Circumnavigate the realm of the polar bear
Kayak among whales and be on the lookout for walruses, seals and the mighty polar bears - join an epic 9-day expedition cruise with Hurtigruten that takes you on a sailing along the western coast of the largest island in Svalbard.
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.
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 cafe and bar culture, top-notch restaurants and endless shopping possibilities. The contrast will be significant when you arrive in Longyearbyen a couple 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.
After an overnight stay in one of our hotels you can join an exciting sightseeing tour of Longyearbyen. This Norwegian settlement is a unique little town. The influence of the arctic environment is obvious but it is also surprisingly cosmopolitan, with art galleries, pubs, long wine lists at restaurants, stores and a mini-mall. It is often called an antidote to modern-day life and a prime destination for adventure travellers. Still the history and heritage from the first coal miners can be seen everywhere.
North West Spitsbergen National Park
Kongsfjorden and its surroundings are known to be one of the most beautiful fjord areas in Spitsbergen. At the head of the fjord, mighty glaciers calve into the sea. Characteristic mountain formations frame the scene. As we sail further northwest, we reach Krossfjorden and Mitrahalvøya, with cultural remains from the whaling period, beautiful alpine flora, bird cliffs and quite often Svalbard reindeer. Try traversing a glacier with our Expedition Team. On our way back we visit the former mining settlement of Ny-Ålesund, an international centre for research, with a picturesque mix of old and new buildings.
North West Spitsbergen National Park
The North West Corner of Spitsbergen offers the largest concentration of graves, blubber ovens and other cultural treasures from the first era of the exploitation of Svalbard’s natural resources. Raudfjorden offers plenty of opportunities for great hikes. Hamiltonbukta is too shallow for our ship to navigate, but it’s perfect for exploration by kayak. We will also see the enormous Monaco Glacier situated in Liefdefjorden.
Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserves and South Spitsbergen National Park
In Eastern Svalbard the density of Polar bears is higher than anywhere else on Svalbard – we really hope to see some on this journey! In Sorgfjorden a famous battle between whalers took place in the late 17th century. The eastern shores of the fjord lie within North East Spitsbergen Nature Reserve. Alkefjellet is a spectacular bird cliff and one of the largest of its kind in Svalbard. You will have great views from deck.
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.
The South Cape Land
We continue to the South Cape Land – the southernmost tip of Spitsbergen. Hornsund displays large variations in landscape and geology within short distances. Ice being pushed into the fjord early in the season attracts polar bears that hunt on the ice.
Isfjorden is the most prominent fjord system in Svalbard. We will spend the day exploring both the outer and the inner parts. One of the most striking features of the outer part is the Alkhornet peak, where thousands of Brunnich Guillemots are nesting during the summer season. In the inner parts of Isfjorden the landscape is changing. Large U-valleys, carved out 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.
Every good explorer 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 kilometres from the Geographical North Pole. An early morning transfer brings you to the airport for your flight back to Oslo.