I plan to see the northern coastline of Norway (Bergen-Tromso-Kirkenes). My goal is to find the way to move along the coastline, not being restricted to the town where I land. I cannot rent a car, how do I move along the coastline between the towns?

I found some cruise lines, but websites I pull out from the Google Search only offer cabins with overnight stay, likely expecting me to do all route on a single ship. The standing times at port, however, are few hours only that looks too short for independent activities outside the port, and while they do offer various excursions, with these added to the price this gets beyond that I can easily afford. $1000 per family for watching puffins alone!

Looks more efficient to book several hotels in towns along the sea coast and do independent hops, most logically by ship, as the train needs to go very deep into the land to run around fiords. The train still seems becoming for me an option, because it at least has the time table possible to find online.

So far I cannot find any passenger ship services that would do a single day journey only, not requiring a cabin, hence expecting to cost less. Do any exist, and (hope still on topic) do they have they official websites where I could see at least the time tables? It looks quite risky to book hotels without knowing how to get between the towns.

  • The Hurtigruten-Website (hurtigruten.no) allows to book "port to port" tickets, however, I don't have time now to look up the prices and if they are cheaper / more expensive than booking the entire trip at once.
    – Sabine
    Mar 27, 2023 at 7:20
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    Hurtigruten is definitely used by locals and for freight too, as I saw lots of evidence of this when I was on it myself, but yeah, not sure what the price would be like.
    – Muzer
    Mar 27, 2023 at 7:24
  • In a blog from a local I read that for near home he sometimes used buses. Longer distance the Hurtigruten with an overnight cabin
    – Willeke
    Mar 27, 2023 at 7:33
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    When I was there, I used a combination of buses, trains and ferries. These ferries are a bit like buses, stopping at several ports. IIRC the name of the company is Norled. norled.no/en Usually, no reservation was required, unless it's busy.
    – Berend
    Mar 27, 2023 at 8:14
  • Do not underestimate the distances and low density in Northern Norway, trains only go as far as Bodø (or Narvik but only from Sweden) and after that you are looking at very long bus journeys. There are also fewer ferries beside the Hurtigruten / Havil coastal route. I think locals just fly.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 27, 2023 at 9:02

1 Answer 1


Even if they increasingly tend to emphasize the cruise side of their business on their website (to the point that I cannot manage to find the relevant page on the global Hurtigruten website), you can book port-to-port tickets with both Hurtigruten and Havila (a new operator following a tender from the Norwegian government to renew Hurtigruten's contract to serve this line). If the crossing is long or overnight, I think they may still require you to book a cabin as well but you can certainly take only part of the journey or stop along the way before hopping onto the next ship.

Those are the only two regular services that go along the whole coast all the way to Kirkenes. Hurtigruten's sailing plan is here but Havila's ships will follow the exact same route on days not served by Hurtigruten (anymore). The only alternative (depending on the part of the route and season) is to piece together local ferries and busses (trains do not go even as far as Tromsø, let alone Kirkenes). Visitnorway.com has a helpful page with some ideas to travel around Northern Norway.

Note that Norway is a relatively expensive country, it is going to cost a lot for a family, no matter how you slice it. From that perspective, a cruise is not necessarily a bad deal as cruise tickets are full board, you do get to see a lot and have enough time for a quick visit in key places. Port-to-port tickets or bus travel will give you some flexibility and the pleasure of planning your own trip but I would not always expect massive savings. As a new operator, Havila does seem to offer great bargains, though, so I would look into that in any case.

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    Calling Norway “relatively expensive” is a bit of an understatement. While it is possible to have affordable vacations here, those require dispensing with indoors accomodations such as meals or overnight stays. Serious adventurers can take their tent on a hike- or bikepacking trip (or ski with pulk). Stuffing a motorhome full of food is an option that's perhaps feasible for more people and still makes for a great nature experience. Cruises are great for how care-free they are, but though the fjords are also impressive from a boat I'd say it doesn't compare to seeing them from a mountaintop. Mar 27, 2023 at 22:58
  • @leftaroundabout All great things to do but I don't think this is the kind of things the OP had in mind. I agree the experiences don't compare but while I love hiking in the Alps, I also love being on the sea and I actually find the Norwegian coast even more impressive that way.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 27, 2023 at 23:13
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    Regarding prices, that has long been my impression and I initially wrote ”very expensive”. That is certainly the case for many things, especially going out or alcohol but I am not so sure it's completely true anymore. This week, I got breakfast in Ålesund under €10, somewhat fancy coffee was €3 or 4. Not cheap but not more expensive than Paris or Amsterdam.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 27, 2023 at 23:14
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    I found that for the sections that are started and completed for the same day, it is possible to select the option "without cabin" that significantly reduces the price.
    – Nightrider
    Mar 28, 2023 at 7:41
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    I suspect that whether Norway feels just "expensive" or "exorbitantly expensive" to international visitors depends on the exchange rate. The kroner is weak right now. Mar 28, 2023 at 13:27

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