Kirkenes, a Town Near the Russian Border:
|Day 7: Båtsfjord – Vardø – Vadsø – Kirkenes – Vardø – Båtsfjord – Berlevåg. The ship sails into Kirkenes where you will have the opportunity to go ashore. You may wish to participate in a shore excursion from Kirkenes to Storskog the Norwegian/Russian border station or you could participate in the ‘Barents Safari’ (15.12 to 05.05), an excursion by snowmobile.
At 12.45 p.m. the ship departs Kirkenes and starts the second half of its voyage. On the southbound journey, it will be day when it was night on the trip northwards. Crossing Varangerfjord, you will arrive in Vardo, the easternmost point in Norway at 4.00 p.m. Leaving Vardo an hour later, the ship will circumnavigate the Varanger peninsula before arriving in Batsfjord and Berlevag in the evening. The journey will then continue along the coast of Finnmark.
00:30 – 07:40 This morning’s early port stops include Båtsfjord, Vardø and Vadsø. There’s a flurry of activity after breakfast as the next port of call is Kirkenes. This is where some passengers leave the cruise and others join for the southbound journey.We’re coming to the end of the northbound voyage and there’s not been any sighting of the Northern Lights. Passengers who are interested in the Northern Lights are told to leave their cabin numbers with the reception and if a sighting occurs in the wee hours of the morning you’ll get a phone call. Did they forget to call us? Those leaving the ship this morning must be disappointed not to have seen those famous magic Lights.
10:10 – We arrive at Kirkenes and there are bus services to the airport as well as into town. Airport transfers and the bus into town can be arranged through Hurtigruten. The drive to the airport takes 15 minutes and tickets are sold on board the Hurtigruten. Bus tickets into town are sold on the bus.
The optional excursions at Kirkenes include a trip from Kirkenes to Storskog the Norwegian/Russian border station, a ‘Barents Safari’ which is an excursion by snowmobile or a visit to an Ice Hotel. As the passenger numbers are small, the most popular choice is the visit to the Snow Hotel.
On the Snow Hotel excursion you also get to come up close to reindeers and meet some Sami people and learn about their culture and traditions. You can tell that the reindeer in this picture is not Rudolf as it seems to have a blue nose.
The Snow Hotel is a fun visit and definitely worth the experience. See our sightseeing post on the Kirkenes Snow Hotel.
Starting our Southbound Journey
12:45 – We leave Kirkenes and start our southbound journey calling at the same 34 ports. On the southbound voyage, it will be day when it was night on the trip northwards. However in these northern latitudes, there’s little light in winter and whether day or night, we’re in darkness.
16:20 – Vardø is Norway’s easternmost town and here there is the option to visit Fortress Vardøhuss. A guide from the fortress waits at the pier to take us there. If you’re interested in the trade and relationship between Norway and Russia, Hurtigruten recommends the Pomor Museum which is open.
20:00 – We stop at Båtsfjord for 30 minutes.
22:15 – The final port for the evening is Berlevåg, where the ship makes a 15-minute stop.