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Havila Coastal Route – scenic and sustainable cruise

Norway - Havila Kystruten - cruise - travel
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Havila Coastal Route – scenic and sustainable cruise is written by Jens Skovgaard Andersen. The editors were invited along for the ride Havila Voyages. All opinions are, as usual, those of the editors.

The world's most beautiful sailing trip

Norway The coast is simply one of the most beautiful things you can experience. And the best way to experience the coast is by sailing in and out between the thousands of islands and skerries with views of high snow-capped mountains, steep slopes, rolling green hills, cozy fishing villages and the vast Atlantic Ocean.

Havila Kystruten is the newest player on the sailing route from Bergen to Kirkenes, and they really deliver. Luxurious surroundings, sustainable solutions, excellent catering and coziness in style. We have been on the route from Tromsø to Trondheim, and it is absolutely recommended.

A trip with Havila Kystruten gives new energy to the batteries and great nature experiences along the way. A cruise like nothing else.

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From north to south with Havila

The four newly built ships from Havila are named after stars, and they sail every day all year round from Kirkenes in the north, close to the border with Russia and all the way around the North Cape and along the dramatic and beautiful coast to Norway's second largest city, Bergen. Here the ship turns and sails the other way on new adventures.

In winter, the trip is a cold and dark affair northern Light and snowy landscapes. And in summer, the midnight sun takes over and turns up the green colors on land. Enormously beautiful all year round.

If you go all the way, it takes 6 days to get from one end of the long country to the other. Along the way, the ship docks in countless small towns with exciting excursions and attractions on the programme. And if you make the trip both there and back, you can visit other cities on the way home.

Of course, you don't have to get off along the way. You can easily spend the time relaxing on board. But there are so many good excursions to go on, and it's nice to get solid ground under your feet once in a while.

You don't have to join the whole stretch if you want to settle for less. An obvious 'mini cruise' is the stage between the larger cities of Tromsø and Trondheim, where you really get the best of both Arctic Norway and the island nation of Norway.

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Tromsø – the capital of the Arctic

Tromsø is a beautiful city to start the journey in with impressive views from the mountains around the city itself and the atmospheric old town center with the colorful wooden houses. Here we are far north of the Arctic Circle, and in summer the sun shines around the clock. There is therefore plenty of time to take a closer look at the city – and you may actually forget that you also have to go to bed at some point, even if the sun is shining at full blast.

It is easy to get to Tromsø from Denmark, as there are good flight connections via Oslo. You can also get there by car, but be aware that the distances in Norway are enormous. The train does not go all the way to Tromsø, but you can get off in Narvik and take a bus from there.

The southbound ship from Havila Kystruten arrives in Tromsø at midnight, and then the adventure begins in earnest.

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The sweet life aboard the Havila Coastal Cruise

At Havila there is no stress. There is room for 640 passengers, but when the ship is considered full, there are approximately 400 guests. So there is plenty of space.

The cabins are new and beautiful, and you can even upgrade to luxurious suites with extra space. Everywhere on the different decks there are cozy corners with sofas and soft chairs, and the fantastic view follows you everywhere. The four modern ships are each decorated by an exciting Norwegian artist, and it works really well.

On the top deck you have a 360-degree view of the unique arctic nature, and you simply forget all the challenges of everyday life - and also what time it is - when you stand and look out over Norway's landscapes, the narrow archipelago and the wild sea.

However, remember to hold on tight when the ship approaches one of the small harbors along the way; they toot their horn shortly before arrival, and that can make both your heart and yourself jump.

When the ship approaches a town with a landing or one of the many highlights along the way, you will be notified via the loudspeakers. You shouldn't miss a thing.

On this stretch, you cross the Arctic Circle at Bodø, hit the middle point of Norway in Brønnøysund, pass the mountain formation 'De Syv Søstre' in Helgeland, sail through the very narrow Raftsundet and into the mythical Trollfjorden on Lofoten.

In the Trollfjord, the ship sails on battery power, so you can enjoy the total silence when the 1000 meter high steep mountainsides almost hug the ship on all sides. A very special experience and clearly one of the highlights of the trip, so make sure you get a good seat on deck.

When you've had enough wind in your hair, take a seat at the bar and enjoy a local beer or cider and a snack made from local ingredients. All in all, the local raw materials are crucial for Havila Kystruten - more on that later.

When the blood circulation needs to start again, you can conveniently use the two fitness rooms on board. One is for getting the heart rate up and the other for strength training.

When the training is over, you jump on to the sauna and the outdoor jacuzzi. There is really nothing missing.

  • Havila Kystruten - Lofoten, eagle safari, RIB - travel

Go out and see – Havila's unique excursions

Although the sailing trip itself is certainly a unique experience, you must also remember to come ashore once in a while and experience Norway's nature and culture along the way. A cruise along the coast offers plenty of opportunities to go on exciting excursions. And Havila Kystruten has many of them.

On Lofoten, you should definitely go on an eagle safari in a RIB boat. Here you will be dressed in a waterproof full suit, life jacket and safety glasses, and then the trip will otherwise go at flying speed through narrow passages and around between rocks, skerries and small islands. It tickles the stomach and all the right places and is just right for adrenaline junkies of all ages.

