Sail to the Arctic Circle

Lonely Planet Travel Editor Tom Hall is on a mission to discover 52 of the most awe-inspiring places to visit across the world. This week he delights in the breathtaking scenery of the Arctic Circle.

Arctic Circle

Travelling by Hurtigruten ferries

For over a hundred years, Hurtigruten ferries have sailed the Norwegian coast, linking remote communities and travelling through some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery.

The good news is that tourists can come along for the ride on one of the ships that sails daily out of Bergen on a six-day journey to Kirkenes on the Barents Sea, close to the Russian border.

Bergen night scenery, Norway

Bergen night scenery, Norway

En route the ferry calls at 35 ports, covers 2500 miles and crosses into the Arctic Circle via the superb Lofoten Islands. Although in winter the Northern Lights can often be observed, in June visitors can experience the midnight sun and see more of the coast than at pretty much any other time of year.

While the Hurtigruten is very popular with visitors it remains very much a working ship. The pace of the journey is dictated by the ship’s strict timetable, so time spent in port is at a minimum, however excursions covering sections of the journey by land are possible.

Planning your trip to Norway

Like much of Norway, the Hurtigruten isn’t necessarily cheap (seven-day voyages start at around £850 including flights to and from Norway) but it is excellent value. You are unlikely to regret or forget taking the plunge and riding the steamer north.

Further information

Fjord Tours has links to agents and sells tickets for the Hurtigruten. Visit Norway has more on planning a trip around the country.

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