Hurtigruten sailing in the midnight sun - both the sky and water is bright yellow

Sailing under the Midnight Sun

Australian Bronwen Pyle joined the Norwegian Coastal Express on a journey under the Midnight Sun, enjoying a glimpse of life in the Arctic during its brightest season.

Family holiday to remember

Bronwen can’t help but smile whenever she talks about her summer voyage in northern Norway. Originally from the sleepy small town of Stanthorpe in Queensland, the 38-year-old lawyer has spent the last few years working in London. When her parents came to visit her and do a tour of Europe, she wanted them to have a family holiday to be remembered.

Bronwen Pyle on a midnight sun cruise with her father - both standing on deck

A summer’s adventure 

“For years, my parents talked about wanting to experience the Norwegian coast. I’d heard from friends that THE thing to do – to really get a sense of Norway and its coastline – was to take a trip with the Norwegian Coastal Express”, Bronwen says enthusiastically.  

“That summer we spent some fun and memorable weeks travelling through Europe and enjoying lazy summer days. But sailing down the Norwegian coast stood out as the highlight of the trip. Especially because we got to experience the Midnight Sun together, something my parents had only heard about but never experienced.” 

When the day never ends

Bronwen booked them on a midsummer’s southbound voyage which starts in Kirkenes, Northern Norway. They had the Midnight Sun accompany them for their first few nights. “The day kept on going and going, never getting dark, even all through the night. The non-stop day actually gave us even more time to admire the scenery on the route.”  

She continues, “On the first night, as the ship sailed past small cabins and hamlets, we noticed families hanging out in their gardens, eating and drinking till the middle of the night. Some of them even raised their glasses to us as we went by!” 

“The second night, we were walking around the city of Tromsø at half past midnight, and there were still lots of people out and about. Some were just sitting on the terrace of bars and cafés, sunbathing, and chatting with their friends. It was a really nice atmosphere – relaxed but also with a bit of a buzz in the air.” 

One place in particular stood out for Bronwen and her parents. “The area around Svolvær in Lofoten was one of our favourite sightseeing spots. The landscape was fantastic, with crystal blue water, steep mountains, and white sandy beaches. It was cloudy that evening, but while we were taking pictures, the sky opened above us and shafts of sunlight beamed down. It was out of this world”.  

Special memories

Bronwen explains that the Midnight Sun also seemed to inspire life on board the ship. “Both the crew and other guests were so friendly – the extra sunlight probably made us all more cheerful!” she exclaims. “Being greeted by spectacular views of the fjords and mountains glowing with sunlight 24-7 probably helped too!”  

“Summer is also about the food, and I just loved the Norwegian ice-cream, cheeses, and chocolate!”, she says with a chuckle. “But what I cherish most about the voyage was sitting on deck with my 80-year-old dad, chatting late into the night while taking in the constantly changing landscapes under the Midnight Sun. It was beautiful,” says Bronwen with a warm smile. “Sharing that experience with him is a really special memory for me.”  

Bronwen’s five Midnight Sun tips:

  1. The best place to experience the Midnight Sun is out on the ship’s deck. You might want to get out there early in the evening to secure a seat and a good spot.

  2. You’ll probably be busy taking pictures of the incredible scenery. But remember to take time out from behind the lens to just be in the moment as well.

  3. To keep awake, grab a coffee from the onboard bar. You can also get your caffeine fix at some of the ports and stretch your legs at the same time.

  4. The extra hours of sunlight can make it hard to sleep. Burn off excess energy in the onboard gym or on optional excursions during the day.

  5. The thick curtains in your cabin do a good job of blocking out the sunlight, but maybe bring an eye mask in case a few rays peek through.