Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Voyage Photo Gallery

At the border of Russia and Norway near Kirkenes, Norway

 Tripsavvy / Linda Garrison

The cruise along the western coast of Norway has been called the "world's most beautiful" voyage, and the ever-present spectacular scenery and fascinating ports of call make this designation difficult to refute. Hurtigruten's fleet of coastal liners sails 12-day, 2500+ nautical mile round trip voyages between Bergen on the southwest coast of Norway and Kirkenes on the northern coast of Norway. Kirkenes is so close to the Russian border that it can easily be visited (but not crossed).

Since a ship leaves 365 days a year from Bergen and Kirkenes, this adventure is available year-round.

The towns, fjords, wildlife, and breathtaking Norwegian coastline are magnificent, and travelers can sail year-round on Hurtigruten's fleet of coastal liners that serve as both ferries and cruise ships.

This photo gallery tracks the 5-day southbound route of the Hurtigruten MS Midnatsol as we sailed from Kirkenes to Bergen. I also sailed southbound from Tromsø to Bergen on the ms Richard With, and some of the photos are from that shorter voyage. Guests can board in any port, and I had a day and a half in Tromsø before boarding the ms Richard With. This allowed more time to explore Tromsø and to do some kayaking in a nearby fjord.

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Vardø, Norway Harbor

"Cod is Great" sign greets visitors to the harbor in Vardø, Norway
Vardø, Norway (c) Linda Garrison

This "Cod is Great" sign reinforces the way Vardø fishermen feel about this Norwegian food staple. The sign greets Hurtigruten ships at their first port of call after leaving Kirkenes.

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Steilneset Memorial to the Victims of the Witch Trials in Vardø, Norway

Steilneset Memorial to the Victims of the Witch Trials in Vardø, Norway
Vardø Steilneset Memorial (c) Linda Garrison

In the early 17th century, government administrators at the Vardøhus fortress in Vardø, Norway held many witch trials. The Steilneset Memorial in Vardø is dedicated to the 91 victims of these trials. It was designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor and the French-American artist Louise Bourgeois. The Zumthor structure is a 400-foot long scaffolding, with tributes to each of the victims inside a suspended silken cocoon.

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Interior of the Steilneset Memorial to the Victims of the Witch Trials in Vardø

Interior of the Steilneset Memorial to the Victims of the Witch Trials in Vardø, Norway
Vardø Steilneset Memorial (c) Linda Garrison

The interior of the Steilneset Memorial is a single 400-foot long corridor with an oak floor. Along the walls are 91 illuminated windows, one for each of the Finnmark victims who were convicted of witchcraft and burned at the stake. Each victim also has a plaque telling his/her story. A total of 135 individuals were tried, and most of the 91 executed were women, but a handful were men.

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Exterior of the Steilneset Memorial to the Victims of the Witch Trials in Vardø

Exterior of glass building at Steilneset Memorial to the Victims of the Witch Trials in Vardø
Vardø Steilneset Memorial (c) Linda Garrison

This tiny glass box-like building sits next to the long scaffolding designed by Zumthor. This section designed by Louise Bourgeois is a stark contrast to the other building, and what's inside is even more memorable.

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Second Builiding of Steilneset Memorial designed by Louise Bourgeois

Endless flame in burning chair at the Steilneset Witch Trials Memorial in Vardø, Norway
Vardø Steilneset Memorial (c) Linda Garrison

The long cocoon-like structure was designed by Peter Zumthor, but the small box-like building of dark glass next to it was conceived by French contemporary artist Louise Bourgeois. This tiny memorial contains a steel chair surrounded by a concrete cone with a continually burning flame. The chair is surrounded by a set of circular mirrors. Entitled, "The Damned, The Possessed and The Beloved", the endless flame in this stark setting is impressive.

Zumthor used his part of the memorial to honor the victims and Bourgeois used her part to describe the horror of what happened. They both met their objectives.

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Church in Vardø, Norway

Church in Vardø, Norway
Vardø (c) Linda Garrison

This quiet church is located on the path linking the harbor where the Hurtigruten ships dock and the Steilneset Memorial and Vardøhus fortress.

