Norway and Spitsbergen - The Route of Polar Pioneers

This short Arctic expedition cruise is full of excitement! Stand on the northernmost point of Europe, step ashore on wild Bjørnøya, and spend two and a half days exploring the beautifully rugged coastline and narrow fjords of the west coast of Spitsbergen. Excursion opportunities include hiking, kayaking, and visiting a science station, and don't forget there will be chances to spot the mighty polar bear!

  • Visit the North Cape – the very northern tip of Europe
  • Northwest Spitsbergen: packed with history and wildlife
  • Chance to see polar bears
  • See the midnight sun in untouched Arctic wilderness

Itinerary

Cruise Itinerary

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

Departure July 21, 2019

Departs from Tromsø, Norway
Overview

The Gateway to the Arctic - Tromsø

We begin our adventure in Tromsø, the starting point for some of history's greatest expeditions and trapper adventures, all of which are detailed at the fascinating Polar Museum.

The next morning, we go ashore in Skarsvåg. The North Cape, at the very northern tip of Europe, has been a great adventure destination for travelers for centuries. Take in the view and stand atop the steep cliff that towers over 1,000 feet above the Arctic Ocean, marking the end of the continent.

Cruising to Svalbard

Next, we sail toward Svalbard and aim to make an island landing at Bjørnøya, situated halfway between North Cape and the Svalbard archipelago.   

Finally, we spend two and a half days exploring the rugged coastline and spectacular fjords of Spitsbergen, the largest of the islands of the Svalbard archipelago.

Here you'll explore the great national parks and some of the most spectacular highlights of the Arctic. One might expect it to be unbearably cold this far north. However, thanks to the Gulf Stream, the Svalbard archipelago boasts a surprisingly mild climate in the summer. There is a large variety of plants and wildlife in Svalbard, including seals, thousands of seabirds, the Arctic fox, reindeer, and the top predator: the polar bear.

In the summer, beautiful colors and contrasts provide the frame for dramatic glaciers, majestic mountain formations, deep fjords, buzzing bird cliffs, and endless Arctic tundra with its diverse flora and fauna. The midnight sun makes it possible to fill your days and nights with unforgettable experiences on this exciting Arctic exploration. 

Day 1
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Photo

City of Explorers and Hunters

Tromsø, Norway

Our expedition cruise begins, as so many great explorations have, in Tromsø.  It’s a city with many great attractions, but it is also easy to escape from the metropolis if you seek wilderness. In a traditional wharf house from the 1830s, you’ll find the Polar Museum, where you can learn more about Tromsø’s fascinating polar history.  Polaria, an experience center, is located five minutes from the heart of the city. Here you’ll find an Arctic aquarium, interesting exhibits, a panoramic cinema, and a gift and souvenir shop.  The city’s most recognizable landmark is the Arctic Cathedral, built in 1965, featuring a huge original stained-glass mosaic.

Take the Fjellheisen cable car to the top of the Fløyfjellet Mountain and enjoy breathtaking views of the city, mountains, and fjords.

Day 2
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The Northernmost Point in Europe

Skarsvåg

A few hours before we arrive at Skarsvåg we will sail past the spectacular North Cape cliff, offering you a stunning view of this famous landmark. Skarsvåg is a small village that lies along the northern coast of the island of Magerøya, and claims the distinction of being the world's northernmost fishing village.

Join the optional excursion to the North Cape and discover what it’s like to stand at the end of the Earth. There is a combined museum and restaurant at the plateau, where you can learn more about early expeditions and watch a panoramic film that takes you through coastal Norway's four seasons in this remarkable landscape full of contrasts and breathtaking scenery. 

Day 3
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Middle of the Arctic Ocean

Bjørnøya

Bjørnøya, with a population of just nine people, is the southernmost island of the Svalbard archipelago. It is an isolated spot in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, and hosts perhaps the largest concentration of seabirds in the Northern Hemisphere. This is where the cold waters from the Arctic Ocean meet warm Gulf Stream currents. When these water masses collide, nutrient-rich water is pushed up to the surface, making it an 'all-you-can-eat' buffet for 126 different bird species.

If conditions allow, we will land here.

Day 4-5
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Photo: Ragnar Hartvig Photo

Amazing Fjords with Fascinating History

West Coast of Spitsbergen

Cruising northbound from Bjørnøya, the captain and expedition leader will make the best use of the conditions at hand.  We may cruise into Hornsund and explore the ice-filled fjord by small explorer boats, or land to hike to a viewpoint overlooking the glacier.  The expedition team will tell stories of the history of the area, including the tale of Wanny Woldstad, the first female trapper-hunter, who lived here in the 1930s.

We often observe polar bears, although not every day and seldom at very close range. Like most things in a true wilderness, there are no absolute guarantees.  But the more eyes scouting through binoculars, the better our chances of observing the 'King of the Arctic'.

We might visit Kongsfjord, considered one of the most beautiful fjord areas in Spitsbergen, with mighty glaciers calving icebergs into the sea, and framed by stunning mountain formations. On the shore of Kongfjord is the former mining settlement of Ny-Ålesund, now an international research  center, with a picturesque mix of old and new buildings.

Day 6
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Last Landing and the Isfjord

Longyearbyen/Oslo

The final day, we will have a morning landing and sail into the Isfjord, the most extensive fjord system on Svalbard, on our way to Longyearbyen. We arrive in Longyearbyen late in the evening and transfer you to the airport for your overnight flight to Oslo.

Many guests report a subtle exhilaration in the afterglow of this journey, partly from the thrill of coming just a few hundred miles from the North Pole.

Day 7
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End of the Expedition

Oslo, Norway

We arrive in Oslo early in the morning. You can either fly back home, or spend some time exploring the Norwegian capital before returning home.

Arrival July 27, 2019

Location Oslo, Norway
What's Included

INCLUDED IN YOUR VOYAGE:

  • Hurtigruten expedition cruise in the cabin grade of your choice on a full-board basis
  • Transfer from the ship to the airport in Longyearbyen
  • Coach-class flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo
  • Wind- and water-resistant jacket
  • Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
  • Professional English-speaking expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanies landings and activities
  • Complimentary tea and coffee

NOT INCLUDED IN YOUR VOYAGE:

  • International flights
  • Travel protection plan
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional excursions and gratuities
Your ship
Experiences Flights

Contact us

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