Summary : This 22-day odyssey begins in Scotland's bustling capital city of Edinburgh, journeys to the Orkney and Shetland Islands, then crosses the North Sea to experience several stops along Norway's western coast. Conclude your trip in Svalbard, land of polar bears, walrus, and whales, plus land mammals like the Arctic fox and reindeer. Explore the Standing Stones of Stenness on remote Orkney Island; wander through remote fishing villages; search cliffs for trolls; enjoy some of the world's most beautiful scenery along Norway's rugged coastline; sail past mist-shrouded Bjørnøya (a bird watcher's paradise featuring spectacular views); scout for polar bears and whales; cruise through breathtaking fjords; admire massive glaciers; experience the midnight sun; learn about Arctic history and ecology from knowledgeable guides; and enjoy the silence of the Arctic tundra.
Activities : Birding, Culture, Hiking, Triple/Quad Cabins
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$10,399 to $20,299
Your expedition begins near Scotland's incomparable capital city. Board the ship this afternoon in the suburb Port of Leith. The Expedition departs in the evening through a lock which leads down to sea level, then sails down the Firth of Forth. While on deck, keep a lookout for common eiders and northern gannets.
Visit historic and mystical sites by coach on this remote island. Explore the Standing Stones of Stenness, the intriguing Ring of Brodgar, and the village of Skara Brae.
There are few places in the world that offer as much as the Orkneys. Only six miles off the coast of Scotland, the islands are famous for their abundant marine bird life and dramatic coastal scenery. Enjoy an afternoon to explore the ancient history of the people of these Scottish Isles.
Continue northwards to the remote Shetland Islands. The Shetland archipelago is an engaging mix of Scotland and Scandinavia blessed with spectacular coastlines, varied and abundant bird life, and a number of archaeological sites that date back thousands of years. Opt to visit Jarlshof or join the Puffin Bus to focus on puffins and seabird photography at Sumburgh Head (weather dependent). Enjoy additional time to explore Lerwick.
Cross the famous North Sea to reach Norway. Spend the afternoon exploring the beautiful Art Nouveau district of Ålesund, or take the 418 steps up to Fjellstua for the best view of the city, islands and bay. Opt to visit the Ålesund Museum and learn about the culture and history of the town, including the fire which destroyed the city in 1904.
A full day to explore the town of Åndalsnes and the surrounding mountains. Board the Rauma Railway for dramatic scenes of the Romsdalen mountains, or explore on foot in "The Alp town by the fjord".
Continue on to Trondheim. Choose between hiking in Bymarka Nature Reserve before visiting the Sverresborg Folk Museum, or enjoying a city tour including the Folk Museum and the elaborate Nidaros Cathedral, built between 1070 and 1300. Enjoy a free afternoon to explore the area on your own.
The rugged coastline of central Norway features some of the world’s most beautiful scenery. Hike up to the famous hole in the mountain to enjoy fantastic views of the region keep an eye out for Norway's mythical trolls. In the afternoon, head to the quaint and picturesque Vega Island, a UNESCO site. Wander the fishing villages, go on a guided nature hike, and appreciate the slow pace of life.
The mountain scenery and coastline offer breathtaking views. The goal is to visit Torghatten, one of the most bizarre rock formations in Norway and a significant local landmark.
Visit Svartisen and Vikingen to see beautiful glaciers and a globe sculpture which marks Vikingen as a point directly on the Arctic Circle.
The Lofoten archipelago is an enchanting area of picturesque villages by the sea backed with jagged peaks. Go ashore by Zodiac for a day trip of the area. Start by visiting the Tørrfiskmuseum to learn about traditional work of the islands before visiting Nusfjord, one of Norway's oldest and best-preserved fishing villages, for lunch at a local restaurant. Afterwards, stop in Henningsvær for time to see local art or explore the quaint fishing village. In the evening, stay on deck as you cruise into one of Norway's most famous fjords, the short yet dramatic Trollfjord. Search the cliffs on your continuing quest to spot trolls.
