As a charter broker you are accustomed to organising charters from Palma to Porto Cervo and Denia to Dubrovnik. The reliably sultry weather and glorious blue seas are just two reasons for the enduring popularity of Mediterranean destinations. However, why stick to the same places when the world offers a smorgasbord of delightful destinations? When a client has an itch to travel further afield it is my pleasure to design an exceptional experience and to be able to guide them with first-hand knowledge.
Having heard so much about the breathtaking fjords of Norway and the sumptuous accommodation and service to be found in Scandinavia, I was happy to accept Ola Hiis Bergh’s invitation to explore what Norway has to offer as a charter destination.
Ola (below) is the director of Superyacht Norway, a network of tourist providers and superyacht industry stakeholders who work to promote Norway as a serious destination for the world's finest superyachts. On their website potential visitors can find an extensive list of services and a full cruising guide.
Ola, who at 87 cuts a sprightly figure (energised by a lifetime swimming in glacial lakes), was our generous and informative guide for the whirlwind 5 days in Norway. It seemed he even planned the weather, for perfect, balmy temperatures welcomed us upon our arrival in Bergen, known as the gateway to the fjords, and stayed with us for the remainder of the trip.
Victoria Pearce from The Islander was also on the trip and you can read her personal account here.
The beauty of Norway and its unique landscape of fjords, glaciers and waterfalls is well known. But an extra ingredient is required to turn it into an attractive destination for charter clients or yacht owners.
What makes Norway a special destination is that it can offer what the discerning contemporary traveller is looking for: outstanding VIP treatment and activities organised by passionate ambassadors of their country who have the know-how to provide the highest level of service with discretion.
Highlights on our cruising itinerary:
The Flam Railway: Widely considered the most beautiful railway in the world, the track snakes past sheer cliffs, waterfalls and meadows bursting with alpine flowers, to arrive at the Sognefjord. For VIPs a whole train wagon can be booked to travel in total privacy through scenery that will leave you speechless.
The Viking Valley: So much more than a Viking museum, Viking Valley offers the living, breathing experience of going back in time to a Viking village. Visitors have the option to book out the whole village and enjoy a special meal or event in complete privacy.
Laerdal: The Laerdalsoren Hotel is a beautiful, welcoming establishment that looks the epitome of traditional Norwegian charm. Arriving outside you're met with the incongruous sight of Lamborghinis, Ferraris pand Mercedes parked up. The owner is a supercar enthusiast who has a collection of 40 racing cars. Private rallys can be organised for a truly fabulous spin along the mountain roads.
The river running by is famous for its wild salmon, celebrated in the Wild Salmon Centre and in the restaurants. The centre's director, Rolf, taught Sir Eric Clapton to fly fish at his private residence 'Moldebo', where a special overnight experience can be arranged. The Norwegian king comes here regularly with his family. To protect the exclusivity of the residence and the privacy of guests, no website exists and picture taking was not allowed.
Hotel Ullensvang: A first class hotel with superyacht quay at Lofthus in the Hardangerfjord. This is the place to reset and relax with a massage, sauna, or in the indoor and outdoor pools with stunning views in every direction.
Skåri Farm: At the end of the world, with views to die for, Skåri farm is a recreated Medieval village that is only ever booked out to one group at a time. Special events and trips can be organised according to your desires.
Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri: This charming hotel (below) is home to the exceptional culinary chops of brothers Ørjan and Arnt Johannessen. (Ørjan won the Bocuse d'Or Lyon 2015). Amazing local produce is transformed into dishes as delicious as they are beautiful.
Reasons to Return
I found on this trip that Norwegians are very proud of their history and their country: with fresh ideas they bring this tradition tp to the present, creating unique moments and lasting memories for the VIP traveller. Who would expect a heli pad in a medieval village or Viking village or a rally experience in a Lamborghini in the remote country side?
Do not go to Norway if you are looking for the Ibiza club scene, the glamour of the Côte d’Azur or Porto Cervo’s vibrant summer life.
Go to wind down, to be in peace with nature and yourself, to explore the unknown in a world where you think you have already seen everything and all this with the highest level of luxury.
Norway simply has it all! Do not wait to explore unique cruising grounds, on shore adventure and fine dining!
Karen Martensen is Charter Manager and Broker at Burgess in Palma.