Tromsø to Lisbon Grand Expedition Cruise: Norway & Europe’s Atlantic Coast in the Autumn

Tromsø to Lisbon Grand Expedition Cruise: Norway & Europe’s Atlantic Coast in the Autumn

Tromsø to Lisbon Grand Expedition Cruise: Norway & Europe’s Atlantic Coast in the Autumn

Tromsø to Lisbon Grand Expedition Cruise: Norway & Europe’s Atlantic Coast in the Autumn

Travel information 23 Days MS Spitsbergen
October 22, 2022
Price from $ 11,339
$ 9,638
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Join us for a special late autumn/early winter adventure, starting in Tromsø and ending in Lisbon.

Stunning fjord landscapes and cultural gems

We’ll travel from above the Arctic Circle down the Norwegian coast and down Europe’s Atlantic coast, taking in natural highlights including glaciers, fjords, and idyllic islands—we may even see the Northern Lights. Our journey starts in Tromsø and we sail south, exploring coastal treasures and unique towns along the rugged coastline.

We’ll visit the iconic Lofoten Islands and the fishing town of Svolvær to learn about Viking history, glaciers, and Norwegian mythology. Norway’s southwest coast offers spectacular fjords and mountainous landscapes, likely dusted with fresh snow. Savor the crisp fall air as we explore these awe-inspiring surroundings. Then it’s on to Bergen, Norway’s old capital.

Historic cities and southern European treasures

Crossing the North Sea to Germany, we pay a visit to the famed island of Heligoland before moving onto Hamburg, often called the ‘Venice of the North’. Next, you’ll explore the galleries and canals of Amsterdam before regrouping at the White Cliffs of Dover in England. In France, we will observe D-Day battlefields and medieval settlements before crossing the Bay of Biscay, where we’ll be on the look-out for marine life.

The rugged northern coast of Spain is where we find Galicia, famed for its distinct culture and gastronomy. In Portugal we visit Porto, home of port wine, before ending our journey in beautiful Lisbon. An onboard Expedition Team will be with us the whole way, giving lectures and leading nature walks. Our ship, MS Spitsbergen is a small, comfortable, and stylish expedition ship, ideally suited to this kind of adventure.

Tromsø to Lisbon Grand Expedition Cruise: Norway & Europe’s Atlantic Coast in the Autumn Tromsø to Lisbon Grand Expedition Cruise: Norway & Europe’s Atlantic Coast in the Autumn
  • Day 1
    Tromsø, Norway

    Our adventure begins

    October 22, 2022
    Estimated time of departure is 9:00 PM

    Tromsø has been the starting point for numerous historic Arctic expeditions, making it the ideal place to launch our adventure. Today, the city is sometimes called the ‘Paris of the North’ for its cosmopolitan outlook and sophisticated vibe. You’ll soon see why.

    Tromsø is filled with historical, cultural, and architectural sights. It’s a small city has a lively café scene, a relaxed atmosphere, and a range of restaurants specializing in the region’s fresh produce. The city center hosts some interesting shops and boutiques offering a range of locally made specialties.

    The city’s most recognizable landmark is the Arctic Cathedral. It was built in 1965 and features a huge stained-glass mosaic. For fresh air and epic views, take the Fjellheisen cable car to the top of nearby Mt. Fløyfjellet and enjoy breathtaking views of the city, mountains, and fjords.

    The Polaria experience center looks like stacked ice and is located not far from the city center. Here, you’ll find an Arctic aquarium, exhibitions, and a panoramic cinema. Visit the University Museum of Tromsø, which showcases Norwegian nature and culture. The museum focuses on the indigenous Sami people and also highlights Norway’s archeological heritage, geology, and—of course—the Northern Lights.

    After exploring Tromsø, your comfortable and stylish expedition ship MS Spitsbergen will be waiting in the port. Once you’ve boarded, pick up your complimentary expedition jacket and take time to settle into your cabin. Afterward, walk around and explore the ship before the mandatory safety drill. In the evening, you’ll enjoy the first of many sumptuous dinners on board and join in on a welcome toast from the Captain, wishing us a great cruise.


    There’s plenty to see and do in Tromsø, so if you feel like getting to know this charming Norwegian city a bit better before embarkation, why not book our optional Pre-Program? It includes a cable car ride to the top of a nearby mountain and an overnight stay in a nice, centrally located hotel.

    Day 1
    Tromsø, Norway

    Our adventure begins

  • Day 2
    Svolvær, Norway

    Majestic beauty of the Lofoten Islands

    October 23, 2022

    This picture-perfect archipelago will take your breath away! Lofoten is a group of beautiful islands with cultural roots deeply associated with the Vikings. The combination of dramatic peaks, sheltered coves, and pristine waters is simply beautiful beyond compare. Lofoten is also known for its enchanting villages and placid, sandy beaches.

