Summary : Discover the ancient history of the Scottish Isles and exceptional landscape of the Norwegian Fjords while sailing north across the Arctic Circle. Embark on an expedition of the northern Atlantic offering rich culture and wildlife experiences, including some rare birding opportunities. Explore medieval art and archeology of Britain's northernmost archipelagos, the Orkney and Shetland Islands, before continuing east to picturesque Bergen. Sail north into the Norwegian Sea to discover the UNESCO-protected Vega Island, a veritable ornithologists’ dream. Get up close and personal to landscape, venture into fjords by Zodiac, discover cascading falls and make shore landings in tucked-away coves.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking
$999,999,999 to $0
Embark in the afternoon and sail north towards the Scottish Isles.
The morning finds you in Orkney, an archipelago of almost 70 islands with a history dating back 8,500 years to the first Mesolithic tribe that inhabited the area. Travel back in time with visits to the Standing Stones of Stenness, the Ring of Brodgar, Skara Brae, Skaill House and the Italian Chapel. Visit the tomb of polar explorer John Rae, who rests in the shadow of the impressive St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall. There may even be time to visit a local pub.
Visit Fair Isle, the most remote inhabited island in the United Kingdom. It is also the best place to find rare birds in Britain with 27 first records. Many of the 70 people who live on the island are artists, painters, writers, musicians and weavers, who are particularly famous for their intricately-knitted sweaters. In the afternoon, experience Broch of Mousa, the finest preserved example of an Iron Age tower in Scotland.
The Shetland Islands are known for their archaeological sites. Visit Jarlshof, a prehistoric Norse settlement which dates back 2,500 years. Observe the progression of human civilization through the late Bronze and Iron Ages, Pictish and Norse Eras, and the Middle Ages. Return back to modern times with a visit to Lerwick, the capital and main port of the Shetlands.
Arrive at Norway’s second-largest city, Bergen, after crossing the North Sea. You’ll have your first taste of Norwegian culture with its rich history dating back over 1,000 years. Explore the city, complete with World Heritage Sites, medieval houses, and some of the best street art in Norway.
In the morning, arrive in Alesund at the mouth of the Geiranger Fjord. Today allows for time to explore this beautiful city and its Art Nouveau architecture. Travel up to the top of Mount Aksla for a spectacular view of town.
Considered to be one of the most beautiful fjords in all of Norway, and Geiranger Fjord is a World Heritage Site. Enter the fjord system spending time out on deck taking in the amazing views including the famous Seven Sisters Waterfall.
Visit the quaint town of Geiranger and hike in the nearby hills for spectacular views.
Explore Trondheim, the historic capital of Norway. Walk through the quaint historic district characterized by wooden architecture, visit small specialty shops and enjoy a coffee at one of the pleasant cafés. Discover the cathedral of the national sanctuary of Norway, Nidaris Cathedral, built over the grave of St. Olav. Work began in 1070, but the oldest parts still in existence date from the middle of the 12th century.
In the afternoon, visit tiny Munkholmen Island just off the coast of Trondheim and learn about its fascinating history. During the Viking age, this was the main place for executions of enemies of the state. The islet went on to become a monastery and prison, but today is a park with sandy beaches facing the city.
Visit the UNESCO-protected Vega Island archipelago while continuing northward. Vega is an ornithologist’s dream. Chief among the bird population are eider ducks, raised for their feathers - the houses built for them to nest in can still be seen alongside lighthouses, fishing villages and dramatic landscapes. The archipelago reflects the way fishermen and farmers have, over the past 1,500 years, maintained a sustainable living from eiderdown harvesting.
In the morning, arrive at Alstahaug resting in the shadow of the Seven Sisters Mountains. Discover a wonderfully preserved medieval church and small communities scattered throughout the island.
Walk to the Svartisen glacier, which is actually two glaciers that meet in Holandfjord. This is the second largest glacier in Norway and really reinforces how far north you are. The name “Svartisen” comes from “svartis”, an old word which denotes the deep color of blue found in the ice and its contrast to the surrounding white snow. In the afternoon, cross the Arctic Circle and arrive at Vikingen, a tiny island with a big globe on top marking the Arctic Circle.
Navigate some of Norway’s northern fjords and take advantage of great hiking opportunities in this unspoiled region. The waters approaching the Lofoten Islands are well known for whale sightings, so your Expedition Team will be at watch on deck. You may also visit the Refsvikhula Cave with paintings found in the 1980’s that date back 3,000 years. If time allows, stop into Reine on Moskenesøy Island, one of the most beautiful villages in Norway.
Arriving at Bleiksøya in the morning, take a Zodiac cruise around one of the most prolific bird populations in Norway. Find large numbers of puffins, razorbills, sea eagles, cormorants and others in thousands. In the afternoon, visit the tiny village of Nyksund which has become a colony for artists.
Enjoy breakfast on the ship before you embark on your flights home.
Read this itinerary as a guide only; the exact route and program varies according to ice and weather conditions - and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
All guests are required to have comprehensive travel insurance coverage. Due to the remoteness of the areas in this itinerary, travelers must have a minimum $50,000 of emergency medical coverage. Proof of coverage is required prior to embarkation. The shipping company will not be held responsible for delays due to force majeure. Any additional costs accrued will be the responsibility of the traveler. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends that the travel insurance policy covers trip cancellation insurance, trip delay (interruption or after departure coverage), baggage and repatriation. ExpeditionTrips can assist you with this.
Sea Kayaking Option: $595 per person
Not included in cruise rate. Minimum age 16 years. This is a pre-booked option for kayakers with some experience. Places are strictly limited so please advise at time of booking. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for additional details.
Shipboard accommodation only; all meals on board ship; shore landings; Expedition Leader; Zodiac transfers and cruising; presentations by Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled; photographic journal DVD; coffee, tea, cocoa available around the clock; pre-departure materials; miscellaneous service taxes and port charges; pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for shore landings; parka - yours to keep; hair dryer and bathrobe in every cabin; luggage handling aboard ship; emergency evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of $100,000 per person*; on embarkation day, transfer from certain hotels to the ship; on disembarkation day, group transfer from the ship to certain hotels. Subject to change without notice.
Any airfare; passport and visa expenses; government arrival and departure taxes; kayaking; alcoholic beverages and soft drinks; baggage, cancellation and medical travel insurance; excess baggage charges; laundry and other personal charges; telecommunications charges; gratuity for ship’s crew and Expedition Team members; any overnight accommodation required due to flight connections; fuel surcharge may apply.
*Emergency Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000 is included in the cost of this expedition. Included coverage is applicable only to travel between the first and last day of the expedition purchased. Additional days of travel prior to the expedition and/or after the expedition are not covered by the included emergency evacuation insurance. We strongly advise all passengers to purchase medical, cancellation and baggage insurance, and additional emergency evacuation coverage.