Circumnavigating Spitsbergen

Circumnavigating Spitsbergen

from $7,377 per person

Join an epic expedition cruise on Hurtigruten that circumnavigates the largest island in Svalbard and provides many opportunities to see polar bears

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  • Circumnavigate Spitsbergen
  • Attend fascinating lectures from the Expedition Team
  • See natural wonders such as Alkefjellet, Edgeøya, and the Monaco Glacier
  • Opportunity to see polar bears

A cruise around Spitsbergen gives you ample opportunity to explore all the aspects of this fascinating Arctic island. See the great eastern nature reserves and some of the most spectacular highlights of the Arctic. We aim at taking you well above the 80th parallel and placing you closer than 600 nautical miles from the Geographic North Pole. The eastern part of Svalbard is more barren and characteristically High Arctic than any other place we visit with MS Fram. Enjoy expedition landings, hikes, kayaking, and other activities in the largest Arctic wilderness in Europe. 

Visiting the Settlements on Spitsbergen

Longyearbyen is a prime destination for adventure travelers. This Norwegian settlement is a unique little town. The influence of the Arctic environment is obvious and it is also a surprisingly cosmopolitan town. The Russian settlement, Barentsburg, is a ‘company coal mining town’. Explore the exotic collection of old Russian arteficts and architecture, visit the Pomor Museum, or soak up the real Russian atmosphere in the local pub. Ny-Ålesund is situated at 78º 55’ N, and is one of the world’s northernmost year-round communities. Previously a coal-mining community, it is now an advanced High Arctic research station.

Fjords, Glaciers, and Polar Bears

During this voyage you will see some of the most spectacular fjords of Spitsbergen. The eastern part of Svalbard is mainly divided into two large nature reserves. Combined they represent one of the last large, mainly untouched wilderness areas 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. We may see some of Svalbard’s marine mammals such as seal and walrus, and wherever there is ice there is a great opportunity to see polar bears!

Voyage Itinerary

 

Day 1: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 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 a couple of hours later. Still, this very small settlement offers all the amenities of a modern town, in addition to its stunning location in a wild Arctic landscape. 

Day 2:Longyearbyen and Barentsburg

After an overnight stay in a Longyearbyen hotel, you can join an exciting excursion in the unique little town of Longyearbyen and its surrounding areas. 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 small shopping center. While the town is often called an antidote to modern-day life and is a prime destination for adventure travelers, the history and heritage of 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 colorful folklore show and visit the hotel and museum. Experience a different side of Svalbard, a little piece of Russia in the Arctic. 

Day 3:North West Spitsbergen National Park

Kongsfjord 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.

Day 4:North West Spitsbergen National Park

As we sail northwest we reach Krossfjord and Mitrahalvøya, where you can see cultural remains from the whaling period, beautiful alpine flora, bird cliffs, and quite often Svalbard reindeer. Try traversing a glacier with our Expedition Team. We also visit the former mining settlement of Ny-Ålesund, now an international center for research, with a picturesque mix of old and new buildings.

Day 5:North West Spitsbergen National Park

The North West Corner of Spitsbergen offers the largest concentration of graves, blubber ovens, and other cultural treasures from when Svalbard was first inhabited. Raudfjord 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: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 Sorgfjord, the location of a famous 17th-century battle between the whalers, which borders the North East Spitsbergen Nature Reserve. Enjoy the view from on deck as we pass the spectacular bird cliff of Alkefjellet, one of the largest of its kind.

Day 7:Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserves and South Spitsbergen National Park

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.

Day 8:Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserves and South Spitsbergen National Park

We continue to the South Cape – the southernmost tip of Spitsbergen. 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 9:The Isfjord

Isfjord is the most extensive fjord system in Svalbard. We will spend the day exploring 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 Brünnich’s guillemots nest during the summer season. In the inner part of Isfjorden, the landscape changes. 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 10: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 Geographic North Pole. An early morning transfer brings you to the airport for your flight back to Oslo.