For 120 years, Hurtigruten has been a lifeline to the ports along its route, delivering mail, supplies and passengers. Every day a ship leaves Bergen, stopping in 34 ports as it makes its way north. When it reaches Kirkenes it begins its return trip to Bergen, an 11-day roundtrip journey.
As the ships sail from port to port there are opportunities for excursions to enrich the travel experience. For example, at this time of year there's bird-watching, a feast at the Lofotr Viking museum, snowmobiling, dogsledding, a minight concert in Tromsø, a RIB safari to Saltstaumen, and sightseeing tours in the art nouveau city of Ålesund and Trondheim's Nidaros cathedral, to name a few. In other words, there's an activity, presentation or outing for just about every interest.
Our Hurtigruten adventure lasted only a few hours, so I was glad that the midnight sun shone the whole time and we didn't miss a minute of the incredible scenery from Svolvær to Sortland. A highlight was a cruise down the narrow Trollfjord, just 100 meters wide at its mouth. When we arrived in Sortland around 3 a.m., I was grateful that the crew had called a taxi to take us to the local hotel. After a few hours of sleep, a shower and some coffee, we were ready to explore Vesterålen.
Want to read more about Hurtigruten? Be sure to check out Carter Walker's cover story in the January 2013 issue of Viking!
Amy Boxrud is editor of Viking magazine. She lives with her family in Northfield, Minn., where she’s a member of Nordmarka 1-585.