Ålesund - The Norwegian Aquarium
Learn more about local marine life on a visit to Northern Europe's largest saltwater aquarium.
Come with us on a Northern Lights expedition along the coast of Norway to the top of the world at North Cape, directly from Dover. Learn more about the magic and mystery of the Northern Lights with an exclusive visit to the Planetarium at the Science Centre in Tromso led by our Astronomy Expert - Tom Kerss
You’ll spend five days above the Arctic Circle during winter, chasing Norway's Northern Lights. Learn about polar exploration history in Arctic capital Tromsø, admire the Northern Lights Cathedral in Alta, and remember WWII British heroes in Narvik.
You’ll find the fishing villages of Svolvær and Reine in the Lofoten Islands picture-perfect, surrounded by mountains dusted in snow. We’ll then sail to the top of the European continent at North Cape, the turning point of your cruise.
Your expedition will take you to a range of communities living and thriving on the Norwegian coast. Visit the exciting cities of Bergen, Tromsø, and Ålesund and get to know the local culture. You’ll fall in love with the many charms of the Lofoten Islands in Svolvær and the picturesque fishing village Reine.
Sailing north and crossing the Arctic Circle creates the best possible conditions to experience the magical Northern Lights, the phenomenon that has fascinated visitors, artists, scientists, and locals for centuries. Take part in optional winter wonderland-activities like dogsledding, hikes, kayaking and snow-shoeing during the day, and enjoy the many amenities of MS Maud during the evenings.
Astronomer and astrophotographer Tom Kerss F.R.A.S. will be joining us on this voyage for the Northern lights. Having previously worked at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, he is the founder of Stargazing✦London, which delivers world-class online astronomy courses. Be sure to ask him lots of questions
We'll help you plan where to go, when to visit and how long to stay
All aboard at Dover! MS Maud is here, ready and waiting to bring you north to Norway´s magical snow-covered landscapes on the hunt for one of nature’s greatest spectacles: The Northern Lights.
If you’ve time, take a walk alongside or atop the iconic white cliffs of Dover that have become a symbol for England. One of the best places to do so is at St. Margaret’s Bay which offers great views of the chalky coastline from its wide shingle beach.
Once on board the ship, you’ll pick up your complimentary expedition jacket, settle into your cabin, explore the ship and attend a mandatory safety drill. After the first of many delicious dinners and a welcome toast by the Captain, you’ll meet your expert Expedition Team.
They are your knowledgeable lecturers, warm hosts, and good-natured guides throughout your journey. Many grew up and live in the places you’ll be visiting and are passionate about sharing their home with you. First and foremost though, they are there to keep you safe and well. They’ll be making it a priority to run through important health and safety aspects with you and your fellow guests.
When the ship sets sail, we’ll pass the white cliffs of Dover and head up to the North Sea. Stretch your sea legs and get to know MS Maud, your cosy home away from home. If the weather holds, take in the sea air from out on deck.
Or park yourself in the Explorer Lounge and Bar to watch the world go by from the panoramic windows, maybe together with a relaxing glass of wine. Your adventure to the Arctic under the Auroral Zone is officially underway!
Later in the evening, we’ll call at Harwich, which is one of the most important ports on the Essex coast and boasts a rich maritime heritage. Famous explorers such as Sir Francis Drake, Sir Richard Hawkins, and Sir Martin Frobisher all departed from here on several expeditions of discovery. Perhaps most famously, the town was the home port of the Pilgrim ship ‘Mayflower’ and birthplace of its captain, Christopher Jones.
In keeping with Harwich tradition, and to celebrate the start of our journey, you’ll enjoy a local sea shanty performance before crossing the North Sea.
This day at sea gives you all the time you need to ease into your journey. You’ll definitely want to start enjoying onboard facilities like the hot tubs, sauna, and indoor gym. But you’ll likely also be striking up a camaraderie with the Expedition Team as well as other crew members and guests.
The Expedition Team will begin the first in their series of insightful lectures over at the Science Center. Each member of the Expedition Team are experts on different subjects, and you’ll find them to be walking, talking treasure troves of stories and information.
