Spitsbergen In Depth: Big Islands, Big Adventure

Duration 14 days
Departing from
  • Longyearbyen, Norway
  • Oslo, Norway
Starting from $8,995
Adventure Options Sea KayakingPaddling Excursion

Overview

This 14-day journey offers the most extensive exploration of Spitsbergen in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, including the opportunity to witness iconic Arctic wildlife like walrus, reindeer and polar bears, a glimpse into 16th-century maritime culture at secluded landing sites, and the rare chance to appreciate breathtaking views at the birdwatching utopias 14th of July Glacier and Alkefjellet. If conditions allow, we will also attempt a full circumnavigation of Spitsbergen during this memorable voyage, including a visit to the remote, uninhabited Arctic desert of Nordaustlandet.

The wildlife-viewing opportunities on this trip will leave you with plenty of memories—and photos: the walrus with its long tusks and distinctive whiskers; Arctic birds in the thousands—in all their varied majesty; small herds of reindeer loping across the tundra; and that most iconic of Arctic creatures, the polar bear, especially as it prowls the edges of the pack ice on the perpetual hunt for food. Shore excursions by Zodiac will enable you to set foot in places only a few humans have walked before. This voyage truly is the big adventure you’ve been waiting for.

Special Interests

Help Inspire Change

Are you interested in environmentalism? Learning first-hand from scientists, researchers and special guests onboard is an eco-tourist's dream come true. Having a chance to meet these experts is truly inspirational. Our partnerships with international charities make for very reward and educational expeditions.

Seabird Watch aims to monitor how seabirds are reacting to climate change, in order to influence policy that could help ensure their survival and that of the ecosystem as a whole. Their scientists will be participating on the Jun 29 – Jul 11, 2019 and Jun 27 – Jul 10, 2020 departures of this expedition. 

Dr. Tom Hart

Dr. Tom Hart in front of Penguins

Tom has a passion for wildlife in extreme environments and is working hard to conserve them in a changing world. His PhD involved tracking macaroni penguins to understand penguin foraging behavior. Since then, he has diversified into genetics and image analysis to monitor wildlife in remote places. He runs the Penguin Watch project at Oxford University, through which he seeks to understand changes in Antarctic wildlife using time-lapse cameras.

Read More About Tom »

Dr. Mark Jessopp

Dr. Mark Jessopp

Despite growing up in Australia, Mark has a passion for cold places and the amazing wildlife that can be found there. Mark started his polar work with the British Antarctic survey, spending two and a half years on their research station at Bird Island, South Georgia. There Mark worked on Antarctic fur seals, leopard seals, penguins and albatrosses. Mark also studies the effects of a changing climate on seabird populations, and is working on a monitoring programme to study the distribution, breeding success, and foraging dynamics of key seabird species across a climate gradient from polar to temperate regions.

Read More About Mark »

If you're interested in discussing this voyage more, talk to a Quark Polar Travel Advisor at 888.979.4073

Highlights

  • Encounter iconic arctic wildlife, such as polar bears, walrus and reindeer
  • View numerous arctic bird species, like puffins, arctic terns and purple sandpipers
  • Take advantage of continuous daylight
  • Explore glaciers, fjords, icebergs and more with included Zodiac cruising
  • Immerse yourself in the icy realm of the Arctic with optional kayaking adventures
  • Hike the tundra and polar desert

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 13 — Exploring Spitsbergen

Expect a new adventure every day as we begin our circumnavigation by heading north and around the island of Spitsbergen, exploring smaller, outlying islands. We plan to circumnavigate Spitsbergen, but if conditions are favorable, we will also attempt a circumnavigation of the whole Svalbard archipelago. Every expedition will be different, depending on the weather and ice, but some of the places we may visit include the 14th of July Glacier, Ny London, Phippsøya, Alkefjellet and the seldom-visited Kvitøya.

These names may seem strange to you, but each site has its own unique appeal. There is no shortage of natural beauty in Spitsbergen, where colorful tundra meadows are complemented by immense glaciers. For birders, the 14th of July Glacier is home to puffins, purple sandpipers, common eiders, barnacle geese and arctic terns, while Alkefjellet’s cliffs are teeming with nesting Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres).

