Hurtigruten – The famous Costal Express

Norway Bergen - Costal Express Ship Nordkapp by Bryggen in Bergen
Norway Bergen - Costal Express Ship Nordkapp by Bryggen in Bergen

Join the Coastal Express for the 12 days long trip along the magnificent Norwegian coast. The Coastal Express is departing from Bergen, arriving Kirkenes on day 7, and then sails back to Bergen.

Should you choose the full length journey, you will travel from Bergen, up to Kirkenes and back to Bergen, making 34 stops at ports both large and small along the way. You will encounter a land of contrasts, everything from fertile land to barren rock, small fishing hamlets and large towns, the open sea and narrow fjords. No two days are alike. It is also possible to choose shorter journeys. Remember your camera!

All return journeys offer a senior citizen discount for those over 67 years of age except during the period between the 1st of June to the 15th of July. Please note: The traditional ships do not contain cabins suitable for physically disabled passengers.

Contact Information:
Telephone bookings: +47 810 30 000
Company: Ofotens og Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab ASA
Address: Postbox 43, 8501 NARVIK, Norway.
Tel.: +47 76 96 76 96

Insiders Tip
If you’re coming to Norway for the Coastal Express, we suggest that you order your flight ticket to Oslo Airport at Gardermoen and go by train to Bergen. This is a really nice day trip, then you’ll get to see both mountain plateaus and the famous Norwegian fjords! The railway line from Oslo to Bergen is called ‘Bergensbanen’ or in English ‘The Bergen Line’.

Costal Express History
In 1891, August Kriegsman Gran, the national steam ship advisor, came up with the idea of providing an express shipping service between Trondheim and Hammerfest. Two steamship companies, The Nordenfjeldske Dampskibsselskab and the Bergenske Dampskibsselskab, were offered the route, but rejected it, regarding the sailing during the dark and stormy winters as impossible. At the time there were only two marine charts in existence and only 28 lighthouses north of Trondheim.

Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskap, a relatively young steamship company based in Stokmarknes, took up the challenge. For some time, Captain Richard With and his pilots had been keeping accurate notes on courses, speeds and times taken to sail the route and felt that the service would be viable. On 18th May 1893, the government entered into a 4-year contract with Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskap, providing the company with the backing for a weekly sailing between Trondheim and Hammerfest during the summer and Trondheim and Tromsø during the winter. There were nine ports of call on the route.

When the steamship ‘Vesteraalen’ left the quay in Trondheim on the morning of 2nd July 1893 bound for Hammerfest, it signaled the beginning of a communications revolution. It enabled the population and industries along the coast to communicate in a completely new way.

Previously, it could take up to three weeks in the summer or five months in the winter to send a letter from Trondheim to Hammerfest. The Coastal Express reduced this time to a few days.

After 36 hours the ship reached Svolvær, and on the 5th of July at 3.30am, 67 hours after departing Trondheim, the ship docked at Hammerfest – half an hour ahead of schedule! The ship and its crew were met by cheering crowds at all ports of call along the Norwegian coast.

When Richard With and Vesteraalens Dampskibsselskab led the way, several other shipping companies followed in their wake. In 1894 the Bergenske Dampskibsselskab and the Nordenfjeldske Dampskibsselskab were licensed to run the Coastal Express route. The service underwent continual improvements.

In 1898 Bergen became the southernmost port on the route. Vadsø was added to the Coastal Express route in 1907, and Kirkenes followed in 1914. For a brief period there was a weekly departure from Stavanger, but from 1936 to the present day there have been daily departures from Bergen – only interrupted by the war years.

Over 70 ships have served in the Coastal Express fleet over the last century. The first were acquired from other services both at home and abroad.

As time went by ships were built specifically for the Coastal Express route, with amongst other facilities: cold storage and freezer rooms, roll on/roll off capability, storage designed for goods stacked on pallets, vehicle transportation, course and conference facilities.

From the very beginning it was believed that the economics would be based on tourism. Brochures were created in several languages informing both sales offices and individual customers abroad of the Coastal Expresses route along the wild and beautiful Norwegian coast.

The Coastal Express made places like Lofoten, Trollfjorden, Skjærvøy, Hammerfest and the North Cape available to the international public keen to experience the Land of the Midnight Sun. And the tourists obliged – in abundance – making the Coastal Express one of Europe’s most famous attractions.

Today, the journey is internationally recognized as ‘The Worlds Most Beautiful Voyage‘.

Open/operating 2019
All year.

Norwegian name: Hurtigruten.
Location: Costal Norway.
Distance to Fish Market: 1450 meters.
Address: Office address: Postbox 43, NARVIK.
Telephone: +47 810 30 000.