They’ll share their extensive knowledge about the places, history, nature, people and natural phenomena we are likely to encounter during this winter cruise along the Norwegian coast. Today’s topics might include the geology of the North Sea or the science behind the Northern Lights.
Even as no one can completely predict the weather, wind and waves on the North Sea are known to be a bit choppy at this time of year. Our Captain’s goal is to bring us into Egersund the next day, but where nature is involved, nothing can be completely set in stone.
This is just part and parcel of the expedition experience, adding extra suspense and excitement to your adventure. Rest assured that we’ll be doing our best to make your cruise as safe and as smooth as possible, even if it means being flexible and adapting our plans to factor in the elements.
You’ll love Egersund, with its cosy vibe. The town is famous for its brightly coloured, wooden houses – a real departure from the white-painted dwellings of many of Norway’s towns, and a welcome sight as you approach the harbour.
People have lived around the area of Egersund since the Stone Age. There are several places around the town where you’ll find ruins of settlements dating back to the early migrations around 400 – 600 BCE, and ancient runes have been found carved into rocks nearby. It’s also one of the best natural harbours in Norway, and it used to be the largest in the country when measured in quantity of fish landed each year.
Enjoy exploring the bijoux town centre, which has preserved some of the best examples of wooden houses – a few even dating back 160 years. The varied landscape surrounding the town is great for walking.
Welcome to Bergen, one of Norway’s most beautiful cities and a great place to explore on foot. Founded in 1070 AD, Bergen was Norway’s capital for many years, and you’ll see that the city has retained a great deal of its local character, heritage and charm.
Your included activity in Bergen is an excursion to Mount Fløyen. We’ll hop on Hurtigruten buses from where the ship docks and drive to the Fløibanen funicular. The ride to the top of the mountain takes just six minutes. At the summit, 320 metres high, bask in stunning views over the city surrounded by seven mountains and the sea. If there’s time, we might also have an opportunity to venture into the alpine forest here for a short hike.
Once back in the centre of Bergen, be sure to stroll through the historic UNESCO-listed Bryggen district with its colourful wooden wharfs. The area dates back to the 14th century and now houses boutique stores selling a range of Norwegian arts and crafts. Across from Bryggen is Bergen’s famous fish market which is full of sights, sounds and scents to savour.
We start the day with some scenic cruising into Nordfjord, passing Hornelen, Europe’s highest sea cliff, early in the morning. The fjord run offs from Jostedalsbreen, Europe's largest mainland glacier, and flows west into the ocean just south of the Stadlandet peninsula.
Thanks to the smaller size of our expedition ship, we’ll be taking you through straits and channels that larger vessels simply can’t fit through. This allows you to get that much closer to the fjords and mountains that the Norwegian coast is so famous for. It also means we can access small communities that few ever get to visit, giving you an intimate glimpse into the culture and way of life here.
It would make sense if lectures for today focus on the geology of Norway, covering the formation of its fjords, mountains and glaciers. You might also learn more about the Viking culture that used to inhabit the region and their thirst for exploration that still beats in the hearts of Norwegians today.
You’ll spot numerous old fishing communities located along the fjord that actually date back to pre-Viking times. One such place is Loen, where we arrive around noon. In the shadow of the mighty Jostedalsbreen glacier, at the very heart of Nordfjord, Loen is the perfect place to explore the gorgeous surrounds.
We use our small boats to land at a floating jetty which is conveniently also a starting point for the Loen Skylift. The cable car climbs 1,011 metre to the top of Mount Hoven in only five minutes. At the summit, you’ll be treated to an unforgettable vista over the fjord. Mount Skåla and Lake Lo can be seen to the east, and Jostedalsbreen Glacier and Olden to the south. With these panoramas all around you, you can participate in several optional winter activities on the mountain, such as snowshoeing or sledding. If time and weather allow, there might also be an opportunity to do some thrilling winter kayaking on the fjord.
Today, you can spend time in the ship’s lounge or soaking in a hot tub out on deck. Whatever you do, don’t take your eyes off the scenery as we sail through Helgeland county and the thousands of islands of the lowland area.
