Summary : This expedition takes you from the fjords of Norway to the Arctic wilderness of Svalbard. Learn about the fascinating history of explorers and whalers, and experience the thriving wildlife and untouched scenery. Visit isolated islands, settlements, and charming fishing villages, some of which are only reachable by sea.
Activities : Birding, Child-Friendly, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography, Triple/Quad Cabins
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Nestling between seven mountains, steeped in history and with a wide array of attractions, Bergen is famous for its unique charm and atmosphere. Make sure to spend a day or two in this international city with small-town charm, before you start your northbound expedition. Stroll through the picturesque streets and enjoy the well-known sites like Håkon’s Hall and Rosenkrantz Tower, St. Mary’s Church, Bergen Harbour and the famous fish market. Bergen was founded in 1070, and we recommend a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage listed houses of “Bryggen” (the wharf).
The Sunnfjord area is known for its high mountains and beautiful waterfalls. We sail deep into the Dalsfjord, and far in, we encounter the scenic village of Bygstad. Come ashore to explore this little fjord community with its historic church, see the waterfalls and perhaps do some shopping or visit the local café.
The archipelago Grip lies 8.6 miles off the mainland coast. The abandoned fishing village Gripholmen was settled in the 1400s and was once Norway’s smallest municipality with a couple of hundred inhabitants. ToDay,Gripholmen is a beloved summer holiDay retreat. A multitude of coloful houses and an old stave church welcome you to this unique place.
Enjoy a closer look at the “Torghatten” – the mountain with a massive eroded hole right through it, located on the coast of Helgeland. This beautiful and famous landmark has a fascinating geological history, not to mention being a source of local legend. Even better, it is relatively easy to walk through the hole, which rewards you with superb panoramic views of hundreds of small islands and majestic mountains. Come ashore, explore the island or make the hike up to the mountain to walk through the hole.
Træna is one of the smallest districts in Norway with more than 1000 islets, rocks and skerries and less than 500 inhabitants, situated on the Polar Circle. Later you might have the chance to go ashore on the island Vikingen, where you will find the statue representing the actual border of the Arctic Circle and enjoy an “Arctic ceremony”.
Henningsvær is a super charming fishing village with Mount Vågakallen as the highest point. The settlement is located off the coast of Austvågøya in the Lofoten archipelago. Henningsvær is known for its traditional and well-preserved fishing village architecture and stunning natural location. Later that Day you will sail through the Raftsundet Strait and then enter the magnificent Trollfjord. Surrounded by mountains that stretch up to 3,937 feet above sea level, this narrow fjord slices deeply and dramatically into these mountains. We navigate carefully far into the Trollfjord, where mountain walls rise directly out of the sea. Enjoy sailing into this pristine channel is at times so narrow it feels as though you can reach out and touch the side of the fjord.
Sommarøy is an archipelago of small islands with white, sandy beaches and a lively fishing community. Sommarøy has a couple of small shops where you can buy handicrafts and groceries. Inside the local shop, you will find “Kaillkråa” (the gentlemen’s corner) where husbands are usually “parked” while the wives do their shopping. And, as this shopping might be a time consuming activity, the local men have private hooks on the wall for their coffee cups to pass the time. We offer a variety of excursions like hikes and kayaking, or you can take this opportunity to visit Tromsø. This lively small city is known as the Gateway to the Arctic. The colourful downtown area is rich in polar history, and it is beautifully situated, surrounded by the dramatic Lyngen Alps, blue fjords and hundreds of island.
Over the past centuries, adventurers, royalty and expeditions have set the North Cape plateau as their goal. Standing at the far edge of mainland Europe, overlooking steep cliffs and watching the eternal horizon is a feeling that cannot be fully described. Join an optional excursion here – either by foot or bus. Alternatively, you could visit Skarsvåg, said to be the world’s northernmost fishing village or Gjesvær, an old fishing village with history that goes back to the Viking Age. As you continue sailing further north, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the cape from the sea.
Bjørnøya (Bear Island) is the southernmost of the Svalbard group of islands, situated in the Arctic Ocean between the Norwegian mainland and Spitsbergen. This 69 square mile island has a fascinating history and geology and an abundant bird life. The nine people living here form a crew appointed and sent to the island by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. The island has been named “the largest concentration of sea birds on the Northern Hemisphere”. Around the southern tip, the overhanging cliffs with stacks off shore represent an extremely important breeding habitat for seabirds. This is the northern limit for some auk species, for example. One of the reasons for this being such a avian hot spot is that this is where cold water from the Arctic Ocean meets warm Gulf Stream currents, forming part of the global marine conveyor belt system. In the convergence of waters of different salinity and temperature, there are often optimal feeding grounds for sea birds. This is also the place to measure concentrations of pollutants in species high in the food chain.
