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The Orkneys, Shetlands and Norway's Fjords Across the Arctic Circle

14 days

This mystical expedition cruise of the northern Atlantic, offers a fascinating blend of Scottish and Norse history, and provides rich culture and wildlife experiences, including some rare opportunities that will delight those interested in birding. We'll explore the medieval art, architecture and archeology of Britain's northernmost archipelagos of the Orkney and Shetland Islands, and discover contemporary life and Viking history there, before continuing east to the picturesque port of Bergen. Continuing northwards into the Norwegian Sea, we'll discover the UNESCO-protected Vega Island, a veritable ornithologists’ dream.

Our home for this voyage is the nimble small ship, Ocean Nova, which will afford us the opportunity to get up close and personal with much of the landscape. There will be plenty of time to venture into the fjords on our Zodiacs, allowing us to get even closer to cascading falls and make shore landings in otherwise inaccessible coves. We'll conclude the voyage in Tromsø, called the 'Gateway to the Arctic', and the largest Norwegian town north of the Arctic Circle.

Day-by-Day Expedition in Brief

  • The Norse and Viking history of the Scottish Isles combined with the exceptional landscape of the Norwegian Fjords
  • Orkneys and Shetlands neolithic sites, more than anywhere else in the world
  • Enjoy amazing bird life, with thousands of North Atlantic seabirds
  • Sail deeper into fjords of Norway and visit islands that larger ships cannot
  • An excellent mix of culture and natural history
  • Sail north across the Arctic Circle
  • Combine this voyage with Tromsø, Bear Island and Spitsbergen: Fjords and Bears

Day 1 — Aberdeen, Scotland

Board Ocean Nova in Aberdeen and set sail for the Orkneys.

Day 2 — Kirkwall

The morning finds us in Orkney, an archipelago of almost 70 islands, with a history dating back 8,500 years to the first Mesolithic tribe that inhabited the area.

Day 3 — Fair Isle, Orkney Islands

We plan to visit Fair Isle, arguably the best place in western Europe for birding

Day 4 — Lerwick, Shetland Islands

Prehistoric Norse settlements

Day 5 — Bergen, Norway

We arrive at Norway’s second-largest city, Bergen, after crossing the North Sea.

Day 6 — Alesund

In the morning we should arrive in Alesund, the Venice of the North, at the mouth of the Geiranger Fjord.

Day 7 — Geiranger Fjord

One of Norway's most visited sites, Geirangerfjord was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. We’ll visit the small village of Geiranger, located at the end of the fjord.

Day 8 — Trondheim

In the morning we will call into Trondheim, the historic capital of Norway, and a former 10th century trading post.

Day 9 — Vega Island

Today we visit the UNESCO-protected Vega Island archipelago as we head northward.

Day 10 — Alstahaug

In the morning we arrive at Alstahaug, in the shadow of the Seven Sisters Mountain range.

Day 11 — Svartisen and Vikingen

Today we will walk to the Svartisen glacier, which is actually two glaciers that meet in Holandfjord. Later, we’ll visit the Arctic Circle monument at Vikingen.

Day 12 — Lofoten Islands

We will navigate some of Norway’s northern fjords and take advantage of great hiking opportunities in this unspoiled region.

Day 13 — Bleiksøya and Nyksund

Zodiac cruise around Bleiksøya, one of the most prolific bird populations in Norway, in search of puffins and sea eagles.

Day 14 — Tromsø

Arriving in Tromsø in the morning, we will enjoy breakfast on the ship before you embark on your flights home.
View full 14-day itinerary »

Adventure Options Add an Extra Rush of Adrenaline to Your Expedition

Every Quark Antarctic voyage includes great daily outdoor activities including Zodiac cruises, hiking and some also offer snowshoeing. The more discerning adrenaline junkie can also choose from a range of optional adventure activities, with varying exertion levels, to experience the 7th continent in a more personal way. Contact a Quark Polar Travel Adviser to learn more about adventure options, including physical requirements.

$595 per person

Kayaking in the Arctic is probably one of the most intimate and inspiring ways you can explore the rugged coastlines and calm bays of the regions we visit.

Kayaking in the Polar Regions is highly weather-dependent, however we guarantee at least one outing throughout your voyage, but your kayak guides will take you out as many times as possible throughout your voyage.

Offered on most Arctic voyages, spaces are limited and require some kayaking experience. All equipment, guides and instructions are provided by Quark. Please contact a Quark Polar Travel Adviser for more information.