Day 1: New Zealand – – Oslo, Norway
Depart on your flight for Oslo, the capital city of Norway.
Day 2: Oslo
Arrive in Oslo and make your way to the hotel for check in. You may choose to remain in your room and rest after the long-haul flight to Scandinavia, or eager travellers can put down their luggage and head straight out into the city. The centrally-located hotel puts you within convenient distance of some of the city’s star attractions, including the Parliament buildings, Akershus Fortress and Slottsplassen. Take a walk around the neighbourhood to familiarise yourself with the area.
For those purchasing the Tour Only option, your tour starts today. Please make your own way to the hotel.
Day 3: Oslo (B)
Fuel up on breakfast at the hotel and then step out into Oslo for a full day of independent sightseeing. Some sights that regularly top a visitor’s must-see list include The Vigeland Park, Ekebergparken Sculpture Park, new Opera House, the Harbour area, or the Viking Ship, Kon-Tiki and Fram Museums. Grab a table at a waterfront eatery to dig into a plate of typical Norwegian fare or take a stroll down Karl Johans gate for shopping opportunities.
Day 4: Oslo – – Kirkenes – Embark on cruise (B, D) –
Make your own way to the airport to board a one-way flight to Kirkenes, a small town in north-eastern Norway and the embarkation point for the cruise portion of the tour. From the port you will board your Hurtigruten cruise ship. Lunch is served aboard as the ship begins to set out on the southbound voyage.
This afternoon sees the ship make its first port in Vardø. Weather permitting, there could be an opportunity for ice bathing in the frigid Arctic Ocean – a truly reinvigorating and memorable experience! Those travelling during the springtime can attend a presentation on shorebirds native to the Nordic coast area.
The ship then again sets sail, along the Varanger Peninsula towards Båtsfjord and then Berlevåg. The latter is home to a local fishermen-only choir.
Day 5: Hammerfest and Tromsø (B, L, D) –
It is a busy day ahead with the cruise making several ports: Mehamn, Kjøllefjord, Honningsvåg, Havøysund, Hammerfest, Øksfjord, Skjervøy and Tromsø.
Wake up today to find the ship docked in Mehamn, a village on the Vedvik Peninsula that is fringed by deep valleys and gorgeous far-flung landscape. The sky is so clear here that there have been sightings of the Northern Lights on occasion. The next stop is Hammerfest, a town that was established in 1789 and as acted as the launching pad for expeditions into the deep Arctic. It is also the location of the UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed Meridian Column. The cruise continues to Øksfjord and makes an open-water crossing for a pitstop in Skjervøy. The final port of the day is Tromsø.
Day 6: Lofoten and Vesterålen Islands (B, D) –
Today is spent sailing through the other-worldly Lofoten archipelago. This region is brimming with rugged landscapes, tiny fishing villages and incredible wildlife. Enroute to the islands the ship passes through Risøyrenna. This channel was constructed for Hurtigruten use, providing an exclusive passage between Harstad and Sortland. The cruise makes a short visit to Risøyhamn to deliver groceries and mail to its 200 residents. Then journey to Stokmarknes – the location where Hurtigruten was founded and has its eponymous museum.
Continue south to pass through the Raftsundet, a strait dividing the Lofoten and Vesterålen Islands. There may be an opportunity to detour into the Trollfjord to glimpse its steep cliffs and resident sea eagles (weather and time permitting). Your destination this afternoon is Svolvær, the main settlement in the Lofoten Islands, and then Stamsund. See the peaks of the Lofoten Wall at the latter. The cruise begins its course back to the mainland in the evening.
Day 7: Bodo and the Vega Archipelago (B, L, D) –
Celebrate crossing the Arctic Circle with a local yet quirky tradition: taking a spoonful of cod liver oil! The day of sailing treats you to some truly unforgettable scenery, from the panoramas of the Helgeland coast, to the summit of Torghatten, a mountain whose centre is distinctive thanks to its cavernous hole. Another of the day’s highlights is cruising past the Seven Sisters. Local folklore claims that each of this mountain range’s peaks is actually a female troll (daughters of a king) turned to stone. Many of the other natural landmarks sprinkled along the Helgeland coastline are also said to have been trolls, all petrified at sunrise. Dock in Nesna and then Sandnessjøen. The cruise continues to Brønnøysund and arrives in the afternoon.
Day 8: Trondheim and the Atlantic Road (B, L, D) –
Explore the city of Trondheim today. This city is perched on the Trondheim Fjord and has a rich collection of 11th-century and Gothic architecture. It is then back onto the ship as it navigates the waters of the fjord. Along the way, you will gain insight into the importance that fishing has for local communities. Stop in Kristiansund, a town dubbed the ‘dried cod capital’ of Norway. Experience the open sea crossing as the cruise heads to Molde, passing the Romsdal Alps along the way.
Day 9: Bergen (B) –
The final day of the cruise features a selection of stunning stops in Ålesund, Torvik and Måløy. The arrival in Bergen marks the end of your spectacular Norwegian coast cruise. Before that moment however, you will take in the sight of the Nordfjord, Jostedal Glacier, Sognefjord and the Bergen Archipelago. Disembark in Bergen and transfer to the hotel for check in. The rest of the day is at your leisure, however you might choose to head out into the City of Seven Mountains for independent exploration.
Day 10: Bergen (B)
You have today as free time to see and do whatever you like. Bergen is Norway’s second-largest city and is surrounded by a landscape featuring incredible mountains, fjords and hiking trails. Some of the best things to do in Bergen include wandering Bryggen, an area beloved for its wharf and traditional wooden houses; move between vendors at the fish market; jump into the cable car for a scenic trip up Mount Ulriken; or hop between some of the local museums and galleries.
Day 11: Bergen – Flåm – Aurland (B, D)
Step aboard an express ferry for the journey from Bergen to Flåm. This five-hour voyage follows the waters of Norway’s longest fjord, the Sognefjord. You will then swap a ferry for the world-famous Flåm Railway in order to travel to Myrdal Station. This railway passage is incredibly scenic, and the train traverses a steep incline, ascending to near 900 metres above sea level in just an hour. There is then a transfer to Aurland.
Day 12: Aurland – Lom (B, L, D)
Hop onto a private minibus for the drive towards Lom. Traverse over the scenic Aurland mountains, before crossing the fjord aboard a ferry. Lunch is taken at Skjolden Hotel before the group continues through this breathtaking landscape. Make the stop at Nedre Oscarshaug and then sit back to relax on the drive through Breheimen and Jostedal. You arrive in Lom in the afternoon and will check in to your historic hotel for the night. This charming town is ensconced within Jotunheimen National Park.
Day 13: Lom – Lillehammer (B)
Set out on the three-hour drive from Lom to Lillehammer. This journey takes you through majestic highlands, valleys and national park. One of the notable landmarks you’ll see is the Gudbrandsdalen valley. You later arrive in Lillehammer, a small town that rose to prominence on the world stage when it played host to the 1994 Winter Olympics. The remainder of the day is at your leisure and you can choose to browse the wares in local shops, check out the open-air Maihaugen museum, see the Norwegian Olympic Museum, or admire the Garmo Stave Church.
Day 14: Lillehammer – Oslo (B)
A train whisks you from Lillehammer and back to Oslo. This is your final full day in Norway and you have the rest of the day to check off any last-minute itinerary items in the capital.
Day 15: Oslo – – New Zealand (B)
Make your way to the airport and depart on the return flight back to New Zealand.
For those purchasing the Tour Only option, at the appropriate time please make your own way from the hotel to your next travel arrangements.
Day 16: New Zealand
Arrive in New Zealand today.