Alaska singles cruise departs
This ship bears the name of Norway’s King, but several other notable figures are also remembered throughout the ship. The bar is named after the Nobel Peace laureate, Fridtjof Nansen. Explorers Roald Amundsen and Leiv Eriksson both have rooms named after them as well. Guests may mingle with other passengers in the ship’s bar or view the surrounding landscape from one of the panoramic lounges. The ship is also equipped with a library and a fitness center with a sauna. The crew size on each sailing varies to maintain a ratio of one crew member for every three passengers.
This ancient Viking port is steeped in medieval history. The most fascinating sites here are the 12th-century Fantoft Stave Church with its rooftop dragons; Haakon's Hall, where the Norwegian kings were crowned; and Troldhaugen, the lakeside home of composer Edvard Grieg. Some tours include the Old Bergen Open Air Museum and the Bryggens Museum, but both are worth a visit on your own.
Beautifully situated on both sides of the River Nid, Trondheim is the third-largest city in Norway. Enjoy a reindeer steak and sample the local beer. Trondheim boasts a variety of interesting museums and is home to several educational institutions.
Almost all visitors to this area come specifically to visit the North Cape -- or Nordkapp, as it is called in Norwegian -- Europe's northernmost point. While in Honningsvåg, you might enjoy looking in at the Nordkapphuset, where the museum features interesting displays depicting the local history and culture.
Although Tromso is located far north of the Arctic Circle, the North Atlantic Gulf Stream makes its presence known and creates a mild climate. Arctic voyagers often commence their adventures in the city also known by the Norwegians as the "Paris of the North." Several highlights of sightseeing tours are the Ice Sea Cathedral, the planetarium and the old districts with beautiful wooden houses. The "Midnight Sun", disappearing behind the horizon, can be seen from May until July. The Arctic dark dominates between November and January.
Located in the heart of Norway, this art nouveau town is known for its unique architecture. Enjoy browsing for Norwegian handicrafts and knitwear with the distinct Norwegian design or pick your own fresh lobster at one of the local seafood restaurants. The Atlantic Sea Park offers fishing stands, hiking trails, places to sunbathe, large aquariums and outstanding diving venues.
Western Norway's Moldefjord is home to a town of the same name, which was established during the 15th century. Much of what visitors see today are modern structures, though some old wooden Romsdal houses were preserved and are now on display at the city's open-air museum. Hjertøya Island is located in the fjord outside Molde, and there is a remarkable view of the city, as well as the 87 peaks of the Romsdalen Alps.
Hammerfest is the northernmost city in the world and experiences two months of winter darkness -- in 1890 it became the first city to install electric streetlights. Visit the Meridian Monument, which commemorates an expedition to measure the exact size of the Earth, and continue on to a nearby fishing village that contains ruins from the Stone, Iron, and Middle ages. Or tour a Sami camp, where you can enjoy a snack of smoked salmon and cloudberries and take an evening hike to Mikkelgammen, located atop Mount Salen.
The small town of Harstad, 75 miles northwest of Narvik, sits surrounded by craggy, snow-topped mountains on the island of Hinnoya. Harstad’s greatest attraction is the Trondenes Church which dates back to the 13th century. Harstad’s pretty setting -- with hilly streets, rainbow-colored wooden houses, terraces and views of the mountains -- is especially appreciated by the summer crowd, which flocks here to enjoy the North Norwegian Arts Festival and International Deep-Sea Fishing Festival, usually held in June and July.
Cruises from Kirkenes depart year-round.
Kirkenes is located in the northeastern part of Norway and sits about 240 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Tourist attractions include The Border Country Museum, which shows the history of war and peace along the Norwegian-Russian border, Sami art exhibitions and a history of the mining industry in the area. Pasvik National Park is also nearby, where visitors can stand at the meeting point of Norway, Finland and Russia.
Named after Christian VI and officially awarded township status in 1742, Kristiansund lies on the western coast of Norway. The city is built on five islands and is one of the most densely populated cities in the country. Apart from the developed oil, gas and fishing industries, Kristiansund is a major producer and exporter of bacalao, a salted, dried codfish that is suitable during Lent. Other tourist attractions include Grip, a deserted fishing village with unique architecture and landscapes, the Norwegian Clipfish Museum, and several stone churches.
Vardo is Norway’s easternmost town, lying only 40 miles from the Russian border. Despite its far-north location, the port of Vardo remains ice-free all year thanks to the warmer waters of the North Atlantic current. The city also boasts Norway’s first underwater tunnel, connecting Vardo with the mainland. There are only two trees, both rowans, in Vardo, and they are diligently cared for and protected each winter, as they are not indigenous to the area. Although Vardo is primarily a fishing village, it is also home to numerous seabird species and offers many bird-watching opportunities. Other attractions include two museums, the remains of several German WWII camps and Vardohus Festning, an 18th-century fortress with historical ties to the early 14th century. Vardo also hosts Yukigassen, an annual snowball-fighting competition originating in Japan.
