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Hiking in Spitsbergen

Svalbard in Depth - Land, Sea and Ice

Roundtrip Longyearbyen - Example 11 Day Cruise aboard Ocean Albatros
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Embark on an 11-day Arctic expedition beginning in the Southeastern Svalbard and journeying to the far Northwest via Longyearbyen. This comprehensive trip combines two Polar Bear Express trips, offering a unique encounter with Svalbard's must-see destinations.

Start the adventure in Longyearbyen, the world's northernmost town, before exploring the deep fjords of Southern Svalbard. Experience raw, unspoiled beauty and an abundance of wildlife, including Svalbard reindeer, puffins, and Arctic foxes.

Return to Longyearbyen to explore this captivating town, including a tour of a coal mine. Then, voyage through Northwest Spitzbergen National Park to the Arctic Ocean's frozen wilderness. Spend two days amid the pack ice, encountering unique Arctic wildlife, including polar bears. 
Colorful houses of SvalbardPolar bears in the ArcticWalruses coming ashore in the arcticGlass-still waters around SpitsbergenVisit the colorful town of Longyearbyen in the far northSvalbardHiking in Spitsbergen
Highlights
  • Experience raw, unspoiled beauty and wildlife
  • Travel through Northwest Spitzbergen National Park to the Arctic Ocean
  • Encounter unique Arctic wildlife, including polar bears
Places Visited
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Longyearbyen | Embarkation

Board your flight in Norway and arrive in Longyearbyen, Svalbard - the world's northernmost... everything! This remarkable little city is not only the northernmost town in the world (if one excludes the tiny research community of Ny-Ålesund, slightly further north on Svalbard), but also hosts the world's northernmost civilian airport, schools, bank and supermarket. The town's rugged frontier edge belies a core of warm Nordic hospitality and coziness - hyggligt, as they say in Denmark! 

Immediately after landing in Longyearbyen, you find yourself in a different world. The chilly Arctic breeze can be felt as soon as you step onto the tarmac, and the famous signpost outside the terminal reminds visitors how far north they really are; as well as to keep watch for bears! The snow-capped mountain Hjorthfjellet looms over the airport on the far side of Adventfjorden, and off in the distance can be seen the saw-toothed peaks and languid glaciers of northern Spitzbergen. 

After arrival, you will board the awaiting Ocean Albatros. After the mandatory safety briefing and lifeboat drill, head onto the outer decks to enjoy a glass of champagne while watching your expedition vessel leave civilization behind... And set a course for adventure! 

 

Day 2-5: South and East Svalbard

  • Ship
  • 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
During the night, your expedition vessel will reposition away from the last vestiges of civilisation on Svalbard, and head into the wilderless of this storied land. Roughly triangular, the southern half of Svalbard comprised the lower half of the island of Spitsbergen, the island of Edgeøya, and countless fjords, islets and skerries, all of which beckon exploration. 

The exact landing sites travelers will visit in the south of Svalbard will be determined by wind, sea and ice conditions, which can wildly vary day to day and year to year; this far north, all human activity is subject to the whims of Mother Nature. Possibilities to explore on south Spitzbergen include the fjord systems of Bellsund and Hornsund, where birds cluster together on high cliffs and reindeer graze on the fertile slopes below while icebergs drift by from the various large glaciers in the area. Further east on Edgeøya, sites include the walrus colonies of Andréetangen and Kapp Lee, and the spectacular raised shorelines and bird colonies of Sundneset. 

Day 6: Longyearbyen

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After your breakfast on the ship, set off to learn more about Longyearbyen's exciting mining history as travelers enter now inactive Mine number 3. As you walk through the defunct mine, you can get a closer look at some of the machinery and equipment left behind as production stops. Certain techniques apply to mines that are this high into the mountains, which you will be introduced to by your guides. End your tour in the main tunnel that was excavated back in the 1970's. Nb. dress warm for the trip, as the mine is quite cold. Helmets and headlamps are handed out.