    Harvesting the seas has been a way of life here for centuries, as you will see with the fishing villages and their photogenic cabins (called ‘rorbu’), which are set in rows along the shore. Originally built to house seasonal cod fisherman, these cabins give the villages a true old-world feel.

    You’ll likely spot the wooden racks called hjell dotting the shores of the town. Cod is air dried here without salt, and turned into tørrfisk (‘stockfish’ in English), a prized local delicacy. Catching and processing cod like this is a way of life in Lofoten. The islanders’ proud fishing heritage is visible almost everywhere, here.

    Svolvær, the biggest town on the archipelago, is close to Lofoten’s many magnificent sights. It provides easy access to activities like kayaking and nature walking. Pop in to the interesting shops, galleries, cafés, and restaurants dotted around town.

    Day 2
    Svolvær, Norway

    Majestic beauty of the Lofoten Islands

  • Day 3
    Svartisen, Norway

    Dark ice glacier

    October 24, 2022

    Today, we sail into the Holandsfjord, off the Helgeland coast, to reach the glacier named Svartisen. Meaning ‘black ice’, Svartisen covers 230 square miles and has 60 tongues, making it Norway’s second-largest glacier after Jostedalsbreen. It’s actually made up of two separate glaciers, Vestisen and the Østisen, which are divided by a wide valley. The first time you set eyes on this spectacular glacier, it will be frozen (no pun intended) into your memory!

    It might mean ‘black ice’, but the actual color of Svartisen ranges from turquoise to dark blue—never quite black, though. There are deep tunnels beneath the ice, which is 660 ft thick, that go down to the roots of the mountains. It is the site of an independent glaciology research laboratory constructed to help scientists better understand the phenomenon of glacial meltwater.

    Our aim is to land on the local jetty and take a closer look at this frozen wonder on foot. You’ll spend the day exploring Engenbreen, an accessible arm of the glacier that stretches all the way down to the sea. Discover limestone caves in the mountains to the east, along marked trails.

    By the afternoon, you’ll be back aboard MS Spitsbergen, warming your toes and maybe even enjoying a hot drink after the morning’s icy adventure. Warm up for real in our amazing panoramic sauna, which offers fantastic views of the scenery as you relax. There are also hot tubs out on deck, if you haven’t tried them yet.

    Day 3
    Svartisen, Norway

    Dark ice glacier

  • Day 4
    Torghavet, Norway

    Hole of the mountain king

    October 25, 2022

    In the morning, we’ll sail past many of the small islands that dot the waters of Helgeland county. From the ship, pick out the peaks of the Seven Sisters mountain range, which Norse mythology says are seven petrified troll sisters.

    Our goal for today is to explore Torghatten, a small mountain outside the town of Brønnøysund. At less than 850 ft, it's not exactly Mt. Everest, but its height isn’t what makes it special—it’s the distinctive hole going straight through it. This unusual feature has made it one of the most photographed sights in Norway.

    We plan to anchor close by and use small boats to land on shore. If weather dictates otherwise, we will dock in a nearby port and reach Torghatten by bus. Geologists generally agree that the 98 foot-high hole is due to erosion during the last Ice Age. But that isn’t the only explanation for the unusual phenomenon.

    Norwegian folklore tells of the troll Hestmannen, who was enraptured by the fair troll maiden Lekamøya. When his advances were spurned, Hestmannen flew into a rage and loosed an arrow at her, which went right through the mountain and created a huge hole. Witnessing this, the troll-king of Sømna Mountain threw his hat into the path of the arrow just in time to save Lekamøya.

    But there’s a twist! Just as the mountain king threw his hat, the sun sent its first rays over the horizon, turning all the trolls to stone. Lekamøya herself is immortalized as a small mountain to the south of Torghatten.

    Feeling adventurous? Join the Expedition Team on a hike up to the mountain’s hole. For something a bit less strenuous, there’s an alternative walk around the mountain.

    Day 4
    Torghavet, Norway

    Hole of the mountain king

  • Day 5
    Åndalsnes, Norway

    Stunning mountain scenery

    October 26, 2022

    Today, we sail along Romsdalsfjorden toward the tiny settlement of Åndalsnes, deep in the Romsdalen valley. Along the way, we might see early snow dusting the mountain peaks, just another point of beauty amidst the beautiful scenery of islands and rocky reefs along the coast.

    Åndalsnes is seen as a basecamp for exploring the Romsdalsfjorden. It’s a launching point to explore Trollveggen, the tallest vertical rock face in Europe, which looms majestically over the valley. For the best views, hitch a ride on the Romsdal Gondola to the mountain station on Mt. Nesaksla, 2,277 ft above the fjord. From there, you’ll have fantastic views down to Åndalsnes and the Romsdalsfjord.

    The scenery here truly is spectacular. In his novel Flaggermusmannen (The Bat), Jo Nesbø waxes lyrical about the region, writing, ‘That was where God had started when He was creating the world, and that He had spent so long on Romsdalen that the rest of the world had to be done post-haste to be finished by Sunday.’

