Small group escorted tour

Follow the Lights | Oslo - Helsinki | Flights Included

Follow the Lights | Oslo - Helsinki | Flights Included

Small group escorted tour

Follow the Lights | Oslo - Helsinki | Flights Included

Follow the Lights | Oslo - Helsinki | Flights Included

Travel information 18 days
Departures
59 departures between Sep 2023 and Mar 2024
Price from
£ 5120
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
  • Visit charming hamlets, sail through picturesque fjords and experience the magic of the Northern Lights on this journey up into Arctic Norway.
  • On this fully escorted small group tour from Norway’s capital Oslo, ride the world’s most famous train, the Flåm Railway, before joining The Coastal Express's northbound voyage.
  • From Kirkenes in Norway’s far north, you’ll then head south into Finnish Lapland and enjoy gazing up at the night sky inside your glass igloo.
Follow the Lights | Oslo - Helsinki | Flights Included

Itinerary

On this fully escorted small group tour from Norway’s capital Oslo, ride the world’s most famous train, the Flåm Railway, before joining The Coastal Express northbound voyage.

Visit charming hamlets, sail through picturesque fjords and hopefully see the magnificent Northern Lights on this journey up into Arctic Norway.

From Kirkenes in Norway’s far north, you’ll then head south into Finnish Lapland and enjoy gazing up at the night sky inside your glass igloo.

Then discover Rovaniemi, the official home town of Santa Claus and experience a day trip to medieval Tallinn in Estonia.

DAY 1 : Oslo

Arrive in Oslo

A boat is docked next to a body of water
Photo: Didrick Stenersen

Welcome to Norway! First stop: Norway’s thriving capital, Oslo. The city has a sheltered position deep inside Oslofjord and is surrounded by glistening lakes.    

Arrive in Oslo from your international flight and make your own way from the airport or train station to your hotel. The day is spent at your leisure, exploring the many charms the cosmopolitan capital has to offer.

Why not make your way to the city centre, taking snaps of the architecturally distinct Rådhuset town hall, Royal Palace, and Oslo Cathedral.   

Along the waterfront, there’s Aker Brygge, a popular area to eat out at, the imposing Akershus Fortress, and the gleaming new buildings around Bjørvika waterfront. The latter is where you’ll find modern attractions such as the landmark new Edvard Munch museum

In the evening, meet the rest of your tour group and your guide at a welcome dinner. Overnight in Oslo.

A boat is docked next to a body of water
Photo: Didrick Stenersen
The Vigeland sculpture park in Oslo, Norway.
Photo: James Ronan - EyeEm - Getty Images / Hurtigruten Expeditions

DAY 2 : Oslo

Discover Norway's capital

The Vigeland sculpture park in Oslo, Norway.
Photo: James Ronan - EyeEm - Getty Images / Hurtigruten Expeditions

After breakfast, we’ll go on an Oslo grand city tour that may include some of the attractions you might have had time to see yourself on your first day but also a few sights located further away. 

The Oslo Opera House is perhaps the capital’s most iconic building, resembling a gleaming glacier floating in the water. Wander along its clean lines, admire the dramatic angles, and marvel at the white marble that covers its exterior. 

Vigeland Sculpture Park is located at the centre of splendid Frogner Park. There, you’ll find more than 200 visually striking sculptures in bronze, granite, and cast iron by prolific Norwegian artist Gustav Vigeland. The highlight of the sculptures is the monolith that rises several metres high.

Further north from Vigeland, just outside of Oslo, is Holmenkollen Ski Jump. You won’t be doing any jumping yourself, but the impressive building enjoys panoramic views over the city, lakes, and fjord. Beneath the ski jump is also the world’s oldest ski museum featuring 2,500 pairs of skis and 4,000 years of skiing history.

After the tour, you’ll return to your hotel in Oslo to spend the night. 

DAY 3 : Oslo - Mydral - Flåm

Norway In a Nutshell

A group of people sitting at a train station
Photo: Gjertrud Coutinho

After breakfast, we take the train from Bergen to Myrdal station over 850 metres high in the mountains. This is the boarding point for the Flåm Mountain Railway. 

The vintage train will weave its way down from the mountains and into the valley towards the village of Flåm. The scenic journey takes about an hour and includes a brief stop at Kjosfossen Waterfall for you to take photos. The small power station on the waterfall is actually what powers the Flåm Mountain Railway.  

