The Ultimate Svalbard Expedition

Longyearbyen, Circumnavigating Svalbard

This epic voyage circumnavigates the large island of Spitsbergen in Svalbard. Explore glaciers, mountains and fjords in the west, and the barren High Arctic wilderness in the eastern part of Svalbard. Enjoy expedition landings, hikes, kayaking and other activities in the largest Arctic wilderness in Europe.

  • See natural wonders like Alkefjellet, Edgeøya and Kvitøya
  • Cross 80º N, placing you less than 600 nautical miles from the Geographical North Pole
  • Scan for polar bears under the Midnight Sun
  • Circumnavigate Spitsbergen, the biggest island of the Svalbard archipelago

Overview

A journey around Spitsbergen gives you ample opportunity to explore all the aspects of this fascinating arctic island.

We aim at taking you well above the 80th parallel and placing you closer than 600 nautical miles from the Geographical North Pole. The expedition starts in Longyearbyen, a prime destination for adventure travellers. This Norwegian settlement is a unique place, where the arctic dominates all aspects of life in what has grown to become a surprisingly cosmopolitan town.

A truly untouched wilderness

During this voyage you will see some of the most spectacular fjords of Spitsbergen. The eastern part of Svalbard is divided into two large nature reserves. Combined, they represent one of the last largely untouched wildernesses in Europe. Traversing the large fjord east of Spitsbergen will give you spectacular views of the island’s east coast with hundreds of glaciers and mountains. If we are lucky we’ll meet some of Svalbard’s marine mammals like seal and walrus, and wherever there is ice there is a strong chance of spotting polar bears during this voyage!

More polar bears than humans

Within the Svalbard Archipelago there are about 2500 humans and 3000 polar bears. These solitary predators wander to wherever they can expect to find food. Whenever we are close to drift ice, there is a chance that a polar bear will use this as a platform when at sea. The polar bear is a marine mammal, so you are most likely to spot them close to water. In very rare occasions, dead whales or walrus drift ashore on Svalbard beaches. These tend to attract all kinds of wildlife – including polar bears. We often observe polar bears on our expeditions, but as with all things in nature, there are no absolute guarantees.

Price includes: 

  • Hurtigruten Expedition with cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
  • Return economy flights between Oslo and Longyearbyen
  • One hotel night in Longyearbyen before the voyage including breakfast and lunch
  • All transfers in Longyearbyen including an excursion before the voyage
  • 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 accompanying landings and activities
  • Free tea and coffee

Not included: 

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

The 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.

16 July and 26 July, 2018

Departs From Oslo/Longyearbyen
Day 1
Hurtigruten | Oslo Skyline at night
Photo: Morten Normann Almeland Photo

The high north


Location: Oslo/Longyearbyen

Your Arctic adventure starts with an evening flight from Norway's capital Oslo. Before departure, you can spend some time exploring this fjord-side city surrounded by forests, lakes and hills. Oslo offers a varied architecture, a strong café and bar culture, top-notch restaurants and endless shopping possibilities. The contrast will be significant when you arrive in Longyearbyen some of hours later. Still, this very small settlement offers all amenities of a modern town, in addition to its stunning location in a wild Arctic landscape.

Day 2
Hurtigruten | Beautiful scenic view of Longyearbyen with green field and arctic flowers against the background of dramatic cloudy sky, grey mountain range and colorful houses, Norway, Spitsbergen (Svalbard island)
Photo: Natalia Davidovich Photo

A civilisation in the Arctic desert


Location: Longyearbyen

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. The influence of the Arctic environment is obvious, but it is also surprisingly cosmopolitan, with art galleries, pubs, long wine lists at restaurants, shops and a mini-shopping centre. The town is often called an antidote to modern-Day life and is a prime destination for adventure travellers. In addition, the history and heritage of the first coal miners is evident everywhere.

Day 3 -5
Hurtigruten Cruises | Glacier Svalbard
Photo: Karsten Bidstrup Photo

Mighty glaciers, deep fjords and amazing 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 dramatic 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 the first inhabitants of 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.

Day 6-9
Hurtigruten | Svalbard
Photo: Dominic Barrington Photo

Where conditions are extreme and the land is barren


Location: Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserves and South Spitsbergen National Park

Eastern Svalbard also boasts the highest population of polar bears on the archipelago – we have great hopes 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 on deck as we pass the spectacular bird cliff of Alkefjellet, one of the largest of its kind. Kvitøya is the easternmost island in the Svalbard archipelago. It is 98 % covered by the ice cap Kvitøyjøkulen. We plan to land at the western point of the island where the relics of the Andrée expedition were found in 1930. This was a failed effort to fly over the North Pole in the balloon ”Örnen” (the eagle). 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. There are seven small islands farthest north in the Svalbard Archipelago. The northernmost of them; Rossøya is less than 1000 kilometres from the North Pole, and when you are here you can be quite sure that there is no human being between yourself and 90 degrees North. If we are lucky, we may meet some of the marine mammals of Svalbard as we head towards the South Cape Land. In winter Storfjorden is mainly frozen, making it a perfect polar bear habitat. 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.

Day 10-11
Hurtigruten |Alkehornet Spitzbergen Wildlife
Photo: Ester Kokmeijer Photo

Enjoy life in Arctic surroundings


Location: The fjords of South-West Spitsbergen

In central Spitsbergen, the Isfjord is the most prominent fjord system in Svalbard. We will explore both the outer and the inner parts of the fjord. One of the most striking features of the outer part is the Alkehornet peak, where thousands of Brunnich's guillemots nest during the summer season. In the inner parts of the Isfjord, the landscape changes constantly. 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 might find a scenic fjord arm and arrange a farewell barbecue in the beautiful Arctic surroundings.

Day 12
Longyearbyen_MG_4494-Edit_Day-1.jpg
Photo: Hanne Feyling Photo

The end of the voyage


Location: Longyearbyen/Oslo

Every good explorer voyage comes to an end. We´ll look back on memories of calving glacier fronts or buzzing birdlife – or simply the subtle, elated feeling of having spent time on top of the globe, just a few hundred kilometres from the Geographical North Pole. An early morning transfer takes you to the airport for your flight back to Oslo.

27 July and 6 August, 2018

Location Longyearbyen/Oslo
Your ship

Our ship sailing this route

Set out on an expedition with MS Spitsbergen, our latest expedition ship - equipped and adapted for sailings in polar waters throughout Arctic regions.

Everything you need to know about a cruise with Hurtigruten

Learn more about what you can experience on board - and cruise with confidence on MS Spitsbergen.

Things to see and do

Articles

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

Videos

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

Extend your holiday

Getting you there

Please contact us if you wish to add on return flights and airport transfers to Oslo.