Living in the Chicago area, we've been asked why we would go to Norway on a cruise in winter. The answer is quite simple actually - we are on a hunt for Northern Lights before they disappear until the next solar cycle.
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12-Night Round-trip Bergen
This diary tells about our journey which started in Oslo, Norway. From there we boarded a train for a six hour ride through the Norwegian countryside to Bergen where we boarded Hurtigruten Vesteralen for a 12-night Classic Voyage to Kirkenes and back to Bergen.
We have not had constant WiFi during our journey so this diary won't be finished until after we return. Be sure to bookmark our blog to read about our entire adventure. The image above was captured during our first sighting of Northern Lights.
|Port||Blog Posts||Photo Albums|
Arriving in Oslo we have time to see some local sites. We stay at Clarion Royal Christiania Oslo hotel overnight.
|Norway Journey Begins|
Overnight in Oslo
We transfer to the ship via Bergen Railway (6 hour journey) the next morning.
NSB Train 61 Oslo to Bergen (8:25 AM)
Taking a Ride on Train 61
MS Vesterålen is named after the first Hurtigruten ship that started to sail along the rugged Norwegian coast back in 1893. It is also the area just to the north of Lofoten, and offers some spectacular scenery.
|Vesteralen Cabin 515|
Norway's Coastal Kitchen
Norway's Coastal Kitchen
The 12-day Classic Roundtrip Voyage starts in Bergen, a city surrounded by seven mountains. Before your departure, you may wish to explore this cultural gateway to the fjords.
Vesteralen Cabin 515
Florø - Molde
We continue north to Ålesund, a beautiful town filled with perfect examples of Art Nouveau architecture. If you travel in summer or fall there, is a fjord experience to behold. During the winter, we fascinate you with our expert-led lectures about the aurora borealis, the northern lights.
|Sailing to Alesund|
Atlantic Sea Park Alesund
3 Edible Wonders of Norwegian Fjords
Kristiansund - Rørvik
The architecture and surroundings in Trondheim create a beautiful and almost-mythical setting, whether you are exploring the city by foot, bike, or boat. Kayak on the river Nid and into the city’s smaller channels, or take a guided tour to discover the city’s most striking features.
|Trondheim and the Nidaros Cathedral|
Sailing from Trondheim
Brønnøysund - Svolvær
The Arctic Circle marks the border of the Arctic region. In summer this means 24-hour daylight - often referred to as the ‘midnight sun.’ During fall and winter, being above this degree of latitude gives you the best chance of experiencing the northern lights.
|Crossing Arctic Circle|
Starting Point for the True North
Stokmarknes - Skjervøy
Get ready for a day full of exciting activities, whatever the season! Visiting Risøyhamn, Harstad, Finnsnes, and the capital of the Arctic, Tromsø, you can join several excursions such as whale watching, Husky dog sledding, polar history walks, mountain hikes, and kayaking.
|Harstad to Tromso|
Husky Sledding in Tromso
Dinner in the High North
Leap Year Treat
Øksfjord - Berlevåg
Enjoy the magnificent sub-Arctic landscape as we cross the 71st parallel on our journey towards the North Cape, the northernmost point on the continent. In summer, you might see herds of reindeer and campsites belonging to the indigenous Sámi people. In winter, experience the snow-clad valleys, the fresh winter air, and your best chances to see the mesmerizing northern lights.
|Journey Towards North Cape|
Northernmost City in Norway
Båtsfjord - Kirkenes - Berlevåg
The vistas become more dramatic as we approach Kirkenes, just a few miles from the Russian border. This is Hurtigruten’s turning point. Kirkenes is known as the capital of the Barents region and the gateway to the east.
Mehamn - Tromsø
In the middle of the night we dock at Mehamn, where it is possible to join an unforgettable snowmobile trip through one of Europe’s most extreme and exciting natural areas. Experience the snow-clad valleys, the fresh winter air, and a chance to witness the mesmerizing northern lights in the clear, starry sky.
Tromsø - Stamsund
The daylight sailing through the Lofoten Islands is a highlight for many Hurtigruten guests. The Lofoten region is renowned for its natural beauty with steep mountains, wild nature, and small, picturesque fishing villages. This day also offers several exciting excursions that will make you feel like a natural-born explorer.
Bodø - Rørvik
The Helgeland coast, with its hundreds of islets, fertile farmland, and steep granite walls, is rich in local lore. Legends include how an arrow fired by the Hestmannen troll formed the hole in Torghatten Mountain.
Trondheim - Ålesund
Today gives you another opportunity to explore the city of Trondheim. Passing the islands of Munkholmen, Hitra, and thousands of islets and skerries, we stop in Kristiansund and then cross the open sea on our way to Molde.
|EPIC Northern Lights Ends Voyage|
Ålesund - Bergen
During the night, the ship will call at Ålesund, Torvik, and Måløy as the world’s most beautiful voyage draws to a close. Make the most of your final impressions of Norway.
|13||Overnight in London
London Heathrow Marriott Hotel before leaving in the morning for home.
British Airways BA 759
Bergen (BGO) March 7, 2016 07:00 PM
Travel Time : 2 h 5 m
London (LHR) March 7, 2016 08:05 PM
Local Buses to Heathrow Hotels (Many Free)
American Airlines 47
London (LHR) March 8, 2016 11:50 AM
Travel Time : 8 h 55 mChicago (ORD) March 8, 2016 02:45 PM
Weather Not As Cold As You Think