Helsinki - Rovaniemi - Honningsvåg - Oslo

Follow the Lights: Southbound | Helsinki to Oslo | 2024 -2025

Departure date

Unknown

Duration

15 days

Ships

Norway The North Cape Line HGR 166387 Espen Mills

Follow the Lights: Southbound | Helsinki to Oslo | 2024 -2025

Voyage overview

We begin from Helsinki on this fully escorted southbound search for the Aurora Borealis. During the tour we cross Finland and Norway, visit charming hamlets, and sail through picturesque fjords, all the while making the most of plentiful opportunities to see the magnificent Northern Lights. Along the way, enjoy unique accommodation in both an Aurora Cabin and a Gamme cabin and meet the huskies and reindeer of the region.

Your trip also includes the amazing journey by rail, coach and ferry on the famous ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ route between Bergen and Oslo.

  • Husky and reindeer excursions

  • Chances of seeing the Northern Lights

  • Insight into Sámi culture

  • Guided city tours of Helsinki, Bergen and Oslo

Itinerary

The day-by-day programme will give you some ideas about what you can see during your voyage, but bear in mind that this itinerary is just an indication. After all, this is a sailing where the elements rule and weather conditions might vary.

A street sign on a pole

Day 1

Arrive in Finland

Helsinki

Arrive in Finland

Helsinki

Welcome to Finland!

Helsinki is often dubbed one of the world’s most liveable cities due to its vibrant nature and delicate balance of historic architecture and contemporary living. Make your own way to the hotel and spend the afternoon on your own exploring the city and discovering the many hidden gems, cafes and restaurants dotted around the city centre.

In the evening, you will have the opportunity to meet your fellow travellers and tour escort for an included welcome dinner as you prepare to follow the Northern Lights through Finland and Norway.

A group of people sitting on a bench in front of a building

Day 2

Finland’s Capital

Helsinki

Finland’s Capital

Helsinki

On our first full day, we'll embark on a coach tour of the city and learn more about Helsinki’s past and present from our English-speaking guide.

Highlights include the City Hall, the Parliament buildings, Finlandia Hall, the Opera House and, weather permitting, the popular Sibelius monument.

Another iconic stop on the tour is a visit to the Tempeliaukio Church, built into the bedrock of the city it has also become known as the ‘Church of Rock’ and a nod to the city's modern culture.

Four tourists looking at the beautiful buildings of Finlands capital, Helsinki.

Day 3

To Finnish Lapland

Rovaniemi

To Finnish Lapland

Rovaniemi

In the morning we set out from Helsinki and start our journey towards Finnish Lapland and the arctic wilderness. Jump on board the train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi - the reputed home of Santa Claus. As the train winds north gaze upon snow-capped forests and a true winter wonderland. 

Arriving in Rovaniemi, we are now in the capital of Finnish Lapland, where you will have the afternoon to explore this quaint town at your leisure. At night, keep your eyes on the skies as we are above the arctic circle, the chances of spotting the Northern Lights increase.

A car covered in snow

Day 4

Canine Companions

Rovaniemi

Canine Companions

Rovaniemi

Wake up in the heart of Lapland and prepare for our first authentic experience, a meeting with the cute furry locals at a husky kennel. Learn about how huskies are reared to become as fit and as hardy as the local Sami people who have worked with these iconic arctic heroes for many years. After getting to know these animals we will enjoy lunch before joining a thrilling husky-drawn cart or sled ride through the Lapland wilderness with your new furry friends.

After spending the day living like a local, warm up with a hot drink at Lappish Kota, a traditional wooden hut dawned with reindeer hides and a roaring fire.

A person riding a horse

Day 5

Santa and Reindeers

Saariselkä

Santa and Reindeers

Saariselkä

Feel like a child again as we spend the morning exploring the wonderous Santa Claus Village, and even get to meet the man himself! 

In the afternoon we continue our journey north making a short stop to see the Sodankylä Old Church before continuing to the Northern Lights Village of Saariselkä. Upon arrival, be wowed at your accommodation for the night – your very own Aurora Cabin or Glass Igloo where you can watch the Northern Lights from your bed whenever they appear.

Following the included dinner at the hotel, we’ll be welcomed into the traditional tent of a local Sámi family who’ll talk enthusiastically about their unique culture and lifestyle. Feed the family’s reindeer in the nearby paddock or practise your lasso skills under your host’s expert tutelage. Weather permitting, we will also enjoy a reindeer sleigh ride. If you are really lucky, you can even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights on this authentic Arctic experience.

Gammers covered in the white snow

Day 6

Sámi History and Huskies

Kirkenes – right on the border

Sámi History and Huskies

Kirkenes – right on the border

As we continue North through the Finnish Lapland we arrive in the small township of Inari, the Sami capital (traditional nomads of Scandinavia, reindeer herders). On our stop in Inari, we will visit the newly renovated SIIDA museum - which is home to a collection featuring the spiritual and material culture of the Finnish Sami presented to the public through exhibitions and publications.

