The colours of Norway: checking in to historic rorbuer

There’s perhaps no other country on the planet that excites your imagination quite like Norway. The mystique no doubt comes from the heart-stopping landscapes, a countryside carved by soaring fjords and edge-of-the-Earth mountains, studded with gem-like glaciers. It also comes from the extremes – months of nothing but sunshine 24 hours a day, followed by an equally long season of sub-zero temperatures and darkness, often characterised by the ethereal glow of the aurora borealis.

Think of these ghostly dancing lights as a nocturnal rainbow, casting the sky aglow with shades ranging from green to gold to magenta. Unpredictable in nature, and unbelievable in appearance. Perhaps they gave inspiration to the eye-popping rorbuer that they watch over.

Hamnoy, Norway Norge
Hamnoy © Piotr Krzeslak

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Many believe that rorbuer (traditional fishermen’s cabins) are painted up in every hue imaginable for practical reasons: on a winter’s night, minus the northern lights overhead, the only thing guiding hardy sailors back to shore was the blazing colour of these waterside shacks. The cottages were a welcome refuge from the cold – a place for hardy souls to warm up between expeditions at sea.

They became particularly popular in scenic destinations like the Lofoten Islands, a wild and wonderful archipelago draped across the turbulent waters of the Norwegian Sea, far above the Arctic Circle.

It’s a place of staggering beauty, but also starkness, amplified back in the 10th century when fishermen first started coming here for seasonal cod. They’d spend most of the winter here and, of course, needed somewhere to sleep. Enter the rorbuer, built under the decree of then ruler, King Øystein.

Svolvær, Norway
Svolvær © Ørjan Bertelsen

Today, having these homes painted in candy colours has become a tradition, and one that most Norwegians embrace. The coastal cabins now range from rustic to small mansions, and most locals have one that they use as a holiday house – or have transformed into a café, restaurant or tourist accommodation.

Cruise Norway’s coastline, then check in to one of these huts for a true taste of the county’s hospitality, and history. 

Dreaming of visiting Norway? Make the most of Hurtigruten’s New Year Global Expedition Sale and enjoy savings of up to $1,500 on select 2021/22 Norway expeditions cruises.

Snow mobile on the Artic Coast
© ÿrjan Bertelsen

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.

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