, you can enjoy lunch, followed by viewing the surrounding Arctic landscapes from out on deck or from the panorama lounge. As we depart Kirkenes, you’ve only seen half of what the Norwegian coastline cruise has to offer! Prepare yourself for many new experiences. The ports visited at night on the northbound trip are now seen by day. In the afternoon, the ship again docks at Vardø, Norway’s easternmost port. Weather permitting, we may invite you to experience ice swimming in the Arctic Ocean in winter. In spring, on board we show a presentation about shorebirds along the Nordic coastline. Heading west, we cruise along the Varanger Peninsula to Båtsfjord before reaching Berlevåg in the evening. Berlevåg is home to one of Norway’s most famous male choirs, consisting mainly of local fishermen.
Surrounded by Excitement - Mehamn – Tromsø
In the middle of the night we dock at Mehamn. During wintertime you can join an unforgettable snowmobile trip through one of Europe’s most extreme and exciting natural areas. Experience snow-clad valleys, fresh winter air, and perhaps even the mesmerizing northern lights in the clear, starry sky.
At Honningsvåg, you can join a coach excursion that features breakfast at the North Cape, and discover hidden parts of Finnmark along the way betweenMay and October. Before arriving in Hammerfest, you may want to enjoy an ‘energy coffee’ and a short onboard introduction to nearby Melkøya – the world’s northernmost natural gas terminal. In autumn, we invite you out on deck to taste dried reindeer meat. The town of Hammerfest was founded in 1789, and over time became Norway’s polar capital, serving as a base for hunting expeditions into the High Arctic. Here you can see the UNESCO-listed Meridian Column, erected in 1854 to commemorate the first precise geographic measurement of the globe. In winter, you can also join a mini-mountain expedition to experience the Arctic outdoors and learn about local polar hero and cook, Adolf Henrik Lindstrøm.
We then continue south to Øksfjord. In winter, our crew teaches you how to tie maritime knots out on deck. After crossing open water, we make a brief stop at the old trading post of Skjervøy. In spring, we sail through the beautiful Lyngenfjord, surrounded by the snowy peaks of the Lyngen Alps, and where a local fisherman may visit and share fresh, locally caught prawns. We then dock at Tromsø, just in time to enjoy a magical midnight concert at the Arctic Cathedral. In summer, you can join a midnight excursion under the midnight sun, and explore Tromsø by sea in a RIB boat. Or, a walk around the town provides you the chance to enjoy a local brew at one of the city’s many friendly pubs.
In summer, you can also join the expedition team for small explorer boat activities to discover more of Tromsø and its surroundings.
Lofoten, Where Nature Amazes - Tromsø – Stamsund
This morning we arrive at Harstad, where you can participate in one of Hurtigruten’s most beloved and renowned excursions: A Taste of Vesterålen. Experience history, beautiful scenery, and a selection of breathtaking sights, including Trondenes Church, one of Norway’s premier cultural heritage sites from the late Middle Ages. Those who choose to stay on board can admire views of this old church as we sail toward the Risøyrenna, a shallow, 23 ft deep channel made for Hurtigruten in the 1920s to provide an ‘inside route’ between Harstad and Sortland. Sandbanks along the Risøyrenna are visible through the clear, green water. The island groups of Lofoten and Vesterålen offer some of the most stunning scenery you see during the entire coastal cruise. The Lofoten region is renowned for its natural beauty with steep mountains, wild nature, and small, picturesque fishing villages. The daylight sailing route through the Lofoten Islands is a highlight for many of our guests.
Risøyhamn is a small village with only 200 inhabitants, and we make a short stop here to deliver passengers, groceries, and mail. As a springtime tribute to the region’s fishing heritage, our chef shows guests how to fillet the catch of the day on deck. We then continue south via Sortland to Stokmarknes, where Hurtigruten was founded more than 125 years ago. Go ashore and visit the Hurtigruten museum here. Continuing southward, it looks like we are sailing straight into a mountain wall, but we slip through an opening leading to the narrow Raftsund. This 12-mile passage between Lofoten and Vesterålen takes you through mountains soaring 3,300 ft directly out of the sea.
Then we reach the spectacular Trollfjord, only one mile long, 330 ft wide, and surrounded by majestic mountains. If weather and time permit, the captain will make a detour into the fjord. Steep cliffs hug the ship’s sides, and the dramatic landscape conjures images of an imaginary land of trolls. The Trollfjord is also the realm of the sea eagle. Should you choose to take the optional sea eagle safari to see these magnificent birds up close, you will be transferred to a smaller vessel before we reach the Trollfjord. If there is time, you will see the Hurtigruten ship turns around in the narrow fjord, a magnificent sight! The sea eagle safari begins in earnest after leaving the Trollfjord, passing through narrow channels flanked by steep mountains where the birds dwell and can be viewed. These beautiful, rare birds of prey circle the boat a few times before we toss fish into the sea for them to snatch and devour. Be sure to take along your camera!
