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Hurtigruten Bergen to Kirkenes Experience or a Better Way?

I am considering an early September 2018 trip to Norway and booking with the Hurtigruten for the 7 days or round trip Bergen to Kirkenes. I have traveled to Alaska a few times and have utilized the Alaskan Ferry that transports the locals. I do know the Hurtigruten is utilized to Transport goods to various towns, to transport locals and lastly tourism. I get meals and dinner is one set menu. So my expectation is not a cruise as I don't prefer those but an Adventure. I have researched this blog and posts date back several years but have learned a lot.

My questions are:
1. Excursions in the ports are not included and you can book before or on ship if there is availability. Has anyone gone on a MUST DO excursion where you have sufficient time to learn from a great Guide?

  1. What are the SKIP excursions because you don't have sufficient time and could walk around on your own.

  2. Lastly, is there a better WAY to explore Norway. For example, go on a RS tour, go just certain legs of the Hurtigruten and get off and stay in that town, or go round trip on the Hurtigruten as certain towns are not seen during the night but on the return you see them?

Thank you fellow RS travelers in advance as I am a Solo Adventurer that loves to learn before and during my travels and to share my experiences of what I liked!

Kathy

Posted by
16894 posts

I've not been on the Hurtigruten. Obviously, the full roundtrip is long and not cheap. You're right that the boat makes different daytime stops in different directions. From the photos and videos I've seen, it might be hard to define a "best" section of the route.

Note that some excursions take longer than the time that the boat is in port, so those include a land connection to rejoin the boat at the next port. Probably the best of these involve activities that are not actually in the town. I believe the company also would facilitate layovers - e.g. if you choose to spend a couple of nights in one town, you could catch the next boat. But prices work differently if you book a long route than for short-distance ferry passengers who don't have meals and rooms included.

Note that Rick Steves Tours don't cover any of this same territory. Rick's Scandinavia tour ends in Bergen, so some people might do both.

Posted by
215 posts

Thank you so much. You are always so helpful. I think I may start with the RS tour as a solo and then venture off in Bergen. I have not yet been to Copenhagen, Sweden, etc. of course, I will get the RS guide book first.

Kathy

Posted by
5837 posts

But prices work differently if you book a long route than for short-distance ferry passengers who don't have meals and rooms included.

We ended a ski tour in the small northern village of Mehamn, Norway. Our guide service booked us on the Hurtigruten's MS Nordnorge for the overnight voyage from Mehamn to Kirkenes. We had deck space accommodations although one skier upgraded to a no window cabin. Our service included dinner and the buffet breakfast.

The Nordnorge is a working ship with frequent stops to off load and load passengers, vehicles and goods for the local villages. Many of the stops were very short just to unload and load. The plus is that the ship tends to travel in sight of land and the Norwegian coast is spectacular.

Lonely Planet Norway and Rough Guide Norway would cover more of northern Norway than Rick Steve's book.

Posted by
7 posts

Hello....We traveled Kirkenes to Trondheim in June. Highly recommend the trip. Berth and food were excellent. This is NOT a big Disney or Carnival ship. North and south routes vary in stops a bit. One way should be adequate, though many do the round trip annually.

1. Next time we will get off for a day or two in Lofotens, then reboard another ship. Also, Trondheim and Dovrefjell national park are also worth a two or three day stopover.

2. The Nordkapp excursion was a trip highlight. The Tromso night concert at the Arctic chapel got good reviews. Most of the scenic views (Troll fiord was tops) are best from the viewing deck or topside bar panorama window.

We now plan another trip.