Diversity delivers three seasons in one journey
Did you ever think a Scandinavian country internationally recognized for its spectacular wintertime northern lights display and its magical summer midnight sun could be equally mesmerizing during the rest of the year? If not, you haven’t heard about Norway’s Arctic Awakening.
Open Your Eyes to the Arctic Awakening
As the warm spring sun shines onto the deep blankets of snow covering Norway, the arctic awakening begins. Icy mountain peaks slowly begin to melt while budding tree branches and plants replace the fjords’ stark white canvas with bursts of vibrant green. With the thaw comes a fresh-faced Norway, a renewed landscape and a unique, carnal anticipation only nature can deliver.
For travelers visiting Norway, springtime brings remarkable variations in climate, sights and activities providing the unique diversity of three seasons in one journey. In the north, the seasonal warm-up will not yet have much influence on the terrain in Tromsø and other Arctic Circle cities. Visitors can take advantage of winter’s last hurrah with dogsledding and snowmobile trips in and around Lapland. Thousands of birds find rest in the open waters surrounding the Varanger Peninsula, such as the unique Steller’s eider and other arctic ducks as they eagerly await their impending migration. Move south toward Stavanger and see that spring has arrived with lusher coastlines under flocks of noisy whooper swans headed north as winter releases its grip, kick-starting the birds, plants and animals in their breeding and feeding.
In Bergen and the entire southern region, spring/summer life kicks into action where kayak outings, café strolling, and long days of natural explorations are punctuated by the surrounding snow-capped mountains. The people of Norway are active, hearty and energetic and their culture is steeped in the seasonal traditions of life. This is the time to bathe in the fresh beauty of coastal life and the stunning fjord-filled coastline. This is also a time of celebration and spring witnesses the festivities of Norway’s National Day where coastal communities become a blaze of color and tradition with parades and festivals. Come May, the vivid green and yellow ribbons that flutter in the Norwegian night sky have fully given way to the perpetual rays of the midnight sun.
Norway’s Celebrated ‘Hurtigruten Route’
The best way to witness Norway’s remarkable Arctic Awakening is to travel the inner-coastal route along the fjord-dotted western coastline. Hurtigruten celebrates 120 years of Coastal Voyages carrying local passengers and guests into the heart of authentic coastal Norway. Operating 11 small-size, modern cruise style vessels 365 days a year, each Hurtigruten departure is a purposeful voyage providing a transportation lifeline between coastal cities and villages while taking travelers to explore the stunning fjords and sites along the more than 1,000 miles of Norway’s pristine waterway. Most recent 2013 Hurtigruten onboard surveys report record overall satisfaction scores with highest ratings for cleanliness of public areas and cabins, safety during the voyage, and presence of ship’s staff and officers. These are very well-run operations which also carry the pride and reliability of one of Norway’s national transportation treasures.
Unlike virtually all mainstream cruise options to Norway, Hurtigruten’s key purpose does not include the indulgence-based priorities of a floating resort full of entertainment options, excessive dining and on-board shopping. On a Hurtigruten Coastal Voyage just about everything is different from a conventional ocean cruise. And for many travelers today that is just what they are looking for with immersion into Norwegian culture, people and nature featuring active and authentic experiences.
Proudly transporting both freight and passengers for 120 years, Hurtigruten is a world leader in expedition voyages, sailing to such remote destinations as Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic’s Spitsbergen, as well as year round along Norway’s coast and Europe in the spring and fall. The company’s fleet of 12 intimate ships, which each carry 100 to 646 guests, allows travelers to enjoy the scenery and culture of the destination in a relaxed atmosphere.
To learn more about coastal Norway and what to expect on the celebrated ‘Hurtigruten Route’, contact Hurtigruten’s dedicated US Reservations Call Center at 800-323-7436 or visit www.hurtigruten.us.