Havila Voyage Handy Hints
Our 'helpful hints' guide to your Norwegian Coastal Voyage with Havila. Many of our Scandinavian staff have travelled on a coastal voyage and offer detailed explanations to how it works on-board.
Our staff will respond to your query promptly and provide detailed information to your questions.
11 days - Norwegian Coastal Voyage, stopping longer in Lofoten and Tromsø
Our range of tours, Norwegian Coast, comes from the heart. With pride, we offer independent itineraries exploring secret coastal gems. These tours utilise the coastal ferries, regional trains and express boats to get around.
This tour includes the voyage from Bergen on the Norwegian Coastal Voyage including visits to Ålesund, Geirangerfjord, Trondheim and Saltstraumen. You then leave your ship to spend longer in the unmissable Lofoten Archipelago. A local express ferry will get you to Tromsø.
The Lofoten Islands is a secret gem in the Northern part of Norway. Laid out against summer greens and yellows, Lofoten's razor-sharp peaks poke dark against a clear, cobalt sky. In the pure, exhilarating air, there’s a constant tang of salt and, in the villages, more than a whiff of cod, that giant of the seas whose annual migration brings wealth. Its a dream for hikers, fishermen and all nature lovers.
The archipelago offers a number of activities, such as walking, cycling, diving, excursions by hire car, sea safaris and much more. Lofoten is one of our favourite destinations along the long Norwegian coast.
The world's most stunning voyage and archipelago is waiting for you!
Norwegian Coastal Voyage, local express ferries along the Norwegian coast & car hire 2 days
International flight tickets, meals other than described, travel insurance, visas, gratitudes and any items of personal nature.
If you wish to hire an automatic car, these are 'on request' and can be difficult to obtain. Please seek further advice with us.
Single supplement available.
Arrive and transfer to your hotel. Bergen offers many attractions and sights - many within walking distance. Recommended sights of interests are the Hanseatic harbour Bryggen, Fløibanen Funicular, Troldhaugen, the Fish and Flower market, Bergen Aquarium and Gamle Bergen (Old Bergen Open Air Museum).
Included is a Bergen card valid for 24 hours, which gives you free entrance to the cities museums, free public transportation, free parking and so much more.
After a leisurely breakfast on the harbour, it is time to explore the historical centre of Bergen where you'll be transported back to a time when Bergen was the centre of political power and trade for the entire North Atlantic. It was the Capital of the Kingdom of Norway for a short period, before the capital was moved to Oslo in 1299, and the town grew to become the largest in Scandinavia. The Hanseatic League established itself here in 1350 and had a trade monopoly that lasted 200 years.
An option today can be to add a day fjord tour.
After breakfast, why do a walking tour of Bergen, including a visit to the popular Fish Market, the famous Bryggen Harbour with its gabled pack-houses, and the old Hanseatic Quarter.
Be sure to enjoy the indoor & outdoor fish markets with their platters, sushi & paella options. Ride on the funicular to Mt. Fløien for the best views of the city and fjords way below. Keep an eye out for your coastal voyage vessel that arrives into Bergen during the afternoon.
In the mid afternoon you will transfer to the cruise terminal for check-in. Settle into your cabin & then meet your escort for your first meal on-board the ship.
Please note, you carry your own luggage onboard from the pier to check in/cabin.
An information meeting is usually held on the evening of departure from Bergen and included details of safety onboard. There is an information folder in each cabin and safety procedures are illustrated on the back of your cabin door and in public areas. The cruise tour leader on board will assist with general information and optional excursions available.
Ports visited today: Florø, Måløy, Torvik, Ålesund, Molde.
Your ship navigates the skerries and islands further north before reaching Ålesund. Marvel at the inspiring architecture in the Apotekergate and Kongensgate pedestrian precinct, perfect examples of the Art Nouveau style. Don’t miss out on the view from Mount Aksla but beware, there are 418 steps to the top! In the summer months, the next destination will be the spectacular UNE SCO-listed Geirangerfjord. En route to the end of this beautiful fjord you pass sheer, 800m cliffs and impressive waterfalls.
In autumn, you will explore the Hjørundfjord, amidst the majestic Sunnmøre Alps. Its seclusion and unspoiled natural landscape are what give this fjord its special character.