Thanks to its waterfront location on the island of Vagsoy, Maloy has developed into Norway’s second largest fishing port. Originally founded as a trading center on a smaller island, Maloy eventually had to be moved to the bigger island of Vagsoy as commerce expanded. It was on this bigger island that the Germans built a fortress during World War II. This move resulted in Operation Archery, a British raid on the German troops stationed on the island. Visitors to Maloy will find a monument in the town square dedicated to those who died. What visitors won’t find, however, is named streets. Most of the streets in Maloy have no names, only numbers.
Torvik is a tiny village on the coast of Norway, located in an area of incredible natural beauty. Within driving distance, visitors will find numerous glaciers and waterfalls, as well as several national parks and fjords.
Floro is Norway’s westernmost town. It mixes small-town charm with bustling industry and has twice been chosen as Norway’s most pleasant place to live. Although the town itself is rather small, there is access to other areas via local boat. For those who choose to stay in Floro, there are opportunities to boat, hike and fish, as well as a coastal museum and many local shops to visit.
Rorvik is a port town in the Vikna archipelago. It lies amid a group of 6,000 islands and is a fishing community, specializing in salmon farming. Visitors will find a myriad of birds as well as several species of fish. Outdoor activities include deep-sea fishing, kayaking, diving and canoeing. There are also several museums to choose from, including one that celebrates Rorvik’s history from the ice age to the present.
Just north of the Arctic Circle, Ornes is located in the Meloy municipality of Norway and stands as the administrative center for the region. The town is small with a population of only 1,538 residents, but it is said to have one of the most beautiful entrances in Norway. The tiny village is home to the Urnes stave church, which is considered to be the oldest of its kind, dating to 1130; it features a unique combination of Christian architecture and animal carvings and ornamentation characteristic of the Viking age. Mountains in the area are perfect for fishing, hunting and skiing, and the second largest glacier in Norway, Svartisen, is a short distance away from the town center. Additional tourist areas include nearby Mosvolldalen and Spilderdalen, which offer remarkable scenery and outdoor activity.
The municipality of Bodo is located just north of the Arctic Circle and is the second largest city in North Norway. The midnight sun is visible in Bodo for more than a month every summer, due to the town’s northern location. It is also one of Norway’s windiest cities. There are 17 nature reserves in the area, and a few miles north is the Geitvagen recreation area, inhabited by a large number of white-tailed eagles. Bodo is also home to a 13th-century church, the Norwegian Aviation Museum and the Salten Museum, dedicated to North Norwegian culture and history.
Stamsund is a small fishing village on the island of Vestvagoy in the Lofoten Islands. There is a thriving theater community here, and the city hosts an annual international theater festival. Because of its location, Stamsund is the perfect place to view both the midnight sun and the northern lights. It is also an excellent spot for hiking, skiing and cod fishing.
Svolvaer is the capital of the Lofoten Islands, and, like so many other Lofoten towns, is also a fishing village. Its main sources of income come from cod fishing and salmon farming. With the mountains in such close proximity, mountain climbing is a popular pastime. The most famous of its peaks is Svolvaergeita, or “Svolvaer Goat.” Svolvaer is also home to several art galleries, a WWII museum and the Magic Ice Hall, an ice bar where guests are given warm clothes to wear as they sip their drinks and admire the icy decor. Depending on the time of year, visitors may even have the opportunity to go whale watching, where lucky observers may catch a glimpse of a killer whale or two.
Berlevag is a bustling fishing community on the shores of the Barents Sea, and it is home to Norway’s most famous salmon fishing river. Wildlife in the area is plentiful and includes harbor seals, reindeer and seabirds. Those looking for outdoor adventure will find plenty of options, including hiking one of the many nature trails, arctic scuba diving or riding one of the snowmobile trails. There is also a museum to entertain visitors, and don’t miss the Berlevag Men’s Choir, made famous in the documentary, "Heftig og begeistret" ("Cool and Crazy").
Affectionately referred to as “The Blue City,” Sortland is a harbor town where almost all the buildings have been painted blue. It is the leading shopping center of the area and is also considered one of the best music communities in Norway. Visitors will be treated to flowers of all colors, as well as a large variety of furry creatures, including rabbits, reindeer, foxes and otters. Sortland is also a great place for cod fishing and hiking. The nearby mountain, Steiroheia, offers hikers amazing views of the surrounding scenery and the northern lights.
Stokmarknes is a small town on the island of Hadsel. It is home to Hurtigruten Cruises -- formerly the Norwegian Coastal Express -- as well as the Coastal Express Museum. The museum showcases the history of the Coastal Express, beginning in the late 1800s, with photographs, lifelike exhibits, paintings, model ships and historical films. Also on display is the Hurtigruten ship MS Finnmarken. Built in 1956, the vessel is now docked on land and open to the public. Stokmarknes is also home to a contemporary art museum.
Nesna is a small fishing village known for Nesna Lobben, winter boots made of felt. Go deep-sea fishing for salmon, cod or halibut, take a ferry trip to one of the surrounding islands, or just sit on the wharf and enjoy the view.