We’ll then arrive in the village of Flåm where you’ll spend the night at a hotel. You can visit Flåm Railway Museum to learn more about the history and the engineering that brought about the railway. Enjoy your included dinner at the hotel tonight.

A group of people sitting at a train station
Photo: Gjertrud Coutinho
A narrow street in front of a house
Explore Bergen’s charming cobblestone streets during the laid-back winter season.
Photo: Lucija Ros/Unsplash

DAY 4 : Flåm - Voss - Bergen

Trainride to Bergen

A narrow street in front of a house
Explore Bergen’s charming cobblestone streets during the laid-back winter season.
Photo: Lucija Ros/Unsplash

Following breakfast and checking out of your hotel, it’s time to enjoy a two-hour boat cruise of Aurlandsfjord and narrow UNESCO-listed Nærøyfjord, ending at Gudvangen. A short bus ride through Nærøydalen valley, usually fringed by waterfalls, leads us to the village of Voss where you will catch the train to Bergen, a beautiful city on the west coast of Norway.

Check in to your hotel in Bergen before heading out to explore Norway’s third largest city at your leisure. One recommendation is to take the Fløibanen funicular to the top of nearby Mount Fløyen to enjoy views of Bergen and the surrounding mountains. 

DAY 5 : Bergen

Gateway to the Fjords

A large building with a mountain in the background
Step back into the Mid Ages along Bergen’s Bryggen waterfront.
Photo: Klaus-Peter Kappest

After a relaxing morning we take a walking tour of Bergen, including St Mary’s Church, Håkon’s Hall and the UNESCO World Heritage listed Bryggen district. Bryggen is made up of a colourful age-old wooden wharves which now house boutique shops selling handicrafts, art, and souvenirs.

Across the cobblestone street from Bryggen is the Fish Market, a place of sights, sounds, and smells. Freshly caught seafood is cooked on the spot here and served to salivating visitors. 

We’ll then head to Troldhaugen, the home of Norway’s most famous composer, Edvard Grieg. The tour ends at Bergen pier, where we can relax in our exclusive guest lounge before boarding our Coastal Express ship for our voyage along Norway’s beautiful coast. 

A large building with a mountain in the background
Step back into the Mid Ages along Bergen’s Bryggen waterfront.
Photo: Klaus-Peter Kappest
Kayak paddling in Ålesund
Experience wintertime Ålesund on a peaceful kayak tour through the harbour.
Photo: Uteguiden.com

DAY 6 : Ålesund

Iconic Architecture

Kayak paddling in Ålesund
Experience wintertime Ålesund on a peaceful kayak tour through the harbour.
Photo: Uteguiden.com

Enjoy early morning in the breathtaking Nordfjord near Torvik. We then sail past West Cape for our approach to Ålesund. You’ll have most of the day to explore this picturesque town.

Ålesund is renowned for its beautiful Art Nouveau architecture. Enjoy wandering around pastel-coloured buildings, picking up details such as semi-circular windows and charming rounded fairy-tale-like towers. 

For a lovely panorama over the town, head up to Mount Askla. There’s also Atlanterhavsparken, one of Northern Europe’s largest saltwater aquariums. 

The last port of the day is Molde which has an amazing view of 222 mountain peaks across the fjord, called ‘the Molde Panorama’.

DAY 7 : Trondheim

City of Kings and Palaces

Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim is built over the burial site of King Olav II, who became the patron saint of the nation.
Photo: Espen Mills / Hurtigruten Expeditions

We arrive early in the morning at Trondheim, with plenty of time to explore Norway’s first capital either on your own or on an optional excursion. 

Founded by Viking king Olav Tryggvason in 997, Trondheim today is Norway’s third largest city and a mix of historic buildings and a buzzing student population.

A must-see site of the city is Nidaros Cathedral, nicknamed “Norway’s Notre Dame” for its Gothic style and considered the most sacred building in all of Norway. 

Nearby, the old city bridge Gamle Bybro sits over Nid River, marking the entrance to the old Hanseatic district of Bakklandet. The neighbourhood’s colourful wooden wharves propped up on stilts by the river’s edge now house trendy eateries. Up from Bakklandet is Kristiansten Fort which affords beautiful 

In the afternoon, the ship sails northwest, passing the ochre-coloured Kjeungskjær Lighthouse towards charming Rørvik.

Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim is built over the burial site of King Olav II, who became the patron saint of the nation.
Photo: Espen Mills / Hurtigruten Expeditions
Northern lights seen from on board MS Maud, Norway.
Photo: Espen Mills / Hurtigruten Expeditions

DAY 8 : Lofoten

Into the Arctic

Northern lights seen from on board MS Maud, Norway.
Photo: Espen Mills / Hurtigruten Expeditions

We cross the Arctic Circle early in the morning, beginning your Arctic tour of Norway. We mark the moment with a traditional ceremony that’s sure to wake you up!

Above the Arctic Circle in autumn, winter, and spring, your chances of seeing the Northern Lights greatly improve.

At 10am, we call into Ørnes, near to Norway’s second-largest glacier, Svartisen. We then sail to Bodø, the second largest city in Northern Norway, overlooked by the Børvass peaks. 

That afternoon, the ship enters the Lofoten archipelago. The 1,000 metre-high Lofoten Wall is a stunning sight on the horizon, as if there to welcome us.

Stamsund is home to one of the largest fishing fleets in the islands, busy catching Arctic cod called skrei which swim from the Barents Sea in the north down to nearby Vestfjord to spawn.

Come evening, when you see rows of traditional fisherman’s huts on stilts, known as rorbuer, you’ve arrived in the pretty harbour of Svolvær, the main town of the Lofoten Islands.

DAY 9 : Tromsø

Capital of the Arctic

We dock into Harstad just after 7am. You can go for a peaceful early morning stroll around town. 

The ship will then continue to Finnsnes which connects the beautiful island of Senja via the impressive Gisund Bridge.

We then sail to the historic Arctic exploration capital of Tromsø where you’ll have four hours to explore the city or join an optional excursion.

You’ll find Polaria, the world’s northernmost aquarium, on the waterfront. Take your pick from the many shops and restaurants in the city centre, including Mack Brewery and favourite local watering hole Ølhallen pub. 

Across the fjord from where the ship docks, you should be able to see the iconic Arctic Cathedral with its beautiful stained-glass mosaic.

Leaving Tromsø in the early evening, we head north for the trading post of Skjervøy, founded in 1622. On our way, we’ll pass the Lyngen Alps which rise majestically from the sea.

A lit up city at night
Photo: Ulrich Dajek

DAY 10 : Honningsvåg

Norway’s Northern Frontier

A lit up city at night
Photo: Ulrich Dajek

The ship makes early morning stops in the town of Hammerfest and at Havøysund before arriving at Honningsvåg mid-morning.

This is the portal to the North Cape where a globe monument marks the top of continental Europe. The optional excursion up to the dramatic promontory is very popular, so you’ll want to make sure you pre-book early.

The ship continues north. Near the entrance of Kjøllefjord village, look out for the striking, building-like rock formation Finnkirka, an ancient sacrificial site once used by the indigenous Sámi. 

We reach Mehamn, in the evening. If visiting in the months of February and March, you might spot tons of cod drying on outdoor wooden racks called hjell, mainly destined for export.

The ship then sets off for Berlevåg. On the way, we pass the tall Slettnes Lighthouse, the northernmost mainland lighthouse on Earth.

DAY 11 : Kirkenes – Saariselkä

The Sámi Capital

A person riding a horse
Learn about Sámi traditions and their way of life, and hear traditional Sámi joiking (song).

We’ll arrive at Vardø in the morning, and we’ll continue south towards our next port, Kirkenes. You’ll be treated to dramatic coastal vistas as we approach the shore. Here, we leave our ship behind as we continue our journey south toward Finland on land.

We’ll board a coach and enjoy a scenic drive through the town of Kirkenes, and after crossing the border into Finland, we’ll begin heading south through Lapland. We’ll stop at Inari, a village in Finland’s largest municipality. 

The area is famous for its large Sámi population and is seen as the centre of Finnish Sámi culture. At the newly renovated Siida Sámi museum, you can see exhibits and artefacts that document the rich culture of the Finnish Sámi. We will enjoy lunch in a local restaurant before continuing to Saariselkä, a small skiing village in the middle of the Finnish Lapland wilderness.

After a day of travelling, learning, and exploring, you’ll spend your first night in Finland.