In the afternoon we cross into Norway and arrive at the iconic Snowhotel in Kirkenes, where you have the opportunity to join an optional excursion, choosing from activities such as king crab or Northern Lights safaris. Spend the night inside a traditional Gamme cabin, inspired by the traditional hunting and fishing hut known as ‘gamme’ which are typically found in the Lapland wilderness. Tonight’s included dinner is in the unique farmhouse restaurant, Låven.

View of the northern town of Kirkenes in the snow.

Day 7

Your Hurtigruten Coastal Express Voyage Starts

Kirkenes – right on the border, Berlevåg – “cool and crazy”

Your Hurtigruten Coastal Express Voyage Starts

Kirkenes – right on the border, Berlevåg – “cool and crazy”

Your voyage onboard the Coastal Express begins in the Arctic in the town of Kirkenes. Our first port of call is Vardø and its iconic star-shaped Vardøhus Fortress, built-in 1737. The northernmost fortification of any kind, it remains a part of the military to this day. Weather permitting, brave swimmers may want to take a dip in the icy Arctic Ocean (strictly optional of course!).

We cruise Norway’s coastline to arrive in the small port of Båtsfjord in the evening and then on to Berlevåg. You might be able to make out Mount Tanahorn to the west, or see Kjølnes Lighthouse blinking atop a cliff overlooking the Barents Sea. These two idyllic ports are home to Norway’s most famous male choir, comprising local fishermen.

Beautiful Northern Lights dancing on the sky above the city of Tromsø and the Arctic Cathedral, Norway.

Day 8

Unmatched Arctic Scenery

Hammerfest

Unmatched Arctic Scenery

Hammerfest

We make a late-night stop at Mehamn, where there is the option to join snowmobile trip through the vast Arctic wilderness. A great opportunity to experience snowy plains and valleys, crisp winter air under the Northern Lights in the starry sky above.

During the day we pass through various ports including Honningsvåg and Hammerfest where you can visit the UNESCO-listed Meridian Column, erected in 1854 to honour the first precise geographic measurement of the globe.

Late in the evening, we arrive at Tromsø, in time to enjoy a magical Northern Lights concert at the Arctic Cathedral in winter (optional).

Northern Lights over the Lofoten Islands, Norway

Day 9

Lofoten, Where Nature Amazes

Svolvær – at the heart of Lofoten

Lofoten, Where Nature Amazes

Svolvær – at the heart of Lofoten

This morning, we arrive at Harstad, where you can join one of our optional classic excursions - A Taste of Vesterålen. Discover the history, beautiful scenery, and cultural heritage sites of this iconic and breathtaking landscape. Those who stay on the ship experience our passage through the Risøyrenna, a shallow channel built for Hurtigruten in the 1920s.

Prepare for some amazing scenery as we sail through the world-famous islands of Lofoten and Vesterålen. Lofoten is known for its natural beauty, steep mountains, wilderness and picturesque fishing villages. After a short stop at the tiny village of Risøyhamn, we continue to Stokmarknes, where Hurtigruten began in 1893. 

Continuing south, it will look like we’re headed straight into a mountain, but don’t worry, we are in fact sailing through a passage into the narrow Raftsund, flanked by peaks rising 1000m out of the sea. If that wasn't enough, we arrive at amazing Trollfjord. If conditions allow, we will sail between sheer cliffs that seem close enough to reach out and touch. It’s an unforgettable experience!

The Arctic Circle monument in winter

Day 10

Cross the Arctic Circle

Brønnøysund – coastal charm right in the middle of Norway

Cross the Arctic Circle

Brønnøysund – coastal charm right in the middle of Norway

We then cross over the Arctic Circle just after breakfast. Commemorate the moment with a tradition of tasting a spoonful of good ol’ cod liver oil!

Sailing along the Helgeland coast, you see the strange mountain, Torghatten, famous for the distinctive hole through its centre. There is a local legend as to why and how this mountain came to have such a hole. Make sure you ask your Coastal Expert about it!

Another highlight is sailing past the Seven Sisters mountain range. It is easy to see how the peaks influenced ancient legends. The story goes that seven beautiful troll sisters were caught out at sunrise and turned to stone, thus creating the seven beautiful mountaintops.

Even though we’re south of the Arctic Circle, there may still be good opportunities to see the Northern Lights.

The river Nid in front of the Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim, Norway on a nice winter day.

Day 11

Rich History and Living Culture

Trondheim – Norway’s capital of technology

Rich History and Living Culture

Trondheim – Norway’s capital of technology

Today you have a chance to explore the wooden city of history: Trondheim. Be sure to visit the majestic Nidaros Cathedral, built over the burial site of King Olav II who reigned from 1015 to 1028. Treat yourself to quality coffee and a Nordic patisserie in one of the Bakklandet district’s many chic cafés then walk up to Kristiansten Fort for great views of Norway’s third-largest city.