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Vardøhus Fortress in Vardø, Norway

Vardøhus Fortress in Vardø, Norway
Vardø (c) Linda Garrison

The original Vardøhus Fortress dates back to the 14th century, and served as the seat of the regional government for hundreds of years. 

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Sod Roofs on Buildings at the Vardøhus Fortress in Vardø, Norway

Sod Roofs on Buildings at the Vardøhus Fortress in Vardø, Norway
Vardø (c) Linda Garrison
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Vardøhus Fortress and the Steilneset Memorial in Vardø, Norway

Vardøhus Fortress and the Steilneset Memorial in Vardø, Norway
Vardø (c) Linda Garrison

The contemporary Steilneset Memorial is a interesting contrast to the old fortress in Vardø. They both face the sea.

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Tundra near Mehamn, Norway

Tundra near Mehamn, Norway
Reindeer Spotting Excursion from Mehamn, Norway (c) Linda Garrison

A nighttime reindeer spotting excursion from the MS Midnatsol ran from 1 am to 3:30 am. The ride from Mehamn to Kjøllefjord was fascinating, filled with tundra, lakes, small cabins, and reindeer. 

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Reindeer near Mehamn, Norway

Reindeer near Mehamn, Norway
Reindeer near Mehamn, Norway (c) Linda Garrison

Our first reindeer on the nighttime/early morning reindeer spotting excursion from the MS Midnatsol of Hurtigruten.

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Small Cabin near Mehamn, Norway

Small Cabin near Mehamn, Norway
Small Cabin near Mehamn, Norway (c) Linda Garrison

Although Mehamn has only a few hundred residents, many of them have small cabins out in the country like this one. Guess even village residents like to get away!

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Sunrise Above the Arctic Circle near Mehamn, Norway

Sunrise Above the Arctic Circle near Mehamn, Norway
Sunrise near Mehamn, Norway (c) Linda Garrison

It's not even 2 am above the Arctic Circle in Norway, but the sun is starting to rise.

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Reindeer near Mehamn, Norway

Reindeer near Mehamn, Norway
Reindeer near Mehamn, Norway (c) Linda Garrison
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Reindeer at Sunrise in Norway

Reindeer at Sunrise in Norway
Reindeer near Mehamn, Norway (c) Linda Garrison
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Reindeer and Snow Fence in Norway

Reindeer and Snow Fence in Norway
Reindeer near Mehamn, Norway (c) Linda Garrison
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White Reindeer in Norway

White Reindeer in Norway
Reindeer near Mehamn, Norway (c) Linda Garrison

White reindeer represent only a small percentage of a herd, and they are considered good luck.

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Reindeer at Sunrise in Norway

Reindeer at Sunrise in Norway
Reindeer near Mehamn, Norway (c) Linda Garrison

It's 2:13 am above the Arctic Circle near Mehamn, Norway, and the sun has already brightened the sky. Great time to make pictures of reindeer silhouetted on the hilltop, isn't it?

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Reindeer at Sunrise in Norway

Reindeer at Sunrise in Norway
Reindeer near Mehamn, Norway (c) Linda Garrison

Here's a last look at a reindeer before he goes over the edge of the hilltop.

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Sunrise in Norway Above the Arctic Circle

Sunrise in Norway
Sunrise in Norway (c) Linda Garrison

It's August and about 2:15 am above the Arctic Circle. The sunrise is spectacular.

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Fog over Valley in Norway

Fog over Valley in Norway
Norway (c) Linda Garrison
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Cooking Reindeer Kebabs near Kjøllefjord, Norway

Cooking Reindeer Kebabs near Kjøllefjord, Norway
Kjøllefjord, Norway (c) Linda Garrison

After riding across the peninsula from Mehamn, the group stopped about two hours later on a hilltop overlooking the small town of Kjøllefjord. We ate snacks like reindeer kebabs while waiting to see the MS Midnatsol arrive.