    You can experience the valley from many angles. If you want to enjoy the scenery at ground level, follow one of the local hiking trails. For those who fancy more of a challenge, we recommend hikes on Romsdalseggen ridge, or just up to Rampestreken view point, 1,853 ft above the village.

    The starkly modern Norwegian Mountaineering Museum is situated in Åndalsnes. Stop in for insight into the history of mountaineering in Norway and try out some of the equipment on display.

    Just before dinner we’ll set sail again towards the longest and deepest fjord of Norway: Sognefjord.

    Day 5
    Åndalsnes, Norway

    Stunning mountain scenery

  • Day 6
    Fjærland, Norway

    The longest fjord in Norway

    October 27, 2022

    Around lunchtime, we’ll sail into Sognefjord, the so-called ‘King of the Fjords’, due to it being the longest and deepest in Norway. Stretching 127 miles inland from the coast, we plan to cruise deep into its interior and visit the tiny hamlet of Fjærland.

    Only about 300 people live in idyllic Fjærland. Ashore, you’ll discover just how charming and quaint this little old village is. Fjærland is a designated Norwegian Book Town. You will find tons of books here, with picturesque second-hand book shops and stands placed around every corner. In fact, there are supposedly over 2.5 miles of books on shelves in this tiny village. It’s the perfect place to pick up a paperback.

    This is where the Sognefjord meets Jostedalsbreen, one of Norway’s best-known glaciers. It’s the largest glacier on the European continent and has several smaller glacial arms stretching out in many directions, including Bøyabreen and Supphellebreen.

    Enjoy an included visit to the Norwegian Glacier Museum and find out more about how they were created. Designed by famed architect Sverre Fehn, this award-winning museum allows you to engage with hands-on exhibits that explain why the ice is blue and how the fjords were formed. You can even perform some ‘cool’ experiments with 1,000-year-old glacier ice.

    Day 6
    Fjærland, Norway

    The longest fjord in Norway

  • Day 7
    Bergen, Norway

    Charm prevails in Norway’s former capital

    October 28, 2022

    We arrive in Bergen in the morning. You’ll soon see that Bergen is one of Norway’s most picturesque cities. The city is surrounded by seven mountains and beautiful fjord scenery. It is well-known for its unique charm, which is something you have to experience for yourself.

    Founded in 1070 CE, and known as a gateway to the fjords, Bergen was once Norway’s capital for many years. You’ll see that its local character, heritage, and allure are still thriving. Stroll through the old streets and alleyways where people have lived for centuries.

    One included activity in Bergen is an excursion to Mount Fløyen. A funicular train has been bringing visitors to the top of the mountain for over a century. From the top, you’ll have an amazing view across this picturesque city and its blend of colorful homes, mountain scenery, and clear blue water. If we have time, we might also venture into the alpine forest here for a short hike.

    Back in the city center, spend time strolling along its cobblestone streets and alleyways. Don’t miss the historic UNESCO-listed Bryggen district, with colorful wooden houses along the wharf. The area dates back to the 14th century and now houses boutique stores selling a range of arts and handicrafts. Across from Bryggen is Bergen’s famous fish market, which is full of sights, sounds, and scents to savor.

    Day 7
    Bergen, Norway

    Charm prevails in Norway’s former capital

  • Day 8
    Eidfjord, Norway

    Spectacular waterfalls

    October 29, 2022

    Today we head inland and sail into Hardangerfjord, the second-largest fjord in Norway. This impressive waterway winds its way into the heart of Norway’s coastline for 111 miles. As we sail along it, we’ll pass by scenic villages like Rosendal, Sunndal, and Ulvik. Down here in the southwest of Norway, the climate is normally mild in the fall.

    It will be several hours before we reach our day’s destination at the innermost point of the fjord, Eidfjord. Human activity at this old settlement has existed for over a millennium. Not far from the village are the remains of ancient Viking burial mounds. Old Eidfjord Church was built in 1309, and sits center stage against the backdrop of the beautiful mountains surrounding it.

    Eidfjord is a perfect starting point for exploring Hardangervidda National Park or one of the region’s many waterfalls. One of the most well-known is Vøringsfossen, which pours water down through the Måbødalen valley from a height of 597 ft. You can access a number of viewpoints to see this spectacular sight, including the newly-built viewing platform at the Fossli Hotel.

    The Expedition Team will be on hand to offer advice on the best walking routes in the town. You’ll also have the option to join them on some onshore hikes and kayaking. Eidfjord also has a few cafés, restaurants, and shops, where you can buy a souvenir or simply enjoy a coffee while you enjoy the view.

    As the sun goes down, we’ll depart Eidfjord and sail out of Hardangerfjord toward our next adventure.