Sandnessjoen is the busy hub and administrative center of the Alstahaug island community, and it lies along what is said to be some of the most beautiful coastline in the world. There is an elk safari within walking distance, as well as The Viking Centre of Helgeland, a historical center with a variety of Viking-related activities and contests. Nearby, visitors will find three medieval churches, a museum and a war memorial. There are also many good shopping opportunities, as well as a walking tour of the city that includes a stop at the pier to buy fresh fish.
Originally named Skjervo, Skjervoy is a municipality in the county of Tromso and consists of several islands, the most major of them being Arroya. Relying on fishing and shipyard industries, the smaller island of Skjervoya is home to most of the municipality’s residents, registering more than 2,000 in the central town alone. Historic sites include the church of Skjervoy, the oldest wooden church in the county of Tromso, and Marsund gard, an old trading post that features 19th-century houses. Deep-sea fishing is a popular pastime; salmon, sea trout and Arctic trout are indigenous to the area. From late May through late July, visitors will experience daylight 24 hours a day and, depending on visibility, may catch a glimpse of the midnight sun.
Bronnoysund is the administrative and commercial center of Bronnoy municipality in Nordland County, Norway. The original inhabitants were wiped out in a massacre during the medieval-era Norwegian civil wars. Immigrants from southern Norway, Trondelag and Sweden then repopulated the region, which might explain the unique dialect. In recent years, Bronnoysund has managed to create a certain economic growth and continues to be a very prosperous region. Highlights include the famous Torghatten mountain, with its characteristic hole through the middle; Skarsasen, a German fortress that dates to World War II; and the largest limestone mine in Northern Europe. Bronnoysund has mild winters considering the northern location, and a long frost-free season. Daytime temperatures are usually warmer during March through October.
Located on the mainland, Havoysund is the administrative center of Masoy. The small yet modern town is home to 1,200 people and boasts a varied landscape including views of the beach, fjord and mountains. Fishing and hiking are main attractions for many visitors to the area, but two museums and a variety of shops are located in town. Visit Havoygavelen to see the world’s northernmost windmill park; fantastic views of the Arctic Ocean are offered here as well. Hop over to the Arctic islands of Rolvsoy, Ingoya and Masoy for more fishing and hiking opportunities, or travel out of town in search of Russerhula (Russian cave), a Russian hiding place from the Germans during World War II.
Risoyhamn is a small community on the island of Andoya in Nordland County. Visitors to the area will enjoy the awe-inspiring landscapes and can wander through the local village museum or look for art, jewelry and paintings on exhibit at the Bolgeblikk gallery.
Finnsnes is a charming town in the county of Tromso. Originally a small farming community, it has grown into a thriving center of trade and service for approximately 35,000 people. While visiting, check out the Finnsnes House of Culture, which hosts a variety of local, national and international performers. Nearby cities Tromso and Harstad are just a short boat ride away and boast breathtaking scenery along the way. The island of Senja is accessible by the Gisund Bridge and is home to Anderdalen National Park and the “world’s largest troll” -- a 59-foot structure that houses a two-story, fairy-tale world based on old legends. The midnight sun is visible from late May through late July, as long as weather permits, allowing visitors the opportunity to enjoy daylight 24 hours a day.
Mehamn is a small fishing village on the north peninsula of Finnmark and is considered the northernmost fishing village of the world. Also the administrative center of Gamvik, this quaint town is home to 700 residents and a fantastic place to enjoy Norway’s natural habitat. Spend time deep-sea fishing for king crab, hiking the open terrain or learning about the indigenous Sami people and their way of life. Snowmobile trips to explore the area are a common excursion, and a visit to Kinnarodden, the northernmost point of the Europe mainland, is highly recommended.
The fishing town of Batsfjord is in Finnmark, the northernmost province of Norway, on the edge of the frigid Barents Sea. While the sea batters much of the rocky coast, the town of Batsfjord is sheltered from the worst of the elements and comfortably accommodates Arctic travelers. During the summer, visitors often visit the abandoned fishing village of Hamningsberg with its well-preserved 19th century buildings, or take a hike to see the world’s northern-most gannet colony. The streams and rivers of the area also offer many excellent opportunities for fishing, with the Syltefjord river in particular being rich with salmon.
Kjollefjord is a charming fishing village located in the northwestern part of the Nordkinn Peninsula. As you approach by ship, be on the lookout for Finnkjerka, the most graceful sea-cliff in Norway. Part of Finnkjerka is formed in the shape of a church, and concerts and masses are held here during the summer months. Legend tells that it used to be an ancient place of sacrifice for the Sami people.
Vadso offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor adventures with fishing, hunting and hiking amid unspoiled natural beauty. You can also visit Vadso Museum and learn more about Finnish culture.
The fishing village of Oksfjord is in Norway's country Finnmark. It is a major transportation hub with regular car ferry connections to the Nuvsvag, Bergsfjord, and Ssr-Tverrfjord areas. There is also a regular ferry connection from Oksfjord to the village of Hasvik on the neighboring island of Soroya.