Note: Geirangerfjord is not able to be entered during winter. This fjord is substituted for Hjørundfjord.
Ports visited today: Kristiansund, Trondheim, Rørvik.
When visiting the old royal city of Trondheim, be sure to get a good view from the Gamle Bybrua (“Old Town Bridge”). Dating from 1861, this neo-gothic wooden bridge used to be the only way into the town centre. Nidaros Cathedral, built between1070 and 1300, is Norway’s largest Gothic religious edifice. In the neighbouring Archbishop’s Palace, the Norwegian Crown Jewels are kept. In Trondheim itself, the Hanseatic, waterside storehouses built on wooden stilts are just as charming as the Rococo-style Stiftsgården, the largest wooden building in Norway and residence for the Royal Family when visiting Trondheim. New optional activities will have you kayaking on the river Nid and into the city's smaller channels or during winter time, you have the opportunity to try typical Norwegian winter activities such as skiing, tobogganing and sledding.
You then set a course for the northwest, past the beautiful Kjeungskjær lighthouse and thousands of little islands and picturesque rocky outcrops. In autumn, you will learn more about navigation and lighthouses along the Norwegian coast during the Captain's talk. After passing through the narrow Stokksund, the ship will arrive at charming Rørvik.
Ports visited today: Brønnøysund, Sandnessjøen, Nesna, Ørnes, Bodø, Stamsund, Svolvær.
This morning, between Nesna and Ørnes, you pass a globe on a small islet, which heralds your crossing of the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Circle marks the border of the the Arctic reiong. In summer this means 24-hour daylight - often referred to as the 'Midnight Sun'. During autumn and winter, being above this degree of latitude gives you the best chance of experiencing the Northern Lights.
Passengers sailing in Arctic waters for the first time are given an Arctic Circle baptism by Njord, the ruler of the Seven Seas. This comes in the form of an ice cube down your front or back, but is entirely optional. This ceremony is tremendous fun to watch on the deck.
In the afternoon, your ship gradually closes in on the 3,280 feet high Lofoten Wall towering above the tiny and colourful fishing villages of the Lofoten Islands. This is an extraordinary place to disembark and take a stroll.
These islands are renowned for their small, picturesque fishing villages with their bohemian atmosphere surrounded by majestic granite cliffs and white sandy beaches. Complete your visit with a stroll between the stockfish racks and ‘rorbuer’, the traditional, red fishermen’s residences. The Lofoten Islands are a truly extraordinary experience.
Depart ship and transfer to your traditional self-catering fishing cabin over the water. Between Sept - Dec, cast your eyes skywards in the evening for a chance to see the Northern Lights.
NOTE: The Hurtigruten ferry arrives into Svolvær, at 21:00. You will however, need to check-out from your cabin at 12:00. You may be able to keep the cabin for an extra cost, but this can not be pre-booked, and will depend on the availability. Luggage storage at reception.
Enjoy three full days centrally located within the stunningly beautiful Lofoten Archipelago. The Lofoten Islands offer some of the most breath-taking scenery in the country with towering, pointed mountain peaks rising majestically from the sea to a height of almost 1000 metres. Many of the island interiors are swathed in emerald greens, and the shorelines are fringed with white sandy beaches.
The only included activity (only summer) is a 'not to be missed' spectacular Trollfjord RIB Safari. You will get a good understanding of the marine life in the near surroundings of Svolvær.
We have also included 2 days of car hire which allows you to explore the islands at your own pace. GPS is not included (but roads are pretty straightforward, mostly following the coastline).
Our recommended excursions are;
Trekking along some of the well marked paths (all year, except when too much snow)
Tromsø is a city packed with culture, polar history and fresh locally sourced food in its numerous restaurants. Tromsø is often called "Paris of the North" and "City of Lights", and it is rare to have such a lively town located so far past the Arctic Circle. Mountains, fjords and islands surround it, making it a great base for exploring the landscape.
Ask us for information about guided walking tours including a visit to the Polar Museum, dog sledding through the beautiful winter landscape, guided northern light tours and other possible activities.
Our services end after breakfast.
