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


Spitsbergen is the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago, and on this voyage we’ll attempt a circumnavigation of the island. Lying entirely within the Arctic Circle, Spitsbergen is rugged, wild, unspoiled—utterly unforgettable. When it comes to viewing arctic wildlife, Spitsbergen is known as one of the most prolific destinations.

The island and surrounding area offers one of the best opportunities to view polar bears, and with luck you’ll be able to see the world’s largest carnivores in their natural habitat. Walrus populations love Spitsbergen as well, feeding in the food-rich icy waters around the island. Whales and seabirds will also entertain you during the sailing portions of the expedition, and you may catch a sighting of reindeer or fox when taking Zodiac excursions to shore.

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


  • 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


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.

Dates and Rates

Starting from
Jun 24 – Jul 7, 2020
Jun 27 – Jul 10, 2020
Jul 30 – Aug 12, 2020

Adventure Options

Add an Extra Rush of Adrenaline to Your Expedition


Displaying 13 - 15 of 16

Great trip


We took this trip to see polar bears and boy, did we see them. We must have seen more than 30. We also saw walruses, foxes, reindeer and all sorts of birds. Great trip with a great staff!

Beyond my wildest dreams!


Fantastic trip. Exceptional expedition team. High level expertise. Wildlife beyond measure. Glaciers and bountiful natural beauty to feed the soul. Trip of a lifetime.

Another excellent Quark adventure


Second time travelling with Quark. Everything was excellent from pre-trip to drop-off at the airport. Expedition team was outstanding, especially Annie (marine biologist) and Dave (photographer). Hotel staff were friendly and efficient.

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