At this point of your expedition, we are around the halfway mark along Norway’s long coastline and you won’t be far off from the Arctic Circle. This is an exciting time as the further north we sail, the greater your chances of seeing the Northern Lights.
Our route along the Norwegian coast will take us directly under the Auroral Zone, a prime area of Northern Lights occurrences. We’ll be hoping to see multiple sightings of the lights in different locations.
The weather in northern Norway will be noticeably nippier and the amount of snow you’ll see will normally start to increase as well, which actually has the effect of making the landscapes seem brighter.
The periods of daylight will be fairly short and grow even more brief above the Arctic Circle. It’s not complete darkness though as you’ll also get to experience the very romantic ‘blue hour’. This is an extended twilight that can actually be several hours long. The winter sun glows just below the horizon, bathing Norway’s fjords and mountains in a dreamy cobalt-blue light.
In the morning, we dock at the picture-perfect fishing village of Reine back in the Lofoten Islands. This is where red-painted fishing huts, rorbuer, cling to a string of islands beneath sharp granite mountain ranges. The 450-metre tall Reinebringen is one of the most distinctive peaks, particularly dramatic when layered with snow.
The combination of setting and colour makes Reine one of the most photographed landscapes in all of Norway. You’ll be hoping the Northern Lights are active above the village when we are there, completing the composition of your own photo of this piece of paradise.
After spending some time wandering around Reine, ooh-ing and aah-ing at the scenery, you’ll go on your included activity for today. A 30-minute bus ride will take you to Å, one of the best-preserved traditional fishing villages in Norway.
At the heart of the tiny village is the Norwegian Fishing Village Museum which covers the importance and development of fishing in Lofoten over the last 250 years. Exploring at your leisure, you’ll soon discover that the village is the museum and the museum is the village.
Sailing along Vestfjord, we’ll arrive in Svolvær in the afternoon. This is the largest town in Lofoten with about 4,800 residents, many of whom work as fishermen. There are shops and art galleries to browse along the seafront promenade and rows of rorbuer to admire.
You might spot wooden racks called hjell dotted around the shores of the town too. Locally caught cod is dried on these racks and later turned into tørrfisk, or stockfish in English, and prized as a local delicacy. Fishing is clearly an important way of life in Lofoten and the lecture for the day may focus on how cod effectively helped to build Norway into a country.
Alta lies well above the Arctic Circle at 70 degrees north. This is one of the northernmost towns in the world with a population over 10,000 and the biggest city in the vast wilderness of Troms and Finnmark County, making it the perfect destination for winter activities.
We’ll arrive in Alta in the afternoon and spend the evening here. The town is directly beneath the Auroral Oval, a zone known for consistent Northern Lights activity. If the heavens aren’t overcast, and the conditions are right, you might well be in for quite the show...
You’ll learn more about the aurora at the modern Northern Lights Cathedral in Alta, situated at the end of a cute pedestrian street. The titanium-clad building and its spiral belfry dominate the skyline here, all the more impressive when illuminated at night.
You’ll also find an interactive exhibition in the cathedral that chronicles how Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland established Alta as an epicentre for ground-breaking Northern Lights research in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Alta is home to many dogsledding teams, some of which compete in the biggest races in the world. You can visit one of the teams during an optional excursion, go on snowmobile tours, mountain hiking or riding snow-suitable fat bikes in the hills around Alta.
Troms and Finnmark county also forms part of the traditional lands of the indigenous Sámi whose livelihoods revolve around semi-nomadic reindeer herding. The Expedition Team may take the opportunity being in Alta to talk more on Sámi culture. Not far from Alta is Máze, a Sámi village located along Kautokeino river and visitable as part of an optional excursion.
Start the day by arriving at the small town of Honningsvåg. You’ll now visit one of the northernmost points in Europe as part of an included excursion.
The scenic bus ride from Honningsvåg passes small bays and tiny villages, then crosses a mountain plateau before arriving at spectacular North Cape. At 71°10’21´N, it is just 2,100 kilometres away from the Geographic North Pole, with only the Svalbard Archipelago in between.