    Day 8
    Eidfjord, Norway

    Spectacular waterfalls

  • Day 9
    Egersund, Norway

    Picturesque town with wooden houses

    October 30, 2022

    You’ll love Egersund and its cozy vibe. The town is famous for its brightly colored wooden houses, which stand in stark contrast to the white-painted dwellings in most of Norway’s towns. It’s a welcome sight as you approach the harbor. Depending on the weather conditions, we aim to arrive at Egersund early in the morning.

    People have lived around the area of Egersund since the Stone Age. There are several places around town where you’ll find ruins of settlements dating back to the early migrations around 400–600 BCE, and ancient runes have been found carved into rocks nearby. It’s also one of the best natural harbors in Norway. It used to be the largest in the country—measured in quantity of fish landed each year.

    Enjoy exploring the cozy town center, which has preserved some of the best examples of wooden houses, with a few even dating back 160 years. The varied landscape surrounding the town is great for walking.

    For a panoramic view of the town and coast, we recommend hiking to the viewpoint of Varberg, about 15 minutes from the town center. Enjoy great views over the entire city from this vantage point. See the array of colored buildings sitting low in the valley, surrounded by trees in autumnal colors.

    You can join an optional hike in the morning with your Expedition Team, who will take you into this beautiful hilly area. After lunch we’ll set out into the North Sea towards Heligoland, our first stop in Germany.

    Day 9
    Egersund, Norway

    Picturesque town with wooden houses

  • Day 10
    Heligoland, Germany

    A tranquil oasis of calm

    October 31, 2022

    After lunch, we’ll arrive at Heligoland, which lies around 30 miles from the German mainland.

    Germany’s only archipelago features Heligoland Island, a red sandstone outcrop known for its laid-back holiday vibe and plentiful supply of lobster. Originally settled by Frisians in the Middle Ages, Heligoland became a pirate base. Since then it has changed hands several times between Denmark, Britain, and Germany. The British actually swapped it for the tropical African island of Zanzibar in 1891, which was ruled by Germany at the time.

    The crowds are low this time of year and the colors are soft with fall hues. Stroll its charming streets and see the colorful fishermen’s houses that line the harbor’s promenade. Originally used as storage, they house restaurants and souvenir shops these days. Except for a few taxis, there are no cars on the island, adding to the blissfully calm atmosphere.

    There are a few interesting museums, if you want to learn more about the island’s colorful history. If you’d rather get active, there are several walking tails on the island, some of which lead along the cliffs. A hike along the coast will lead to the Lange Anna rock formations. ‘Lange Anna’, along with her little ‘sister’, form two pinnacles jutting out of the sea.

    After an enjoyable day on this pleasant and idiosyncratic holiday island, head back to the ship as we set course for Hamburg.

    Day 10
    Heligoland, Germany

    A tranquil oasis of calm

  • Day 11
    Hamburg, Germany

    ‘Venice of the North’

    November 1, 2022

    Hamburg is Germany’s second-largest city and one of the greenest urban areas in all of Europe. Find out why it is called the ‘Venice of the North’. Enjoy a boat tour through its numerous canals and explore the city’s waterways. You can also easily explore on foot, by bike or by hop-on, hop-off bus.

    Visit the old Landungsbrücken floating dock, see the old ships and shipyards, waterfront buildings, and the Old Elbe Tunnel. Climb the 433-ft bell tower of the famous St. Michael’s Church for stunning views over the city.

    Many places of interest are concentrated in Altstadt (the Old Town). Take a look at St. Catherine’s Church and the St. Nikolai Memorial, discover the timber-framed houses of Deichstraße Historic Street, and see the impressive City Hall on Rathausmarkt Square.

    Together with Chilehaus, the world’s largest warehouse complex at Kontorhausviertel and Speicherstadt are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Want to visit just one museum? Hamburg Kunsthalle ranks as the nation’s foremost art museum. Take a break from sightseeing and browse on Mönckebergstraße or stop for some traditional Hamburg foods like aalsuppe (ham soup with dried fruits) or labskaus (corned beef with potato and pickles).

    There is plenty to see and do in Hamburg. By the time you head back to MS Spitsbergen, you’ll probably feel like putting your feet up and giving your legs a rest. The good news: The only thing you have to do is relax until we reach Amsterdam the day after tomorrow.

    Day 11
    Hamburg, Germany

    ‘Venice of the North’

  • Day 12
    North Sea

    Bracing North Sea air

    November 2, 2022

    Our journey continues with a day at sea. Relax, enjoy the ship’s facilities, and even catch up on your travel journal. Go out on deck and enjoy the bracing North Sea air and spend some time spotting seabirds. Or maybe just want curl up in a comfy chair and continue reading that paperback you picked up in Fjærland.

    If you haven’t done so already, check out the Science Center and learn about the Citizen Science programs we run. These aim to help scientists around the world better understand the locations where we sail and contribute to valuable research.

    In the Explorer Lounge & Bar, the Expedition Team will recap the cruise so far and continue to give talks on a range of subjects.

    This evening, savor another sumptuous meal in the Aune restaurant and prepare yourself for your next destination: Amsterdam.