Price per person, twin share. The Coastal Cruise price fluctuates daily depending on demand and so this price can only be indicative as we will need to price based on your day of travel. PLEASE NOTE: This is a FROM price and will not apply during the high season (May to September). Any discounts will be applied to your personal request.
2024 prices are indicative due to the current uncertainty across Europe with increasing energy and volatile fuel costs.
This tour is primarily designed for summer, but the Lofoten Archipelago is just as beautiful in winter. Staying a week over winter is a great way to see the Northern Lights. Please note that November can be a stormy and wild month to visit this region. If you would prefer not to drive in Lofoten in winter, we can adapt this itinerary for you.
This tour suits families with a self-catering kitchen, easy access to nature and fun activities for kids. Pre-booked adventures such as the Trollfjord RIB safaris sit together with simple family excursions along the beach make for a relaxing and beautiful family holiday.
Driving in Norway during the peak season (July - early August):
Europeans love driving in Norway and during the summer months, the more popular tourist roads becomes crowded with European vans. This can slow the roads down, as it can be difficult to pass these vans. Norwegian country roads are often quite narrow. Having said this, these roads are incredibly scenic and have lots of picnic & photo spots.
If you are going to be using ferries during your drive, depending on the size of the ferry, this might involve a wait to get on. The ferries are reliable and regular but you may need to arrive early to secure a spot in the line. On some of the ferries, we suggest considering catching a ferry outside of the peak times. Your accommodation hosts can help with suggestions for your following days travel with the most up to date local information.
We have not included the GPS hire in Lofoten as it is easy to get around and is an expensive option. It can be included if you wish.
Our 'helpful hints' guide to your Norwegian Coastal Voyage with Havila. Many of our Scandinavian staff have travelled on a coastal voyage and offer detailed explanations to how it works on-board.
Our premium 50 Degrees North mini-coach represent a new style of travel: 2-12 independent travellers traverse exceptionally beautiful, yet hard-to-reach areas of Norway, thus experiencing something unique and authentic while contributing to more modest local economies. With five different tours available for 2023 (and more in the works), the choice is yours!
Ethical eating, sustainable farming and local produce bursting with flavour, our new tour discovers the very best of Norwegian cuisine in the Lofoten Archipelago, Norway.
If you want to commit to a booking please use the Book Tour form below.
Written by Jayde Kincaid, who married a Norwegian, and was happily (albeit with some hesitation) introduced to a world of Norwegian every day food habits.
At 50 Degrees North, we want to encourage our travellers to try local Norwegian food & drink. This may seem difficult in Scandinavia in general without a large budget, and in particular Norway. Some of the more remote villages you might visit have limited restaurants or cafes, some of which can be pretty expensive. There is certainly no street food! One way to get about sampling local food is by self-catering. You will find plenty of friendly locals in the small town grocery stores and supermarkets who will be happy to help you picking out local ingredients. Just don’t be shy – ask! And, don’t rush – make your local small town shopping part of your holiday experience. Read the local notice boards, and enjoy an ice cream out the front when you have finished. It is what the locals do!
Note: Statoil cups - a good idea to save money as you drive around Norway: purcahse a Statoil (petrol station) metal cup and you get free refills of coffee, tea and hot chocolate at the Statoil stations.
Norway has an extensive range of grocery stores, and in most small villages you will find at least one, if not two or three grocery stores. However, they do have limited opening hours, and except for ‘Bunnpris’, they are all closed on Sundays. You will see the weekend hours shown in brackets on the store sign out front. If you are arriving in a larger town, we do suggest you stock up with some staples before you head out into the mountains or on a coastal drive.
A few tips:
• Plastic bags are NOK1-2 and you will always need to pack your own shopping.
• You can recycle your bottles and cans for a receipt that you can cash in. Recycling points are found in all stores.
• Alcohol sold in food stores (mainly beer and cider) is restricted by government regulation to certain hours. This varies slightly, but on weekdays alcohol sales stop at 8pm regardless and on Saturdays at 6pm. Outside these hours and on Sundays you can only buy alcohol in licensed restaurants or bars.
• Any alcohol over 4.7% can only be bought at special government controlled liquor store (Vinmonopolet). These are very rare in smaller remote towns and villages, so stock up before you leave the city.
