Our voyage starts in Hamburg, a major port city situated on the Elbe River in northern Germany. 1,740,000 inhabitants make it Germany's second-largest city. Hamburg takes great pride in its mercantile background, which built the city's wealth in the past centuries. From 1241 on, it was member of the Hanseatic League, a medieval trade monopoly over Northern Europe. The mercantile background reflects in the city's architecture. The only palace in Hamburg is the town hall, which houses the citizen's parliament and the senate. Apart from that, the city still has large quarters with expensive houses and villas.
Enjoy the comfort of MS Fram while we cross the North Sea and head towards Norway. Our expedition team will give interesting lectures about the history and biology of the area we are in.
Lysefjord and Stavanger, Norway
The Lysefjord is 40 kilometres long and 422 metres deep at its deepest. Preikestolen, the most famous tourist attraction in Ryfylke, towers an impressive 604 metres over the Lysefjord. This is a flat mountain plateau of approx 600 square metres. We will spend the morning hours in Lysefjord, and hopefully get a nice view to Preikestolen and the Kjerag peak that with its 1084 meters towers above the other peaks along the Lysefjord. Stavanger is the 4th largest city of Norway with a population of approx 290.000 and it is commonly referred to as the Petroleum Capital of Norway. Its history stretches back to the Vikings, the city has been a historical, cultural and administrative centre for the region though time already before it was chosen to be on-shore centre of the oil industry of the North Sea in 1969. Since then, a period of hectic growth has followed. The city is today a combination of old and new – here you find modern industries and old buildings – the oldest cathedral of Norway is situated right in the heart of the centre.
Rosendal and Ulvik, Norway
This morning we arrive Rosendal, known for its barony which is one of the most important museums found in Western Norway. Being situated “at the entrance of the Hardangerfjord”, this castle is the only barional manor in Norway. The castle is surrounded by a beautiful landscape park. After this visit we sail into the Hardangerfjord and continue to Ulvik, situated in the side arm “Ulvikfjord” of the inner Hardangerfjord. The Ulvik urban settlement has 661 inhabitants. The centre of the village, Brakanes, has a cinema as well as a few shops. In both these villages our PolarCirkel boats will be used for transferring our guests ashore.
Eidfjord in Hardangerfjord, Norway
We spend the morning hours in Eidfjord, where we will call at port. Eidfjord is especially known for the waterfall Vøringfossen with a free fall of 182 meters. In Eidfjord you also find the visitors centre of the Hardangervidda National Park. We leave Eidfjord in the afternoon, and sail out again through the Hardanger fjord. With its 179 km, it is the second largest fjord in Norway.
Flåm and Balestrand in Sognefjord, Norway
We arrive Flåm in the morning. This village with some 500 inhabitants, at the inner end of the Aurlandsfjord, is a popular tourist destination since the late 19th century. Most come to enjoy the spectacular 20-kilometer Flåmsbana railway between Flåm and Myrdal, one of the steepest railway tracks in the world. From Flåm we sail into the Sognefjord to a visit in Balestrand. This small and picturesque village has drawn tourists since the latter half of the 19th century. With a unique cultural history and special architecture, Balestrand has heritage to protect and show to its visitors, like Kvikne's Hotel built in 1877 with an imposing façade built in the Swiss style, and in its many lounges you can see beautiful paintings by well-known artists. Landing in Balestrand will be conducted with our PolarCirkel boats.
Ålesund, Geiranger, Geirangerfjord, Norway
Ålesund is a colourful and picturesque coastal town that is renowned for its charming Art Nouveau architecture.
It began after a devastating fire in 1904, when the town was rebuilt in the ornate construction style that was fashionable at that time – Art Nouveau - a style distinguished by elaborate spires, towers of all shapes and highly detailed ornamentation. We spend some time here before we sail in to Geirangerfjord and visit Geiranger in the evening hours. The fjord is one of Norway's most visited tourist sites and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, jointly with Nærøyfjord, since 2005. Along the fjord's sides there lie a number of now abandoned farms. The fjord is also host to several impressive waterfalls, like the seven sisters and the bridal veil. We use our PolarCirkel boats to land in Geiranger.
Olden, Nordfjord, Hyenfjord, Norway
We sail into Nordfjord, sixth longest in Norway and with its 106 km it encompasses the rough coastline of Stadhavet as well as the glacier Jostedalsbreen, Europe's largest mainland glacier. We enter Utfjord and Innviksfjord to reach Olden. From here the lovely valley, stretches south some 20 kilometres between slopes rising to more than 1700 metres to the edge of the Jostedalsbre. Olden has two churches. The one in the village was built in 1759 on the site of a stave church dating from around 1300. The new church, a short distance along the valley, was built in 1934. We will spend the day in Olden, and on the way back to the sea, we will make a late evening cruise in the Hyenfjord.
We call at port in Bergen during the morning hours. Enjoy the day in this international city with small-town charm, surrounded by seven mountains. Stroll through the picturesque streets of Bergen and enjoy the well-known and famous sites like Håkon’s Hall and Rosenkrantz Tower, St. Mary’s Church, Bergen Harbour and the famous fish market. Bergen was founded in 1070, and we recommend a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage famous houses of “Bryggen” (the wharf). We recommend you to acquaint yourself with Bergen before you continue your journey home.