Offering an enjoyable blend of stunning natural beauty and historically significant sites, voyages which explore the coast of Norway are a popular choice with cruisers for whom coming home with the perfect tan isn’t the main concern. Norway’s coast is long, extending up into arctic and though itineraries vary, there are a number of ports which are always popular, which you should make sure you explore during your Norwegian fjords cruise but here’s a look at five of them.
Originally built mostly from wood, the fishing port of Alesund was almost entirely destroyed by a fire on January 23, 1904. Though devastating for the town and its inhabitants, the fire was the catalyst for what would make Alesund one of the country’s most popular tourist towns; its reconstruction. Rebuilt entirely in an art nouveaux style, it’s one of the most memorable concentrations of the architectural style and is what gives the town its character.
The Art Nouveau Centre is a museum set inside a listed building, which is the perfect place to visit before exploring the town, so you’ll get a better sense of its celebrated architecture.
Regarded by many as the best point from which to view the town. Alesund is actually set across a number of islands and you’ll get a great sense of this from upon high, as you’ll witness them extending out into the sea.
The Atlantic Ocean Park is one of Europe’s largest saltwater aquariums, where the tanks are built to replicate coastal areas and a diver feeds the fish at certain times of the day.
Known as ‘The City of the Seven Mountains’, it is Norway’s second largest city but it’s Bergen’s reputation as one of the great Hanseatic ports during the golden age of the country’s maritime trade which today makes it such a staple of Norwegian cruises, as visitors flock to see Brygenn, the remains of the Hanseatic wharf.
The Brygenn Hanseatic Wharf
An UNESCO World Heritage Site, Brygenn is what remains of the town’s original wharf; a captivating collection of colourful buildings on the waterfront, which give way to quant, back alleys which offer an authentic journey back in time.
Mount Floyen Funicular
The Funicular railway is an enjoyable way to take a trip to the top of the mountain, where you’ll be rewarded with a truly stunning view of the wharf area and the other mountains, too.
One of the most beautiful fjords in Norway, the Hardangerfjord is a common destination for shore excursions in Bergen. On your journey to the fjord, you’ll be able to experience a truly memorable landscape, rich in glaciers and waterfalls.
Flam is a village located on the Aurlandsfjord, which is an arm of the Sognefjord, which is the main reason why it’s such a mainstay of Norwegian fjords cruises. Its name derives from the Old Norse word Fla, which means ‘flat piece of land’.
The Flam Railway
The best way to experience the breathtaking scenery of the area, the railway is the village’s top tourist attraction.
This spectacular waterfall is one of the key sites you can visit while in Flam and though you’ll faced with a challenging hike on your way, you’ll be rewarded with an excellent view of the falls.
Set at the foot of mighty mountains, this narrow branch of the Sognefjord, is an UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular kayaking spot. A number of cruise lines offer excursions on which you can try your hand and man the oars for yourself.
Its location on the northern shore of the Romsdalsfjord makes the city of Molde a popular destination for fjord cruises. Once a trading post in the Middle Ages, it developed into key centre for textiles manufacture and enjoys a temperate climate.
A hike in this beautiful area is a popular cruise excursion and from Varden viewpoint, you’ll enjoy a great view, 407 feet above sea level, of the fjord and town below.
No, this isn’t set in a restored building in the city centre, in fact it’s something a little different: An open-air museum. Take a visit and you can explore a number of actual buildings, moved from different parts of the country and relocated on the site, to offer a fascinating journey through the country’s history.
The Atlantic Ocean Road
Some believe this is the world’s best road trip, where you’ll travel along the zig-zagging Atlantic Ocean Road, crossing bridges and rocky islands on a totally thrilling journey which offers an unrivalled view of the ocean.
One of the northernmost ports on a Norwegian cruise, Tromso is a feature on voyages which include the arctic areas of the country on their itinerary, such as Northern Lights cruises. It’s known as the gateway to the arctic and home to a number of natural and architectural attractions.
The Arctic Cathedral
The city’s most famous landmark, the cathedral is an eye-catching contemporary structure which boasts some amazing architecture. It’s modern yet mystical and midnight concerts are sometimes held there.
The Northern Lights Planetarium
If you book on a dedicated Northern Lights cruise, you’ll be sure to visit the Planetarium, which is THE place from which to view this amazing natural phenomenon.
The Polar Museum
Small but informative, this is the ideal place to spend a bit of time exploring the history of the region and also of the many polar explorations which have taken place in the region over the years.
By Simon Brotherton