Grand Arctic Circumnavigation

Oslo/Longyearbyen - Longyearbyen/Oslo

Join us for a great adventure as we sail around Svalbard's biggest island, Spitsbergen. This 12-day voyage is the ultimate Spitsbergen expedition, as we take you above 80º N to the ice edge of the Arctic Ocean. Stay active and go hiking across glaciers or cut through Arctic waters in a kayak. Just beware of the King of the Arctic, the Polar Bear, as we explore this remote and untouched wilderness.

  • Discover Spitsbergen in depth on a circumnavigation of the island including North East Svalbard Nature Reserve
  • Take part in fascinating lectures on intriguing topics from the Expedition team
  • Try 'brevandring', the Norwegian way to cross a glacier
  • Revel in the anticipation of seeing the King of the Arctic


We will sail above 80º N, to take you to the ice edge of the Arctic Ocean. The adventure will include several excursions including hiking, kayaking and other activities on land and on the water.

Try what the Norwegians call 'Brevandring'

In Norway we have a special kind of activity that we call; brevandring – this means to cross a glacier. Don’t mistake this for ice climbing. Brevandring is on relatively 'even ice', but on some occasions we may have to negotiate small crevasses. You can expect an exceptional experience 'on the ice'. Glaciers cover 60% of the landmass of Svalbard, so stepping out onto the ice is an almost obligatory part of your Svalbard experience.

More polar bears than people

Within the Svalbard archipelago, there are approximately 3,000 polar bears, and 2,500 humans. Polar bears are solitary animals with no established territory – they simply roam wherever they can expect to find food. As polar bears are marine mammals, we are more likely to see one close to the water or even in water, especially around drift ice, which they like to use as a platform. The more eyes scouting for polar bears through binoculars, the higher the chance of seeing a King of the Arctic in the flesh! 


Price includes: 

  • Cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
  • Return economy flights between Longyearbyen and Oslo
  • One hotel night in Longyearbyen before the voyage including breakfast 
  • All transfers in Longyearbyen including lunch and excursion before the voyage
  • Wind and water resistant jacket
  • Landings and activities onboard and ashore
  • Professional English speaking Expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanying landings and activities
  • Free tea and coffee

Not included:

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional excursions and gratuities


  • Prices are in EUR per person
  • All planned landings are subject to weather - and ice conditions
  • All itineraries are subject to change
  • Free rubber boot rental service on board

Related voyages


The itinerary

This is an expedition where the elements rule, and the weather, wind and ice conditions will determine our schedule. Safety is paramount and the captain will decide the final sailing itinerary during the voyage. Hence, this itinerary is just an indication of what you can experience and why every expedition with Hurtigruten is unique.

5 August 2017 or 15 August 2017

Departs From Oslo, Norway
Day 1
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Photo: Tyler Olson / Shutterstock Photo

From the city to the stunning Arctic

Location: Oslo/Longyearbyen

This Grand Arctic Circumnavigation starts with an evening flight from Oslo. Norway's capital is often called 'The blue, the green and the city in between' because of its location between the fjord and the forest. Spend a day checking out the many museums, parks and varied architecture or relax in a café or bar. The contrast will be significant when you arrive in Longyearbyen a couple of hours later. Still, Longyearbyen is a modern town with first-class facilities, charming architecture, an internationally renowned museum and several bars and restaurants – all in the midst of the untouched Arctic wilderness.

Day 2
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Photo: Ester Kokmeijer Photo

Exploring the old settlements

Location: Longyearbyen and Barentsburg

After an overnight stay in one of our hotels, you can join an exciting excursion in the unique little town of Longyearbyen and the surrounding area, before boarding MS Fram. This Norwegian settlement is a unique little town. The influence of the Arctic environment is obvious but it is also surprisingly cosmopolitan. Whilst the town is often called an antidote to modern-day life and is a prime destination for adventure travellers, the history and heritage of the first coal miners is evident everywhere. Barentsburg is a Russian settlement, known for its coal mines and Soviet architecture, and is very different to Longyearbyen. The museum, library and newly opened brewery function as meeting points and a research station is under construction. See a colourful folklore show and visit the hotel and museum. Experience a different side of Svalbard, a little piece of Russia in the Arctic.

