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Cruise Norway's waterways Bergen, Norway

Norway is beautiful come snow or sunshine, but to witness this Scandinavian beauty at its most magical you need to pay attention to the light. Or more precisely, the lack thereof, as is the case in northern Norway from November to February. A cruise along Norway's coast has been recognised as one of the globe's most beautiful sea journeys, but with dramatic differences in weather year round, when is the best time to do it? The calendar's two extremes – winter's long Polar nights and summer's ethereal midnight sun – are the undeniable highlights.

Winter is of course the perfect time to see the northern lights. And with Hurtigruten's Northern Lights Promise you are guaranteed to see these fleeting light shows from onboard one of their ships. What's more, rather than just holing up inside for the winter, Norwegians love to party. So there are many festivals in the winter like the Northern Lights Festival in Tromsø; the Tromsø International Film Festival; and for the really active, the Polar Night Half Marathon (spiked shoes essential!).

There's also an abundance of snow adventures on offer with Hurtigruten, including shore excursions such as dog sledding safaris, snow scooter trips, snow-shoeing, sleigh rides, and more. Plus if you arrive in November prepare to get festive at one of the many Christmas markets.

Between May and August, under the soft midnight sun, the incredible scenery of Norway's fjords are on full display from the panorama decks on board. Spring and Summer are also wonderful times to see wildlife. From polar bears in Svalbard, to puffins at the Vesterålen archipelago, all visible even from the ship's deck. Or get onshore and take a midnight hike across a glacier and you can even take a dip in the ocean! Admire wildflowers blossoming as the tundra comes alive – get out among nature on a trekking excursion and marvel at the beautiful colours of summer blooms. No matter what time of year it is, a cruise up the Norwegian coast is probably going to be a little bit magnificent.

get there

Bergen can be reached by plane or train from Oslo. The train journey is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful and takes in some incredible sights.

  • Wi-fi is available for a fee
  • All ships except for the MS Lofoten have at least one cabin equipped for travellers using a wheelchair
  • Some ships have Jacuzzis and fitness rooms on board
  • All meals are included in the price
  • All ships have an on-board shop and cafeteria

From US$1330 per person for the 12-day Classic Coastal Voyage.

Hurtigruten ships ply the coastal voyage route every day, so you can always alight to explore a town or attend a festival for a few days before getting back on board the next one. Alternatively, Hurtigruten offers a complete coastal voyage over 12 days from Bergen to Kirkenes where you are able to see many of these sights. If you’re interested in doing any of the activities such as dog sledding, nature safaris or guided hikes, make sure to book in advance as they tend to fill up quickly.

This tip was provided by Bentours, but we’re sharing it with you because we think it’s great.

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Tags: arctic, cruise, northern lights, norway

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