Your adventure starts with an overnight stay to enjoy Longyearbyen´s galleries, pubs, restaurants and magnificent setting on the edge of an Arctic wilderness. Reminders of mining heritage are everywhere in this frontier town. The 2,000 inhabitants here are outnumbered by snowmobiles, and reindeer roam the streets, which have been given numbers instead of names.
Get a taste of what it feels like to live in this legendary Arctic frontier as you stroll the main street and admire its colourful buildings. Head to the aptly named North Pole Expedition Museum and immerse yourself in Svalbard’s polar exploration history. You’ll find old newspapers, photos, postcards, several hours of original expedition film footage and quirky historical artefacts from the fabled age of exploration.
Visit the Svalbard Brewery and enjoy a tasting session of beers brewed in the Arctic. Not only will you sample excellent beers, but you’ll also have the opportunity to rub shoulders with the resilient residents of this singular town. You may meet nature enthusiasts and explorers just like you, or scientists and engineers associated with various projects, such as the nearby Global Seed Vault.
The locals like to remove their shoes before entering most public buildings. This is a custom that originated in the mining days to prevent people from trekking coal dust indoors, and is just one way the town’s mining history continues to affect its culture.
The cruise package includes an overnight stay at a hotel, offering modern comforts in historical surroundings. For a unique culinary experience, you can try king crab in the Funktionærmessen Restaurant before enjoying the many cafes and bars of this frontier town.
After breakfast, relax and explore this quaint town. Walk up to the church just a few minutes away. Maybe you will encounter the Svalbard reindeer that are often walking around town minding their own business. Although wild, you’ll find them more curious and tamer. Stroll the main street, admiring the colourful buildings and picking out souvenirs and gifts from the shops of the world’s northernmost town.
After lunch in one of the town’s restaurants, bring your bags to the bus and enjoy a guided tour that includes a visit to the Svalbard Museum. You can find out all about the history, geology and wildlife of the archipelago. Enjoy a visit to Camp Barentz, where you’ll learn about polar bears. While you’re there, keep an eye out for reindeer, grouse and foxes.
The historic MS Nordstjernen awaits at the harbour. Built in 1956, it’s one of our most beloved and longest serving vessels. Despite modernisation for exclusive Arctic sailing in 2000, MS Nordstjernen has lost none of its old Atlantic ship aura.
After you settle in, you’ll discover the wonders of the Isjord on a scenic cruise. Look out for Arctic wildlife perfectly at home in Svalbard’s second longest fjord as we sail. You’ll also witness nature's raw power showcased in majestic glacier fronts and rugged rock formations.
Cultural remains of Svalbard’s whaling and hunting heritage can be found along the Isjord’s beaches and bays. A more modern cultural icon is located further south of the fjords. Here lie the famous Isfjord Radio Station buildings, a former radio and weather station established in 1933 that now serves as a stylish and comfortable hotel for modern-day explorers.
Leaving behind what little civilisation there is, we now enter full exploration mode. In these beautiful yet remote areas, there is no internet, nor are there telephone masts to provide a mobile phone signal.
Free from emails and text messages, this is therefore your rare opportunity to disconnect and detox from the modern world. It's time to really get back in sync with what truly matters.
The North West Corner of Spitsbergen embodies Arctic beauty in all its rugged, untouched glory. This is a wilderness of steep mountains, stark glaciers and eerily beautiful offshore islands. It’s also one of those rare spots of the world where natural beauty and fascinating history combine. A birdwatching mecca in the summer months, if we’re lucky may spot a polar bear searching for bird eggs nearby.
If there’s one place that represents the essence of what Svalbard has to offer, it’s Magdalenefjord. Here is a breathtaking fjord framed by spectacular views of jagged mountain peaks and glaciers. It has an Alpine feel to it, despite its remote location in the far north-west.
Magdalenefjord’s beautiful beach is peppered with evidence of a whaling station from the 17th Century. You’ll be able to see remains of blubber ovens, a cemetery of 130 graves and a memorial to the whalers.
If the conditions are favourable, we plan to sail above 80° North, bringing you within 600 nautical miles of the North Pole. This high up, the sun is visible for 24 hours. Bask under the glorious midnight sun as you scan for wildlife on deck.
