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 included Båtsfjord, Vardø and Vadsø. There was a flurry of activity after breakfast as the next port of call was Kirkenes. This was where some passengers were leaving the cruise and others joined for the southbound journey.
10:10 – We arrived at Kirkenes and there were 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 included 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 were small, the most popular choice was the visit to the Snow Hotel.
On the Snow Hotel excursion we also got to come up close to reindeers and met some Sami people to learn about their culture and traditions. You could tell that the reindeer in this picture was not Rudolf as it seemed to have a blue nose.
The Snow Hotel was a fun visit and definitely worth the experience. See our sightseeing post on the Kirkenes Snow Hotel.
Starting our Southbound Journey
12:45 – We left Kirkenes and started our southbound journey calling at the same 34 ports. On the southbound voyage, it would 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 were in darkness most of the time.
16:20 – Vardø is Norway’s easternmost town and here there was the option to visit Fortress Vardøhuss. A guide from the fortress was waiting 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 stopped at Båtsfjord for 30 minutes.
22:15 – The final port for the evening was Berlevåg, where the ship made a 15-minute stop.