Meatballs or “meatcakes’: these come in all shapes, sizes and quality. They are generally really tasty and a bit better than what you find at IKEA. Also pick up a packet of dried ready-made brown sauce that goes with them. Be on the look out for Lingonberry sauce/jam, or even fresh lingonberries that you can use to make a fresh sauce (little red circular berries). Don’t add too much sugar, they are served quite tart.
If you want to try to make this brown sauce yourself, buy some ‘brunost’ (brown cheese), the required creams and follow the recipe below.
Hotdogs: known as ‘pølse’ in Norwegian, hot dogs are abundant in Norway. Cheap and cheerful – pølse is THE fast food of Norway. They are sold at service stations, newsagents, corner stores and fast food outlets. Pølse come with a dazzling variety of toppings and bread. Some of the pølse highlights would be the bacon wrapped ones, sprinkled with dried onion, mustards and mayonnaise. You will also find them wrapped in waffles (mostly in and around Fredrikstad) or the Norwegian pancake, ‘lompe’.
Note: there are strict requirements by the Food Safety commission for traditional pølse to be of the highest quality and they have even set requirements for what types of ingredients are allowed.
Like Norwegian beer, you will find seasonal pølse – Christmas pølse (Julepølse) is obviously found only in the lead up to the celebrations.
If you are planning to eat Norwegian style, use boil pølse on the stove and add to meals with potatoes and stew.
Note; steer away from tinned cheap pølse and meatballs.
Fish cakes: these also come in lots of variation and are generally served with a white sauce and lots of parsley. The Norwegians also use a basic white sauce on broccoli with cheese on top. These fish cakes are often found in fish shops, fried or steamed, ready to eat. A great fast snack.
Reindeer: we strongly suggest you try reindeer meat when you are travelling in the far north. It generally comes frozen, so look for finely cut reindeer meat in the freezer section. It is a more expensive option, but absolutely delicious albeit quite gamey. Be sure to get mushrooms, a small amount of brown cheese and rømme (crème fraiche). Fry it all up in a pan - a bit like a beef stroganoff. Serve with boiled potatoes or rice.
Mushrooms: if you are travelling in the chanterelle harvest season (mid/late August), be sure to try them. They are the yellow mushroom found in autumn. Or better still, have a look around the pine forests and pick some. Be sure to image search them before you head out so you know what to pick. They are really delicious with the brown cheese sauce and reindeer.
Salmon, prawns & fish: always be on the look out for a chance to buy fresh fish. Yes, it is possible to smooth talk a fisherman at the harbour. Or look for the local fish-kiosk or fish-shop. Be on the look out for small signs pointing you in the direction of fresh fish sales – ‘reker’ (shrimps, not prawns) or ‘fersk fisk’ (fresh fish) are the words you need.
Norwegians are very proud of their shrimps – and of course completely justified. Their shrimps are small and tasty and harvested from the cool North Sea. Norwegians traditionally serve them with mayonnaise and lemon. Peel them and pop them on a fresh white slice of bread. Mayonnaise is layered on top with dill, pepper & salt.
Smoked Salmon: Norwegian smoked salmon is the best in the world hands down. Be sure to try all the different varieties you see – often, in larger supermarkets or delis, you can try before you buy.
Tubed ‘kaviar’ (caviar): this is a must try. It is cheap and perfect for the travellers pantry. This is what my husband craves like an Australian abroad would crave vegemite.
Norwegian pre-made dips and salads: the Norwegian supermarkets have a large range of premade salads and dips. They last quite a while and are good fillers for sandwiches. Our favourite are the cubed beetroot salad and the potato salads. They come in easy-to-carry and pack-up containers – perfect for picnics. Tubed mayonnaise is also handy for picnics.
‘Leverpostei’ (liver pate) in many variations can also be found in the supermarket. This pate is normally served on brown bread then topped with sliced red onions or sweet pickles. Protein rich and very tasty if you like pate – it is found on most Norwegian breakfast tables.