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Kjøllefjord, Norway

Kjøllefjord, Norway Harbor
Kjøllefjord, Norway (c) Linda Garrison

We watched the MS Midnatsol sail into the large harbor at Kjøllefjord, Norway, boarded the ship at about 3:00 am, and sailed soon afterwards for the next port of call at Honningsvåg.

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Finnkjerka near Kjøllefjord, Norway

Finnkjerka near Kjøllefjord, Norway
Norway (c) Linda Garrison

Leaving Kjøllefjord, the Midnatsol sailed close to Finnkjerka, one of Norway's most famous rock formations.

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Nordkapp or North Cape in Norway

Nordkapp or North Cape in Norway
North Cape (c) Linda Garrison

Nordkapp (North Cape in English) plateau is celebrated as continental Europe's northernmost point at 71 degrees, 10 minutes, and 21 seconds north of the Equator and less than 1000 miles from the North Pole. The actual furthest most point is at Knivskjellodden, which is at 71 degrees, 11 minutes, and 8 seconds.

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Area near North Cape in Norway

Area near North Cape in Norway
North Cape (c) Linda Garrison

 We got very lucky and had a spectacular, calm day at the North Cape.

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Reindeer near the North Cape in Norway

Reindeer near the North Cape in Norway
North Cape (c) Linda Garrison

Many reindeer can be seen in the summertime on the drive to the North Cape (Nordkapp) from Honningsvåg.

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Reindeer near the North Cape in Norway

Reindeer near the North Cape in Norway
North Cape (c) Linda Garrison

 Never too many reindeer photos! They are like penguins--so exotic and beautiful.

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Drive to the North Cape in Norway

Drive to the North Cape in Norway
North Cape (c) Linda Garrison

It was a beautiful summertime morning on our drive to the North Cape from Honningsvåg.

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White Reindeer near the North Cape in Norway

White Reindeer near the North Cape in Norway
North Cape (c) Linda Garrison

Many reindeer are along the road from Honningsvåg to the North Cape in Norway.

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Reindeer near the North Cape in Norway

Reindeer near the North Cape in Norway
North Cape (c) Linda Garrison

I was surprised to see the white reindeer, but none with a red nose. 

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Promontory near the North Cape in Norway

Promotory at North Cape in Norway
Linda Garrison

The North Cape is surrounded by many other promontories or peninsulas, one of which is actually slightly further north. The North Cape is 71 degrees, 10 minutes, and 21 seconds; Knivskjellodden, a small point west of the Cape is at 71 degrees, 11 minutes, and 8 seconds. Not much difference, but important!

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The Globe at the North Cape (Nordkapp)

The Globe at the North Cape (Nordkapp)
North Cape (c) Linda Garrison

The Globe was erected at the North Cape in 1977 and is now its symbol. I joined in the fun and had my photo taken at The Globe. We had a gorgeous day, but often the weather is very windy and cold, even in the summer.

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Area Near the North Cape

Area Near the North Cape
Area Near the North Cape (c) Linda Garrison
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Reindeer in a Pasture on the Road to the North Cape in Norway

Reindeer in a Pasture on the Road to the North Cape in Norway
North Cape (c) Linda Garrison
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Momma and Baby Reindeer in a Pasture on the Road to the North Cape in Norway

Reindeer near the North Cape in Norway
North Cape (c) Linda Garrison
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Sami Man, Lavvu, and Reindeer

Sami Man, Lavvu, and Reindeer
Sami Man, Lavvu, and Reindeer (c) Linda Garrison

This Sami man posed for photos with one of his reindeer and a traditional lavvu, which is a Sami teepee. We stopped for a photo op at a shop that sold Sami-made handicrafts on the road to the North Cape.

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Sami Lavvu

Sami Lavvu
Sami Lavvu (c) Linda Garrison

It is interesting that the lavvu of the indigenous Sami of northern Scandinavia look much like the teepees of native North Americans.

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Hammerfest

Hammerfest
Hammerfest (c) Linda Garrison

Hammerfest is often called the world's most northerly town since it is the largest town over 70 degrees north. Other Norwegian settlements further north have tried to take the claim away from Hammerfest, but none are large enough to do so.

