In the Realm of the Polar Bear
9 days with Hurtigruten Rating:
877-828-4774 877-828-4774 Itinerary
Day 1 Longyearbyen
Stay overnight at one of our hotels, evening at own leisure.
Day 2 Longyearbyen and Barentsburg
After breakfast you’ll have some time to explore Longyearbyen on your own or the possibility to discover Longyearbyen and surroundings during an optional excursion. Afterwards enjoy lunch at your hotel before your will be transferred to the pier of MS Fram.
The voyage starts in the Norwegian settlement often referred to as the capital of Svalbard. Here you’ll find all amenities of a modern small town – situated in a fantastic Arctic landscape. The history of Longyearbyen is very much the history coal mining and heritage from the first mining can be seen everywhere.
Our first stop on the voyage is the Russian settlement of Barentsburg. Svalbard is Norwegian sovereign land, however, due to the Svalbard Treaty of 1920 all signatory states have equal right to establish themselves with activity in Svalbard. This Russian “company town” has existed since 1935, but you can go back even further in time and find history of coal exploration in Grønfjorden (Green Harbour) where Barentsburg is situated. The town is constructed around the entrance of the coal mine and you will find an exotic collection of old Russian artefacts and architecture.
Day 3 Kongsfjorden and North West Spitsbergen National Park
Kongsfjorden or Kings Bay is the largest fjord on the North West coast of Spitsbergen. A large side fjord called Krossfjorden may be visited as well this day. The landscape varies from large tundra plains to alpine peaks with dramatic glaciers bouncing into the ocean. Look out for the mountain called Mitra – named after the catholic bishops hat – you will see it on the northern shores of the entrance of Kongsfjorden. In the end of the fjord you see the majestic Kongsbreen (Kings Glacier) with the three characteristic nunataks: Nora, Dana and Svea – named after the three Scandinavian countries.
At 78º 55' N, Ny-Ålesund is one of the world’s northermost year-round communities. Previously a Coal mining community, now an advanced High Arctic research station.
In the heroic age of exploration Ny Ålesund was the starting point for numerous expeditions towards the North Pole. Names like Amundsen, Ellsworth and Nobile are strongly linked to this place and you can still, today, see the airship mast that the dirigible” Norge” was moored to before her departure on the first trans-polar flight. A number of countries run their own national research stations here, and research activity is high in the summer.
North West Spitsbergen National Park
In local slang called The North West Corner, this area, scattered as it is with islands, fjords and beaches has a long history of exploration. When Willhelm Barentz first found Svalbard in 1596, this was the land he first saw. The name he gave to this new land was Spitzbergen, reflecting the sharp and steep mountains in the area.
Magdalenefjorden is one of the fjords that we aim at visiting. Here you’ll experience a very important cultural heritage; a whaling station from the 16th century, including a graveyard of whalers that died during the first “oil adventure.”
Day 4 North Svalbard
This is a true expedition day where we explore some of the most spectacular fjords of Nothern Spitsbergen.
Deep inside the giant Woodfjord system, in the branch called Liefdefjorden the enormous and fast moving Monaco Glacier is situated. In front of this dramatically crevassed glacier front there is always a lot of brash ice and larger pieces that have “calved off”. the mixing of fresh and saline water creates an upwelling of sea-living creatures towards the surface making them available for the local sea birds.
The hot springs in Bockfjorden
The Jotunkjeldane thermal springs in another branch of the Woodfjord system are unique – they are probably the northernmost documented thermal springs on earth. In their vicinity flora found no other places at these latitudes thrive due to their constant warm temperature. These conspicuous thermal springs are small and protected – no bathing please. Jotunkjeldane are situated close to the base of the extinct strato-volcano; Sverrefjellet.
Day 5 The Hinlopen Strait
This is another day in the true spirit of explorers like Amundsen and Nansen. MS Fram will tack her way south through the famous Hinlopen Strait separating the east coast of Spitsbergen and the large ice-capped island of Nordaustlandet.
Where a famous battle between whalers took place in the late 17th century and Captain Parry started the first attempt ever to reach the North Pole by rowing boat and by foot over the Arctic Ocean. The eastern shores of Sorgfjorden is within North East Spitsbergen Nature Reserve.
