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Svalbard: A Polar Bear Quest

Arctic Svalbard Information

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


Just-Released Offer Solo travelers pay no single supplement.

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Groups of 8 or more people save 10% per person off the cost of the expedition.

Prices from
$9,980 to $16,780

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Day 1
Depart USA

Board your independent flight to Norway.

Day 2
Oslo, 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 our hotel.

Day 3
Oslo / Tromsø / Embark Ocean Adventurer

This morning board your short flight to Tromsø, known as the “Gateway to the Arctic.” Take a cable-car ride up 1,800-foot Mount Storsteinen for amazing views, then visit the unique Arctic Cathedral, built in 1965 and famous for its dazzling wall of blue and gold stained glass. At the Tromsø Museum, exhibits offer a look at the fascinating Sami culture, a northern people whose livelihood depends on reindeer herding. Embark the Ocean Adventurer in the late afternoon.

Day 4
Skarsvaag / North Cape

This morning go ashore in Skarsvaag and board a coach for the drive up to the 1,000-foot-high plateau that rises from the Barents Sea. The community of North Cape (Nordkapp) is commonly referred to as the northernmost point of the European continent. Here, an impressive edge-of-the-world Visitors Center features historical exhibits and a film about the region. Return to the ship in time for lunch and set sail northward, across the Barents Sea.

Day 5
Bear Island (Bjørnøya)

Today, thousands of fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, dovekies, and multiple varieties of gulls make their seasonal home on the jagged cliffs and rocky pinnacles that rise vertically from the sea. Cruise by Zodiac along the eroded cliffs and make an island landing for a tundra walk among Arctic wildflowers to search for Arctic foxes.

Day 6 – 12
Spitsbergen, Svalbard Archipelago

Spend seven 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. The nature of polar expeditions requires flexibility regarding the daily schedule of activities, and landings may be weather and tide dependent. Though specific stops are not guaranteed, the following are places visited on past expeditions:

Spitsbergen’s southernmost fjord, Hornsund, is back-dropped by soaring mountain peaks and rolling tundra which bursts into bloom during the summer. The Polish research station, established here in 1957, is a base for international research and exploration. Numerous seabirds soar overhead and Arctic foxes and groups of reindeer are often spotted in the vicinity.

Danskøya Island:
This island was a whaling station in the 17th century, but is better known for its important role in several unsuccessful attempts to reach the North Pole. Solomon Andree, the Swedish balloonist, departed from here in 1897 in an attempt to fly over the North Pole and was never seen alive again. In 1907, and again in 1909, American explorer Walter Wellman flew north from the island in the airship America. Both flights were abandoned due to mechanical failure.

Amsterdamøya Island:
This historic island was the site of Smeerenburg, a Dutch and Danish whaling station founded in 1617.

In this dramatically scenic fjord, rugged mountains rise from the permanent ice cap and the Monaco Glacier spills into the sea at the deepest part of the waterway, a favored feeding ground for thousands of kittiwakes. Polar bears are a possibility here and whales and seals are also common sights.

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 and with luck, the mighty polar bear.

Day 13
Longyearbyen / Disembark / Oslo

Jan Mayen Island claims the northernmost active volcano on the planet. The Beerenberg volcano is entirely capped in ice and boasts numerous glaciers, many of which calve directly into the sea. Fulmars and puffins are among the seabird species that nest here. With permission, and weather permitting, go ashore to view the old whaling station and the weather station.

Day 14
Oslo, Norway / USA

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.

Not Included:
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.

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