For the first time in two decades, award-winning Hurtigruten, which has run voyages along the Norwegian coast since 1893, is expanding its operating area. The Hjørundfjord, one of the most long-standing and stunning fjords in Norway, will become a part of “The World’s Most Beautiful Voyage” on all Hurtigruten ships traveling the west coast of Norway between September 1 and October 31 starting in 2013.
Situated in the Sunnmørsalps, this fjord stretches 35 kilometers as it cuts its way through the mountains. What makes this an attractive and unique addition to Hurtigruten’s itinerary is the fjord’s seclusion and unspoiled natural features; steep rock walls and green meadows are interspersed with mountain farms and small villages.
After several Hurtigruten ships tested the viability of including the new destination on the itinerary, the company determined that Hjørundford will make an excellent addition to future sailings. It fits in nicely with many of the other scenic highlights visited, including the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Geirangerfjord and Norway’s legendary Trollfjord. This change to the itinerary does shorten the Geiranger season by two weeks, meaning that now guests can visit that fjord from mid-April until the end of August.
Hurtigruten guests will have a chance to disembark and explore the new fjord on a shore excursion called “A Taste of Norway.” The ships will stop near the village of Urke in Norangsdalen, one of Norway’s wildest and narrowest valleys, and take guests into town via tender service. From there passengers travel by bus to Hellesylt and Lake Lyngstol, where they visit the remnants of a settlement that sank into the sea after a massive landslide hit the area more than 100 years ago. The next stop is the Hotel Union in Øye. Built in 1891 – two years before
Hurtigruten began its service along the Norwegian coast – the hotel has hosted royalty from Germany, Holland and Sweden. An added treat is the opportunity for guests to enjoy some of the region’s culinary specialties, plus free time to explore Urke.
Pricing in 2013 for Hurtigruten’s northbound Classic Voyage, from Bergen to Kirkenes, will start at $1,582 per person, double, for spring and autumn journeys; $1,403 for winter travels; and $2,143 for summer visits. The company’s fleet of 13 intimate ships, which each carry 100 to 646 guests, allows travelers to enjoy the scenery and culture of Norway in a relaxed atmosphere. Additional information, brochures and reservations can be obtained from travel agents or Hurtigruten’s visitor-friendly website, www.hurtigruten.us; by phone at 877-301-3117.