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Hammerfest Polar Bear

Hammerfest Polar Bear
Hammerfest Polar Bear (c) Linda Garrison

The polar bear is the symbol of Hammerfest, and this statue greets visitors as they drive into town. Although Norway doesn't have any polar bears on the mainland, this one is a little disconcerting when suddenly seen from a vehicle!

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Øksfjordjøkulen - Norway's Fifth Largest Glacier

Øksfjordjøkulen
Øksfjordjøkulen (c) Linda Garrison

The Hurtigruten MS Midnatsol sailed near the Øksfjordjøkulen, Norway's fifth largest glacier, on the route from Hammerfest to Skjervøy.

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Skjervøy

Skjervøy, Norway - Norwegian Coastal Voyage Port of Cal
Skjervøy (c) Linda Garrison

Skjervøy is one of many small towns visited by Hurtigruten ships on the western coast of Norway.

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Mountains near Skjervøy

Mountains near Skjervøy
Mountains near Skjervøy (c) Linda Garrison
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Lyng Alps of Norway

Lyng Alps of Norway
Lyng Alps of Norway (c) Linda Garrison

Sunset over the Lyng Alps is magical when the summer weather is good! This August photo was taken at about 10:15 pm.

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Sunset over the Lyng Alps of Norway from the MS Midnatsol

Sunset over the Lyng Alps of Norway from the MS Midnatsol
Sunset (c) Linda Garrison

What a magical evening as we sailed from Skjervøy towards Tromsø.

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Tromsø Arctic Cathedral

Tromsø Arctic Cathedral
Tromsø Arctic Cathedral(c) Linda Garrison

One of the shore excursions on the southbound Hurtigruten itinerary is a midnight concert at the Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø.

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Trondenes Church

Trondenes Church
Trondenes Church (c) Linda Garrison

The Trondenes Church dates back to medieval times, and those on the "Taste of Vesterålen" shore excursion from Harstad visit the church and the nearby Trondenes Historical Centre.

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Vesterålen

Vesterålen
Vesterålen (c) Linda Garrison

Vesterålen has some interesting farming country and rivers such as this one. A drive from Harstad to Sortland from the Hurtigruten MS Midnatsol features many lovely views of the Norwegian countryside.

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Vesterålen

Vesterålen
Vesterålen (c) Linda Garrison

Riding through the bright green fields and agricultural farms on Vesterålen is a nice shore excursion from a Hurtigruten ship.

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Old Ship Finnmarken in Stokmarknes

Old Ship Finnmarken in Stokmarknes
Stokmarknes (c) Linda Garrison

Ship pilot Richard With got the idea of a Norwegian coastal voyage in Stokmarknes, so it is appropriate that the Hurtigruten Museum is in this small town. It's just off the pier, behind this old Finnmarken ship.

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Raftsundet

Raftsundet
Raftsundet (c) Linda Garrison

The narrow Raftsundet strait is one of the most scenic parts of the southbound route of the Hurtigruten Norwegian coastal voyage. It's about 15 miles long and features towering mountains and marvelous vistas. 

The first time I visited Norway with Hurtigruten, I boarded a small sightseeing boat, and we motored through Raftsundet and the Trollfjorden while gazing at the magnificent scenery and looking for sea eagles. The second time I was in Norway with Hurtigruten, I took a much faster boat ride through the Raftsundet on a Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) with RIB Lofoten. This ride was more exhilarating, but fun and exciting. I would recommend either of these shore excursions to those sailing the coastal route with Hurtigruten or visiting the Lofoten islands.

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Raftsundet

Raftsundet
Raftsundet (c) Linda Garrison
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Bridge at North Entrance to Raftsundet

Bridge at North Entrance to Raftsundet
Raftsundet (c) Linda Garrison
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Raftsundet

Raftsundet
Raftsundet (c) Linda Garrison
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Sea Eagle

Sea Eagle soaring over Norway
Sea Eagle (c) Linda Garrison

While on the Hurtigruten MS Midnatsol, we boarded a small boat in search of sea eagles. We saw hundreds of sea gulls, but only a few sea eagles. However, I did get some great photos of the Midnatsol and saw some spectacular scenery in the Raftsundet.