This relatively small fjord in South Spitsbergen National Park is a place that has a long tradition in Hurtigruten history. The old Hurtigruten steamer D/S Lyngen had scheduled stops here to serve trappers. This used to be a stronghold for the hardy folk that concentrated on polar bear hunting, lasting up until 1973, when polar bear hunting was prohibited in all Arctic countries. An exemption was granted to indigenous peoples that had a thousand year old tradition to refer to. The landscape of Hornsund is largely alpine with the majestic Hornsundtinden soaring highest of all. Another very special mountain is Bautaen or in English; the Obelisk, which, seen from the right angle looks like a giant Viking sword. Let your imagination roam while spending the day in these extraordinary surroundings.
As you sail into the Kongsfjord, you will find one of only four permanent settlements on Svalbard: the old coal-mining town of Ny-Ålesund, one of the northernmost settlements in the world. Ny-Ålesund was the starting point for many expeditions to the North Pole. Names like Amundsen, Ellsworth and Nobile are strongly linked to this place. Even today, you can see the mast that the airship ‘Norge’ was moored to before her departure on the first trans-polar flight. Some countries run their own national research stations here, and there is always plenty of research activity taking place during the summer months. You will also sail in the Isfjord, the most extensive fjord system on Svalbard, on your way to Longyearbyen.
You will arrive in Longyearbyen at night, and transfer to the airport for your night flight to Oslo. You will arrive in Oslo early in the morning. You can either fly back home, or spend some time to explore the Norwegian capital before returning home.
The above itinerary is a guide only, as the exact program depends on weather and ice conditions and the wildlife you encounter. Flexibility is the key to the success of this expedition. ExpeditionTrips is not responsible for itinerary changes.
Although travel insurance is not mandatory to participate in this voyage, ExpeditionTrips strongly recommends at least $200,000 Emergency Medical/Evacuation coverage for Antarctic 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.
Multilingual Departures: English/Norwegian/German (All Departures)
Depending on weather conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for fishing during the voyage. Spend 2.5-3 hours fishing with an officer and members of the crew and preparing your catch. When you return to the ship, you will be invited to meet the chef, prepare your catch, and have it served for dinner. Included: Waterproof clothing and a fishing rod. Maximum participants: 3 passengers. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Depending on weather and land conditions, there may be an opportunity to sign up for hiking during the voyage. Included: Water bottle, snack bar, and lunch pack (if hike is during lunch time). Physical fitness is essential. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Kayaking: $166 per person, per excursion (pre-bookable, please inquire)
Embark on a 2-4 hour kayaking excursion accompanied by expert guides in a stable double kayak. Included: head-to-toe kayaking gear, including a dry suit; snack and/or lunchbox as needed. Outings are subject to weather and prevailing ice conditions. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to pre-book kayaking.
Taught by two professional photography instructors, this pre-bookable photography school program covers basic image editing, wildlife and landscape photography, and DSLR video instruction. This program is designed for proficient beginners to experienced photographers. Included: photography booklet, designated work station with software provided, priority access to the Photo Optics test center equipment, and a Zeiss Lens cleaning kit. Min/max participants: 2-10 guests. Please contact ExpeditionTrips for details.
Science Center: Included
'Hands-on' science program where guests can perform their own science experiments with the assistance of professional biologists and geologists. Featuring ten Leica DM500 biological microscopes and ten Leica EZ4 geological microscopes, groups of 2-3 guests per microscope will work with a trained biologist or geologist. Occasionally, scientists invite guests along to sample biomaterial for use in the science center. There is also a large screen connected to the scientist's microscope for viewing during every session.
Economy flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo; transfer from the ship to the airport in Longyearbyen; cabin accommodations and meals aboard the ship; landings and activities onboard and ashore; professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures and accompanies landings and activities; onboard 'hands-on' science center; complimentary tea and coffee; and a wind- and water-resistant jacket. Arctic Superior Suites (P, U, QJ, YA) include an Arctic Pure amenity kit (bathroom). Expedition Suites (Q, MG, MX) include a soft drink package, a wine package, an Arctic Pure amenity kit (bathroom), a fleece blanket/throw, a cabin kit (bathrobe and slippers), an espresso maker, sweets/snacks and sparkling wine (on embarkation day), a separate check-in with sparkling wine, and a suite breakfast. Subject to change without notice.
International flights to/from the U.S.; travel insurance; luggage handling; optional excursions and gratuities; fuel surcharge may apply.
PHOTOS: © Dominic Barrington; © Linda Drake; © Rinie van Meurs