Longyearbyen is Svalbard's main town. Credit: Hurtigurten

Top 10 reasons to travel on Hurtigruten’s Svalbard Express

Author: Daniel Edward

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Experience much-loved Norway with the line that has been sailing these waters for 130 years. True experts of Norway, Hurtigruten showcases this stunning country in new ways

Hurtigruten sounds Norwegian, because it is Norwegian. And has been for over 130 years. If anyone knows the majestic and enthralling waters of the northern European gem, it’s Hurtigruten.

Perhaps less known by the mass market, Hurtigruten’s ships and itineraries create an elevated experience for those seeking to do more than just look. Don’t just visit Norway. Live it.

And if there’s one itinerary that rises up above the rest, it’s got to be Hurtigruten’s signature voyage: The Svalbard Express.

The best way to experience Norway
Offering 10 departure dates in 2024 between May and September, Hurtigruten’s Svalbard Express is a 16-day adventure onboard MS Trollfjord, from Bergen all the way along the northern Norwegian coastline to Spitsbergen, the largest of Svalbard’s islands.

More than half of the voyage is spent in the Arctic Circle, with night skies illuminated by the midnight sun.

If you needed any more convincing, here are 10 reasons to set sail with Hurtigruten this year:

Experience a magical voyage deep into the Arctic Circle. Credit: Hurtigruten

1. Exquisite local food
As the local specialist, Hurtigruten works closely with small-scale Norwegian producers to select the very best, seasonal produce. From fish to evening cocktails, dining aboard MS Trollfjord has a distinctly Norwegian flair.

2. Visit the closest town to the North Pole
Over 130 years, Hurtigruten knows Norway’s coastline better than anyone. The signature Svalbard Express calls into Longyearbyen – the world’s northernmost permanent settlement, and closest to the North Pole.

3. Witness the midnight sun
It’s a striking phenomenon, when the night sky is bright with a never-setting sun. Norway’s never-ending daytime has been given many names, including ‘polar day’ and ‘white night’. Whatever you call it, you’ll want to stay up to witness it first-hand.

4. Long stays in port to explore
On average, you’ll enjoy six hours for each port visit, giving plenty of time to head out on an excursion, or an independent adventure. In Norway, there’s so much choice of things to do ashore, from breathtaking coastal walks to fascinating ancient culture.

Crossing the Arctic Circle is a bucket-list experience. Credit: Shutterstock

5. Come face to face with Vikings and sea life
Northern Europe was, of course, the heart of the Viking civilisation and Tromsø has an impressive Viking homestead to visit. Learn more about this society of warriors who shaped this region for centuries, and whose influence remains to this day.

6. Polar wildlife all around
For a true appreciation of the natural world, ready your binoculars for some fabulous wildlife spotting. In the cold arctic waters, whales arch majestically, sea eagles soar, and moustached walruses sunbathe on the sandy beaches.

7. A tradition worth joining
Hurtigruten has sailed these waters for over 130 years and know them better than anyone. And your onboard experience honours the line’s rich history of sailing, with nods to Norwegian heritage and culture. MS Trollfjord is a haven of Scandi-chic, with the perfect balance of intimacy and space to escape.

8. Of course, it’s the people
The people you sail with make such a difference to the voyage. And we’re talking, really, about the crew. Ina, a member of the Coastal experience team, has been sailing with Hurtigruten for 25 years and brings a wealth of knowledge to enrich your travels. And the wider team includes nature, wildlife and culture experts in addition to the wonderful hospitality teams.

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9. …and the ship itself
MS Trollfjord is the ideal ship for your voyage north into the Arctic Circle. Built in 2002, and refurbished just last year, the ship is the perfect size for visiting lesser-visited remote ports. The onboard library, shop, sauna, sun deck and restaurants keep you entertained when at sea.

10. Now’s the time for an offer
It’s an incredible cruise, so what could make it better? How about return flights included in the price and some discount plus some onboard credit for Arctic Superior Cabins and Suites thrown in for good measure? Well, your call has been answered. Hurtigruten is offering flights, up to £1,200 off per person, and £250 onboard credit for select sailings, booked before March 31, 2024.

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