Get to know the history and route of Hurtigruten

You know a Hurtigruten ship can take you on a delightful Norway cruise, but do you know its origins?

You know a Hurtigruten ship can take you on a delightful Norway cruise, but do you know its origins? Originally, the Hurtigruten line was a kind of ferry, taking post, cargo and people between different parts of the Norwegian coast. It still serves this purpose today, in fact, which is part of the charm travelers experience on a Hurtigruten voyage. The scenes that have attended the arrival of a Hurtigruten ship in port since its inception in 1893 remain today. So, too, do the charms of isolated coastal villages and quietly majestic fjords. However, the ships themselves have been considerably altered, giving you a cruise experience even though you are taking a vacation aboard a functional ferry line. While you experience the Norwegian coast as the locals do, you can also take advantage of various amenities, like gyms, delicious three-course meals and much more. On a Hurtigruten cruise, you don't have to sacrifice comfort for authenticity. 

At every stop, you'll see people loading and unloading goods from the ship - you may also get the chance to meet travelers going from one port to the next in line, taking a shorter trip in Norway than yours. The ship runs every day, and is known as the Express Route or the Norwegian Coastal Express.

What stops will a Hurtigruten ship make?

While you're on board your Norway cruise, you'll see a staggering array of different coastal cities and towns, as well as many beautiful fjords. Some of these are short stops, where the ship will pause only briefly to deliver people and goods or pick up new cargo and passengers, while other stops will allow for excursions ashore if you would like to embark on them.

On a trip from Bergen to Kirkenes, you will have the following stops:

  • Bergen
  • Floro
  • Maloy
  • Torvik
  • Alesund
  • Geiranger, in the summer months only
  • Molde
  • Kristiansund
  • Trondheim
  • Rorvik
  • Bronnoysund
  • Sandnessjoen
  • Nesna
  • Ornes
  • Bodo
  • Stamsund
  • Svolvaer
  • Stokmarknes
  • Sortland
  • Risoyhamm
  • Harstad
  • Finnsnes
  • Tromso
  • Skjervoy
  • Oksfjord
  • Hammerfest
  • Havoysund
  • Honningsvag
  • Kjollefjord
  • Mehamn
  • Berlevag
  • Batsfjord
  • Vardo
  • Vadso
  • Kirkenes

All told, the voyage takes 11 days round-trip, which should be ample warning that you won't get to spend leisurely hours at each of these stops. However, should you choose to stay on board your Norway cruise for its full round-trip duration, you will at least see each of the cities and towns listed here, as those that are night stops on the voyage north become daytime stops on the trip back south. You may also select excursions that take you off the ship for quite a while and bus you back to your vessel at the next port along the route. A Hurtigruten voyage is more customizable in this way than you might first imagine.

In future articles, we will explore the history, geography and attractions of each of the stops on the Hurtigruten route. While you may not be able to disembark at all of them, you will have a fuller experience with background information on each of them. You may even fall in love with a tiny stopover and choose to revisit it during post-cruise travel through Norway.

The perks of a historic boat line

Taking your Norway cruise on board a vessel that is part of a long tradition in the country affords you a wealth of opportunities. You will see much more than the standard Norwegian sights, beautiful though they are, and will truly have the chance to voyage through Norway as the locals do. While you're on your Hurtigruten ship, you'll meet Norwegian travelers on their way from one coastal town to another, which will further drive home the fact that this is one of the most authentic ways to journey through the Norwegian coast that there is.

You will also find that most Norwegians speak enough English that you can have a productive and interesting conversation, even in the remote villages the Hurtigruten ships visit. This can give you a perspective on Norwegian life you simply can't get in larger cities. While you may choose to spend some time in Oslo or another major center before or after your cruise, the experience of remote and rural Norwegian life is something special that not many travelers get to see. Indeed, not many travelers would think to seek it out!

Should you choose to take a Norway cruise with another line, you would not be taking advantage of the deep, extensive experience Hurtigruten has in navigating the waters of Norway. The safety of the passengers and the ship is a prime concern for Hurtigruten captains, and each of them has the expertise necessary to fulfill this goal. After all, many of them sail the Hurtigruten route and only the Hurtigruten route for their entire careers.

If you are a traveler who could take or leave luxury experiences but demands authenticity (and beautiful scenery), your time on a Norway cruise with Hurtigruten could meet all of your needs and desires as far as travel is concerned.