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Get unique insight and knowledge about the Arctic sky and the greatest light show on Earth, the Aurora Borealis, on this popular voyage along the mesmerising Norwegian Coast. This unique voyage is accompanied by special lecturers – experts on astronomy and expeditions to see?the Northern Lights.
Through the series of lectures and a guided tour of the night sky from the deck of the ship, your lecturer will bring our galaxy’s stars, planets and meteors closer whilst also exploring the numerous myths and legends linked to the constellations in our skies.
Your astronomy adventure begins in Bergen, the cultural gateway to the fjords and the second-largest city in Norway. If you’ve time before your ship departs, visit the UNESCO-listed wharfs of the colourful?Bryggen?district with its artisan shops and cobblestone streets. Just across the street is the famous?Fish Market?which serves delicious seafood or venture to the?Fløibanen funicular?which whisks you up Mount?Fløyen?for breath-taking views of the city.
Make yourself at home onboard the ship and enjoy the relaxed ambience, taking the opportunity to meet your fellow guests and astronomers.
A day of masterpieces
Arrive at the Art Nouveau town of Ålesund, renowned for its stunning and picturesque architecture. Take time to explore the city and its rich Norse history or visit Atlanterhavsparken, one of the largest saltwater aquariums in Northern Europe. You can also make your way up to small Mount Aksla for a panorama of the town and its picturesque position surrounded by islands.
In the afternoon, we reach the port of Molde and the amazing view of 222 mountain peaks across the fjord, called the ‘Molde Panorama’.
The Royal City of Trondheim
As we journey north, we reach the medieval city of Trondheim, a vibrant mix of historic civic architecture and a bustling student population. Nidaros Cathedral is considered one of the most sacred buildings in all of Norway and rightly nicknamed ‘Norway’s Notre Dame’. Whilst here, take the time to visit the Archbishop’s Palace to view Norway’s crown jewels.
Not far from Nidaros Cathedral is Gamle Bybro, a charming wooden bridge that sits over River Nid and marks the entrance to the old Hanseatic district of Bakklandet. This neighbourhood features colourful wooden wharves that stand on stilts and host some of the city’s most trendy eateries, making Bakklandet a key destination for all foodies.
Welcome to the Arctic!
In the early hours of the morning, the ship crosses the Arctic Circle and enters the Arctic. Join us out on deck to mark the moment with a traditional ceremony that will be sure to wake you up fully! Above the Arctic Circle, your chances of spotting the majestic Northern Lights increase.
As we call into the northern city of Bodø, gaze up at the snow-capped Børvass peaks before experiencing the fabulous street art this city has to offer. From here, we continue across the Vestfjord and towards the Lofoten archipelago which greets you with the stunning sight of the 1,000 metre-high Lofoten Wall.
Expand your Northern Lights knowledge
Welcome to the historic Arctic exploration capital of Tromsø, a hive of culture, history and Northern Lights knowledge.
Today you will visit the Science Museum of Northern Norway, learning more about the Northern Lights through a range of exhibits and installations. As part of this trip, you’ll stop at The Planetarium and its full-dome ceiling offering 360-degree views and high-quality digital projectors showing daily films about ‘Experiencing the Aurora’ and the constellations. Our expert astronomers will be joining you on the trip so make sure to ask them lots of questions!
The Northern Lights and the North Cape
As we reach Honningsvåg, at the top of the European mainland, be sure to visit the globe monument at the North Cape. This is a popular excursion, so make sure you book early!
From Honningsvåg, look out for the striking rock formation called Finnkirka near the entrance to Kjøllefjord village. The building-like pillars were once an ancient sacrificial site for the indigenous nomadic Sámi people who still inhabit and herd reindeer in the region today. As we continue north towards Kirkenes, we sail past Slettnes Lighthouse, the northernmost lighthouse in continental Europe.
To the top and back again
By breakfast, we will have reached the top of Norway and the town of Kirkenes, situated just a few kilometres from the Russian border. The area still retains many influences from Norway’s neighbour, from signs in both Norwegian and Russian to a monthly Russian market. There is the option to visit the border town of Storskog for views over both countries.
It is at this point of our coastal voyage that we turn and return south. The ports we visited at night are now seen during the day for a full Norwegian coastal experience.
Once the northernmost town in the world, (before Longyearbyern, Svalbard) Hammerfest is a key destination for Astronomy lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Be sure to trek up Mount Salen, for views over the town and picturesque landscapes. You can also take a moment to see the UNESCO-listed Meridian Column which commemorates the first-ever measurement of the globe.
