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Hurtigruten runs their Norway Classic Coastal Voyage 365 days a year - meaning you can explore beautiful Norway in Summer, Autumn, Winter or Spring. Read more...
Norway is a beautiful country to visit no matter the season but there are especially magical moments to each season. Hurtigruten runs coastal cruises 365 days a year to take advantage of Norway's greatest attraction – its gorgeous nature. Even the national anthem of Norway mentions their beautiful coastline, a true national treasure.
"Rising storm-scarr'd from the ocean, Where the breakers foam...."
But when is the best time for you to go? To help you to make up your mind, Bentours have come up with some of the most memorable elements of each season on a Hurtigruten Classic Coastal Voyage.
Norwegian summer is famous the world over for eternal summer days thanks to the Midnight Sun. The Midnight Sun is a phenomenon that only occurs north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic circle, meaning you can see it for a large section of the Classic Coastal Voyage.
North of Bodø, about half way up the cruise passage, guests begin to experience the midnight sun in full force, while southern Norway has very short nights. These long light-filled days are known as white nights and the perfect time to make the most of your limited time in Norway.
Summer is the most popular season to explore Norway on a Hurtigruten ship. With the constant sunlight, both flora and Norwegians themselves flourish and aboard the Hurtigruten ships, there is an infectious feeling of energy. From May to mid September seals and whales can be spotted from aboard the ship's observation deck including minke, pilot, humpback, sperm and killer whales. In June to mid August, around Vesteralan, elks can be seen ashore and puffin colonies are bustling in the archipelago. Guests have a chance to participate in many wildlife based and fjord excursions.
The climate is mild and a little humid on the coast and thanks to the melting snow, breathtaking waterfalls are in full force. On Midsummer's Eve in mid June, there are celebrations all throughout Norway – including aboard Hurtigruten ships.
Autumn sees an explosion of colour along the coast of Norway. From the various lounges and observation decks aboard, guests can marvel at the reds, yellows and oranges of the coastal landscapes. Nature is saturated in colour and as the days begin to shorten, a feeling of peacefulness and tranquility comes over the ships.
Autumn is also the time of the harvest in Norway and cruise guests can enjoy a huge array of fresh fruit and vegetables daily. These are sourced locally from Norwegian farmers along our route like the famous orange cloudberries, handpicked in Finnmark. Norwegian delicacies such as reindeer meat feature regularly on the Coastal Kitchen menu, and fresh fish is caught daily to be prepared with delicious local produce.
The Hurtigruten Autumn program emphasises getting guests closer to the unique cultures along the coast, particularly in the more remote northern towns on the route, such as the Sami culture up near Kirkenes.
Moving towards the Winter months, there is even a chance of seeing the Northern Lights up above the Arctic Circle.
Winter is the most challenging season to visit Norway but arguably this challenge has the best reward. As guests cruise north up the coast, they will enter the Polar Night – the opposite to the Midnight Sun, there there are very few hours of sunlight.
Despite the lack of day, from November to January, many port towns such as Tromsø hold festivals and celebrations and the refracted light in the sky creates a kind of polar twilight. This twilight fills the skies with astounding sunset colours for up to six hours on 'long days'.
Of course the most spectacular thing about doing one of Hurtigruten's Coastal Cruises in Winter is experiencing the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. The Northern Lights occur each winter above the Arctic Circle when solar winds push electrically charged particles towards Earth and they collide with the Earth's atmosphere over 100km above the surface. The result is astounding green and red ribbon-like streaks of electromagnetic waves that dance along the sky, an amazing natural light show.
Hurtigruten offers a Northern Lights Promise on their 12 day Classic Coastal Cruises – if you are unlucky enough to miss out on seeing this ethereal display, they will put you on another cruise to see it next winter, free of charge.
With the freezing temperatures outside, the days aboard a coastal cruise can be a combination of adventure snow travel – like one of our snowmobile or husky safaris – and all things koselig, the Norwegian word for cosy.
Generally Spring hits coastal Norway in late April, although deeper inland icy winter snows are still around. Due to the Gulf Stream, despite Norway's northerly position on the globe, the weather can be quite temperate. One of the truly special things about a Hurtigruten coastal voyage in Spring is that guests have the chance to experience the climate of three Norwegian seasons, in the space of twelve days.
Beginning in Bergen the temperature is quite mild but as the ship sails up the coast, fresh Spring winds appear, changing slowly into the icy winter wonderland up at Kirkenes. For those who would like to see the changing face of Norway's seasons in action, Spring is the perfect time to undertake the classic coastal voyage.
Spring is the season of the Arctic Awakening and the best time book your coastal cruise visit for wildlife lovers. Excursions to various bird colonies are available and from onboard you can often see the white tailed sea eagles as they hunt and roost in their coastal eyries.
May 17th is a Norwegian National Day of celebration with festivities in many towns and aboard the Hurtigruten ships.