Highlights and ports of call
Since the itinerary varies slightly from summer to winter and from year to year, we have not provided exact timings. Delays can also occur. Our snapshot of the Hurtigruten voyage is from Day 7 to Day 10, on the return trip from Kirkenes to Brønnøysund.
Day 7: Kirkenes — Berlevåg
The voyage from Kirkenes starts by crossing the open Varanger fjord to Vardø, then on to the Barents Sea around the Varanger peninsula and continues west. The landscape is weathered and bare, the geology clearly visible, and the sea is rich in bird life. The coast is completely open, with no protective archipelago.
- Call at Kirkenes: Starting point for the trip, departure around midday.
- Call at Vardø: Visit Vardøhus Fortress, only a few minutes from the quayside.
- Hornøya: Leaving Vardø, you can see the island of Hornøya, which incredibly is east of Istanbul and Alexandria. Look for birds hugging the wavetops; Hornøya is an important bird cliff.
- Call at Båtsfjord: Short visit.
- Call at Berlevåg: Short visit. Look out for the four-armed concrete tetrapods that make up the breakwater; they interlock and can withstand the might of storms.
- Midnight sun: As you cross the Tanafjord, you have a chance of seeing the Midnight Sun in summer.
Day 8: Mehamn — Tromsø
The coast of West Finnmark is steep and bare, with a landscape of plain across its flat top. The voyage is mainly in sheltered waters, with an afternoon stretch on the Lopphavet sea. There are a few cabins and abandoned settlements, but most people live in the fishing villages, which Hurtigruten stops at. The landscape changes in the afternoon to sharp peaks and fjords, with more settlements in sheltered locations along the route.
- Call at Mehamn and Kjøllefjord: Visit is at night.
- Call at Honningsvåg: Arrival at the fishing village in early morning, with trips to the North Cape available from here.
- Hjelmsøystauran: The ship doesn't call at the Hjelmsøystauran bird cliff, but in summer you can see plenty of puffins skimming the wavetops.
- Call at Havøysund: Short stay.
- Havøygavlen: On the way south from Havøysund, the wind turbines stand out against the barren landscape.
- Call at Hammerfest: The ship stops at the world's northernmost town for about an hour and a half. The bustle of the centre is almost overwhelming after the voyage through uninhabited areas. Choose a guided tour or explore on your own:
- Reconstruction Museum: Tells the story of the 70,000 people evacuated from northernmost Norway in 1944–45, who returned and built a new community different to the old one.
- Hammerfest Church: modern church with striking architecture.
- Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society: exclusive club for visitors to Hammerfest. Exhibitions on the city's history and Arctic Ocean hunting.
- View from the city's mountain, Salen: The trip up the zigzag path only takes a few minutes and is rewarded by lovely views of Hammerfest, Sørøysundet and the mountains.
- Call at Øksfjord: Short stop at a fishing village under steep mountains.
- Øksfjordjøkelen: You can catch glimpses of the glacier between the mountains as you head out to the open Lopphavet sea.
- Call at Skjervøy: Bustling harbour and fishing village. The little white church, built in 1721, is directly opposite the quayside and there are views of the village from the churchyard.
- Kågsundet: Narrow strait between sharp peaks on the islands of Kågen and Arnøya.
- Lyngen Alps and North Fugløy: The 1800 metre (6000 ft.) Lyngen Alps can be seen to port. Lyngstua, the northern peak, was Norway's northern border in the Middle Ages. To starboard, North Fugløy rises 700 metres (2300 feet) out of the Arctic Ocean like a mountain fortress.
- Call at Tromsø: Hurtigruta sails into Tromsø before midnight. Serious travellers will go to the atmospheric midnight concert at the Arctic Cathedral, while fun-lovers will look for the bars.
Day 9: Tromsø — Stamsund
South Troms and the island kingdoms of Vesterålen and Lofoten boast a magnificent natural landscape of mountains and fjords, but also plenty of villages, towns and agriculture. Frequent stops in busy ports add to the coastal atmosphere.
- Call at Finnsnes: At night.
- Call at Harstad: Morning call at pretty, green and fertile Harstad. Excursions available across country to Sortland. Early birds can also go for a walk around the quays or the colourful, friendly town centre.
- Trondenes Church: On leaving Harstad, you can see the world's northernmost medieval church.
- Toppsundet: Strait that passes beneath the high mountains of Grytøya.
- Risøyrenna: Silted-up channel in the green strait between Hinnøya and Andøya. Find a good position high up on the ship to see how it navigates this narrow sea lane.
- Call at Risøyhamn: Short stop at the village under the Andøy Bridge.
- Call at Sortland: Centre of Vesterålen. The town was painted blue as part of an art project, and you will see houses in every shade imaginable.
- Call at Stokmarknes: Visit the Hurtigruten Museum at the company's home port; it includes extensive collections and the 1956 ship "Finnmarken".
- Møysalen: Vesterålen's highest mountain, the 1262-metre (4140-ft.) high Møysalen, presides over the fjord as you sail from Stokmarknes.
- Raftsundet: Narrow strait between high, dark peaks, sparsely inhabited. A real highlight of the trip.
- Trollfjord: The Trollfjord is a dramatic 3-km (2-mile) long fjord arm between Trolltindan. The boat enters, turns round on a sixpence, and leaves again. May be closed in winter due to avalanches.
- Call at Svolvær: This main town by the Lofoten Sea is lively, with a beach promenade and cafes.
- Lofoten Art Centre: Changing exhibitions displaying work by local artists.
- Henningsvær and Vågakallen: At 942 metres (3091 feet), Vågakallen has the most prominent position of all the impressive peaks along the Lofoten Wall. Lofoten's biggest fishing village, Henningsvær, lies at its base.
- Call at Stamsund: Fishing village with impressive stone jetty. Short stop.
Day 10: Bodø — Brønnøysund
The brooding mountains and 14,000 islands of Helgeland take centre stage this day. There are lovely walks in the coastal towns.
- Call at Bodø: Night call.
- Call at Ørnes: Early risers can look up at the majestic mountains towering above the Ørnes trading post during this short stop.
- Svartisen Glacier: Glimpses of Norway's second biggest glacier between the mountains south of Ørnes.
- Rødøyløva: 443-metre (1453-ft.) rock formation and sailing landmark that looks like a lion from a distance.
- Arctic Circle: The globe on the little Vikingen island marks the Arctic Circle against the backdrop of the rocky 571-metre (1873-ft.) high Hestmannen mountain.
- Call at Nesna: Small, idyllic beach area; short stop.
- Call at Sandnessjøen: Lively coastal town with shops, cafes and lovely walks.
- Seven Sisters: The seven 1000-metre (3300-ft.) peaks make a striking landmark.
- Alstahaug: Good views of the 13th Century church's onion dome and the Petter Dass monument from the ship.
- Call at Brønnøysund: Coastal town in the archipelago, and the place from which to walk up to Torghatten, the mountain pierced by a hole on the island of Torget.
Hurtigruten takes 11 days to cover 2500 nautical miles between Bergen to Kirkenes and back, calling at 34 ports, 25 in Northern Norway. Time in the ports varies from 10 minutes to 6 hours. Since the itinerary varies slightly from summer to winter and from year to year, we have not provided exact timings.
www.hurtigruten.no is Hurtigruten's website, with more information about arrival and departure times, prices, cabins and all the exciting excursions.