As we sail, keep your eyes open for the Northern Lights, but you might also spot pods of Orcas and Humpback Whales migrating to these waters to feed on herring.
Welcome to Lofoten
Passing through the legendary Lofoten and Vesterålen archipelagos, the ship negotiates an intricate network of inlets and isles through one of the most beautiful stretches of the Norwegian coast. From here, the coastal landscape changes from rolling hills to soaring mountains.
Along this stretch of coastline is where The Hurtigruten Coastal Express story began, in the coastal town of Stokmarknes in 1893. Don’t miss the newly opened Hurtigrutemuseet in Stokmarknes, a museum dedicated to The Coastal Express housed in the full-sized and fully restored ship MS Finnmarken from 1952.
A date with the Seven Sisters
Leave behind the magic of the Arctic Circle and head towards the ports of Bodø and Ørnes. Marvel at the Seven Sisters mountain range where local legend has it seven beautiful troll princesses, fleeing from an unwanted suitor, got caught out as the sun rose, turning them into the seven beautiful mountains you see today.
The landscapes will continue to amaze you! Don’t miss views of the Torghatten Mountain, with its distinctive hole right through the centre. There is a local legend as to why and how this mountain came to have such a hole. Make sure you ask your Coastal Guide about it!
The old cities and the sea
Early morning arrival in Trondheim will give you time to further explore the city and discover any sites you might have missed on the northbound section of the journey. Some insider advice: treat yourself to a barista-brewed coffee and Nordic patisserie in one of the many cafés in the Bakklandet district before walking up to Kristiansten Fort for great views over the city.
In the afternoon, we dock at Kristiansund, a quaint harbour town spread over three islands. Meander along the cobbled streets of the old town and be sure to sample the local delicacy of klippfisk, salted cod that’s dried on the surrounding cliffs.
The final chapter of the fairytale
A few nautical miles are left between you and Bergen today as your Astronomy Voyage draws to a close. Before we say our goodbyes, we voyage across the mouth of Sognefjord, the longest and widest fjord in the whole of Norway.
As we arrive in Bergen, it’s time to say goodbye to the Captain, crew and astronomers who have accompanied you on this unique voyage along Norway’s spectacular coastline. However, if you aren’t ready to leave Norway just yet, there are plenty of extension options that will make your trip that extra bit more special.
B = BREAKFAST L = LUNCH D = DINNER
An Applied Physicist by profession, Dr John Mason is currently the Principal Lecturer at the South Downs Planetarium in Chichester. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society since 1976, and is a full member of the International Astronomical Union. He has appeared many times with Sir Patrick Moore on BBC TV’s ‘The Sky at Night.’
Ian Ridpath is an internationally renowned author and lecturer on astronomy and space. He is editor of the authoritative Oxford Dictionary of Astronomy and author of several widely used night sky guides for beginners. Ian is a member of the Royal Astronomical Society’s team of outreach speakers and has been lecturing on Hurtigruten voyages since 2010. He is a winner of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s award for ‘outstanding contributions to the public understanding and appreciation of astronomy’.
Dr Sadie Jones is the Astronomy Public Engagement Leader at the University of Southampton. In January 2020, she assisted members of the Space Environment Physics group on an expedition to Svalbard, Norway to observe the aurora and collect research data. She also runs talks and school workshops on aurora research to promote ‘The Aurora Zoo’, a citizen science platform where the public analyse short videos of aurora displays.
Tom Kerss F.R.A.S. is an astronomer, astrophotographer, author and consultant. Having previously worked at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, he is the founder of Stargazing?London, which delivers world-class online astronomy courses. Tom has authored numerous best-selling astronomy books for adults and children, including Northern Lights: The Definitive Guide to Auroras, which offers a complete introduction to nature’s most magical sky-illuminating phenomenon.
Terms & Conditions:
The “Starting at” or listed price is based on the lowest price available to book. Price is CAD per person based on twin occupancy. Airfare, travel insurance, visas, vaccinations are not included. Please review current promotions or deals for additional information. Tour prices, dates, details and itinerary are subject to change. Tour details are based on a 2022 Tour. Additional conditions may apply. Prices were valid at time of publishing and are subject to change without notice. Terms and Conditions may apply.
Price was valid at time of posting and is subject to availability. Offers are subject to change or be withdrawn at any time.