Reaching Svolvær, you can choose from several excursion options. Join our Lofoten Islands tour to learn more about the archipelago’s fishing communities, beautiful scenery, and local art. You can also join a horseback ride and experience a sunset trot through powdery white sand on a beach along the Norwegian Sea. If you want more of an adrenaline rush, join one of our excursions by RIB. If you prefer dry land, a guided fishing village walk provides insights into local history and culture. From Svolvær, we continue to Stamsund, where we see the majestic peaks of the huge Lofoten Wall. We leave Lofoten during the evening and set course for the mainland.
Admire the Seven Sisters - Bodø – Rørvik
Crossing the Arctic Circle at 66°33’ N is an important rite of passage. Today we celebrate the event out on deck with a taste of Arctic tradition – a spoonful of cod liver oil! Sailing along the Helgeland coast, we pass hundreds of islets, fertile farmland, and steep granite walls rich in local lore. On deck you can see the strange mountain Torghatten (rising 850 ft above sea level), famous for its distinctive hole right through the middle. The hole is 525 ft long, 115 ft high, and 65 ft wide, and was created during the Ice Age.
Another highlight is sailing past the Seven Sisters mountain range. All seven peaks are between 2,800 and 3,600 ft high, and it is easy to understand how these ‘ladies’ led to an ancient myth. The story goes that there were seven troll sisters, the daughters of King Sulis, who kept them under strict control. One night, when the king fell into a deep sleep, the seven maidens slipped out. Vågekallen, who was eager for a wife, was lying in wait. He pursued the sisters, who fled southward down the coast. Several other trolls joined the chase to either capture or rescue the maidens. When night turned to morning, the troll sisters and their pursuers were petrified, as the sun turns all trolls to stone. They became the rocks and mountains that make the Helgeland coastline one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
Next we make a short stop at Nesna, an idyllic old trading post, before moving on to Sandnessjøen. The UNESCO World Heritage site of the Vega Islands is nearby Sandnessjøen and can be visited on an optional excursion during summer. This unique cultural landscape consists of dozens of islands. The UNESCO designation was awarded due to the unique interaction between the eider duck and the island population. Learn how the fishermen and farmers have cultivated a centuries-old symbiotic relationship with the ducks, and how this relationship continues to contribute to the livelihood of the community who harvests the eiderdown and makes down-filled duvets.
Brønnøysund is a vibrant and pretty little town. Spend some time strolling around and taking in the quaint small boats and bustling life of the archipelago. You can also join the excursion to the Norwegian Aquaculture Centre near Brønnøysund for an informative tour, and a taste of fresh salmon from April throughout October, or join one of the other excursions we offer here.
In Cod We Trust - Trondheim – Ålesund
Today provides another opportunity to explore the city of Trondheim. Back on board, the ship heads out into the majestic Trondheimsfjord, which is 105 miles long and up to 16 miles wide. Like all other Norwegian fjords, it is deep, plunging to 1,900 ft.
As we sail along the coast, you realize the importance of fishing to Norwegian coastal communities. Kristiansund’s location has steadily provided the town with abundant opportunities in the fishing, shipbuilding, and oil industries. Kristiansund is today regarded as Norway’s ‘dried cod capital’, because of its longtime export of the salted, dried fish. Here you can join an excursion to the renowned Atlantic Road, one of Norway’s most visited tourist destinations. It is five miles long, includes a total of eight bridges, and is surrounded by picturesque landscapes and open sea.
Another interesting excursion is to the Bergtatt marble mine, which includes going inside a mountain, sailing across an illuminated subterranean lake, and enjoying a meal in the mine’s ‘grand hall’.
Those choosing to stay on board at Kristiansund will experience the ship crossing open sea on our way to Molde, known as Norway’s ‘City of Roses’. Along the way you see the steep, gray, pointed peaks of the Romsdal Alps.
Final Chapter of the Fairy Tale - Bergen
During the night, the ship calls at Ålesund, Torvik, and Måløy, as the world’s most beautiful cruise draws to a close. Before we dock in Bergen, there are still some nautical miles of fascinating scenery ahead, including the picturesque Nordfjord below the enormous Jostedal Glacier. Here the fjord widens to the east and stretches 56 miles inland to Loen and Olden. The rugged coastal areas are a striking contrast to the inner fjord regions, where the wind is gentler and less rain falls. Fertile fruit orchards and glacial fingers stretch toward glistening lakes and gushing rapids. This landscape has its own distinctive charm and you are encouraged to experience it. In the morning, we call at Florø, a modern coastal seaport that is also the region’s oldest town and Norway’s westernmost community. Despite constant changes, the city of Florø has maintained its special features.
A few nautical miles south of Florø, we navigate the mouth of the mighty Sognefjord and admire superb views of this magnificent island-studded coastline along the way. Finally, you disembark in Bergen, taking with you memories of a unique journey filled with unforgettable experiences and interactions with local people, diverse wildlife, and stunning nature.
If you want to see more of Norway, we highly recommend our excursion Bergen City Sightseeing (only sold on board) or a Land Adventure to experience more Norwegian cuisine, culture and scenery.