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Feeding Sea Gulls

Feeding Sea Gulls
Feeding Sea Gulls (c) Linda Garrison

We only saw a few sea eagles, but had fun feeding and photographing the sea gulls on our small boat sea eagle safari from the Hurtigruten MS Midnatsol. The spectacular background added a lot to those photos.

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Raftsundet

Raftsundet
Raftsundet (c) Linda Garrison
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Raftsundet

Raftsundet
Raftsundet (c) Linda Garrison
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Raftsundet

Raftsundet
Raftsundet (c) Linda Garrison
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Raftsundet

Raftsundet
Raftsundet (c) Linda Garrison
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Trollfjord

Trollfjord
Trollfjord (c) Linda Garrison

Trollfjord is less than a mile long and only about 100 yards wide at its narrowest point. Tall cliffs surround the spectacular fjord, and Hurtigruten ship Captains take their ships into the fjord to give guests spectacular views (weather permitting). Can you see the kayak at the base of the rocky cliff? This fjord is not as large as Geirangerfjord, but is almost as magnificent.

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Svolværgeita or Goat Mountain in Lofoten

Svolværgeita or Goat Mountain in Lofoten
Svolværgeita (c) Linda Garrison

Goat Mountain overlooks the town of Svolvær in the Lofoten archipelago of Norway. Lofoten attracts a lot of mountain climbers, and some have been known to jump the 5 feet separating the two rocky goat horns. The next picture shows that even reaching the horns would be a difficult climb for most people.

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Svolvær, Lofoten Islands

Svolvær, Lofoten Islands
Svolvær, Lofoten Islands (c) Linda Garrison

Many visitors to Lofoten use Svolvær as a base. Although tourism is one of the major sources of revenue now, fishing is still a major industry. Those who love outdoor activities love the Lofoten islands, and many have been known to climb Goat Mountain, which overlooks the town. See the previous photo for more information on the rocky goat horns that can be seen protruding from the mountain in the center of this picture.

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Horseback Riding on the Beach in the Lofoten Islands

Horseback Riding on the Beach in the Lofoten Islands
Lofoten (c) Linda Garrison

While in Svolvær in the Lofoten Islands of Norway, I took a horseback riding excursion to Hov Hestegård, where we rode for an hour on a sandy beach and over a fascinating trail. We rode on these gentle Icelandic horses. It was quite a memorable late afternoon, and we rejoined the Hurtigruten MS Midnatsol in Stamsund.

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Lofoten Islands Sunset

Lofoten Islands Sunset
Lofoten Islands Sunset (c) Linda Garrison

While on our horseback riding excursion from Hov Hestegård, we watched the sun set over the Lofoten Islands of Norway.

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Icelandic Horse at Hov Hestegård on Lofoten

Icelandic Horse at Hov Hestegård on Lofoten
Icelandic Horse (c) Linda Garrison

Mimir was the Icelandic horse I rode on our horseback riding shore excursion at Hov Hestegård in the Lofoten Islands, which was from a 5-night Hurtigruten Norwegian coastal voyage from Kirkenes to Bergen on the MS Midnatsol. Their mild temperament makes them a good choice for inexperienced riders like me, and their excellent gait makes them a good choice for skilled riders, too.

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Island in the Arctic Circle in the North Atlantic

Island in the Arctic Circle in the North Atlantic
Norway (c) Linda Garrison

I don't even know the name of this island, but I loved the way the mushroom-shaped (or was it a cupcake-top) cloud covered the peak. I was outside on the deck waiting for our cross of the Arctic Circle headed southbound on the Hurtigruten MS Midnatsol and the ms Richard With.

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Arctic Circle Marker between Ørnes and Nesna

Arctic Circle Marker between Ørnes and Nesna
Arctic Circle Marker (c) Linda Garrison

The MS Midnatsol crossed the Arctic Circle at 66 degrees 33 minutes, and 44 seconds north latitude. The Arctic Circle is the southernmost latitude in the Northern Hemisphere at which the sun can remain continuously above the horizon for 24 hours at the June summer solstice and continuously below the horizon at the December winter solstice.