As we sail along the coast, you will realise the importance of fishing to Norway’s coastal communities. Kristiansund is regarded as Norway’s ‘dried cod capital’ because of its long-time export of salted dry fish. An interesting excursion is to the Bergtatt marble mine, which takes you inside a mountain and across an illuminated subterranean lake before serving you a meal in the mine´s ‘Grand Hall’.

White Christmas in the area of the UNESCO listed Bryggen in Bergen, Norway.

Day 12

A Fjord Farewell

Bergen – gateway to the fjords

A Fjord Farewell

Bergen – gateway to the fjords

During the night, the ship calls at Ålesund, Torvik and Måløy, as our voyage draws to a close. Before docking in Bergen, there is fascinating scenery to experience, including picturesque Nordfjord beneath Jostedal Glacier. 

A few nautical miles south of Florø, we cross the mouth of the mighty Sognefjord, taking in superb views of the magnificent island-studded coastline en route. In the early afternoon, we arrive in the Hanseatic city of Bergen where our time on the Coastal Express comes to an end. After disembarkation we join our private coach for a city tour including a walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage listed Bryggen, St Mary’s Church, and Håkon’s Hall, before heading to Troldhaugen, the home of Norway’s most famous composer, Edvard Grieg.

After arrival at the hotel the evening is yours to enjoy and explore this vibrant city. One recommendation is to take the Fløibanen funicular to the top of nearby Mount Fløyen to enjoy views of Bergen and the surrounding mountains.

On board the Flåm Railway in the snow. Norway

Day 13

Norway in a Nutshell

Oslo

Norway in a Nutshell

Oslo

Today enjoy an amazing journey by rail, coach and ferry on the famous ‘Norway in a Nutshell’ route between Bergen and Oslo. We start with a rail journey from Bergen to Voss, from here we travel by coach to Gudvangen - where waterfalls line the road as we weave our way through the valley.

In Gudvangen board a ferry and enjoy a fjord cruise along the narrow and dramatic UNESCO protected Nærøyfjord, ending in the quaint village of Flåm. As we climb three thousand feet to the mountain train station of Myrdal, you will understand why this is considered one of the world’s most scenic rail journeys. From here we continue south to our final stop in Oslo.

The Holmenkollen ski jump in the snow Oslo, Norway.

Day 14

Sightseeing in Oslo

Oslo

Sightseeing in Oslo

Oslo

Enjoy breakfast in the hotel and prepare for our final full day on tour.

On our coach tour learn more about this vibrant European city, as we journey through the history of Oslo, from the world's largest sculpture park by a single artist - Vigeland Sculpture Park to the site of the 1952 Winter Olympics and the Holmenkollen Ski Jump. 

The afternoon is your to continue exploring before joining your fellow travellers and tour escort for our final farewell dinner in a local restaurant.

Night View of The Oslo Opera House, Oslo, Norway

Day 15

Your adventure ends

Oslo

Your adventure ends

Oslo

It is in the morning that we say goodbye as this exciting arctic adventure comes to an end. Depart the hotel with lifelong memories of your time in Norway and Finland under the dancing skies of the Northern Lights.

Follow the Lights | Southbound

About your trip

What's included

  • 4-star accommodation standard

  • 8 nights' hotel accommodation (1 night in Aurora cabin)

  • 5 nights' cruise accommodation in a cabin category of your choice

  • Breakfast daily, 6 lunches, 9 dinners

  • Norway in a Nutshell: Flåm Railway journey and fjord cruise on UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord

  • First-class touring coach from Rovaniemi to Kirkenes

  • English-speaking tour manager from start to finish

  • City tours of Helsinki, Bergen & Oslo

  • Reindeer safari (sled ride – dependent on weather)

  • Husky safari (sled ride – dependent on weather)

  • Newly-renovated Siida museum visit

  • Welcome drink at Snow Hotel

  • Entrance to Troldhaugen (Edvard Grieg home – Bergen)

What's Not Included

  • International flights

  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners

  • Travel insurance

  • Luggage handling other than those specified

  • Beverages with meals

Notes

  • Prices are in AUD per person based on two people travelling together sharing a twin cabin

  • Not all cabin 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.

  • Northern Lights Promise: If the Northern Lights are not recorded during your Follow The Lights tour, including land component, we’ll offer a free northbound or southbound voyage. T&Cs apply.

  • We recommend bringing a backpack or small bag for the Bergen to Oslo leg of your tour, as you will not have access to your luggage during the day

  • A number of optional excursions may be offered throughout your journey by your tour leader or while on board the ship

  • Additional pre and post accommodation is available, please contact our friendly customer sales team for more information

Know before you go