Summary : Search for the Svalbard Archipelago’s legendary wildlife: seals, walrus, whales, Arctic foxes, and the ultimate goal—polar bears. Photograph dramatic landscapes, including chiseled fjords, glittering glaciers, and lush tundra blazing with purple saxifrage and moss campion. Explore by Zodiac to discover hundreds of thousands of breeding seabirds, including kittiwakes, guillemots, dovekies, puffins, and rare ivory gulls. Step back in history as you visit former whaling stations and sites that recall the exploits of famous explorers.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking
Groups of 8 or more people save 10% per person off the cost of the expedition.
$9,980 to $16,780
Board your independent flight to Norway.
Arrive in Oslo and transfer to your hotel.
Spend the remainder of the day at your leisure to enjoy this fascinating and colorful city. Gather this evening for a welcome reception followed by dinner and overnight at Radisson Blu Airport Hotel.
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Longyearbyen. Explore this Arctic mining town and capital of Svalbard; the brightly colored buildings house a variety of small shops and restaurants, as well as the Svalbard Museum. Embark the Ocean Adventurer in the late afternoon.
Spend your days exploring the rugged coastline, spectacular narrow fjords, and offshore islands of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard Archipelago. The primary goal is to locate wildlife, which is found here in abundance during the short summer season. Many varieties of seabirds nest in great profusion along the steep cliffs surrounding the islands. In addition to walrus haul-outs, bearded, ringed, and harp seals can be seen basking on ice floes. Keep an eye out for polar bears. The nature of polar expeditions requires flexibility regarding the daily schedule of activities, and landings may be dependent on weather, tide, and ice conditions. Though specific stops are not guaranteed, the following are places visited on past expeditions:
Poolepynton - Part of Forlandet National, this area is known for great walrus viewing and photography. Though sightings are never guaranteed, this area is known as a popular haul-out for these lumbering giants. They often create quite a rowdy scene, as each walrus vies for a choice spot of coastline.
Liefdefjorden - Liefdefjorden is a dramatically scenic fjord, where rugged mountains rise from the permanent ice cap and Monaco Glacier—named for Prince Albert I of Monaco, a pioneer of oceanography, who led an expedition to Svalbard in 1906—spills into the sea at the deepest part of the waterway. His team used sophisticated photographic techniques to understand the shape and position of several glacier fronts, and the Monaco Glacier honors the expedition, and the prince. This is a favored feeding ground for thousands of kittiwakes, and whales and seals are also common sights.
Moffen Island - A small, atoll-like island just a few feet above sea level, Moffen is a protected walrus sanctuary. Photographic opportunities abound with these massive creatures hauled out on the gravel shores. Polar bears and the rare Sabine’s gulls may also be found on this island.
Lågøya Island - Zodiacs bring you to Lågøya to search for the elusive polar bear, which has been spotted hunting here in the past.
Hinlopen Strait - Glaciers, chiseled fjords, and icebergs hallmark this desolate and exquisitely beautiful region. Board Zodiacs to watch for, and photograph, bearded, harp, and ringed seals.
Alkefjellet - These impressive, sheer basalt cliffs are a haven for breeding seabirds. Tens of thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres) raise their young here, as well as glaucous gulls and kittiwakes. Keep an eye out for opportunistic Arctic foxes hunting for eggs at the base of the cliffs.
Phippsoya Island - At the far northern edge of the Svalbard Archipelago, Phippsoya Island boasts a classic High Arctic environment—a barren, rocky landscape with some coastal plains, but otherwise mountainous, with steep slopes. The lowlands support mostly lichens mosses, some of which are quite colorful, and small patches of Svalbard poppy and saxifrage are scattered among the jumble of rocks. There are also small colonies of seabirds including Atlantic puffins, dovekies, and rare ivory gulls.
Edgeøya Island - Edgeøya is the third largest island in the Svalbard Archipelago and home to large herds of reindeer, which in turn supports a healthy population of predators, including polar bears.
Disembark this morning in Longyearbyen, with free time to explore on your own. After lunch at a local restaurant, transfer to the airport for your flight to Oslo, with dinner and overnight at Radisson Blu Airport Hotel.
After breakfast, board your independent flight homeward.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to weather conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
Gratuities; accommodations as per the itinerary; onboard meals and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner; entrance fees, taxes, and landing and port charges; arrival and departure transfers on group dates; $80 gift certificate for recommended expedition gear and reading materials; limited emergency medical and evacuation coverage. Subject to change without notice.
All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages (other than listed above), email/fax/telephone charges; fuel surcharge may apply.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.