Back on your ship, follow up on your experiences, and after lunch, it is time to explore the city further. 

Day 7: Northwest Svalbard

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
One of the largest protected wilderness areas in Europe, North West Svalbard was declared a national park in 1973. The area is famed for its history, which documents some of the earliest human arrivals on Svalbard. While Norse explorers may have sighted these icy shores during the Viking Age, the first definite arrival was the expedition of William Barents, the legendary Dutch explorer for whom the Barents Sea is named. While now protected from human distruption, when Barents arrived in 1596, he noted the vast numbers of whales and seals which were soon prey to English and Dutch whalers, who arrived within a decade of Barents to pillage the area's wildlife. The area occupied the triple point between land, sea and ice, and as such was the perfect location from which to harvest the gentle giants of the oceans. Sites used to dismember whale carcasses and render them for their precious oil include the Dutch settlement of Smeerenburg, where the remains of 16th Century blubber ovens and building foundations can still be seen. Other sites such as nearby Ytre Norskøya record the darker side of this industrialised slaughter, where hundreds of young men who hoped to make their fortunes are buried thousands of miles from home. 

Day 8-9: Into the Pack Ice

  • Ship
  • 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners
As Ocean Albatros pushes through the narrow channels in the ice, tiny cod-like fish can be seen silhouetted against the ice in the clear water. Kittiwakes and Gloucous Gulls follow the vessel as it distrubs the water. Further out on the ice, black dots appear; moving closer, they resolve into seals, basking on the ice. A plume of water reflects the sunshine - a pod of belugas perhaps, or maybe even the vast gentle bowhead whale crushing this ice from below as its massive body surfaces. There, beyond the banks of rucked ice - a yellowish dot pads along the ice, the head swinging from side to side: the King of the Arctic continues his never-ending quest for prey. This is the kingdom of the polar bear, the vast icy wastes at the top of the world - a remarkable place which is the goal of this expedition. 

Day 10: Return to Land | Northwest Svalbard

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
As you retreat from the icy wastes of the north, return to the (relatively) hospitable shores of northwest Spitzbergen. Once the haunt of whalers and sealers, these shores have an equally fascinating role in the modern history of Svalbard. 

Day 11: Longyearbyen | Disembarkation

  • 1 Breakfast
During the evening, the Ocean Albatros will reposition to return to the port of Longyearbyen. Even this small town will feel like a metropolis after days of isolation in the sea ice! 

After enjoying exploring Longyearbyen, return to Svalbard Airport and join your flight back to the Norwegian mainland- with memories to last a lifetime. 