Yoghurt: now – this is an interesting one. Norwegian yoghurt comes in a variety of styles - some can be very runny, sour and low fat. There are varying names/codes for each sort. You might like to check with a local when you are buying yoghurt to be sure you are getting what you want. Some of the yoghurt comes as though it is milk, in normal milk cartons - sour runny yoghurt is NOT nice in your coffee.
Bread: the Norwegian supermarket bread generally comes un-cut. You can either cut it in the shop – ask for help the first time you do it. They have industrial bread cutting machines near the bakery section. The bread can be quite plain in the main supermarkets so be on the look out for boutique bakeries in the larger towns if you enjoy fancy bread. Also keep an eye out for the Norwegian flatbread, Lefse, which is similar to Mexican tortillas. Usually served with butter and sugar, sometimes cinnamon too. Occasionally made with potato.
Waffles: Norwegian waffle stalls are similar to the sausage sizzle or hot dog stand. It is the most common fundraising or community building food product. Don’t expect sickly sweet jams or whipped cream – you will find these fresh chewy waffles served with sour cream and home made tart berry jams. Never go past one!
Chocolate: we recommend that you try the ‘FREIA’ milk chocolate during your stay. It melts in your mouth.
Berries: if you travel in early autumn (mid/late August) this is berry season. Forest berries that is. Ask a local and head up into the hills or forest in search for berries. You may find; blueberries, lingonberries, rasberries and if you are up north or in the central mountains; the rare yellow cloudberries.
On a self-drive journey, always be on the look out for small farm shops or stands along the road. Things you cannot drive past:
Strawberries: if you are travelling in the strawberry season – you MUST try Norwegian strawberries. They are seriously amazing. Grown in the nutritious earth that has the chance to rejuvenate through a long winter.
_And if you go past a self-pick strawberry farm, put everything else on hold and enter! Norwegians wait all year for this event. _
New potatoes: be on the look out for new season potatoes – they are often sold in little stands beside the road. Often on an honesty basis; i.e. grab a bag and put the money in an allocated tin.
Basic Brown Cheese Recipe – can be used with meatballs, reindeer, with added mushrooms.
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 2 tablespoons flour
• 3⁄4 cup light cream
• 1⁄2 cup chicken broth (optional - just use water if you cannot find this)
• 1 cup shredded gjetost or brown goats cheese
• 3⁄4 cup rømme (crème fraiche)
• 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or 2 tablespoons fresh dill
Using the meat dish that has been browned off, remove as much oil from the pan as possible and blend in butter and flour. Remove from heat and blend in light cream. Add chicken broth, bring to boil, stirring and cooking until thickened. Mix in Gjetost cheese. Turn heat low.
Blend some of the sauce into the rømme (crème fraiche), then return all to sauce. Add chopped parsley or fresh dill.
Happy shopping and cooking!
Norwegian coastal ships are working vessels operating a regular service to a set timetable, and a set itinerary, carrying goods, vehicles and foot passengers between ports, by night and day, as an integral part of Norwegian daily life (some noise may be experienced during docking and loading/unloading). It may very occasionally be necessary to omit or curtail stops due to weather or other conditions. Some stops may be very short and some are at night. As Christmas approaches itineraries may change in order for ships to host dinners and celebrations for local communities. Please ensure you are back onboard by sailing time, especially if the ship has arrived late, as it may leave as scheduled to make up time.
The departure time is advertised at the gangway and vessels are NOT able to wait for passengers who are late. If you miss the ship it is your responsibility to make arrangements to rejoin the voyage at the next possible stop or return home.
This is generally available 24 hours a day serving beverages, sandwiches and a small selection of hot and cold dishes. On some departures the catering service at night will be managed by the reception staff.
If you are travelling by car further information on vehicles and parking at ports is available from Hurtigruten. Access to the vehicle deck is only permitted when the ship is moored.
Ships generally accept VISA, American Express, Eurocard, Diners Club and JBC International, plus most currencies.
We recommend that passengers acquire a cruise card to make payments on board. This may be obtained from reception onboard and used to make payments throughout the ship. They accept credit cards or cash as a deposit. You need to get the bill sorted on the last night to be sure it is finalised.
Special diets, such as vegetarian must be ordered well before departure.
All ships have lifts and cabins for disabled guests. People with severe disabilities or who are unable to take care of themselves must be accompanied by a carer.
