Crossing the line to the land of the Midnight Sun or Northern Lights
An invisible line sweeps across Sweden, Finland, Russia, Alaska, Canada, Greenland and Iceland - a line that also splits Norway in two. The magic number 66° 33’ marks this line, the Arctic Circle, north of which the Midnight Sun shines. Above the line, you can see the sun 24 hours a day throughout the summer - or the Northern Lights in the winter, weather permitting.
On a Hurtigruten voyage along the Norwegian coast, we often celebrate crossing the line with rites such as whistle signals and symbolic on-deck baptisms. You will see the line marked on a globe on the small islet of Vikingen, in Rødøy Municipality between Nesna and Ørnes. To the west of this point is the island of Hestmannen, which was depicted in the Nordland legend about trolls that were suddenly turned into stone, becoming the mountains along the Nordland coast. Eastwards, Mefjorden continues up to the Svartisen glacier.
The exact location of the Arctic Circle varies each time you travel past it. Over the course of a full year, the virtual line shifts by almost 15 metres – while Vikingen and its Arctic Circle Monument remain firmly in place. The exact position of the line depends on the angle of the earth’s axis compared to the plane of its orbit at the time.
One of the most famous attractions above the Arctic Circle is the North Cape - the northernmost point on the European mainland. A visit to this rugged cliff is an undisputed highlight of any Hurtigruten cruise along the Norwegian coast.