The fifth day of the Hurtigruten route passes many towns and other interesting scenes - in fact, too many to detail. However, the ship only docks in two municipalities: Finnsnes and Tromso. In this article, we'll look at both locations and what you might want to know about each of them. You will have four hours at Tromso, so deciding to research its possibilities beforehand is wise.
Finnsnes is referred to in documents from before 1400, and a farm in the area was recorded as existing in 1567. By 1666, two men and four boys lived there (with women not included in censuses at the time). By 1950, there were 1,182 people in the area. Finnsnes came into its own in the 1880s, when a steam ship stopped there three times a week. In 1893, Hurtigruten started regular service to the little town. Today, Finnsnes is a center of industrial, commercial and communications activities rather than a farming community.
The ship does not stay for long at Finnsnes, though you may wish to be on deck while it is docked at the quayside simply to watch the hustle and bustle of goods and passengers coming and going from the ship. After the ship begins to move, sit back and relax as you watch villages like Laksfjorden and Laukhella pass, as well as the village of Bjorelvnes with the Lenvik church. Villages, bays and mountains will be visible as you await the ship's arrival in Tromso.
One of the largest towns in Norway, Tromso is nicknamed the Paris of the North. You're certain to enjoy your time here, as people have for thousands of years. The very first settlers in the area came 10,000 years ago, and Sami culture was present 2,000 years ago. Findings of Scandinavian culture begin to emerge in the 4th and 5th centuries AD. In the medieval era, Tromso was incredibly remote, though that did not stop important cultural monuments and happenings from taking place here. Tromso did not become the trading center that Bergen and Lofoten did until the 18th and 19th centuries, when the Pomor trade began between Troms, Finnmark and northwestern Russia's coastal areas. Another important historical fact about Tromso is that it was the only place in northern Norway to get through World War II without any destruction.
You will stay at Tromso for four hours, which gives you more than enough time for a walk about. You can see the Tromsdalen Church, a modern, innovative building that calls to mind icebergs, long polar nights and the redemptive power of light (in both the physical and spiritual senses). If churches strongly interest you, you can also see the Tromso Cathedral, the world's northernmost Protestant cathedral, the Elverhoy church and Our Lady's Church. There is also a Polar Museum for those who are interested in history, and a cable car that can take you to a high vantage point with a great view of Tromso.