Norway is an amazing country. Including the fjords it has over 15,000 miles of coastline. Nearly one third of the country is above the tree line and huge glaciers can be found as far south as central southern Norway. It’s two and a half times the size of the UK but has a population of fewer than five million. You can quote many amazing facts and figures about the country, but it’s the jaw-dropping scenery which leaves everyone looking for words good enough to describe Norway’s natural wonders. And the further north you go, the better it gets. Photos don’t do the country justice – you have to come here yourself to believe it. When you talk to the locals about the best time of year to go hiking, they always say the autumn. The air is clearer and it is not unusual to have fine weather in September. The trees start to change colour and the hillsides are often covered in the golden shades of cloud berry bushes. Given that this cruise takes place in the fortnight following the autumn equinox, though the days will be getting shorter there will be pretty much the same amount of daylight as darkness… and there’s even a chance we’ll see the Northern Lights.
Setting off from Liverpool and having rounded the north of Scotland and crossed the North Sea, our first port of call is Kristiansund, built over four islands. Here, as in most of the other ports we visit, a local guide will accompany us, adding to the experience with interesting facts about nature and culture in the area. We have some spectacular coastal sights to admire as we cruise up the coast of Norway, crossing over the Arctic Circle to our first Arctic port, Sortland, where we hope to experience the clear light and colours of Norway’s Arctic autumn. Our furthest point north is Tromsø which has traditionally been seen at Norway’s Gateway to the Arctic, being the starting point for many ground-breaking expeditions to the North Pole.
Our final port in Norway is Leknes in the Lofoten Islands. The islands rise up in front of you with their great craggy peaks against the sky, a truly awesome sight. On our way back to Liverpool we spend a day on the Shetland Islands, visiting St Ninian’s Isle, a day which should prove that Norway does not have a monopoly on beautiful scenery.
During the cruise we have several days at sea, some spent cruising the spectacular coastline, with views of mountains, remote islands, isolated communities and the seaward end of fjords. With our walks we aim to explore coastal Norway’s scenery. The walks are sometimes shorter than you might expect for a grade 4 holiday but the views we will be rewarded with are still breathtaking. Some of the ascents and descents are steepish at times, but the views of the surrounding mountains, fjords and sea just get better the higher you go.
Norway does have a reputation for being expensive, but on a Ramblers Cruise & Walk holiday you benefit from excellent value and all the amazing scenery you would get on a land-based holiday. At the end of each day’s activities we return to the excellent food and comfort of Boudicca and sail on to another scenic destination.
Please note, ports of call may change between different departure dates. It is important to check the individual tour date proposed itinerary for details of your cruise.