Intro to Spitsbergen: Fjords, Glaciers and Wildlife of Svalbard

Duration 9 or 10 days
Departing from
  • Longyearbyen, Norway
  • Oslo, Norway
Starting from $6,495
Adventure Options Sea KayakingPaddling Excursion

Overview

This voyage provides the opportunity to get a taste of everything the Arctic has to offer, from polar bears and walrus to spectacular scenery. You’ll be treated to daily presentations by your Expedition Team onboard the ship, and daily wildlife sightings on land. Hike, explore and enjoy the beauty of the Arctic on your visit to Spitsbergen.

Highlights

  • Encounter iconic arctic wildlife, such as polar bears, walrus and reindeer
  • Take advantage of continuous daylight
  • Hike the tundra and polar desert
  • Cruise in a Zodiac to explore glaciers, fjords, icebergs and more
  • Immerse yourself in the icy realm of the Arctic with optional kayaking adventures

Itineraries

Day 1 — Arrive in Oslo, Norway

Your Arctic voyage begins in Oslo, Norway’s vibrant capital city. If you arrive early, there are many museums, restaurants and green spaces to keep you busy before retiring at your included airport hotel.

Day 2 — Embarkation Day in Longyearbyen, Svalbard

This morning, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement, where you’ll have some time to explore before embarkation. As your ship sets sail, enjoy your first view of the island’s rugged, glacier-topped mountains rising majestically from icy waters.

Days 3 to 9 — Exploring Spitsbergen

You’ll cruise around this magical island on a constant search for wildlife. Your expedition will cover western Spitsbergen as well as stunning fjords and outlying islands to the north. From polar flora to immense glaciers, the natural landscape here is just as varied as the wildlife. Each expedition presents new opportunities and different weather and ice, so there is no fixed itinerary; however, some of the places we may visit include the 14th of July Glacier, Smeerenburg, Alkefjellet and the Hinlopen Strait. The destinations visited will be selected for optimum wildlife viewing with an appreciation of the history and geology of Spitsbergen.

The island offers multiple opportunities for wildlife photography. Spotting polar bears is more likely here than almost anywhere else, as the Svalbard archipelago is one of their preferred hunting areas. The towering cliffs of Alkefjellet provide homes to thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres).

Coming across a walrus haul-out is a moment you won’t soon forget. These giant pinnipeds of the Arctic create quite a noisy scene as each walrus vies for a choice spot of coastline.

If you’re itching to experience a more intimate view from the water, you can book the sea kayaking or paddling excursion adventure options.

In Spitsbergen, there is no shortage of natural beauty. The tundra can be surprisingly colorful in summer, with wildflowers bursting for a taste of sunshine. Each day, you’ll see something interesting, whether it is unique arctic wildlife a polar bear resting between hunts, or abandoned sites from centuries ago.

Day 10 — Disembark in Longyearbyen & fly to Oslo

The time to say goodbye to your Expedition Team and shipmates has come. Your adventure ends as it began, in the historic frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here, we’ll transfer you to the airport for your return group charter flight to Oslo.

Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy—and excitement—of expedition travel. When traveling in extremely remote regions, your expedition staff must allow the sea, the ice and the weather to guide route and itinerary details. This itinerary is a tentative outline of what you’ll experience on this voyage; please be aware that no specific itinerary can be guaranteed.

Day 1 — Embarkation Day in Longyearbyen, Norway

Your Spitsbergen adventure begins when you board your ship in Longyearbyen, the island’s largest settlement. As you embark, you’ll enjoy great views of the mountainous landscape that serves as a backdrop for this seaside village.

Days 2 to 8 — Exploring Spitsbergen

You’ll cruise around this magical island on a constant search for wildlife. Your expedition will cover western Spitsbergen as well as stunning fjords and outlying islands to the north. From polar flora to immense glaciers, the natural landscape here is just as varied as the wildlife.

