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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hurtigruten or Hurtigruta (literally "Express Route", but sometimes referred to as Norwegian Coastal Express in English) is a Norwegian passenger and freight line with daily sailings along Norway's spectacular western and northern coast. Ships sail almost the entire length of the country, completing the roundtrip journey in 11 days. The trip has been described as the "World's Most Beautiful Sea Voyage." Highlights include the Hanseatic League city of Bergen, the Geiranger fjord (summer only), and the Lofoten Islands.

MS Polarlys – One of Hurtigrutens "New Generation" ships on an Arctic voyage.


Company history

SS Vesteraalen near Bodø on its first round-trip in 1893.

Hurtigruten traces its origins more than one hundred years back; it was established in 1893 by government contract to improve communications along Norway's long, jagged coastline. SS Vesteraalen commenced on the first round-trip journey from Trondheim on 2 July 1893 bound for Hammerfest, with calls at Rørvik, Brønnøy, Sandnessjøen, Bodø, Svolvær, Lødingen, Harstad, Tromsø and Skjervøy. The ship arrived Svolvær on Monday 3 July at 8pm (after 35,5 hours) and arrived at its northbound destination of Hammerfest on Wednesday 5 July, completing the northbound leg between Trondheim and Hammerfest in a total of 67 hours. Richard With, considered the founder of Hurtigruten, was also the captain of the Vesteraalen on this trip. At present, 15 January 2010 the distance between Trondheim and Svolvær is covered in 33 hours and Trondheim - Hammerfest in 41 hours and 15 min.

Originally only one shipping company, Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab, was willing to take on the job of sailing the then poorly charted waters; the voyage was especially difficult during the long, dark winters. Hurtigruten, which roughly translates as "the express route," was a substantial breakthrough for communities along its path. Mail from central Norway to Hammerfest had taken three weeks in the summer and up to five months in winter, now it could be delivered in a mere seven days.

The 1982-built MS Narvik in Svolvær. The ship was sold in 2007.

Encouraged by Vesteraalen's early success, several other shipping companies obtained the concession to operate on the route and the Hurtigruten service expanded to the current round trip between Bergen in the southwest, and Kirkenes in the far northeast. A fleet of 11 ships ensures that each of the 34 ports is visited twice daily; once by northbound and once by southbound ships.

Beginning in the 1980s, the role of Hurtigruten changed; operating subsidies were gradually phased out and the operators put more emphasis on tourism. New, bigger and more luxurious ships were introduced, with attention given to jacuzzis, bars, restaurants and other comforts. However, Hurtigruten still serves important passenger and cargo needs, and operates 365 days a year.

The last two independent shipping companies, Ofotens og Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab (OVDS) and Troms Fylkes Dampskibsselskap (TFDS), merged on 1 March 2006 and changed their name to Hurtigruten Group (Hurtigruten ASA from April 2007). Besides the traditional coastal voyage, the new company also operates ferries and high-speed regional express ships in Norway, as well as cruises around Greenland, South America and Antarctica.


MS Nordlys at Hammerfest in June 2005, displaying the TFDS funnel colours.

The classical coastal steamer vessel Finnmarken (previous to the current vessel of the same name), built in 1956, is now on dry land at Stokmarknes as a museum for tourists, used to show Hurtigruten over the years. A new Finnmarken has since been added to the fleet. Two vessels of the oldest generation are still in daily line use, MS Nordstjernen (built in 1956) and MS Lofoten (1964), although only in winter as replacements for vessels that are used for Antarctic cruises in this time. The other vessels currently in use were all built between 1982 and 2003, most of them in the late 1990s or early 2000s. An additional new ship, MS Fram, named after Fridtjof Nansen's famous expedition ship Fram, was delivered in 2007. She is used exclusively for cruises, around Greenland during the northern hemisphere summer season, and around Antarctica during the northern hemisphere winter season.[1]

Financial problems

Map of the route. Former ports of call are shown in grey

Hurtigruten is currently (2008) going through a period of financial difficulties.[2] This is the result of an extensive upgrade of the company's fleet of ships. According to a newspaper article in BT, the company has lost NOK 186 millions during the first six months of 2008, and are expecting even bigger losses in the next 6 months. Hurtigruten has so far this year been the biggest loser on the Norwegian Stock Exchange, suffering a net loss of nearly 56 percent. This has prompted the CEO of Hurtigruten, Olav Fjell, to ask the Norwegian Government to help the company financially.[3]

Sailing list

In the sequence of the northerly passage.


  1. ^ Micke Asklander. "MS Fram (2007)" (in Swedish). Fakta om Fartyg. Retrieved 2008-02-07.  
  2. ^ VG Nett "200 staff loose their job in Hurtigruten" [1]
  3. ^ "We will not make any promises". Norway Mail. Retrieved 2008-04-09.  

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Scandinavia : Norway : Hurtigruten

This article is an itinerary.

Hurigruten [1] (Norwegian Costal Steamer) is a voyage along the norwegian cost from Bergen to Kirkenes.


Hurtigruten is a voyage along Norway's jagged coastline. This voyage is sometime called the world's most beautiful voyage. Originally, Hurtigruten was used as a means of transportation for passengers along the coast. And for transportation of goods, and mail. The ship still transport cargo. But the ships are bigger today, and resemble cruise ships.

The voyage is a simple way of combining lodging, eating, and transportation in one 6 to 12 day voyage (port stops might be somewhat brief, as short as 5 minutes up to 5-6 hours) unless one purchases an off-&-on ticket) which contrasts to Norway-in-a-Nutshell tours (2-3 days).

A museum, including parts and one whole, prior versions of the ship Finnmarken, sits in one port, Stokmarknes, which explains the history of the line.

Some ports livelihood revolve around the daily arrival and departure of these ferries (at all hours of day and night).


The price for a full round-trip would be like the price for a ordinary cruise. However it is possible to join the voyage only for part of the voyage. The cost for a such voyage is calculated partly for the distances traveled, and for the cabins. If you would like to cut the cost. This can therefore be done by only traveling during daytime, or stay onboard only one night. Most ships are capable of carrying cars (typically 40-50, excepting the 2 oldest ships). This could make possibilities for interesting round-trip.

Sea-sickness: yes, it is possible. A number of reaches are exposed to the full force of the Atlantic. During winter, there is no assurance that any of the ferries will make it all the way to Kirkenes.

Get in

The southern end stop for Hurtigruten is Bergen. The northern stop is Kirkenes, by the norwegian-russian border. It is possible to embark the ship on all ports the ship calls.

The Trollfjord, a recently completed (2002?) 16K ton class ferry in Bergen
The Trollfjord, a recently completed (2002?) 16K ton class ferry in Bergen

Hurtigruten call these ports, listed from south to north:

Get out

Drive back in a car. A full roundrip Bergen-Bergn with ship one way, driving one way, would require two weeks.

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