    Day 12
    North Sea

    Bracing North Sea air

  • Day 13
    Amsterdam, Netherlands

    City of canals and art

    November 3, 2022

    Behold, Dutch soil! Wander the quaint cobblestone streets and see the reflective canals of Amsterdam, the city where land meets sea. This famously liberal capital is a showcase of architectural styles and is saturated in history.

    Founded in the Middle Ages, Amsterdam is a cosmopolitan city with a rich cultural heritage. Located at the estuary of the river Ij, the original settlement was built on islets of moving sand linked by a thousand bridges. Water remains all pervasive and this city still looks to the sea.

    The concentric, semi-circular rings of canals found in the city’s original core look somewhat like a spider’s web on the map. Walk around beside these iconic canals and across the old bridges between the rivers Amstel and Ij. Admire the charming townhouses lining the canals of the Grachtengordel. They were built in the 17th and 18th centuries by wealthy merchants and are now protected by UNESCO.

    Head over to Museumplein, where three of the world's top museums await. The Rijksmuseum hosts one of Europe’s greatest galleries, known for its unrivalled collection of Dutch masters, including Rembrandt. Meanwhile, the Vincent Van Gogh Museum has the world’s largest collection of paintings from the troubled genius, while the Stedelijk Museum is one of the best places to view modern art.

    As you return to MS Spitsbergen, get ready to sail across the English Channel to our next destination: Dover.

    Day 13
    Amsterdam, Netherlands

    City of canals and art

  • Day 14
    Dover, United Kingdom

    Iconic white cliffs and medieval fortifications

    November 4, 2022

    Located facing the narrowest stretch of the English Channel and flanked by spectacular chalk cliffs, Dover has been the gateway to Britain since prehistoric times. Founded during Roman times, the settlement of Dover quickly became the main port between the provinces of Britannia and Gallia Balgica. Its strategic position has remained important ever since.

    Start your day with dazzling views of the Channel on a visit to sprawling Dover Castle, just a short walk from the port. History buffs won’t be disappointed by this huge fortress. Admire the Roman lighthouse, the 13th-century gates and the massive outer defenses built during the Napoleonic Wars.

    Consider paying a visit to the underground barrack tunnels that served as the fire command post during the Great War and later as the headquarters of Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay during the evacuation of French and British soldiers from Dunkirk in 1940.

    Still hungry for historical sites? Make your way to Dover’s only remaining Norman church, the 12th-century St. Mary’s, which survived the heavy bombing of World War II. Or explore another medieval building that survived the war, the 13th-century Hospital of St Mary, also known as Maison Dieu, now part of the Town Hall.

    The Western Heights of Dover are worth a visit if you’re looking for more fortifications to explore. Rhese vast defenses are within walking distance from the port and comprise forts, strongholds, and ditches built in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    No visit is complete without snapping the perfect shot of the iconic White Cliffs of Dover, just east of Dover Castle. Continue eastward to the South Foreland Lighthouse for magnificent views or explore picturesque St. Margaret’s Bay, four miles away.

    Day 14
    Dover, United Kingdom

    Iconic white cliffs and medieval fortifications

  • Day 14
    Ouistreham, France

    D-Day landings and battlefields

    November 4, 2022

    Normandy has a rich and turbulent past and forms an inextricable part of European history. From the Viking Rollo’s arrival in 911 to being the seat of the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror in 1066—not to mention the D-Day landings in 1944—Normandy is a captivating mix of medieval abbeys, sprawling beaches, and emotive World War II memorials. Ouistreham is known for its D-Day landing sites connected with Operation Overlord. A 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast was sectioned into five areas, with Ouistreham codenamed ‘Sword’. The invasion here was the responsibility of the British Army, with backup from the navies of Norway and Poland. At the Musée de Debarquement No 4 Commando, learn more about the landings and the heavy battle fought here.

    Visit the extensive German fortifications at the restored Grand Bunker Mur de l’Atlantique Musée, dedicated to the Atlantic Wall. Then pay tribute to the fallen at the war cemetery of Hermanville-sur-Mer, three miles west of Ouistreham. Afterward, feel the salty Atlantic breeze as you stroll along the beautiful Riva-Bella beach. Consider visiting the nearby 12th-century church of St. Samson and the 1905 lighthouse. Located 11 miles from Ouistreham, Caen was named ‘Catumagos’ by the Romans, derived from a Celtic term for battlefields. Fortified by William the Conqueror, who preferred it to Rouen, the city changed hands repeatedly and was occupied several times. Despite heavy bombing during World War II, Caen was rebuilt and retains considerable charm. Don’t miss the impressive 11th-century Romanesque church of Saint-Étienne.

    Stroll the pleasant streets and take in the small shops, pavement cafés, green parks, and restaurants. Lovers of fine art will enjoy the Musée des Beaux-Arts, housed in the remains of the Château de Caen.