Stand at the cliff’s edge and gaze out across the sparkling sea. The North Cape is the closest you may ever get to the top of the world. There’s the obligatory selfie at the Globe Monument to snap before visiting the North Cape Hall for several exhibits and a short film which chronicle the history of the cape. Back in Honningsvåg, enjoy a stroll by the pretty harbour, browsing the charming shops, houses and church. Like many towns in northern Norway, fishing is the main source of income here. The local restaurants offer fresh fish and seafood, with king crabs available all year round. This is the ship’s turning point and from here, we start our return trip southbound.
It’s time to explore Tromsø, capital of the Arctic. But before we do, we’ll be on the watch for humpback whales out on deck or in the Explorer Lounge. Families of these gentle giants are known to frequent the winter waters here, feeding on the abundant herring. The Expedition Team will also be on the lookout and alert you to any sightings.
We’ll reach the city of Tromsø in the morning and spend the rest of the day and evening exploring its fascinating history, culture and bold architecture. The Arctic Cathedral is one of the most striking landmarks in Tromsø, especially when lit up at night. It features an attractive, huge stained-glass window that is well worth seeing up close.
Historically, Tromsø was a frontier town for returning hunters and explorers and acted as a launch point for several Arctic expeditions. Compared to the barren tundra they experienced, Tromsø was like Paris because of the fashion and food they found there. Hence the nickname, ‘Paris of the North’.
You can busy yourself by browsing the shops or sampling the region’s fresh produce in a range of restaurants. Feel like meeting some of the friendly locals? Tromsø is home to the world’s northernmost brewery, Mack Bryggeri, which also runs Ølhallen, a lively pub where townspeople go for a chat and a few pints.
Your included activity in Tromsø is a visit to the Polar Museum which is housed in a converted 1830s warehouse on the seafront. You’ll enjoy exhibitions that cover the city’s heritage as a base for famous trappers Henry Rudi and Wanny Wolstad, the first female hunter in Svalbard. Tromsø also played a crucial role in the expeditions of legendary explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Roald Amundsen.
Other winter activities available in Tromsø include optional excursions with our Expedition Team on nature hikes, snowshoeing, and aurora-hunting bus rides. And like many places in Arctic Norway, when there is enough snow later in winter, the landscape becomes the ideal place to engage in some exhilarating dog sledding.
We arrive at Narvik in the morning. The town has a spectacular setting on a peninsula surrounded by three fjords: The Ofotfjord, Rombaken, and Beisfjord.
The multiple mountains also help to shelter its popular ski slopes from strong coastal winds. And while Narvik is one of the most northerly towns in the world, some 220 kilometres within the Arctic Circle, it enjoys a milder climate than expected thanks to the North Atlantic Current.
Modern Narvik developed as an all-year port for Swedish iron mines, which made the town a strategic target for Germany during World War II. You’ll visit the Narvik War Museum to see exhibits and artifacts from the war, learning about the heroism of British and Allied troops in liberating the town from the Nazis.
Aside from the museum, you can enjoy galleries, shops, and restaurants which specialise in locally-sourced seafood from the fjords and reindeer meat from the mountains.
Ride the cable car to the top of Mount Narvik for the breathtaking views or go on optional excursion hikes, snowshoeing or kayaking on the fjords.
In the evening we continue to hunt for the Northern lights on our way crossing Vestfjorden into the south parts of Lofoten.
Over the next two days, you’ll get to explore the area around Helgeland. Notice how the islands facing the Norwegian Sea are a stark contrast to the sheltered fjords, as you will see from the small trees here, bent by the strong wind. Still, small communities choose to live here.
Our plan is to explore some of the islands in this area, either by anchoring off one of the islands or sheltered in a small bay. Our small boats will take you ashore where you get the possibility to explore the local nature and culture.
Keep in mind that the coastline can be rough any time of the year. If the weather does not permit us to go ashore this far from the coast, we will find an alternative landing or port for the day, making sure you get the best experience based on the weather conditions for that day.
