Norway’s Hurtigruten line takes passengers beyond the Arctic Circle
By Daniel Allen, for CNN
1 minute read
10:08 AM EST, Thu January 14, 2016
Ships of the line —
Decked out in their distinctive red, white and black livery, Hurtigruten's well-equipped "working" ships are robust enough to handle the vagaries of Arctic weather, yet small enough to explore the intricacies of Norway's heavily indented coastline.
Bustling Bergen —
Hurtigruten voyages start (and finish) in historic Bergen, a colorful port and Norway's second largest city with 260,000 inhabitants. Highlights include the UNESCO World Heritage-listed architecture of Bryggen, a complex of commercial buildings dating back to the days of the Hanseatic League, and fresh seafood at the popular Bergen Fish Market.
Art Nouveau in Alesund —
After fire swept through Alesund in 1904, stone replaced wood as the entire town was rebuilt in just three years in Art Nouveau style. Today architectural enthusiasts can marvel at a whimsical blend of German Jugendstil and Scandinavian mythology sitting among the fjords.
Fantastic fjord —
From the beginning of June to the end of August, Hurtigruten ships navigate Geirangerfjord, a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site known by Norwegians as the Pearl of the Western Fjords. Highlights include the Seven Sisters -- a delicate, seven-fingered cascade that drops over steep cliffs into the turquoise waters of the fjord below.
Rocks and trolls —
Hurtigruten passengers visiting Geirangerfjord can disembark and explore the Geiranger-Trollstigen route -- a spectacular road trip boasting sheer cliffs and waterfalls, fjords and fertile valleys. The highlight here is the Trollstigen (Troll's Ladder) Road, a series of vertigo-inducing switchbacks. Supernatural beings from Norse mythology, trolls remain important to Norwegians.
Light shows —
Regardless of the time of year, photographers aboard Hurtigruten vessels will appreciate the gorgeous displays of light on offer each day. Winter travelers have a great chance of seeing the Northern Lights, while midsummer voyages north of the Arctic Circle mean 24 hours of sunshine.
Coastal kitchen —
Norwegian cuisine with an international twist, much of the food served aboard Hurtigruten ships is locally sourced. This includes strawberries from Valldalen, reindeer, Arctic char, sea buckthorne, cloudberries, king crabs and scallops.