Lofoten is known as the kingdom of the eagles, and for good reason. A large number of sea eagles have made the archipelago their home, and you must see them. It is an impressive experience to see the great hunters dive down and take fish at the surface of the water and also just show the many seagulls who really decides in the internal hierarchy of the birds. There is no doubt about that after experiencing the eagles in full display.

If you are more into relaxed activities, you can replace the eagle safari with, for example, a visit to the local brewery or even a round of golf on a superbly located course with sea views.

An obvious excursion along the way is one hike. It is good to touch the body. You can do this several times during the cruise along the coast. A recommendation from here is to go on a hike to the mountain Torghatten when you dock in Brønnøysund in the Helgeland archipelago right in the middle of Norway.

The hike starts with a bus ride, where you will be told the wonderful story of the mountain and the troll legends that naturally go with it. Afterwards, it's time to lace up your shoes and head upstairs.

It's a bit steep and there are stairs a lot of the way, but most people can do it. The reward for the hardships is the unforgettable view at the end of the hiking trail through the hole in the mountain. And a well-deserved pancake – or 'lefse' in Norwegian – is absolutely worth it.

  • Havila Coastal Route - menu - travel
  • Havila Kystruten - cruise - food stories - travel
  • Havila Kystruten - cruise - food stories - travel
  • Havila Kystruten - cruise - food stories - travel
  • Havila Kystruten - cruise - food stories - travel
  • Havila Kystruten - cruise - food stories - travel
  • Havila Kystruten - cruise - food stories - travel

Norwegian tapas and local delicacies - sustainability at the top of the menu

You have no doubt that Havila Kystruten has sustainability at the very top of the agenda. You feel that everywhere on the ship.

When you settle down at a table in the ship's Havrand restaurant, you immediately meet the dining concept, which they call Havila Food Stories. The mission is to limit food waste to nothing and at the same time tell you the story of Norway through what you eat and drink on board.

Instead of a buffet where a lot of food goes to waste, here you have to choose between a lot of small dishes and side dishes. Everything is served in measured portions, and you don't have to hold back on the treats. The staff are happy to help with good tips and recommendations - and you are welcome to order many times.

The menu itself changes approximately every other day along the way between four food universes: The Taste of the Arctic, The Taste of the Polar Land, The Taste of the Islands and The Taste of the Fjords. That means you come up with one gastronomic journey through local specialities, and we all know that a destination is best experienced through the taste buds.

Reindeer, crabs, mussels, fresh berries, mushrooms and fish of all kinds – you really get to try different things in the four food universes.

The tapas concept results in virtually no food waste, and the very ultra-local food philosophy means that there is very little transport of raw materials for the cruise. So you can sit back and be gastronomically spoiled with a clear conscience.

In addition to restaurant Havrand, you must also try fine dining- the Hildring restaurant, where you can enjoy the very best of local Norwegian cuisine and from the skilled chefs and confectioners on board in exclusive surroundings. Here you are in really good culinary hands.

If you're hungry – or hungry for delicious food – outside of mealtimes, you can always visit the café Havly, which is open all day and offers an almost unmanageable selection of delicious things.

To travel is to eat – and on the Havila Kystruten this is more true than in some other places. Bon appetite.

The difficult farewell to the world's most beautiful cruise

It is not easy to land after a travel adventure like this. The nature is impressive, the comfort is top notch, the staff is world class, and the experience on the Havila Coastal Route exceeds all expectations. But all good things come to an end and so does this cruise.

If you take the trip all the way from north to south, you will end up in beautiful Bergen with Bryggen and the Fløibanen as must see attractions. From here you can explore the fjords and that southern Norway, if time permits.

We dropped off in Trondheim, which is known for Norway's most important church, the coronation church Nidarosdomen. You must visit it when you are in Trondheim. And otherwise it's just a matter of exploring the 1000-year-old city, which was the capital in the Viking Age.

Regardless of where you start and end your cruise with Havila Kystruten, remember to give yourself some time to experience Norway's atmospheric cities, wild nature, coziness and warmth.

Norway is an excellent travel country, and the best way to experience the elongated country is on a cruise along the coast with Havila Kystruten.

Good sustainable cruise and really good fun.

5 highlights on your cruise from Tromsø to Trondheim

  • Havila Food Stories – the unique sustainable food concept on board Havila's cruise ships
  • Eagle safari in RIB boat on Lofoten
  • Hike to Torghatten in Helgeland
  • The cozy cities of Tromsø and Trondheim
  • The impressive Norwegian nature and the midnight sun
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About the author

Jens Skovgaard Andersen, editor

Jens is a happy traveler who has traveled to over 70 countries from Kyrgyzstan and China to Australia and Albania. Jens is educated in Chinese studies, has lived in China for 1½ years and is a member of De Berejstes Klub. He has extensive experience in the world of travel as a tour guide, lecturer, advisor, author and photographer. And, of course, most importantly: As a traveller.
Jens often looks for places where there is also the opportunity to watch a good football match in the company of other inveterate fans and has a particular fondness for the FREM football club, where he sits on the board.
For most people, it's obvious to look up to Jens (he's barely two meters tall), and he's a 14-time champion in the TV quiz Jeopardy, so if you can't find him out in the world or in a football stadium, you can you will probably find him touring the Copenhagen quiz environment.

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