Frøya is one of the islands we may explore. It’s a resting, nesting and wintering area for many kinds of seabirds, like seagulls, cormorants, ducks and sea eagles. If we get to go ashore, you may also see seals, mink, otter, hare and deer.
You may attend optional activities like hikes and kayaking and join the Expedition Team in lectures on topics, like settlement patterns in Norway, how to navigate along the coast through history and oceanography.
Welcome to the charming coastal city of Ålesund! The small city clutches to the shores of a thin island chain. Its waterfront buildings, once wharves and warehouses and now apartments, are painted in pastel yellows and reds.
Join a guided walk of Ålesund through its cobblestone streets and admire the numerous spires, towers and highly-ornate buildings. Look closely and spot the variety of stone statues carved into the buildings
Due to a devastating fire in 1904, much of the city was rebuilt in the architectural style so fashionable at the time: Art Nouveau. Approximately 20 master builders and 30 Norwegian architects educated in Trondheim and Berlin drew inspiration from all over Europe when designing the many buildings that still stand here today.
As Norway’s Fishing Capital, Ålesund is also the site of the Atlantic Sea Park, recently granted status as Norway’s first marine science centre. Built in the coastal landscape at Tueneset, you’ll find a spacious Humboldt penguin park and Europe’s biggest seal pool together with an underwater observatory. The park’s Otter Island is home to three sociable and adorable otters who go by the names of Nusse, Muffe and Pia.
By this stage of your journey, you’ll have made friends with your fellow explorers, finding that you have much in common in terms of your interests and passion for nature.
You can spend time chatting with them over a snack at the bistro-like Fredheim, perhaps recalling the best moments of your expedition together. Enjoy drinks at the Explorer Bar while swapping friendly banter and stories of past adventures. You might even catch a couple of the crew and Expedition Team here too.
If you’d rather spend your last days at sea in quiet contemplation, you’ll likely have multiple memory cards full of Northern Lights photos and more to sift through and reminisce on. Take stock of everything you’ve seen and experienced with a blood-pumping session in the gym and then relax in the soothing steam of the sauna one last time.
We pass the white cliffs of Dover during the early morning hours and dock at the city’s harbour. After a final breakfast, it’ll be time to say a fond farewell to the ship, the Captain, crew, Expedition Team, and your new-found friends.
As you head ashore, you’ll take with you special memories of Norway in winter: wonderful fjords, fascinating towns and cities, friendly people, and the magical Northern Lights.
Dover acts as the gateway to English countryside, the verdant counties of Kent and Surrey, and beyond to the melting pot of London. But before you rush off, you might to like to visit Dover Castle, tipped to be the largest in England.
There is a rare Roman lighthouse here, one of only three in the world and reputedly the UK’s oldest building. You can also go on a tour of the underground hospital and secret WWII tunnels that run beneath the castle complex.
Whatever’s next for you, we wish you a safe onward journey and look forward to seeing you on your next adventure!
Learn more about what you can experience when going with us
Ålesund - The Norwegian Aquarium
Learn more about local marine life on a visit to Northern Europe's largest saltwater aquarium.
The Polar Museum
Learn the history of Arctic exploration and see equipment from polar expeditions and hunters.
Reine - The Fishing Village of Å
Located at the western tip of the archipelago, Å is a unique historical attraction. Here, you’ll find one of the best preserved old fishing villages in Norway, offering a variety of opportunities to experience life in the Lofoten fisheries through the last 250 years.
Take a closer look at our ships typically used on this expedition
MS Maud, previously MS Midnatsol, is named after one of the most famous polar vessels of all time, Roald Amundsen's 'Maud' from 1917. The original 'Maud' got her name from the first Queen of modern-day Norway. She also had her namesake in Hurtigruten Expedition’s 1925 flagship, DS Dronning Maud ('DS Queen Maud').
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Explore the rugged coastline of Norway under the dancing skies of the Northern Lights, departing direct from Dover.
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Autumn Expedition Cruise to Svalbard from Dover
September 15 2022 and August 30 2023 - 22 days
Norway Winter Expedition Cruise from Hamburg
25 departures between Sep 2022 and Mar 2024 - 15 days
MS Otto Sverdrup