Directly above 80° North is Moffen, the largest island of the Svalbard Archipelago. An intriguing little island, Moffen is known for its walrus population. Large numbers of them usually gather at the southern tip of the island. Our approach to the island will adhere to the 300m exclusion zone to avoid disturbing this vulnerable animal.
Kongsfjorden, also known as Kong’s Fjord or King’s Bay, is the largest fjord on the Northwest coast of Spitsbergen. Two imposing glaciers, Kongsvegen and the colossal Kongsbreen watch over the entrance of the fjord. As we cruise silently, you might hear the tell-tale creaks and groans of chunks of glacier ice about to plunge into the sea. Framed by picturesque mountain formations, it’s undoubtedly one of Svalbard’s most scenic spots.
Hiking in the lush tundra will allow you to observe birds in a pristine environment. For bird lovers, Kongsfjorden is a treasure trove. Northern Fulmars, Black-legged kittiwakes, Atlantic puffins and guillemots are just some of the species found here in the summer months. A bird sanctuary consisting of about ten islands lies at the inner end of the fjord. It supports breeding populations of protected species such as Pink-footed Geese and Common Eider.
Later, we dock at the former mining settlement of Ny-Ålesund. At 78º 55’ N, this is one of the world’s northernmost year-round communities. Transformed into an international science centre, you’ll find a fair number of research stations from various countries dedicated to the study of glaciology, wildlife, and climate change. Its roughly 30-35 residents enjoy a picturesque mix of old and new buildings, including a local café and the world’s northernmost post office.
You’ll unearth some fascinating history as you explore the settlement. Ny-Ålesund and its surrounding area are home to a large concentration of protected buildings and cultural artefacts left by Svalbard’s former settlers.
Discover rich explorer history in the museum – this tiny settlement is synonymous with historical attempts to reach the North Pole. See the mooring mast of Roald Amundsen’s airship “Norge” before sending a postcard from the most northerly post box in the world!
This morning we sail the Isfjord, which means “ice fjord” in Norwegian. This is the most prominent fjord system in the Svalbard archipelago. Branching out to many smaller fjords, it forms a lush and beautiful system rich in wildlife and vegetation. Prepare to see immense U-shaped valleys carved out of the mountains by giant glaciers some ten thousand years ago.
To the north of the fjord, Alkehornet is a prominent landmark. It’s an imposing example of carbonate rock, with a horn-shaped mount at its peak. Naturally, the surrounding wildlife has conquered it. This region is home to Arctic fox, Svalbard reindeer and colonies of guillemots and kittiwakes.
Your expedition comes to a close back where it started in Longyearbyen. Why not take advantage of another opportunity to get to know Longyearbyen even further?
Get a taste of what it feels to live this far north. You’ll find that many places here hold the record for being the most north anything. The world’s northernmost cinema, church, library, high school, supermarket – they’re all here. You can chalk off each landmark with a customary selfie.
Grab some souvenirs from the local shops while you can. A toasty Svalbard sweater or a box of local handmade chocolates would make a wonderful gift for family and friends. Svalbard is a duty-free zone and Longyearbyen has a selection of sports and outdoor clothing shops, so you can stock up on supplies for your next adventure!
Join the locals for a drink in the world’s northernmost craft brewery. Meet the ingenious, resilient and conscientious residents of this unique town. Art lovers will definitely want to make time to visit Galleri Svalbard to admire diverse works of art inspired by the High Arctic. At the farewell dinner at the hotel, you’ll say goodbye to your new found friends.
Your Arctic adventure around Svalbard is over for this time. As you wind down from your expedition, you’ll have some time to look back on all your new memories, still holding onto that elated feeling of having just been quite literally near the “top of the world.”
After saying goodbye to Longyearbyen, a transfer will whisk you to the airport for your flight back home. Whatever’s next for you, we wish you a safe onward journey and look forward to seeing you again!
6 Days Longyearbyen Longyearbyen
Operated By: Hurtigruten
12 Days Oslo Oslo
Operated By: Hurtigruten