Hurtigruten started life delivering mail to idyllic Norwegian coastal towns. Today the company offers robust itineraries, giving cruisers the chance to experience immerse themselves in local culture and visit awe-inspiring destinations.

While they’re best known for their cruises, Hurtigruten also offers a range of touring packages that add incredible land programs to bookend their coastal experience.

Whether you want a small-group escorted journey or an independent tour, you’ll see impressive scenery, visit picturesque villages, and learn more about Norwegian folklore. Go in winter and catch the famous Northern Lights or in summer to experience the midnight sun.

To make the most of your time in the northern country, don’t miss Hurtigruten’s Norway in a Nutshell, a program that comprises rail, ferry and coach travel all in one.

It showcases some of Norway’s most stunning fjord scenery and the quaint village of Flam (gateway to Nærøyfjord, the world’s narrowest fjord) in one, two or three-day itineraries.

While it’s incorporated in the line’s Follow the Lights and Complete Norway tours, Norway in a Nutshell can also be added as a pre- or post-cruise program to any of the coastal sailings.

Following the Northern Lights by sea

Hurtigruten’s team of experienced guides takes groups of just 24 travellers on the world’s best Northern Lights expeditions.

The tours are 18 days northbound or 14 days southbound, and include many memorable sights and experiences along the way.

The obvious tour highlight is the Northern Lights, which are best seen Tromso, a beautiful city that sits within the Arctic Circle. While there, you can also admire the city’s architecture, which includes the 1965 Arctic Cathedral with its unique roof and stained-glass windows.

While sailing the Helgeland coast, you’ll spot the famous mountain with a hole through its centre and the Seven Sisters mountain range.

Visit Kristiansund, famous for its salted dry fish, and take an excursion along the Atlantic Road – a National Scenic Route that stretches for eight kilometres and spans eight bridges, crosses picturesque landscapes and is surrounded by the open sea.

The route from Alesund to Bergen also offers brilliant views of the island-studded coastline including fjords to the east.

Follow the Lights also visits the Honningsvag, the northernmost point in Europe, only 2,000 kilometres from the North Pole.

You’ll also stop in Kirkenes, where you can meet a Sami family and visit a reindeer farm, and Sinetta, Finland for a visit to Santa Claus village and a night in a glass igloo.

From there, you’ll discover Finnish Lakeland, where you’ll stay in beautiful log accommodation. Explore Helsinki, Finland’s capital, and take a fascinating day trip to medieval Tallinn in Estonia.

Or opt for independant Norway land tours

If you prefer a more independent adventure, this 16-day journey can’t be beaten. Begin in Oslo and explore the best the historical and beautiful Norwegian capital has to offer, before boarding the train to Myrdal to begin your Norway in a Nutshell adventure.

You’ll take the famous Flåm Railway – a marvel of railway engineering – to the town of Flåm. From there, take the ferry to Gudvangen, passing through the incredibly narrow Nærøyfjord, then to Voss, past snow-capped mountain peaks, valleys, rivers and waterfalls.

The last of your Norway in a Nutshell journey takes you to Bergen, the colourful gateway to the fjords.

From here, you’ll begin the cruise portion of your package and sail north along the Viking route of Hjeltefjord.

On this leg, you’ll stop in Ålesund, Kristiansund, Trondheim and Rørvik, before crossing the Arctic Circle, where you’ll see glaciers, fjords, maeltroms and cliffs, as well as farms, breweries and Viking feasts.

Stop in beautiful Tromsø, famous for its architecture. In winter, try dog sledding, cross country skiing or snowshoeing, or hike the area all year round.

Sailing from Tromsø, you’ll continue to search for the Northern Lights en route to Havøysund, the world’s northernmost fishing village, and Kjøllefjord, where you can learn about the Sámi way of life.

At Kirkenes, you’ll turn around for the return journey – on which you’ll now see by day what you sailed past at night. Stop at the island groups of Lofoten and Vesterålen, Risøyhamn, to deliver passengers, groceries and mail, and Stokmarknes, where Hurtigruten was founded more than 125 years ago.

Throughout the journey, you’ll have countless optional excursions to choose from that will allow you to get the full experience of this magical land.

Intent on seeing the Northern Lights? Hurtigruten’s Northern Lights Promise means that if you don’t see them at least once on your in-season journey, they’ll give you another six or seven-day Classic Voyage for free.

Visit hurtigruten.com.au to learn more