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Cleaning Eider Down on Vega

Cleaning Eider Down on Vega
Cleaning Eider Down on Vega (c) Linda Garrison

Harvesting eider down from duck nests, cleaning it, and using the down to make bedding and clothing is a traditional occupation in the Vega islands of Norway. Learning about this fascinating industry was interesting for all of us on the Hurtigruten shore excursion from Sandnessjøen.

Would you pay over $4000 for a duvet? That's the approximate price for those made from the down of eider ducks. After learning about the process of taking care of the ducks, harvesting the down, cleaning the down, and making the duvets, I can understand why they cost so much. The Vega Islands of Norway are famous for their  eider down bedding.

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Village of Nes in the Vega Islands

Village of Nes in the Vega Islands
Vega Islands (c) Linda Garrison

The Vega group of hundreds of islands achieved UNESCO World Heritage status in 2004 for the way it reflects the work and culture of those living near the Arctic Circle, particularly the practice of eider down harvesting. Nes is a small village on the north side of Vega on the Helgeland coast and Vega is the largest of the 59 inhabited islands in the archipelago. Nes is home to the Eider Museum.  

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Vega Islands - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Vega Islands - UNESCO World Heritage Site
Vega (c) Linda Garison
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Vega Islands

Vega Islands
Vega Islands (c) Linda Garrison
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Vega Islands - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Vega Islands - UNESCO World Heritage Site
Vega Islands (c) Linda Garrison
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Torghatten Mountain

Torghatten Mountain
Torghatten Mountain (c) Linda Garrison

The tunnel hole in Torghatten Mountain is 480 feet long, 115 feet high, and 50 feet wide.

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Trondheim

Trondheim
Trondheim (c) Linda Garrison
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Trondheim

Trondheim
Trondheim (c) Linda Garrison
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Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim

Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim
Nidaros Cathedral (c) Linda Garrison

 The Nidaros Cathedral is one of the must-see sights in Trondheim, Norway.

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Kristiansund

Kristiansund
Kristiansund (c) Linda Garrison
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Road from Kristiansund to Molde

Road from Kristiansund to Molde
Atlantic Road (c) Linda Garrison

The drive from Kristiansund to Molde is very scenic, with lots of interesting countryside, plus the Atlantic Road, a 5.2 mile civil engineering marvel.

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Road from Kristiansund to Molde

Road from Kristiansund to Molde
Atlantic Road (c) Linda Garrison
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Kvernes Stave Church

Kvernes Stave Church
Kvernes Stave Church (c) Linda Garrison

This beautiful 13th century stave church is very ornate on the inside.

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Kvernes Stave Church

Kvernes Stave Church
Kvernes Stave Church (c) Linda Garrison

The Kvernes Stave Church dates back to the 13th century and is near Avernøy, Norway.

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Atlantic Road

Atlantic Road
Atlantic Road (c) Linda Garrison

The Atlantic Road is a civil engineering marvel on the west coast of Norway. It stretches for about 5 miles and includes 8 bridges.

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Atlantic Road

Atlantic Road
Atlantic Road (c) Linda Garrison

This bridge on the Atlantic Road in Norway looks almost like a ski jump, doesn't it?

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Bergen - Gateway to the Fjords

Bergen, Norway
Linda Garrison

All too soon our 5-day cruise from Kirkenes to Bergen was over. Our Hurtigruten coastal ship covered over  2300 nautical miles, stopped at 31 ports on our voyage along the western coast of Norway, and crossed the Arctic Circle. The lucky guests saw many unique places, enjoyed great fish, and chowed down on the best crab legs I've ever tasted.

My only regret was that we didn't get to sail back to Kirkenes on the 7-day voyage north. Many of the ports on the northbound voyage are different, and even those that repeat are seen at a different time of day or night. Since the Hurtigruten ships sail year-round, the voyage is likely to be much different in another season, too. 

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