Spitsbergen Explorer: Wildlife Capital of the Arctic

Duration 11 or 12 days
Departing from
  • Longyearbyen, Norway
  • Oslo, Norway
Starting from $6,995
Adventure Options Sea KayakingPaddling Excursion

Overview

If there is such a thing as a “classic Arctic” expedition cruise, this is it. You’ll get all the best of Spitsbergen, by exploring the western edge of the island and venturing to some northern outlying areas home to polar bears and Walrus. You’ll come across colonies of seabirds numbering into the thousands and watch for whales in the water. Packed with options for snowshoeing and sea-kayaking, this is the perfect expedition for exploring the “wildlife capital of the Arctic".

Spitsbergen Destination Guide

Spitsbergen Destination Guide

Our Spitsbergen destination guide is your best resource for learning everything there is to know about the Realm of the Polar Bear. Visitors can experience some the Arctic’s best outdoor adventure, learn about a rich culture and history, explore Longyearbyen, the world’s northern-most town, and witness the midnight sun in all its glory.

The guide features details about what you can experience on our expeditions, useful travel tips and even a packing checklist.

 

Highlights

  • Encounter iconic arctic wildlife, such as polar bears, walrus and reindeer
  • Take advantage of continuous daylight
  • Hike the tundra and explore the 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

A day in the life: Spitsbergen, Arctic

Interested to see more of this voyage? Explore Spitsbergen in 360° Virtual Reality!

Itineraries

Day 1 — Embarkation Day in Longyearbyen

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

Days 2 to 10 — Exploring Spitsbergen

Explore western Spitsbergen as well as stunning fjords and outlying islands to the north. From polar deserts to immense glaciers, the natural landscape here is just as varied as the wildlife. You’ll cruise around this magical island located above the Arctic Circle, and your Expedition Team will be constantly searching for wildlife.

Each expedition presents new opportunities, so we have no fixed itinerary; however, we do hope to visit some of our favorite destinations, including the 14th of July Glacier, Smeerenburg, Phippsøya, Alkhornet and the Hinlopen Straight.

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 Phippsøya being one of their preferred hunting areas, since the towering cliffs of Alkefjellet provide many free bird egg meals for both them and the arctic fox. Torellneset and Phippsøya are great places for walrus photography. 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 get a little closer to the action, you can book the kayaking option and take an excursion to the more isolated pockets of Spitsbergen. Smeerenburg is a great place for snowshoeing (optional and complimentary on select voyages), where you can visit a memorial erected in 1906. This historic 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 or an abandoned site from centuries ago.

Day 11 — Disembarkation Day in 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. 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 — 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 11 — Exploring Spitsbergen

Explore western Spitsbergen as well as stunning fjords and outlying islands to the north. From polar deserts to immense glaciers, the natural landscape here is just as varied as the wildlife. As you cruise around this magical island located above the Arctic Circle, your Expedition Team will constantly be searching for wildlife. Each expedition presents new opportunities and different weather and ice, so we have no fixed itinerary; however, some of the places we may visit include the 14th of July Glacier, Smeerenburg, Phippsøya, Alkhornet 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 12 — Disembark in Longyearbyen & fly to Oslo

The time to say goodbye has come. Your arctic adventure ends as it began, in the 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.

Dates and Rates

Departure
Days
Starting from
 
 
May 20 – May 31, 2020
12
$6,995
May 30 – Jun 10, 2020
12
$6,995
Jun 14 – Jun 25, 2020
12
$7,495

Adventure Options

Reviews

Displaying 7 - 9 of 14

Surpassed my expectations

5

Quark’s guides and the staff of the Ocean Nova where exceptional. The weather cooperated, wildlife seen up close. It was a glorious adventure.

Fantastic experience

5

We had the most amazing expedition. The Quark Expedition Team are an amazing, talented, knowledgeable, friendly bunch of people I have ever met. We felt very privileged to have shared such a wonderful voyage with them. We were also looked after by the hotel staff who again are an amazing group of people. Thank you ALL so much. You ALL work so very hard to make it the most memorable trip of a lifetime. A big well done to you ALL.

Thank you Quark

5

We highly recommend Quark, for an exceptional cruise to the Arctic. It was a magical, well organised tour on a beautiful and comfortable small ship.
Their staff were outstanding,a very knowledgeable and professional team that had a passion for their field of interest in History, Geology, Marine biology, and Ornotholgy. They took care to make a minimal environmental impact on the Ice and provided a wide variety of excursions for groups at all physical levels.
The ship was immaculate and the dining room deserved an award for excellent food..all served with a smile!!!
Their aim was to provide a tour that excelled and it was hugely successful.
Many thanks for a trip of a lifetime, Nan and Brian Abbott

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