Always on the lookout for wildlife, be sure to have your camera ready to capture reindeer when we visit sites like Ny London, Sundneset and Alkhornet. Searching for the iconic polar bear is a constant activity for your Expedition Team. Phippsøya and Isbukta are two of the bears’ preferred places for hunting, which translates into great potential for you to view and capture them in action.

A big part of appreciating Spitsbergen comes from understanding the culture—not just how people live today, but also how this land was first explored. Whaling was a key industry, and you will see remains of outposts from the 16th century, plus other evidence of whaling at landing sites such as Smeerenburg.

Day 14 — Disembark in Longyearbyen & fly to Oslo

Your adventure ends 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.

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 13 — Exploring Spitsbergen

Expect a new adventure every day as we begin our journey by heading north and around the island of Spitsbergen, exploring smaller, outlying islands. We plan to circumnavigate Spitsbergen, but if conditions are favorable, we will also attempt a larger circumnavigation of the region, including many of the outer islands in the Svalbard archipelago. Every expedition will be different, depending on the weather and ice, but some of the places we may visit include the 14th of July Glacier, Ny London, Phippsøya, Alkefjellet and the seldom-visited Kvitøya.

These names may seem strange to you, but each site has its own unique appeal. There is no shortage of natural beauty in Spitsbergen, where colorful tundra meadows are complemented by immense glaciers. For birders, the 14th of July Glacier is home to puffins, purple sandpipers, common eiders, barnacle geese and Arctic terns, while Alkefjellet’s cliffs are teeming with nesting Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres).

Always on the lookout for wildlife, be sure to have your camera ready to capture reindeer when we visit sites like Ny London, Sundneset and Alkhornet. Searching for the iconic polar bear is a constant activity for your Expedition Team. Phippsøya and Isbukta are often home to sea ice, the bears’ preferred habitat for hunting, which translates into great potential for you to view and capture them in action.

A big part of appreciating Spitsbergen comes from understanding the history—not just how people live today, but also how this land was first explored. Whaling was a key industry, and you will see remains of outposts from the 16th century, plus other evidence of whaling at landing sites such as Smeerenburg.

Day 14 — Disembark in Longyearbyen & fly to Oslo

Your adventure ends 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
 
 
Jun 24 – Jul 7, 2020
14
$8,995
Jun 27 – Jul 10, 2020
14
$8,995
Jul 30 – Aug 12, 2020
14
$8,995
Jun 30 – Jul 13, 2021
14
$9,995

Adventure Options

Add an Extra Rush of Adrenaline to Your Expedition

Reviews

Displaying 4 - 6 of 18

Fantastic!

5

Every aspect of this trip was wonderful. The staff was exceptionally helpful; the presentations were both informative and well dopne; the excursions were excellent; the food was good; cabins were clean and adequate in terms of room.

Greg Rainbow & Judy Caulfield

5

Virtually everything was 5 Star including > the complete organisation and effort to ensure passenger satisfaction, the Ship, all the Crew and Staff, the activities on board and zodiac cruises and landings, food including volume and quantity, and drinks with dinner. BUT > as one of the few smokers on-board I am quite disappointed as the degree to which you totally neglected us insofar as single location which was totally exposed to all the elements!

PHENOMENAL EXPEDITION!!!

5

We had an absolutely amazing adventure! We know that we were extremely fortunate to see so much wildlife, and so many polar bears, on our trip and we give credit to both our expedition leader, Woody, and the captain. They were vigilant in their scouting did an excellent job of getting us into position to have such a great experience. The expedition team were all very knowledgeable, friendly and ready to assist all of the passengers in any way that they could. We do wish there was a way to ensure we had a variety of guides on our excursions. We had the same guide 4 times and while there was not a problem with him, we would have enjoyed hearing other guides stories and perspectives while we were out on the excursions. The ship staff (dining and housekeeping) were also very helpful and willing to accommodate any request. The food on the ship was excellent and there were enough options to satisfy everyone. The bar also had a great variety and the prices were extremely reasonable. We would highly recommend Quark and this specific adventure to anyone. We are very happy that we went on the 13 day voyage as it gave us the most opportunity to enjoy all that Spitsbergen had to offer.

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