Summary : Few places remain in the world where you can be assured that nature will provide highlight after unexpected highlight. The majestic fjords of Norway and the stunning glaciers of Arctic Svalbard are just such a wilderness. As your ship sails north among the thousands of islands and skerries of Norway, the scenery suddenly becomes overpoweringly dramatic. Then 350 miles north of Norway's mainland lies the Svalbard Archipelago, a wilderness region of massive icebergs, deep fjords, ice-capped mountains, and the masters of the Arctic—polar bears. Svalbard is the best place on earth to observe polar bears in their natural habitat—on the pack ice.
All departures are Photo Expeditions, see end of page for details.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Culture, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Dedicated Solo Cabins, Triple/Quad Cabins
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$16,990 to $33,400
Depart on an overnight flight to Bergen.
Arrive in the Hanseatic town of Bergen, the gateway to the fjordlands. Stroll historic Bryggens Wharf, a UNESCO World Heritage site, before embarkation.
Today enter lovely Nordfjord, the "gateway to the glaciers". Spend the morning at the end of the fjord, where and travel up the Loen Valley via coach through some incredibly beautiful scenes—a turquoise-colored lake on one side and breathtaking mountains all around. A number of relatively flat trails lead along valleys shaped by massive glaciers (more strenuous hikes are also an option). And, you can walk to a tongue of the large Briksdal Glacier. This afternoon be on deck as the ship sails back out of the fjord amid high peaks.
Visit the scenic little island of Smola, where the ship has been specially invited by the locals to make a rare call.
The coast of Central Norway is rugged with mountainous islands and steep-walled fjords. The Expedition Leader and Captain will discuss with the local Norwegian pilots the many landing possibilities where options are many: Zodiac along vertical rock faces, paddle serenely in a deep fjord surrounded by cascading waterfalls, or venture ashore for a hike with the naturalist staff. You can discover a number of special places, including Melfjord. This narrow channel is surrounded by high granite cliffs polished smooth by massive glaciers, and is one of the most spectacular spots on the voyage.
The Lofoten Archipelago is an enchanting area of picturesque villages by the sea backed with jagged peaks. By Zodiac, view nesting seabirds: Atlantic puffins, razorbills, and guillemots. Later, go ashore on the island of Vaeroy, where cod fishing is still a major part of the economy. Be on deck to cruise into one of the most famous fjords in Norway, the short yet dramatic Trollfjord, and search the cliffs for Norway's mythical beings—trolls.
There’s no denying that the Norwegian fjords are beautiful, and today you explore places along the Norwegian coastline that raise the standard of landscape-pulchritude to new heights. The nimble ship enters Tysfjorden, where mile after mile of vertical walls surround you and only a few small villages cling to the rocky shores. Zodiac and kayak along steep-walled fjords, and find inspiration in the birch forests and tumbling waterfalls. The U-shaped valley of Hellemobotn cuts nearly to Sweden and has a trail to hike almost to the border.
Tromso is known as the “gateway to the Arctic” because so many Arctic expeditions originated here. Visit the Polar Museum and the Arctic Cathedral, where the unique architecture evokes snow and icebergs.
Zodiac around mist-shrouded Bear Island, populated by thousands of fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, and gulls. This is a birdwatcher's paradise.
Svalbard lies north of the Arctic Circle, where the summer midnight sun never sets. In true expedition style, let nature dictate your day-to-day movements, one of the great attractions of this expedition. Your flexible itinerary and your crew's years of experience here allow you to take the best advantage of ice and weather conditions.
With a fully stabilized, ice-class expedition ship, you are able to probe deep into the ice where polar bears hunt. Join spotters on the Bridge, scanning the ice and islands for huge walrus, bearded and ringed seals, arctic foxes, reindeer, some of the largest whales on Earth, and polar bears—a sighting brings everyone rushing in excitement to the ship’s bow!
Expert staff get you out daily. Depending on conditions, you may land on Edgeøya to hike the tundra, abloom with summer wildflowers. Sail deep into Hornsund, where even first-time kayakers can paddle in a quiet cove surrounded by sparkling bergs. Venture to the stunning Monacobreen glacier, or get close-up views of the iconic creatures of the ice by Zodiac. Back aboard, view underwater video from the ROV taken 1,000 feet below the surface, or spend time on deck with a National Geographic Photographer getting tips in an inspiring landscape. Every day is different, every day an adventure.
Disembark the ship in Longyearbyen and explore the Svalbard Art Gallery and Museum. Then proceed to the airport for a charter flight to Oslo. Check in to the SAS Radisson Airport Hotel.
This morning, proceed to the airport for a flight home, or on to other adventures.
This itinerary is subject to change. ExpeditionTrips.com is not responsible for itinerary changes.
ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for trips which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Lindblad-National Geographic Certified Photo Instructor:
On all departures, a certified photo instructor will be at your side and at your service to inspire and assist you. Take advantage of talks, presentations, slideshows and “laptop gallery” sharing events. All skill and interest levels are welcome; the instructors can meet you wherever you are on your journey. All you need to participate is a camera— point-and-shoot, smartphone, DSLR, whatever—and a sense of adventure. And you’re sure to return home with amazing photos.
Optional Post-Trip Extension:
Iceland's Natural Wonders: Once you've seen the land of ice, it only makes sense to see its compatriot: the land of fire and ice, Iceland. This volcanic isle, near the Arctic Circle, is the home of Europe's oldest body of representative government, the Althing, established by the Vikings. But what makes Iceland truly unforgettable is its geological wonders in the heart of the Icelandic wilderness: towering glaciers and gushing hot springs, boiling mud pools, lava fields and thundering waterfalls. From $4,270 per person. (4 Days)
Ship accommodations; one night post-voyage hotel in Oslo; meals and non-alcoholic beverages onboard ship; most alcoholic beverages; crew gratuities; shore excursions and sightseeing; entrance fees; special access permits; transfers to and from group flights; use of kayaks; port charges and service taxes; services of your expedition staff. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; one-way charter flight Longyearbyen/Oslo; some premium alcoholic beverages; visa and passport expenses; baggage/accident/travel protection plan; items of a personal nature such as laundry and email.
PHOTOS: © Ralph Lee Hopkins (Trollfjord, Cliff); © Michael S Nolan (Kayaking, Fox, Walrus, Polar Bears)