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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.
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.
Svolvær is the largest town in the Lofoten Islands, though with just over 4,000 inhabitants it’s hardly a bustling metropolis. From the picturesque harbour you can strike out into the stunning Lofoten countryside, where dramatic mountains tower above rustic little fishing villages.
Norway: Svartisen Glacier
Norway: Torghatten (Bronnoy)
Torghatten is a distinctive granite mountain that rises dramatically out of the sea near Brønnøysund, famous for the hole that cuts through the centre of the rock. According to legend, the hole was made by a troll, though the more likely explanation is that the tunnel was eroded by the sea when the mountain sat at a lower level.
The town of Åndalsnes itself is rather nondescript, having been badly damaged during World War II, but the surrounding scenery of the Romsdalfjord is magnificent. There are some lovely hikes and scenic drives to enjoy, along with the historic Rauma Railway, one of the most spectacular train rides in Norway.
The pretty little village of Fjærland sits at the point where the Sognefjord meets the Jostedalsbreen glacier, and you can learn more about your icy surroundings at the Norwegian Glacier Museum. Fjærland is also an offical ‘Book Town’, with ten different shops selling second-hand books (mostly in Norwegian).
Beautiful Bergen, Norway’s former capital, is a perfect city to explore on foot. Bryggen – the old Hanseatic wharf, and a UNESCO World Heritage site – still has the old harbour timber buildings, whilst other attractions include the funicular up Mount Floyen and the busy fish market.
Norway: Eidfjord, Egersund
Known locally as ‘the gateway to the world’, the port of Hamburg has a rich maritime history. Of course the city has its seedy side, as characterised by the old red light district around the Reeperbahn, but it’s also a vibrant, progressive city with some excellent museums, galleries and theatres.
Amsterdam is one of our very favourite cities to visit, as well as also being a perfect base to explore the nearby landscape of windmills and dikes. There is a wealth of famous museums and galleries to choose from, such as the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House.
United Kingdom: Dover
White Cliffs Country is a fascinating region, one packed with history and natural beauty. We think there is no sight like that of the stunning cliffs rising from the sea, topped by the fortifications of Dover Castle, and surrounded by lush green countryside.
Caen was founded by William the Conqueror in the 11th century, and the beautiful Abbaye aux Hommes is his last resting place, though only a thigh bone remains. Caen was heavily damaged during the Second World War, and there are several D-Day sites nearby; learn more at the city's excellent Memorial Museum.
Saint-Malo grew rich off the back of maritime trade and its plundering corsairs, a seafaring heritage that is still proudly on display today. It’s great fun getting lost in the streets of the walled old town, and the famous medieval abbey of Mont Saint-Michel is an easy day-trip.
Spain: La Coruña
La Coruña is the largest city in Galicia, a beautiful region of lush green countryside and wild, windswept beaches. Historical sights of note include the Tower of Hercules, a UNESCO-listed Roman lighthouse, and the city is also home to some great seafood restaurants.
Vigo is the biggest city in Galicia, Spain’s verdant northwest corner. The city itself is a busy fishing port with limited tourist appeal, but it’s a great base for striking out into the countryside, visiting the lovely Cíes Islands just offshore or joining the pilgrims in Santiago de Compostela, 60 miles to the north.
Blessed with a dramatic setting on the steep banks of the river Douro, Portugal’s second city is currently enjoying something of a renaissance, and is best known as the home of the country’s most famous export, port wine.
Arriving in Lisbon
The roots of historic Lisbon's fame lie in its strategic position on the edge of the Atlantic and the fact it offers one of the world's greatest natural harbours. No surprise therefore that it became the home of the world's most famous explorers such as Vasco da Gama, Magellan and Prince Henry the Navigator. Built on seven hills, we always find Lisbon to be soulful, captivating and picturesque, with architecture which reflects its status as a great port.
The appeal of Lisbon lies in the city itself with its two distinct architectural styles: the 16th century Belem district (Manueline) and the 18th century city centre (Pomabaline). Our tip: potter about...
Your home from home
MS Spitsbergen joined the Hurtigruten fleet in 2016 after an extensive renovation, and operates both the classic Norwegian coastal route and expedition voyages to Svalbard.
What we love
Calling at regular coastal route towns, MS Spitsbergen spends more time in port than other Hurtigruten vessels, allowing a little more time ashore. The ship's manoeuvrability and small size allows guests to get even closer to the stunning scenery that this part of the world is famous for.
|Style||MS Spitsbergen is relaxed and comfortable, accommodating a combination of tourists and Norwegians ferrying goods up and down the coast.|
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.
Our recommended hotel
The Pousada de Lisboa, newly opened in May 2015, has a great location in the heart of the city and an interior to wow you.
Take a day trip from Lisbon
Visit Sintra – Roman and Moorish influences make this magical city with its fairytale palaces and extravagant villas a must.