Hurtigruten has sailed the Norwegian coast since 1893. Credit: Hurtigruten

Hurtigruten’s Coastal Express is a year-round classic: What to expect at different times of year

Author: Daniel Edward

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The 12-day Coastal Express voyage runs year-round from Bergen into the magnificent Norwegian Fjords and beyond

Norway’s landscapes dramatically morph and transform as the seasons pass, so it’s truer to say that you’ve visited Norway in June than just, I’ve visited Norway.

Hurtigruten’s 12-day Coastal Express voyage is a great example of Norway’s ever-changing coastal highlights throughout the year.

In 12-days you’ll gain the most enthralling overview of Norway’s fabled coastline. You’ll visit 34 ports – some big, some tiny – cross the Arctic Circle twice, and cover a distance of about 2,500 nautical miles.

Take an autumn or winter sailing and you’ll be keeping your eyes peeled at night for a showing of the majestic Northern Lights. In the summer, on the other hand, the snow has cleared and the country comes to life with festivals and exciting wildlife-spotting opportunities.

Right now, Hurtigruten is running a promotion offering savings on all new bookings of the 12-day Coastal Express voyage.

Winter for Northern Lights
The aurora borealis are an enticing draw for people visiting Norway in the colder, darker winter months. Northern Norway is an ideal viewing point for these otherworldly, dancing rays.

And locals look forward to nature’s best annual light show just as much as visiting tourists. There’s an annual festival held from January 26 to February 2, where Norway’s top musicians come together to encourage the Northern Lights to show themselves. Two shows in one, if you’re lucky enough to have the Northern Lights at the same time as a concert.

The northern lights have captivated people for millennia. Credit: Shutterstock

Summer for Fjords and festivals
It’s little doubt that Norway’s fjords are a top reason for visiting the country, and (of course) the best way to visit any fjord is on the water – sailing serenely up a glacial channel, flanked by monumental skyscrapers of rock.

The Coastal Express voyage features two fjords – Geirangerfjord and Trollfjord. Check your exact dates for which fjord is included in your sailing.

The Geirangerfjord is widely considered to be the most spectacular of all the Norwegian fjords. You’ll sail past cliffs that soar almost a kilometre above you, and tumbling waterfalls charged by the melting snow above – perhaps the most famous being the Seven Sisters.

Right at the head of the fjord is the small town of Geiranger. Just 250 people live here, but in summer it comes to life with visitors who come to camp in this paradisical setting, or experience the Geirangerfjord Skywalk at 1.5km above sea level.

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Taking in the views of the fjord from both sea level and then the highest viewing point accessible by road in Europe is quite the memorable day.

Trollfjord isn’t a big as Geirangerfjord, but it just as impressive. This time because of how close you’ll get to the cliffs that hem in the water.

At its narrowest point, Trollfjord is just 100m wide, making this the best fjord for getting up close to the nature you’re sailing through.

In fact, the fjord gets so narrow that you’ll probably start wondering how the captain intends to turn around… don’t worry, it widens out further along for a striking 180 degree turn, showcasing the full panorama.

Trollfjord is featured on itineraries from May to October.

Norway is a land of majestic fjords. Credit: Shutterstock

Summer is also the season of festivals in Norway. The snow has melted and the midnight sun steals the show in the northern reaches of the country. Saint John’s Eve is a popular celebration of the summer solstice and birth of Saint John the Baptist, every June 23. You’ll see locals lighting huge bonfires and there’s a wonderful atmosphere.

For music lovers, there’s Bergenfest, a two-week music festival showcasing the very best of Norwegian and international music. It’s not just the music to excited about though – the festival is hosted at the Bergenhus Fortress, a medieval castle.

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