    Day 14
    Ouistreham, France

    D-Day landings and battlefields

  • Day 16
    Roscoff, France

    Buccaneers’ hideout, corsairs’ den

    November 6, 2022

    Sheltered by the island of Batz, old Roscoff is a delightful little port that is heavily influenced by its pirating past. Simply strolling up and down the quays of the old tidal harbor and observing the bustle of boats heading to the island of Batz, the fishing boats and modern yachts, is a pleasure that shouldn’t be missed. And don’t be fooled by the ferry port, as it doesn’t hold a candle to the charm of the old port. Built in the 1970s just east of the historic town center, the deep-water port has been a blessing to Roscoff by preserving the traditional seafront.

    Old Roscoff’s success story is intimately related to the conflicts with England. Shipowners, corsairs, and smugglers were engaged in and profited from a centuries-long struggle with their northern neighbors across the channel. Corsairs from Roscoff sailed from the old port to join in the battle for control of the seas that raged for ages between France and England. In parallel, though less bloody, many merchants achieved success by trading for centuries with the Hanseatic League, Flanders, Portugal, and Spain.

    The city benefited from its wealthy citizens, who left behind an abundance of lavish buildings. Take your time enjoying the picturesque streets of the historic town overlooking the sea. Visit the church of Notre-Dame de Croaz Batz, walk up and down the street on Rue Albert de Mun, and admire the houses built in the 16th century. Then, make your way to the Pointe de Bloscon with its tiny Chapelle Sainte-Barbe and gaze out over the Bay of Morlaix. And if you are an adventurous eater, there are many restaurants where you can taste local specialties, such as fresh fish, seafood platters, and the traditional and world-famous Breton crêpes.

    Roscoff is the gateway to Haut-Léon, the northernmost area in the department of Finistère, the Land’s End region of France. If you want to explore more of this fascinating corner of Brittany, don’t hesitate to join one of our optional excursions to some of the gems of Breton heritage.

    Day 16
    Roscoff, France

    Buccaneers’ hideout, corsairs’ den

  • Day 17
    At sea

    Sailing the Bay of Biscay

    November 7, 2022

    Today, we’ll enjoy a leisurely sailing across the western edge of the Bay of Biscay on our way to the Galicia region of Spain.

    In Roman days, these waters were named Sinus Cantabrorum after the Cantabri, the Celtic tribe inhabiting the northern coasts of the Iberian Peninsula. Today, the southern portion of the Bay of Biscay, adjacent to the northern Spanish coast, is still called the Cantabrian Sea.

    Relax on deck with your binoculars and look for wildlife. Cetaceans can often be spotted here. In fact, up to one quarter of all the world’s species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises have been spotted in the Bay’s waters. They are drawn here by the nutrient rich waters around the edge of the continental shelf. You could be lucky and spot a beaked whale, as this is one of the few places in the world where they can be seen.

    If you haven’t already, now is a good time to check out the onboard Science Center. You have abundant information at your fingertips to learn about the marine biology of the seas along our cruise. Take part in hands-on demonstrations, use high-tech microscopes to view marine microorganisms, and learn nature photography tips.

    Join the Expedition Team in the Explorer Lounge for in-depth lectures on different topics related to the days ahead. These might include learning about the history, geography, and environment of upcoming destinations. Don’t forget to make full use of the leisure facilities on board MS Spitsbergen. This is the perfect time to try out the panoramic sauna!

    Day 17
    At sea

    Sailing the Bay of Biscay

  • Day 18
    A Coruña, Spain

    Guided by the light of Hercules

    November 8, 2022

    We continue our Atlantic journey across the Bay of Biscay, towards Finisterre, ‘The End of the Earth’ in northwestern Spain. Despite its apparent isolation at the edge of the Iberian Peninsula, Finisterre and the rest of the Galicia region have played a central role in Atlantic Europe since prehistoric times.

    Ships sailing to and from the Mediterranean had to navigate the rugged Galician coast and seek shelter from the occasional fury of the ocean in its natural rias. They may look like fjords, but these rias are not flooded glacial valleys like the Norwegian fjords, but rather river valleys flooded after the last glaciation. Their gentle banks hold an age-old allure and have caused farming and fishing to thrive in this region.

    The oldest functioning extant lighthouse in the world, known as the Tower of Hercules, bears witness to this enduring relationship with the sea. Built around 2,000 years ago in Roman times, this tower in A Coruña has survived against all odds and still helps ships navigate the tricky Finisterre coast of Spain and safely enter A Coruña’s natural harbor. The lighthouse has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009.

    We expect to dock at A Coruña in the evening. This will give you plenty to stroll into town from the port and visit the unique lighthouse. Galicians, it has long been claimed, are among the toughest fishermen in Spain. Maritime heritage permeates many aspects of life here, as you will discover as you explore.