A person riding a horse
Learn about Sámi traditions and their way of life, and hear traditional Sámi joiking (song).
Agurtxane Concell / Hurtigruten
Photo: A woman and a rain deer in the snow

DAY 12 : Saariselkä

Meet a Sámi Family

Agurtxane Concell / Hurtigruten
Photo: A woman and a rain deer in the snow

Waking up in Saariselkä, you have another day in Finland’s winter wonderland to look forward to. 

Today we have a day at leisure to explore the small village, or why not try the toboggan near the hotel or one of the many optional excursions available.

This evening enjoys a Reindeer Safari, with the chance of experiencing the Northern Lights. A short transfer to a local reindeer farm and here you have the opportunity to get to know a local Sami family. During your visit, we will feed the reindeers in the paddock and tell you about reindeer husbandry. Then it´s time to take the Lappish lasso and practice, with the guidance of the host, throwing the lasso. You will also have a peek into the dim Lappish hut. In the idyllic old cottage, you can enjoy some coffee and chat more about reindeers and Sami. Weather permitting you will also enjoy a reindeer sleigh ride.

Return to your hotel in the evening, where you’ll spend your second night in Saariselkä.

DAY 13 : Saariselka - Rovaniemi - Sinetta

Santa Claus Village

A santa claus figure.
Photo: Madis Särglepp

Today, we journey towards the commercial centre of Lapland, Rovaniemi. Along the way we will make a short stop to visit the Sodankylä Old Church.

Experience Santa Claus Village, where you can see herds of reindeer and even meet the jolly bearded man himself. This Christmas-themed park will surely bring out your inner child, and if you’re lucky, seeing the Northern Lights dancing above will make your visit even more special. 

In the evening, you’ll check into an Arctic snowhotel in Sinettä, where you can unwind and enjoy the hotel’s spa and sauna facilities. Tonight we will enjoy dinner at the hotel before you spend the night in a toasty glass igloo, looking out for the Aurora through the 360 degree glass roof. 

A santa claus figure.
Photo: Madis Särglepp
Several Husky dogs that are part of a larger dog team
Photo: Agurtxane Concell / Hurtigruten

DAY 14 : Sinetta - Rovaniemi

Canine Companions

Several Husky dogs that are part of a larger dog team
Photo: Agurtxane Concell / Hurtigruten

Today we will transfer to your hotel in Rovaniemi. This Arctic city has an intriguing history, having grown to prominence in the 19th century due to the Lapland gold rush. After extensive destruction during World War II, the city had to be rebuilt, and its footprint was redesigned in the shape of a reindeer’s head.

Besides reindeer, another iconic Lapland animal is the husky. In the afternoon, you’ll take a tour of a husky dog kennel and meet its friendly, furry residents. Enjoy lunch at the kennel. Learn about the long relationship these dogs have with the local people, and find out how they’re reared to become as fit and as hardy as they are.

After spending some time with the dogs, enjoy a thrilling husky-drawn cart or sled ride through the Lapland wilderness. Once it’s over, you can enjoy a snack and a hot drink around the roaring fire.

DAY 15 : Rovaniemi

The Finnish Wilderness

Northern lights, winter and snowmobil
Photo: Ørjan Bertelsen / Bertelsen Foto

After breakfast you have a day to yourself to explore more of Rovaniemi. Your tour guide can recommend a range of exciting additional excursions or things to see and do in the area.

Maybe make a visit to Jätkänkynttilä bridge to take photos of Finland’s first suspension bridge. It stands prominently over Kemijoki river with the lamps at the top of its two pillars resembling glowing braziers.

You’ll also not want to miss the Aalto Centre, a complex of public buildings designed by famous Finnish modernist architect Alvar Aalto. Each of the three buildings is inspired by Finnish culture and nature. Even the five arterial roads are arranged in the shape of a reindeer’s antlers.

There’s also the forest-themed Pilke Science Centre and Korundi House of Culture to lose yourself in. Similarly, Ranua Zoo is home to various Arctic fauna, but all bow in respect to the resident polar bears and Finnish brown bears.

Northern lights, winter and snowmobil
Photo: Ørjan Bertelsen / Bertelsen Foto
A group of people sitting on a bench in front of a building
Photo: Heather Poon

DAY 16 : Rovaniemi - Helsinki

Finland’s Capital

A group of people sitting on a bench in front of a building
Photo: Heather Poon

Today, we leave the Rovaniemi and travel by train to Helsinki, Finland’s capital. Widely regarded as one of the world’s best cities to live in, Helsinki is vibrant and colourful, and offers a delicate balance of historic architecture and contemporary living. The city is also known for its incredible natural scenery, with countless nature trails nearby.