Ship/Hotel

Ocean Albatros

Ocean Albatros BBQ Deck
Ocean Albatros Fitness
Ocean Albatros Pool Deck

Dates & Prices

My Preferred Start Date

Per person starting at
$8,990
Ocean Albatros Cat GOcean Albatros Cat G
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Category G
Single Stateroom (Porthole) - 14 m2 Standard single Stateroom onboard, located on deck 3. This is a conveniently located State Room close to the Mudroom which facilitates access to the Zodiacs during embarkation and disembarkation to begin your adventures.
Ocean Albatros Cat FOcean Albatros Cat F
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Category F
Triple Stateroom (Porthole) - 22 m2 There are four Triple Staterooms on board Ocean Albatros featuring portholes, all with private en-suites. Located on Deck 3, they're close to the mudroom and loading platforms. Triple staterooms are normally with twin beds however a double bed can be accommodated.
Ocean Albatros Cat EOcean Albatros Cat E
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Category E
French Balcony Stateroom - 14 m2 The French Balcony Suite is a standard Stateroom with a French balcony, a double bed, floor-to-ceiling windows and a bathroom. All French Balcony Suites are located on Deck 7.
Ocean Albatros Cat DOcean Albatros Cat D
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Category D
Albatros Stateroom (Porthole) - 13-22 m2 The standard Stateroom on Ocean Albatros is close to the Mudroom and has quick access to the Zodiac platforms for disembarkation during landings. This is very convenient if you have more limited mobility and would like a short distance to the Zodiacs. The State Rooms are perfect for those who wish a comfortable base during their stay onboard Ocean Albatros. The standard State Rooms all have a double bed or 2 single beds and a bathroom. The State Rooms are located on deck 3 and 4.
Ocean Albatros Cat COcean Albatros Cat B Balcony
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Category C
Balcony Stateroom - 18-22 m2 The most abundant type of Stateroom on Ocean Albatros located on decks 4 & 6. They have a balcony, a double bed or two single beds, a bathroom and a sofa that can be used as a bed for a child if traveling as a family. If you desire to book two staterooms with connecting doors, this is also a possibility within this category.
Ocean Albatros Cat COcean Albatros Cat C Balcony
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Category Csp
Superior Balcony Stateroom (48) app. 24 sqm, including Balcony.
Ocean Albatros Cat COcean Albatros Cat C Balcony
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Category Cxl
Grand Balcony Stateroom (4) app. 30 sqm, including Balcony.
Ocean Albatros Cat BOcean Albatros Cat B Balcony
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Category B
Balcony Suite approximately - 25-32 m2 Ocean Albatros has 6 Balcony Suites on board located on decks 4 & 6. The suites feature double or twin beds and a seating area, bathroom, and a large balcony. The balcony suites can host 2 people.
Ocean Albatros Cat AOcean Albatros Cat A Balcony
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Category A
Junior suite - 39 m2 The 4 junior suites aboard Ocean Albatros have a great view from their location high up on the ship on deck 7. The suites feature a double bed or twin beds, sofa bed, seating area, a spacious bathroom and a private balcony. The suite can accommodate up to 3 people.
Ocean Albatros Premium SuiteOcean Albatros Premium Suite
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Premium Suite (Freydis Suite)
Premium suite - 45 m2 – FS (Freydis Suite) The second largest of all the staterooms on board the Ocean Albatros is the Premium Suite. This 2-bedroom suite features a double bed (or twin beds), a sofa bed, table and chair, a balcony and a spacious bathroom. Located on deck.4. This category is available upon request. Please refer to Albatros Expeditions for price.
Ocean Albatros Family SuiteOcean Albatros Family Suite
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Family Suite (Brynhilde Suite)
Family suite - 52 m2 – BS (Brynhilde Suite) The largest of all the staterooms on board the Ocean Albatros is the Premium Suite. The Double-Bedroom, Family Suite is going to be located on Deck 7, featuring two interconnecting French Balcony Suites, accommodating up to 5 people on two double beds and a sofa bed. This category is available upon request. Please refer to Albatros Expeditions for price.

Notes

Kayaking activities available on both Arctic and Antarctic voyages. 
Although kayaking opportunities are possible in most locations during each excursion in the Antarctic region, weather, sea, and ice conditions will dictate the when and where to ensure your safety and improve your experience.
In order to sign up for this activity, you need to have previous kayaking experience and attend a mandatory safety briefing by the Kayak Master. The cost is $345/person per outing and it can only be booked onboard.

Possible shared staterooms for same-gender, single travelers: Category C (Balcony Stateroom) and Category F (Triple Porthole Stateroom)
Included
  • 10 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 10 Dinners
  • 10 Nights Accommodations
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Welcome and Farewell Cocktails   
  • Digital visual journal link after voyage, including voyage log, gallery, species list and more.
  • English-speaking expedition team
  • Information briefings and lectures by expedition team
  • Parkas and Boots in assorted sizes, suitable for shore landings
  • Special photo workshop
  • Fights: Oslo-Longyearbyen-Oslo
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Beverages (other than coffee and tea)
  • Anything not mentioned under 'inclusions'
  • Extra excursions and activities not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals not on board the ship
  • Tips for the crew (we recommend USD 14 per person per day)
  • Emergency Evacuation insurance of at least $200,000 per passenger is required. Please bring a copy of your insurance onboard.

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.

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The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
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