    Day 18
    A Coruña, Spain

    Guided by the light of Hercules

  • Day 19
    A Coruña, Spain

    Gateway to Galicia

    November 9, 2022

    A Coruña is one of the main cities in Galicia, a region of Spain that is culturally distinct and has its own identity. Galicians speak Galego, a language that is closer to Portuguese than Spanish. The people here are also proud of their Celtic roots.

    Settled by Celtic peoples from at least the first millennium, A Coruña flourished under the Romans. It was conquered during the Arabian Invasion at the beginning of the eighth century and re-conquered shortly thereafter by soldiers under Christian command. As if that wasn’t enough, A Coruña was repeatedly attacked by Vikings in the ninth and tenth centuries.

    Today, the historical center is an enticing mix of charming squares, winding streets, and narrow alleys. It is a perfect city for exploring on foot. It is home to ancient chapels, Baroque convents, and plenty of neoclassical architecture. Stroll through the old town and admire the famous glass-fronted buildings by the harbor. Don’t miss the architectural structures at Plaza María Pía and the archeological museum located at the old castle.

    If you didn’t manage to see the Tower of Hercules yesterday evening, be sure to do so today. After your exploration, take a load off at one of the many bars or restaurants, and sample the unique gallego cuisine. Order a selection of tapas, which might include the classic pulpo a la gallega (Galician octopus) and sample a glass of famous Galician cider, traditionally poured into a cup from a considerable height.

    A Coruña is an excellent base for exploring the highlights of Galicia, including the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the Roman walls of Lugo and the pilgrimage city of Santiago de Compostela. Join one of our optional guided tours to explore these two major sites.

    Day 19
    A Coruña, Spain

    Gateway to Galicia

  • Day 20
    Vigo, Spain

    Galician traditions

    November 10, 2022

    Vigo has one of the best natural harbors in Galicia—perfectly sheltered inside a ria and protected by the beautiful Cíes Islands. The city flourished in the 16th century, attracting traders and settlers—along with pirates and other invaders. But Vigo persevered and grew to become Galicia’s main trading and fishing port.

    For centuries, Vigo was the gateway to the Americas. Many Galicians, as well as other Spaniards, emigrated to the New World from here. Even today, people in some Latin American countries sometimes refer to people of Spanish descent as Gallegos, regardless of where in Spain their ancestors came from.

    Vigo expanded eastwards in the 19th and early 20th centuries along the bustling Rúa do Príncipe with an eclectic mix of buildings in neoclassical and Art Nouveau styles. The most impressive structure of all could be the 16th-century Castro Castle and its surrounding park, featuring spectacular views of the town. Nearby, you’ll find the remains of a settlement from the iron age, called Castro—the original settlement where Vigo now stands, from more than 2,000 years ago.

    The port is perfectly located for exploring the city on foot. Vigo is built on the slope of a hill overlooking the ria, which means that almost everything is uphill from the harbor. The old town’s maze of streets are organized around Plaza de Igrexa and the 19th-century neoclassical cathedral of Santa Maria.

    On your way to the square and the cathedral, stop by Rúa da Pescadería, the best street in town to sample the delicious seafood Galicia is famous for. Then stop for a coffee at Praza da Constitución, a lovely square with pretty houses, cafés, and restaurants.

    Day 20
    Vigo, Spain

    Galician traditions

  • Day 21
    Porto, Portugal

    The city of port wine

    November 11, 2022

    MS Spitsbergen will dock at Leixoes, an excellent jumping-off point for exploring Portugal. Head north toward the small fortification of Forte Leça de Palmeira and continue along the beach to Avenida Liberdade. You could also visit the Lighthouse of Leça, the Chapel of Boa Nova, and the beautiful Praia Azul beach.

    A shuttle bus is available take you the six or so miles to Porto. Famous for its port wine and UNESCO-listed historic center, Portugal’s second city will win you over with its charismatic look and surprise you with its modernity. It’s a place made for strolling, filled with mazes of narrow streets and unique monuments, where everything eventually leads to the Douro River.

    Don’t skip the Church of San Francisco, the Romanesque cathedral with an opulently gilded Baroque interior, or the panoramic views from the top of the Church of the Clérigos. Are you a bookworm? Lose yourself among the magical Neo-Gothic interior (and maybe even the books) of the beautiful Lello bookstore, discover the Palácio de la Bolsa, and stroll along Avenida de los Aliados.

    Soak up the atmosphere along the bustling riverside promenade at the Ribeira Docks, packed tight with pastel houses and beautiful tiled façades. Cross the Douro via the top deck of the Eiffel Tower–inspired Ponte de Dom Luís I bridge, see the warehouses and port cellars of Vila Nova de Gaia on the south bank, and cross the bridge again along the lower walkway.

    Reward yourself afterward with a refreshing white port and tonic at one of the many lively bars and restaurants on the pier. Built up an appetite? Try Porto delicacies like the francesinha (a popular grilled meat and cheese sandwich) and the local variant of salt cured cod, called bacalhau.

