Summary : Search for the Svalbard Archipelago’s legendary wildlife: seals, walrus, whales, Arctic foxes, and our ultimate goal—polar bears. Photograph dramatic landscapes, including chiseled fjords, glittering glaciers, and lush tundra blazing with purple saxifrage and moss campion. Discover hundreds of thousands of breeding seabirds, including kittiwakes, guillemots, dovekies, puffins, and rare ivory gulls. Explore Svalbard by Zodiac, kayak, and on foot to fully appreciate the varied landscapes of this wild, nearly uninhabited realm. Cruise down Geiranger Fjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Norway’s most scenic natural wonders.
Activities : Birding, Culture
Groups of 8 or more people save 10% per person off the cost of the expedition.
$999,999,999 to $0
Board your independent flight to Norway.
Arrive in Bergen this afternoon and transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore on your own, with dinner and overnight at your hotel.
After a leisurely morning and lunch at the hotel, set out to explore Norway’s second largest city. Pass by venerable King Haakon’s Hall, the Rosenkranz Tower, and the old wharf of Bryggen—a World Heritage Site whose picturesque medieval gable houses date back to the time of the Hanseatic League. After a drive past gracious suburban homes and gardens, and a stroll in the fresh air, visit Troldsalen Concert Hall for a short performance by a Norwegian pianist. Embark the Ocean Adventurer this evening.
The serpentine route through the 12-mile-long Geiranger Fjord is one of Norway’s premier scenic wonders. Mountains laced with numerous breathtaking waterfalls tower on both sides. Take a short tour of the tiny village of Geiranger, then board coaches and climb the road to Flydalsjuvet Gorge for breathtaking views.
The island of Runde has a mere 160 human inhabitants, but it is home to more than half a million seabirds representing over 230 different species—puffins, kittiwakes, gannets, fulmars, storm petrels, razorbills, shags, and guillemots. From Zodiacs look for the seals that rest on some of the smaller offshore islands. This afternoon sail the western coast of Norway, weaving among the dramatic fjords with their verdant slopes and towering cliffs.
Weather permitting, board Zodiacs to explore the intriguing inlets, rocky shorelines, and deserted coves of this wildly rugged and pristine coast.
Officially north of the Arctic Circle, the 19th-century trading station of Kjerringøy lies on a sleepy peninsula bathed by turquoise seas and back-dropped by soaring granite peaks. Tour the historic district, most of which has been preserved as an open-air museum. This afternoon the Ocean Adventurer arrives at Røst, one of the 356 islands and rocky outcrops that make up the southern edge of Lofoten. By Zodiac explore the shores of this northern oasis that basks in the heart of the Gulf Stream, its mild climate attracting two million nesting seabirds to the cliffs of the outer islands.
Go ashore in Reine on Moskenesøya Island, one of the four main Lofoten Islands. Often hailed as the most scenic spot in Norway, the town sits on the shores of a blue-green lagoon surrounded by pinnacled mountain peaks. On an adjacent island visit the Lofotr Viking Museum, built at the site of an ancient Viking farm discovered in the early 1980s. This evening, as the ship cruises along the shores of Nordland and Trollfjord, watch for orca, minke, and pilot whales.
This morning disembark in Tromsø, known as the “Gateway to the Arctic.” A cable-car ride up 1,800-foot Mount Storsteinen offers amazing views. 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.
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.
For nearly three centuries, Bear Island—which sits halfway between North Cape and Spitsbergen—was the home of a major Barents Sea whaling station. Today, thousands of fulmars, kittiwakes, murres, dovekies, and multiple varieties of gulls make their 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 seasonal Arctic wildflowers to search for Arctic foxes.
Spend four 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 dependent on weather, tide, and ice conditions. Though specific stops are not guaranteed, the following are places visited on past expeditions:
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.
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.
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.
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 the 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. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
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. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage which includes coverage for cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Gratuities; accommodations as per the itinerary; group meals ashore as per itinerary; onboard meals, 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 unless mentioned as included; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; additional 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.