The Arctic is an aesthetic paradise

Sponsored by Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express

Make sure you have a camera ready when you visit the Norwegian Arctic, a breathtaking destination that you can photograph spectacularly.

Think travel photography and you might think of blue tropical seas or bright silks in hot markets. Go beyond the clichés, however, and you’ll find joy through the lens of the Arctic.

The quality of the dim, crystal-clear light is superb. It lasts 24 hours in summer, while in winter the swirling wonder of the Northern Lights compensates for the darkness. The ice cracks, the coasts crease and the landscapes display a wild power and beauty.

Then there’s wildlife, so you’ll need a zoom lens as well as a panorama lens. Also consider a close-up option: flowers like arctic poppies and purple saxifrage bring pops of color to the tundra.

Practice photography before heading to the Arctic proper and get used to the contrast, snow reflections and subtle light. The coastal town of Ålesund has colorful Art Nouveau architecture, and if you climb 418 steps to Mount Aksla, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the Confetti Islands.

Climb the 418 steps of Mount Aksla to admire Ålesund's colorful Art Nouveau architecture from above.

Climb the 418 steps of Mount Aksla to admire Ålesund’s colorful Art Nouveau architecture from above. Photo: iStock

Nearby, Hjørundfjord is a beautiful fjord carved out of the mountains and draped in waterfalls whose spray waters your upside-down face. The towering cliffs make for spectacular photos: the only challenge is to fit such grandeur into the frame.

Further north, the coast of Helgeland is also magnificent. Just off Brønnøysund is a scattering of thousands of islands and islets, while behind rise salty, weather-beaten mountains worthy of troll tales.

Aboard a small cruise ship, there are an abundance of opportunities to get up close to some of nature’s greatest sights while cruising along the coast. Boasting unparalleled views and a perspective that you cannot experience anywhere else.

An unparalleled experience

A trip along the Norwegian coast and into the Arctic is a unique experience. Endless archipelagos, jagged fjords and towering mountains unfold, often best admired from the water, making a small boat cruise a great way to travel; Local company Hurtigruten has been sailing the Norwegian coast since 1893 and visits its most spectacular corners.

In the Lofoten Islands you are above the Arctic Circle. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Red-roofed houses and white-sand beaches stand against verdant cliffs, jagged mountains and tropical blue bays, so all you have to do is point and shoot and you’ve got a scene worthy of a calendar.

Marvel at magnificent views on a hike to Reinebringen in the Lofoten Islands.

Marvel at magnificent views on a hike to Reinebringen in the Lofoten Islands. Photo: iStock

Another exceptional photographic opportunity awaits you in Tromsø. The Norwegian Arctic capital is surrounded by fingers of intense blue-green water and backed by the jagged, snow-capped Lyngen Alps. You can capture wonderful alpine scenes just by heading to Folkeparken, or views of the city from the Arctic Cathedral, which rises like a wandering iceberg on a hill.

Ascend Mount Storsteinen on the cable car and you’ll have a bird’s eye view of the Tromsø Fjord with the Lyngen Alps arranged like the peaks of a gigantic pavlova on the horizon. For a great photographic safari, head to Senja, often ranked as one of the most beautiful islands in the world for its rearing peaks and pale blue bays: the perfect place for a hike or a kayak.

Much of northern Norway lies within the Arctic Circle, but the remote archipelago of Svalbard is as close to the North Pole as you’ll ever get without being a polar explorer. These spectacular rock islands are dotted with beautiful fjords and crowned by snow-capped mountains.

Wonderful wildlife

Photography enthusiasts will be delighted with the wildlife. Half of Svalbard is protected by nature reserves and a national park, and you’ll spot walruses, seals, reindeer and arctic foxes. The steep cliffs are filled with puffins and seagulls swirl overhead.

Life’s only dream is to meet polar bears. Svalbard is home to some 300, a greater concentration than almost anywhere else. The deck of a small ship is the best way to spot them, as polar bears prefer the edge of the pack ice to hunt seals. Hurtigruten is launching a new Svalbard Express cruise next year and hosting an onboard seminar on how to best photograph the landscape and wildlife.

Meet reindeer in Svalbard.

Meet reindeer in Svalbard. Photo: iStock

It’s not just nature that fascinates the photographer in Svalbard. In the administrative capital Longyearbyen, you’ll want to capture the red church and brightly painted houses against a backdrop of rough rock and glaciers.

Rotate the lens to the snow-capped mountains and use buildings in the foreground to show the vastness of this arctic territory. It’s another stunning Norwegian landscape, and you’ll have another hundred photos to reminisce about an amazing trip that took your breath away.

To fully enjoy such an unforgettable experience, travel in style. Norwegian premium small cruise line Hurtigruten Norwegian Coastal Express is launching its relaunched Svalbard Express in 2023. The revamped MS Trollfjord cruise takes you along the Norwegian coast in unparalleled comfort and revisits a route to Svalbard popular in the 1960s. 1960, evoking the nostalgia and chic of this style period. For more information, contact your travel agent or visit the website

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