This spectacular bird cliff is sometimes referred to as New York City of seabirds. The dolerite intrusions through Permian limestone and dolomite makes for 1000 foot spires that rises directly from the sea creates perfect nesting conditions for species like the Brünnichs Guillemot.
Day 6 South East Svalbard Nature Reserve
The eastern part of Svalbard is mainly divided into two large Nature Reserves. Combined they represent one of the last large, mainly untouched, wildernesses in Europe. However, some of the places possible to land you will find remains after human activity such as beaches with sculls of walrus from the time when they were slaughtered into becoming a threatened species. The walrus population of Svalbard have managed to re-bounce – to the enjoyment of visitors that often see them in this area.
In Nordaustlandet there are two major glaciers; Austfonna and Vestfonna. Austfonna is the larger one with a total are of about 8000 km2. This makes it, only second to Vatnajøkul in Iceland, one of the largest glaciers in Europe. The glacier front is a spectacular sight with it’s width of about 180 kilometres. The section we may see is the one called Bråsvellbreen – in English meaning; The glacier that suddenly swelled – after the gigantic surge (a forward movement) it had in 1938.
Kapp Lee, Edgeøya
With its approx. 5000 km2, Edgøya 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 early whaling and walrus industry in the 16th century, the era of Pomors; Russian peoples from the White Sea area that sailed to Svalbard in the summers to hunt and fish, the Norwegian trapping era, represented by a special trappers cabin. For the observant visitor you may find signs of mineral exploration and ever so often you see scientific equipment here as well.
Transiting the large fjord east of Spitsbergen will give us spectacular views of the east coast. In the distance we will see hundreds of glaciers and mountains and if we are lucky we meet some of the marine mammals of Svalbard as we head towards the South Cape Land – the southernmost tip of Spitsbergen. In the winter time Storfjorden is mainly frozen over. However – later years research have proved that it contains several polynias; areas of open water. The frozen Storfjord makes a perfect Polar Bear habitat.
Day 7 South Spitsbergen National Park; Hornsund
Welcome to another beautiful day in the Arctic. The relatively small fjord in South Spitsbergen National Park is a place that has a long tradition in the Hurtigruten history. The old Hurtigruten steamer D/S Lyngen had scheduled stops here to serve trappers in this area. This used to be a stronghold for the trappers that concentrated on Polar Bear hunting up until 1973 when the polar bear hunt was prohibited in all Arctic countries with an exempt for indigenous peoples that had a thousand year old tradition to refer to.
The landscape of Hornsund is largely alpine with the majestic Hornsundtinden soaring highest of all. Another very special mountain is Bautaen or in English; the Obelisk, which, seen from the right angle looks like a giant Viking sword. Let your imagination run while spending the day in these extraordinary surroundings.
Day 8 Isfjorden
In central Spitsbergen, 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 prominent mountains in the outer part is Alkhornet, 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 of the giant glaciers that covered the area some ten thousand years ago are home to large populations of the endemic Svalbard Reindeer and the sedimentary geology rising hundreds of meters out of the ocean are just perfect graphs of geological history. This day, our intent is to find a scenic fjord arm and arrange a farewell barbecue in the most beautiful Arctic surroundings.
Day 9 Longyearbyen
Every good explorer voyage comes to an end. You will probably have a strange feeling of time having passed faster than you expected, however, the number of awesome experiences feels impossible to have happened in such a short time. Bring back the memory of, the calving glacier front or the buzzing birdlife – or simply the subtle, odd feeling of having spent time on top of the globe, just a few hundred kilometres from the Geographical North Pole.
877-828-4774 877-828-4774 All This Included
Experience the incredible scenery in Svalbard’s most remote regions. On this circumnavigation of Spitsbergen you will experience the low-hanging Midnight Sun creating unearthly hues reflected off the sea’s surface, the ice and the glaciers. Roaming in the realm of the polar bear at this time of the year is one of the most exotic Arctic experiences to which you can treat yourself.
877-828-4774 877-828-4774 Accommodations
Category I cabin onboard ms Fram
877-828-4774 877-828-4774 Notes
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* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.