Days 3-5
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Photo: Ester Kokmeijer Photo

Fjords, glaciers and mountains

Location: North West Spitsbergen National Park

Kongsfjorden is considered to be one of the most beautiful fjord areas in Spitsbergen, with mighty glaciers calving icebergs into the sea, framed by characteristic mountain formations. As we sail northwest, we reach Krossfjorden and Mitrahalvøya, where you can see ruined buildings from the whaling period, beautiful alpine flora, bird cliffs and quite often Svalbard reindeer. Try crossing a glacier with our Expedition Team. On our way back, we visit the former mining settlement of Ny-Ålesund, now an international centre for research, with a picturesque mix of old and new buildings. The North West Corner of Spitsbergen offers the largest concentration of graves, blubber ovens and other cultural treasures from when we first started to inhabit Svalbard. Raudfjorden offers plenty of opportunities for great hikes. Hamiltonbukta is too shallow for our ship to navigate, but it’s perfect to explore by kayak. We will also see the enormous Monaco Glacier in Liefdefjord.

Days 6 - 9
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Photo: Ester Kokmeijer Photo

Into the untouched wildnerness

Location: Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserves and South Spitsbergen National Park

Eastern Svalbard also boasts the highest population of polar bears on the archipelago – we really hope that we’ll get the chance to see one on this journey! Today, we'll explore Sorgfjorden, which borders the North East Spitsbergen Nature Reserve, and was the location of a famous 17th-century battle between whalers. Enjoy the view from on deck as we pass the spectacular bird cliff of Alkefjellet, one of the largest of its kind.

Edgeøya is the third-largest island in the Svalbard archipelago. On its western shores, the landscape is largely un-glaciated, unlike most other places on the east side of Spitsbergen. Kapp Lee is a wonderful site where you will find cultural heritage from all eras of human exploration of Svalbard.

We continue to the southern cape and the southernmost tip of Spitsbergen, where Hornsund has large variations in its landscape and geology within short distances. Ice being pushed into the fjord early in the season attracts polar bears that hunt on the ice.

Rossøya is less than 620 miles from the North Pole, and when you are here you can be quite sure that there is no one between yourself and 90 North. The barren landscape is considered high Arctic, with very little vegetation due to the extreme weather conditions here for most of the year. Phippsøya is home to a large ivory gull colony, and there are virtually always polar bears here. The question is whether we are able to spot them!

Day 10
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Photo: Nina Helland Photo

Majestic mountains and wonderful wildlife

Location: Bellsund

Bellsund is the third-largest fjord system on Spitsbergen. We will pass the majestic Klokkefjellet Mountain while sailing the southern entrance of the sound. Enjoy landings where we will explore old trapping stations, wonderful Artic flora and fauna and also fantastic views towards the vast expanse of this impressive fjord. 

Day 11
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Photo: Camille Seaman Photo

Exploring the fjord

Location: The Isfjord

We will spend the day exploring the Isfjord, the most prominent fjord system on Svalbard. In the inner parts of Isfjorden, the landscape changes constantly. The immense U-shaped valleys, carved out of the mountains by the giant glaciers that covered the area some ten thousand years ago are home to large populations of the endemic Svalbard Reindeer. Later on we’ll find a scenic fjord arm and arrange a farewell barbecue in the most beautiful Arctic surroundings. 

Day 12
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Photo: Dominic Barrington Photo

Return to civilisation

Location: Longyearbyen/Oslo

Every good explorer's voyage comes to an end. You will probably sense that time has passed faster than expected. Lingering is the subtle exhilaration of having spent time on top of the globe, just a few hundred miles from the Geographical North Pole. An early morning transfer takes you to the airport for your flight back to Oslo.

15 August 2017 or 25 August 2017

Location Oslo, Norway
Your ship Things to see and do


Learn more about the various seasons in Svalbard and the wonders of the High Arctic


Immerse yourself in the adventures you can experience on a voyage to Svalbard.

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