The Lofoten Islands are a sight for sore eyes. The region is renowned for its natural beauty and scenic fishing villages, but there's also some neat Hurtigruten highlights you might enjoy along the way during a Norway cruise.
After visiting Trondes Church, one of Norway's premier cultural heritage sites from the late middle age, you'll sail toward the Risøyrenna. This shallow channel, flanked on all sides by snow-capped mountains, was made especially for Hurtigruten in the 1920s, providing an "inside route" between Harstad and Sortland. Carefully look over the ship's railings and you'll see the sand banks, which are visible through the clear, green water. It's less than 25 feet deep here.
Next, voyagers will reach Stokmarknes, where Hurtigruten was founded more than 120 year ago. Here you can learn about history in the Hurtigruten museum, which is free for all passengers.
Through photographs, models and film, the museum offers an inside look at the 120-year-old heritage. Unlike many commercial cruise lines, Hurtigruten is deeply woven into the national fabric of Norway. In the mid-1800s, only a few steamers cruised the waters along the country's northern coast in an attempt by the Norwegian government to unify the country. But it wasn't until 1893 that the government sanctioned a regular route. That July, Captain Richard With sailed his boat, named the Vesterålen, from Trondheim to Hammerfest. While the nearly 1,000-mile trip was projected to take 67 hours, Captain With arrived 20 ahead of schedule. Once With set the precedent, a number of companies joined under the Hurtigruten banner.
The ship stops for just an hour at this site, so enjoy what you can but don't miss the boat!
Continue onwards to the breathtaking Trollfjord, only 1.2 miles long and 330 feet wide. If the weather permits, the captain will make a detour here so voyagers can soak in the sights of the steep cliffs that outline the ship's sides. In the winter cruises in Norway, expect freshly cooked fish cakes on deck at the fjord's entrance.
Besides the majestic vistas, another fascinating sight is witnessing the Hurtigruten ship turn around in the Trollfjord - the narrowest of spaces. How are your parallel parking skills? Now imagine that with a 442-foot-long vessel!
Your Lofoten Island cruise finishes at Stamsund, where you can see the glittering peaks of the Lofoten wall.