After a late afternoon arrival, spend the rest of the day exploring the city and discovering the many hidden gems dotted around the centre. With a wide range of bars, restaurants and cafés, Helsinki has something to satisfy every taste.

DAY 17 : Tallinn

A Trip Across the Gulf

A church with a large white building with Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallinn in the background
Photo: Barbera Schoog

We’ll get an early start in the morning and take a ferry across the Gulf of Finland, arriving in the historic capital of Estonia for a full-day excursion. With a documented history dating back 5,000 years, Tallinn has many cultural and historical treasures waiting to be found.

Once we reach land, you’ll enjoy a combined bus and walking tour of the city, where you’ll get to see the Baroque Kadriorg Park and the seaside district of Pirita. Characterised by the ruins of a 15th century convent, this sprawling residential district encompasses a long sandy beach, an adventure park, and dense forests.

Along Pirita promenade, you’ll find Maarjamäe Palace. This grand 19th century building houses the Estonian History Museum, which chronicles the entire history of Estonia, from the birth of the nation to present day.

Walk through the winding, cobblestoned streets of the Old Town, and continue on to Toompea Castle, home to the Estonian parliament. Visit Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Dome Church, and enjoy some free time before boarding the ferry to return to Helsinki. 

Tonight, you’ll enjoy a special farewell dinner with the crew and your fellow travellers. Use this opportunity to exchange photos and experiences with your newfound friends, and prepare yourself for departure the following day.

A church with a large white building with Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Tallinn in the background
Photo: Barbera Schoog
A street sign on a pole

DAY 18 : Helsinki

The Adventure Ends

A street sign on a pole

From the far south of Norway up to the northernmost point, then down through Finnish Lapland, and even to Estonia – you’ve been on quite the journey! You’ve travelled through the Polar Night over sea and land across three countries, with the Northern Lights making a pleasant appearance at times. 

Today marks the end of your journey, but it doesn’t truly finish here. The memories you’ve collected throughout your time with us will remain with you for years to come. You’ll also likely be going home with plenty of photos from various activities and places that you can share with family and friends.

After breakfast at the hotel, say your goodbyes to the crew and your fellow travellers, and make your way to the airport for your international flight home. We thank you for spending this time with us, and we hope to see you again soon for another adventure.

The day-by-day programme will give you a few ideas about what you can see and do on your coastal voyage in Norway, but bear in mind that this itinerary is just an indication of what you can experience. After all, this is a sailing where the elements rule and weather conditions might vary, which is why every voyage with The Hurtigruten Coastal Express is unique.

What's included

Included in your voyage

  • International flights
  • 4 star accommodation
  • 11 nights’ hotel accommodation (1 night in glass igloo) & 6 nights’ cruise accommodation
  • Daily breakfast, 7 lunches (5 on Hurtigruten)
  • 10 dinners (6 on Hurtigruten) & 1 farewell dinner in Helsinki including a glass of beer, wine, soft drink.
  • City tours of Oslo, Bergen, Tallinn
  • Norway in a Nutshell: Flåm Railway journey and fjord cruise on UNESCO listed Nærøyfjord
  • First class coach from Kirkenes to Rovaniemi
  • 2nd class rail from Rovaniemi to Helsinki
  • English speaking tour manager from start to finish
  • Reindeer Safari (sled ride, depending on weather)
  • Husky Safari (cart or sled ride, depending on weather)
  • Santa Claus Village visit
  • Siida Museum visit in Inari
  • Dome Church visit in Tallinn
  • Luggage service from hotel in Oslo to hotel in Bergen (1 bag per person)
  • Luggage service at all hotels (starting with luggage OUT in Oslo, and ending with luggage IN in Helsinki)

Not included in your voyage

  • Arrival/departure transfers
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners 
  • Optional small-group adventures with our Expedition Team such as kayaking (availability pending weather conditions and safety)
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling other than those specified
  • Beverages with meals

Notes

  • Regional flights available at a supplement. Please call for details.
  • Prices are in GBP per person based on two people travelling together sharing a twin cabin
  • Not all cabin categories are available for all departures
  • Single cabin pricing available on request
  • Hurtigruten has a flexible pricing system and all prices are capacity controlled and subject to availability
  •