Norwegian Language Blog

Hurtigruten-the best way to travel Norway Posted by on Dec 14, 2008 in Nature

Hurtigruten is a passenger & freight line that takes travelers up nearly the entire western and northern coasts of Norway.  Hurtigruten literally means “express route” and although there are much faster modes of transportation today, at it’s beginning, it was the fastest way to transport cargo.  Hurtigruten was established in 1893 by government contract to speed up communications and deliveries.  Hurtigruten ships that sail almost the whole lenth of the country can make it in 11 days.  The ship also does several round-trips.  For example, the round-trip from Bergen to Kirkenes and back to Bergen takes 11 days. 

Today the Hurtigruten is a popular travel vessel for Norwegians and foreigners alike.  I traveled from Bergen to Ålesund on the Hurtigruten with my dad a few years ago.  Since we had already spent so much money on our other endeavors, we decided to take the overnight trip up the coast and NOT to pay to stay in a cabin onboard.  Therefore, we did not have beds.  Luckily I was young (18 years old) and just excited about the fact that I was on a cruiseship with my dad in Norway, so I didn’t mind sleeping on the floor.  We literally slept on the floor of the ship towards the front and felt every wave that we passed over.  This really didn’t bother me, even still, because it was just so beautiful.  Being that it was the middle of the summer and we were pretty far north, the sun was out until very late at night and came up very early in the morning. This made it possible for us to see the scenery almost all night long, so we really didn’t sleep much at all.  There was too much to look at, even though half the time all we could see were little islands.

The most interesting part of the voyage for me I think was the political graffiti that was on large rocks hundreds of yards out from shore.  I still have no idea who would have taken the time and expended the energy to do such a thing, but it entertained me nonetheless.  The statement that stuck out to me the most was “Nei til EU” (no to the EU-European Union).  Norway is still not part of the European Union completely.  I could spend a whole lot of time talking about this, but I’ll save it for another post.  Either way, it was very interesting to see physical evidence of the Norwegian will to remain it’s own individual entity.

I highly recommend a journey on the Hurtigruten to absolutely everyone.  I know that my grandparents enjoyed the 11-day journey when they were a good 75 years old.  And in fact, you can travel with the Hurtigruten outside of Norway!  There are 34 ports of call along the Norwegian coast from Bergen to Kirkenes, many ports from the Canary Islands to Germany and you can travel all the way to Antarctica on the ships as well.  Book your trip on the Hurtigruten!

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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!


  1. Jeff Paulett:

    Having travelled on one of the Hurtigruten ships recently – the Finnmarken, I have to say I think this is the best way of seeing Norway in its natural splendour