Taking the Scenic Route with Hurtigruten // A Cruise in the Arctic

You've probably already seen the pictures on Instagram and read my post last week - the boyfriend and I went on a trip to the Lofoten Islands last month. Now as flying over there would have been incredibly expensive and complicated, we chose to take the Hurtigruten coastal steamer to get from Tromsø to Svolvær. I've been on two cruises with the Hurtigruten before to visit Hammerfest and the North Cape but this last one was definitely the best cruise I've ever been on.

Luckily the weather was gorgeous and there was almost no wind (which is vital for the well-being of someone who gets sea-sick, aka me). However it was a bit chilly which is why we didn't end up using the hot tub on deck even though we only brought our swimming suits just for that ;) We did end up visiting the Hurtigruten museum in Stokmarknes though and also the famous Trollfjord, which I'll blog about next week.

All About Hurtigruten

First things first though, in case you haven't heard about Hurtigruten yet, it's the old mailboat in Norway which cruised along the whole Norwegian coast to deliver mail. Today the ships are modern cruise ships for people wanting to see the highlights of Norway - Bergen in the South and Kirkenes in the North. The Hurtigruten departs for Kirkenes at the Norwegian-Russian border every day from Bergen and makes stops in for example Ålesund, Trondheim, Tromsø and the North Cape along the way.

It also stops in several smaller ports in Norway which still makes the Hurtigruten an important mode of transport for Norwegians living in small villages along the coast today. Taking the Hurtigruten definitely means taking the scenic route to see Norway and in my personal, totally biased opinion, it's the best way to see the country! You'll see mountains and fjords but also cities and there's lots of excursions and activities for you to book to get to know Norway even better!

Why we chose to take the scenic route

We boarded the ship at midnight in Tromsø and arrived in Svolvær in the evening of the next day. If you travel with Hurtigruten for less than 24 hours, you don't need to book a cabin but can just stay in one of the lounges. Also, if you're a student you'll get 50% off when booking your ticket which of course also is the reason why the boyfriend and I decided to take the scenic route ;)

However, relaxing in the lounges, looking out at the fjords, reading a book or just taking a nap while having the sun shine on our faces was just the best start into a holiday! After starting to write on our Master theses, this was the best way to take a time out ever! But have a look for yourself!

A Stop in Stamsund // The Hurtigruten Museum

The Hurtigruten ships have an awesome entertainment team on board. They always make announcements whenever there's something exciting to see, whether that's the Northern Lights, a Hurtigruten ship going in the opposing direction or a stop in one of the ports. On our trip we stopped in the little town of Stokmarknes in the Vesterålen archipelago for a little over an hour. We didn't know anything about this place before but the team onboard told us that there's the Hurtigruten Museum right next to the harbour and that entrance is free. Needless to say that we went to check it out.

Of course it's nothing major but it's a nice museum showing the history of the coastal steamer and there even is an old ship available to visit. The funny thing about the museum is that it is situated in the same building as the cinema, event hall, college and library of town - Stokmarknes really is a small town! Anyhow, it was a fun stop and it was good to be ashore for a while again.

Watching the sunset on board

After departing from Stokmarknes we went on our way to Trollfjord. Now I'm not giving you any details about that stop now but I am going to tell you what we saw afterwards: the most gorgeous sunset I've ever seen in Norway. And thanks to the team onboard announcing it, I made it in time to get some pictures (aka we just finished dinner and wanted to get some dessert but the announcement came right on time for me to leave the register queue, put the ice-cream back in the freezer, grab my camera and run to the deck).

It was totally worth to wait for my ice-cream though.

So that was a perfect day at sea, I'd say. Have you ever been on a cruise? What were your highlights of that trip?

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