When it comes to adventure, wildlife and nature, Norway has few peers. And while the winter months offer a chance of witnessing the otherworldly Northern Lights, the summer months are just as beguiling. At this time of the year, you can watch whales – humpback, sperm and orca – lobtailing in the churning waters off the jagged coast. Then sail among the goldmine of majestic fjords studded with glistening waterfalls; explore the Arctic tundra and scenic archipelagos home to reindeer, oxen, moose, the elusive Arctic fox and even the nomadic polar bear; or follow the lead of locals and simply spend an afternoon cooking up a barbecue in one of the many green spaces sprinkled throughout the Scandinavian country’s cities and villages. Here, enjoying nature is very much an active pursuit, and this is one of Europe’s – if not the world’s – most diverse adventure tourism destinations.
Best of all, visitors can experience these seemingly endless summer diversions under the perpetual daylight of the Midnight Sun. From late June to early August, it never truly gets dark anywhere in the country, and temperatures are pleasant at both on land and at sea. Of course, the best place to revel in the sunshine is as far north as possible, as this natural phenomenon occurs north of 66° N 33’, between the vernal equinox and autumnal equinox. Once you cross the Polar Circle – the theoretical line that divides Norway in two – you will most certainly notice the difference.
Perhaps the Norwegian author Knut Hamsun described this natural phenomenon best in his 1994 novel Pan, writing: “Night was coming on again; the sun just dipped into the sea and rose again, red, refreshed, as if it had been down to drink. I could feel more strangely on those nights than anyone would believe.” Living this moment for yourself is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Reach the unreachable
Norway means ‘narrow way through the straits’, which is rather apt given the mighty glacial fjords that spill like a never-ending chain down its marvellous western coast. And the most popular way to witness the country’s grandeur is by cruising its otherwise often unreachable landscapes.
Hurtigruten offers a variety of voyages that extensively cover the country’s coastline – including the famed scenery of Vesterålen, Lofoten and North Cape – with stops along the way to immerse yourself in the remote natural beauty and colourful fishing villages the region is renowned for.
Midnight Sun Summer Expedition
With multiple departures between April and September 2021, the ‘Midnight Sun Summer Expedition’ allows guests to experience the very best of the warmer months in Norway. Whether on a whale safari in Vesterålen for a close encounter with these gentle giants; spotting the still-standing (and tiny) 15th-century church on the island of Grip, where storms occasionally sweep the buildings to sea; marvelling at the feat of engineering that is the Flåm Railway (one of the world’s most picturesque rail journeys); or taking the perfect shot of that famous row of colourful, toy-like houses on the shore of Bergen, this journey will allow you to delve deeper into the selection of ports and sights handpicked by Hurtigruten’s team of experts.
- Taking a trip on the Fløibanen funicular in Bergen, up to the nearby Mount Fløyen for mountain walks and magnificent views of the city.
- Finding out why Tromsø has been dubbed the ‘Paris of the North’, with a spot of shopping, perusing its bold architecture and tasting its creative cuisine.
- Standing at 71°10’21”N – Norway’s North Cape and the northernmost point in Europe – and gazing across the sea and over the iconic globe monument.
- Joining in the summer activities at Træna – one of the first human settlements in the far north and among Norway’s oldest fishing communities – such as island-hopping, taking a sauna in an old boathouse, tasting local fish produce, bathing in the sea, hiking through a 700-metre-long tunnel to the top of a mountain, and attending a concert on the island of Sanna in a gigantic cathedral-like cave.
- Visiting the Gothic-style Nidaros Cathedral, built over the burial site of St. Olav, Norway’s patron saint, in Trondheim (aka ‘The Viking City’).
- Getting truly off-the-beaten-track at Hjørundfjord, considered one of the most beautiful fjords in the country and surrounded by the Sunnmøre Alps, with peaks soaring 1,700 metres straight up from the sea.
Book with confidence
Booking a holiday during this time of travel restrictions and general uncertainty can feel risky. To make you feel more confident with planning and booking ahead, Hurtigruten has adopted a new cancellation policy for all new bookings for 2021 and 2022 voyages: book a cruise by 31 October 2020 and if you cancel for any reason in the future, you’ll receive your refund – including your deposit – within 14 days. Yep, you read that correctly. No more vouchers and no month-long waiting times – you will get your money back in just two weeks.
This article was produced with content supplied by Hurtigruten and is a Vacations & Travel digital exclusive. Be the first to see more exclusive online content by subscribing to the e-newsletter here.