Large cruise ships ply the 2,000-km (1,250-mi) voyage between Bergen and Kirkenes in Norway, but for sheer intimacy it’s difficult to beat the more informal service offered by the ‘postal’ ships that serve outlying coastal communities. Cruising coastal Norway with a ‘postal’ ship is the ultimate way to have a taste of Norway.
This odyssey takes you around Norway’s breathtakingly beautiful fjord coastline, stopping over thirty times and showing you a side of Norway inaccessible by any other means of transport.
Related: Hurtigruten – “The Express Route”
The journey begins in Bergen
The journey begins in Bergen, a harbor town founded by the Vikings almost a millennium ago, when it quickly became a vital hub, handling trade between Northern Europe and the British Isles. As you leave the port, the splendid 14th-century gabled buildings of the seafront slowly dwindle to nothing and your eyes are drawn to the wonderfully rugged coastline.
Along the way you will see glorious fjords, precipitous mountains and quaint fishing villages before crossing the Arctic Circle. Here, as you approach the North Cape, you will experience the midnight sun in summer. Winter offers chance to see the Northern Lights – the ultimate light show.
Related: Norway – Worth a Visit
Cruising coastal Norway with a ‘postal’ ship
For much of the journey all eyes are fixed on the starboard side, where snow-capped mountains and fjords abound. This is until the vessel meanders between the Lofoten islands whose stark, craggy beauty hits you from both sides.
Related: Coastal Norway – Wild and Beatiful
Passing the Arctic Circle
The trip gives you a true appreciation of this beautiful country and how most of its population clings to the coast. When you cross the Arctic Circle, the population becomes more thinly spread and the scenery ever more dramatic. The awe-inspiring Laksefjorden and Tanafjorden lie ahead, before the vessel reaches its final destination, the sheltered port of Kirkenes.
All photos: Hurtigruten
Cruising Costal Norway with a ‘Postal’ Ship, written by Tor Kjolberg