Setting sail from Tromsø
Tromsø is often referred to as the Gateway to the Arctic. Its beauty astonishes new visitors with its magnificent views over the Tromsø strait. Tromsø's location, well within the Arctic Circle, means the summer months are lit by the Midnight Sun, a compensation for some rather long, dark winters. It is a wonderful city to explore on foot, wandering along the streets with their multi-coloured wooden houses. A must see is the amazing architecture of the Arctic cathedral, or perhaps take the cable car up to Mount Storsteinen (1382ft) for a fantastic view.
Visit during June or July to see the Midnight Sun - take the cable car for a better view (we were impressed that it runs until past midnight, but do check).
Surrounded by dramatic fjords and mountains, the port of Narvik played a key role during World War II as an ice-free outlet to the sea for iron exports from the Swedish mining town of Kiruna. The train ride across the border on the Ofoten Line makes for an interesting day trip, with spectacular mountain scenery en route.
The little village of Reine enjoys one of the most spectacular settings in the Lofoten Islands, where the colourful wooden fishermen’s cabins are dwarfed by towering mountains. For the picture postcard view you’ll need to scale the 1,500 or so stone steps to the top of Reinebringen.
Situated over 600 miles beyond the Arctic Circle, Hammerfest claims to be the world’s northernmost town, although other Arctic settlements would contest this. It’s also the only place where you can join the Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society, a slightly eccentric club with some 250,000 members worldwide.
Svalbard and Jan Mayen: Bjørnøya
Bjørnøya, or Bear Island, is the most southerly island in the Svalbard archipelago, marooned in the Barents Sea halfway between Spitsbergen and the Norwegian mainland. Despite the name there are no polar bears permanently resident, and the island’s most impressive sight is the huge bird colonies nesting on the cliffs.
The port of Honningsvåg is the gateway to Europe’s most northerly point, the North Cape, and enjoys 24-hour daylight in summer. Aside from tourism, fishing is the major industry in this part of Norway, and the region is also said to be inhabited by trolls.
Although Alta lies in Norway’s far north, the city has a surprisingly mild climate. Highlights include the UNESCO-listed prehistoric rock carvings at the Alta Museum, some of which date back over 6,000 years, and the striking Northern Lights Cathedral, with its aurora-inspired interior.
Arriving in Tromsø
The Polar Museum, housed in a traditional wharf house, has a fascinating collection from the days of early polar exploration, and explorers such as Nansen and Amundsen.
Your home from home
Sleek and stylish, Ponant's wonderful Explorer yachts blend luxury and intimacy with a discreet elegance and tasteful décor.
What we love
Named after six of France's most famous explorers, Le Champlain, Le Lapérouse, Le Bougainville, Le Dumont d'Urville, Le Bellot and Le Jacques Cartier offer exciting and adventurous itineraries in the utmost comfort. Technologically advanced, with the latest in environmentally friendly hardware, the new ships embody Ponant's trademark élan and flair, with just 92 spacious rooms and suites, a stylish pool deck and an intimate, refined onboard ambience.
|Refined with a wonderful mix of a modern super yacht and nautical tradition, all with a French flair.
Tailor-make your trip
Our favourite hotel in Tromsø
The Scandic Ishavshotel has a great location on the quay so nearly all the rooms have magnificent views.
Take a tour by RIB to see the beautiful islands and beaches of this remote region, lapped by Gulf Stream waters.