Tromsø, the capital of northern Norway, is known as the "Gateway to the Arctic" as it was the embarkation point for many Arctic expeditions. Learn about past Arctic expeditions and opt for some hiking or to explore the city on your own.
Sail past mist-shrouded Bjørnøya (Bear Island), a birdwatcher's paradise featuring spectacular views. Weather permitting, there may be an opportunity to explore by Zodiac. The weather is temperamental, so this is a 50/50 chance. Even from afar, enjoy spectacular views of thousands of bird species like fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots, and gulls.
Explore this archipelago of deep fjords, mountains and massive ice sheets. Keep your eyes open for walruses, seals, reindeer, Arctic foxes and, of course, polar bears.
Based on weather and ice conditions, your expedition experience is enhanced by a flexible itinerary, this shipping company's experience in the region, and attempts to discover new landing sites each season. Shore walks and Zodiac adventures bring you close to mystical landscapes, icebergs, and wildlife.
Soak in the sights and sounds of Svalbard. Glaciers, nesting birds, sea mammals like polar bears, walruses, and whales—plus land mammals like the Arctic fox and reindeer all call this region home.
Continue exploring the icy wonderland of Svalbard.
Spend your day relaxing on board or head out to explore Longyearbyen, the starting point for many early explorers on expedition to the North Pole. Embark on your journey to Spitsbergen in the late afternoon.
This voyage is spent traveling in the world in which the polar bear survives. Wildlife viewing opportunities are enhanced by exploring as many remote areas as possible. Scout for wildlife such as the Arctic fox, Svalbard reindeer, and land or sea birds. Ice and weather conditions permitting, explore near the sea ice, through fjords that lead to glaciers and icebergs, and discover bird nesting colonies, all from the platform of the ship. Alternatively, hop in a Zodiac to explore more closely, or go ashore to visit historical sites and experience the tundra. Your guides are always on the lookout for wildlife, ranging from endangered and rare polar species to sea mammals and birds. And, of course, polar bears—they can be found all throughout this region, but finding them can require patience and persistence.
Disembark in the morning. Transfers will be available to the Longyearbyen airport for passengers with flights on the day of disembarkation.
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. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Mandatory Travel Insurance:
As a requirement of participation with this shipping company, all passengers must purchase travel insurance with a minimum medical, evacuation, and repatriation coverage of $200,000 and this insurance must cover personal injury and emergency medical expenses. Passengers must be able to provide proof of insurance purchase and adequate coverage as per the required amounts above. Passengers are responsible for advising their insurer of the type of travel, destination(s), and activities included in their booking so that the insurer may provide appropriate coverage. It is the passenger's responsibility to ensure that they have sufficient coverage and comply with the terms of the applicable insurance plans. Other conditions may apply based on pre-existing conditions. ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends that all passengers also purchase comprehensive travel protection that includes cancellation, trip disruption, baggage and personal property. ExpeditionTrips can assist U.S. residents with travel protection options.
Transfer from meeting point to ship; transfer from ship to airport on day of disembarkation; Orkney Islands guided tour of ancient ruins; Shetland Islands visit; Ålesund visit; Rauma Railway excursion; Trondheim visit; Vega Island visit; Svartisen glacier excursion; local village visit (Lofoten Islands); Tromsø city tour; Hornsund excursion; Bellsund visit; Zodiac cruises; services of Expedition staff and naturalists; lecture and educational programs; shipboard accommodations; gear to keep (expedition parka); gear on loan (waterproof boots for US sizes 4-16); all meals onboard the ship; coffee, tea, and water. Subject to change without notice.
Airfare; travel insurance (required); passport and visa fees; discretionary gratuities; items of a personal nature including laundry, Wi-Fi, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages (except coffee, tea and water); optional excursions; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Jeff Garriock (Geiranger Fjord Waterfall, Ring of Brogar Standing Stones, Vega Island Forest, Sanna Svartisen National Park Travelers); © Renato Granieri (Svalbard Zodiac); © Devon Howitt (Puffins); © Corinna Volk (Black Legged Kittwake, Reindeer), © G Adventures