The ships are licensed to sell drinks onboard, however please note the price of alcohol in Norway due to heavy taxes. The water package can be included into your voyage at a small extra cost
220 V AC 2 pin, and a continental adaptor is required.
Available on all ships.
Be sure to bring some swimming attire for the jacuzzi!
All ships offer internet access via satellite. In most harbours, mobile/cellular networks (3G) are available if bringing your own PC and a mobile access subscription. The wireless coverage varies from ship to ship and will be improved yearly. The passengers have to contact the reception on board for information on how to get access to the internet (free of charge). No internet access in the cabins (except in some suites). Internet cafe (if present), with minimum 2 PCs.
Kystruten ships are working vessels operating a regular service to a set schedule, carrying vehicles, cargo and foot passengers by day and night (some noise may be noticed during docking or loading). Some stops are short and/or are during the night. It may occasionally be necessary to omit or curtail visits due to weather/local conditions, and you will be notified of this.
Most ships have laundry facilities with washing machines and tumble dryers. Tokens may be purchased from reception.
A daily baggage service is available in Bergen from the airport and selected city-centre hotels to the Hurtigruten terminal. For groups, luggage handling must be agreed with Hurtigruten prior to travel. This in not included in the price of your voyage.
Meals are served at set times in the restaurant. In high season, times may vary if there are several sittings. A breakfast buffet (open seating) with a wide selection is served 07.30hrs -10.00hrs. A buffet lunch (open seating) with hot and cold dishes and desserts is usually served 12hrs-14.30hrs and a three course set dinner 18.30hrs-21.00hrs. In Bergen a buffet is usually served 18.30hrs-21.30hrs. Exact times are given on board. Tea and coffee facilities are only provided in cabins above U Class. Tea and coffee are available free of charge after lunch and dinner but can be purchased around the clock. Please read our news articles about dining on board Hurtigruten.
It is recommended that pets are not brought on long journeys and special rules apply to the transport of animals; contact us for further information. We do however welcome guide dogs on board.
As there are only short distances between ports there is neither a doctor nor a pharmacy on board.
Most ships have a playroom except MS Midnatsol and MS Trollfjord.
Do not forget to bring your binoculars, camera and/or a video camera. Take practical, warm and windproof clothing for going out on deck. Smart, but casual clothes are recommended on board. Good comfortable footwear is vital for excursions.
Souvenirs, knitwear, postcards, DVDs of the journey, stamps and a small supply of toiletries are sold on board.
Smoking is not permitted in cabins or public areas. It is allowed up on the open deck but prohibited at all times when the ships are in port.
For reasons of safety it may sometimes be necessary to keep cabin ventilators/port-holes obscured.
All ships have payphones and a fax machine. There is generally good coverage for mobile phones.
There is a tour leader on board all year round. On some departures this service is managed by reception. External tour leaders (groups) are requested to contact the reception for information on practical details.
We can offer transfers in Bergen, Trondheim and Kirkenes.
There is a safe in reception. Ships accept no responsibility for valuables and money kept in cabins.
When arriving at night disembarking passengers are woken between half an hour and one hour before arrival.
Temperatures usually vary between 2°C and -10°C in winter. Summer temperatures in northern Norway vary between 10°C and 30°C depending on latitude.
On your final morning of your voyage, be sure to take everything with you when you go for breakfast. The ship gets prepared for the next voyage and your rooms will be cleaned promptly. You may be charged for re-entry.
You can pre-book your optional excursions with us. However, you can also wait until you are onboard and do it then - however, there is a maximum number and they can book out. It is not possible to pre-book within 2 weeks prior to departure. Excursions and their contents are subject to maximum/minimum numbers and weather/local conditions. During quieter months, some excursions may not get the numbers required so please ask us when booking about the minimum numbers needed for each excursion.
Travel insurance is compulsory for all tours with 50 Degrees North. The safety of our travellers, staff and operators is a major priority of 50 Degrees North. With an operational office in Norway, 50 Degrees North has access to an up-to-the-minute flow of information regarding the countries we work in. We are also in regular contact with the various operators we use. Their in-depth knowledge and understanding of their various areas is vital.