    Day 21
    Porto, Portugal

    The city of port wine

  • Day 22
    Lisbon, Portugal

    Legendary Lisbon

    November 12, 2022
    Estimated time of arrival is 3:00 PM

    We’ll sail south all morning, so why not join the Expedition Team for more fascinating talks? You could also head on deck to scan the sea for marine life. We expect to arrive in Lisbon in the afternoon, so prepare to discover the ultimate destination on your cruise.

    Located close to the Old Town, Lisbon Cruise Terminal is perfectly situated to explore the historical center of the Portuguese capital on foot. Built on seven hills along the shores of the scenic River Tagus, Lisbon ranks among southern Europe’s most enchanting metropolises—with a fascinating history, to boot.

    The Phoenicians were the first to discover the commercial potential of the Tagus Estuary, but not the last. Lisbon’s strategic location attracted the Celts, Romans, Visigoths, and Moors, each of whom occupied the city and left their mark.

    You simply must walk around Baixa, Bairro Alto, and Alfama, the classical districts of Lisbon. Almost everything of historic interest is here, along with a great number of small shops and boutiques. Start at the Praça do Comercio in the Baixa district and make your way to Praça Rossio to see the statue of King Pedro IV. Then head up to Largo do Chiado to explore the narrow streets of Bairro Alto.

    In Alfama’s labyrinthine of narrow streets around the old Muslim quarter, you’ll find Lisbon Cathedral, the remains of the Roman amphitheater, and Castelo de San Jorge, the impressive 11th-century Moorish fortress which offers the best views of the city.

    There are two historical gems you must leave the center to see. Follow the river four miles downstream and visit Torre de Belém and Mosteiro dos Jerónimos, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Closely connected to Portugal’s Age of Discovery and explorers such as Vasco de Gama, Belém is also home of the famously delicious Pastel de Belém custard tart. Don’t pass that one up!

    Day 22
    Lisbon, Portugal

    Legendary Lisbon

  • Day 23
    Lisbon, Portugal

    Farewell in Lisbon

    November 13, 2022

    Our expedition cruise ends at Lisbon. After breakfast, bid a fond farewell to MS Spitsbergen and to the people who made your expedition so memorable, including the Expedition Team and crew members.


    We are confident that your cruise through the fascinating history of Europe’s Atlantic coastline has been fantastic, but you don’t need to go home just yet. Want to explore Lisbon and its surroundings before returning home? We recommend joining our optional Post-Program.

    On this Post-Program, you’ll explore Lisbon’s fascinating historic districts and then resorts outside the city, including the UNESCO World Heritage town of Sintra, Monserrate Palace, and a guided excursion to the beaches of Cascais. Then you’ll return to Lisbon to spend the night.

    As you return home, no doubt you’ll already be planning your next adventure. We look forward to welcoming you on board again soon!

    Day 23
    Lisbon, Portugal

    Farewell in Lisbon



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What's Included

Included in Your Expedition

Expedition Cruise

  • Expedition cruise in the cabin of your choice
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurant Aune
  • Complimentary tea and coffee
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Be aware that we sail in remote areas with limited connection. Streaming is not supported.
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to fill at onboard water refill stations
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organizes and guides activities, both on board and ashore
  • Range of included activities

Onboard activities

  • Experts from the Expedition Team present detailed lectures on a variety of topics
  • Use of the ship’s Science Center, which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
  • The Citizen Science program allows guests to contribute to current scientific research
  • The onboard professional photographer will give tips and tricks for taking the best landscape and wildlife photos
  • The ship has hot tubs, a sauna with a view, and an indoor gym
  • Participate in informal gatherings with the crew, such as daily recaps and the next day’s preparations

Landing activities

  • Escorted landings with small boats (RIBs)
  • Complimentary wind- and water-resistant expedition jacket
  • Expedition photographers help configure your camera settings

Not Included In Your Expedition

  • Air travel
  • Travel protection
  • Baggage handling
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners
  • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team


  • All planned activities are subject to weather conditions
  • Excursions and activities are subject to change
  • Please ensure you can meet all entry and boarding requirements
  • No gratuities are expected
Longyearbyen, Svalbard - MS Spitsbergen
Photo: Genna Roland
A large ship in the water
A large bed in a room
Your Ship

MS Spitsbergen

Year built 2009
Year of refurbishment 2016
Shipyard Estaleiro Navais de Viana do Castelo (POR)
Passenger capacity 180
Beds 243
Car capacity 0
Gross tonnage 7,344
Length 100.54 m
Beam 18 m
Speed 14.5 knots
Longyearbyen, Svalbard - MS Spitsbergen
Photo: Genna Roland

MS Spitsbergen will take you on a cruise beyond the ordinary. She cruises along the Norwegian coast from September to May and becomes part of our Global Expedition sailings the rest of the year.

Read more about MS Spitsbergen

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Photo: Stefan Dall / Hurtigruten
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