Each expedition presents new opportunities and different weather and ice, so there is no fixed itinerary; however, we do have some favorite destinations, including the 14th of July Glacier, Smeerenburg, Alkefjellet and the Hinlopen Strait. The destinations visited will be selected for optimum wildlife viewing and appreciation of the history and geology of Spitsbergen. Polar bear viewing is almost guaranteed, with Hornsund being one of their preferred hunting areas, and the towering cliffs of Alkefjellet providing many free bird egg meals for both them and the arctic fox.

Poolepynton is great for walrus viewing and photography. Coming across a walrus haul-out is a moment you won’t forget. These lumbering giants of the Arctic create quite a noisy scene as each walrus vies for a choice spot of coastline.

If you’re itching for a more personal and intimate view of the arctic scenery, then taking an optional kayaking excursion to some of the more isolated pockets of Spitsbergen is highly recommended. Smeerenburg is a great place for an optional snowshoeing excursion, if conditions permit. You can visit a memorial erected in 1906. This historical site honors the whalers who lost their lives in the 17th and 18th centuries while working in extreme arctic conditions.

There is no shortage of natural beauty in Spitsbergen. The tundra can be surprisingly colorful in summer, with wildflowers bursting for a taste of sunshine. Each day, you’ll see something new, whether it is a rare bird species, a polar bear on the hunt, or a century-old abandoned hut.

Day 9 — Depart Longyearbyen

The time to say goodbye has come. Your adventure ends as it began, in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here, we’ll transfer you to the airport for your flight home.

Important reminder: Embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy – and excitement – of expedition travel. There are no guarantees that we can achieve everything we set out to accomplish. A measure of flexibility is something all of us must bring to a voyage. There are nearly 200 recognized sites in the Antarctic Peninsula and South Shetlands and the places mentioned above may be changed to others equally as interesting.

Dates and Rates

Departure
Days
Starting from
 
 
Jun 11 – Jun 20, 2020
10
$6,495
Jun 19 – Jun 28, 2020
10
$6,495
Jul 9 – Jul 18, 2020
10
$6,495
Jul 17 – Jul 26, 2020
10
$6,495

Adventure Options

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Reviews

Displaying 4 - 6 of 12

Fantastic scenery in Svalbard

4

Amazing beauty at 78 degrees north. Only saw 2 polar bears in 9 days, and at quite a distance, but a friend reminded me that we go to Svalbard for the scenery. Guides Annie and Francoise, in my opinion, are the best guides Quark employs. Both are kind, smart, patient and excellent animal spotters. All the ship's staff were helpful and pleasant. The restaurant staff are top-notch.
I'd have given a 5-star rating, except for 2 things: our outings seemed short and timed around meals, rather than meals served to accommodate wildlife sightings. Secondly, I learned that I paid more than twice the cost of the trip that my room-mate paid. There were other guests who also talked about getting cheaper deals, leaving me to wonder how I, too, could get a better deal. This was my second voyage with Quark.

Awesome, Amazing, Arctic Expedition

5

Though good weather was an especially fortunate bonus, our Svalbard expedition was comprised of highlight after highlight. From seeing a polar bear on the first evening, four different whale species, seals, reindeer, foxes, puffins and, of course, little auks, we were able to get good up-close exposure to arctic wildlife. Being able to kayak in the shadow of majestic glaciers was a special enchantment. On guided zodiac tours we were thoughtfully introduced to bird habitats, blue tinged sea ice, and multiple glaciers. And finally, hiking in this extraordinary part of the world was fantastic. Plus the accommodations and food was first-rate and the programming informative and entertaining. On a final note, the expedition crew and ship staff were professional and sincere in promoting a collegial and friendly environment.

An Amazing Expedition as Expected

5

My second trip with Quark (first was the Antarctic) and it did not disappoint. The Arctic was a very different journey as opposed to the Antarctic. The journey took us in search for the wildlife and the beautiful scenery with like-minded people. The staff and crew were amazing and helpful in all ways to make our trip a memorable one.

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