Arrive in Helsinki, make your own way from the airport to your hotel. Remainder of the day at leisure. In the evening meet the rest of the group and your guide at our welcome dinner. Welcome dinner at hotel restaurant. Overnight in 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.
To Finnish Lapland
To Finnish LaplandRovaniemi
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.
Morning at leisure, before departing for todays highlight, a husky safari. A 2.5-hour program with 2.5-mile husky cart tour or 45-minute reindeer sleigh tour.
Huskies are not born fit, it takes lots of preparation and conditioning before the dogs are as fit as they can be. Visit the kennel and get a feel for how the dogs are prepared to be the amazing athletes they are. Our enthusiastic dogs will happily take you down the forest trail for an unforgettable experience.
Afterwards there will be time to mingle with the dogs, have a snack with juice and cookies around the fire. For the animal welfare reasons, we offer this husky cart tour only, when the temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. When there is enough snow to use sleds the program changes into 45-minute safari with a sled. The schedule of the program will stay the same, either 2.5 miles with a cart or 45 minutes with the sled depending on the snow situation.
Santa and Reindeers
Santa and ReindeersSaariselkä
Departure from hotel in Rovaniemi and travel a short distance outside of Rovaniemi, stopping at Santa Claus Village, where there is free entrance and to explore this unique attraction.
A stop is made en-route at the small town of Sodankylä, and at the Sodankylä Old Church. A short outside viewing is included before continuing to Saariselka.
Spend a magical night in a private Aurora Cabin/Glass Igloo, where you have the chance to witness the Northern Lights from your very own bed. The hotel is on the outskirts of the small village of Saariselka, and is well away from any light pollution and so is a great place for witnessing the Northern Lights (weather permitting).
Enjoy an evening Reindeer Safari, with the chance of experiencing the Northern Lights. A short transfer to a local Reindeer farm and here you have the opportunity to get to know a local Sami family. During your visit, we will feed the reindeer in the paddock and tell you about reindeer husbandry. Then it’s time to take the Lappish lasso and practice, with the guidance of the host, throwing the lasso. You will also have a peek into the dim Lappish hut. In the idyllic old cottage, you can enjoy some coffee and chat more about reindeer and Sámi. You can explore the sky outdoors or sit in the warm hut and listen to us tell you about the reindeer. Weather permitting (Only December – March) you will also enjoy a reindeer sleigh ride (approx. 25-45 min)
Sámi History and Huskies
Sámi History and HuskiesKirkenes – right on the border
Depart Saariselka this morning and continue North through Finnish Lapland.
After about an hour, you will reach the small township of Inari, where entrance is included to the SIIDA Museum.
The Sámi Museum, SIIDA, is the national museum of the Sámi and a national special museum in Finland. The Sámi Museum stores the spiritual and material culture of the Finnish Sámi in its collections and presents it to the public through its exhibitions and publications. Its main purpose is to support the identity and the cultural self-esteem of the Sámi.
Departure from Inari and continue North, before crossing the border and later, arriving into Kirkenes, and the Snowhotel.
Your Hurtigruten Coastal Express Voyage Starts
Your Hurtigruten Coastal Express Voyage StartsKirkenes – 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.
Unmatched Arctic Scenery
Unmatched Arctic SceneryHammerfest
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 honor 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).
Lofoten, Where Nature Amazes
Lofoten, Where Nature AmazesSvolvær – 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 more than 125 years ago.
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 the 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!
Cross the Arctic Circle
Cross the Arctic CircleBrønnøysund – 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 center. 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.
Rich History and Living Culture
Rich History and Living CultureTrondheim – 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’.
A Fjord Farewell
A Fjord FarewellBergen – 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.
Norway in a Nutshell
Norway in a NutshellOslo
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.
Sightseeing in Oslo
Sightseeing in OsloOslo
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 travelers and tour escort for our final farewell dinner in a local restaurant.
Your adventure ends
Your adventure endsOslo
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.