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This remarkable expedition circumnavigates the great wilderness of Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago. Spot polar bears hunting, gigantic glaciers calving icebergs into the sea, visit historic whaling sites, breath-taking fjords, towering seabird cliffs, witness whales breaching out of the Arctic water and reindeer grazing in the alpine tundra. For real diversity in Arctic landscapes and wildlife, this expedition covers it all.
Day 1: Olso / Longyearbyen
Day 2: Longyearbyen
Days 3 - 5: North-West Spitsbergen National Park
Days 6 - 9: Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserves & South Spitsbergen National Park
Days 10 & 11: South-West Spitsbergen
Day 12: Longyearbyen
Your expedition begins with an evening departure from one of Europe’s fastest-growing and vibrant cities, Oslo. Prior to your flight, you can spend time enjoying this beautiful green capital, exploring the array of vibrant cafés, bars, chic restaurants, museums, art galleries and shops on offer. You fly to Longyearbyen in the evening, arriving in a completely different world… Welcome to the Arctic! You will be transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay in Longyearbyen.
Today you will get to explore the capital of the Svalbard archipelago, joining an inspiring excursion to see the sights of Longyearbyen. As the world’s northernmost town, you will get a fascinating insight into the culture of the locals who have been drawn to live here in pursuit of an adventurous Arctic lifestyle. Featuring an art gallery, museum, lots of pubs, restaurants and shops, Longyearbyen offers a cosmopolitan charm. After enjoying the town, later in the day, you will join your expedition ship ready for a deeper exploration of Spitsbergen.
The ship sails northwest along the Spitsbergen coast, with the Captain and Expedition Leader creating a unique itinerary based on local ice and weather conditions. Discover the stunning Kongsfjorden, a beautiful fjord with gigantic glaciers calving icebergs into the crystal-clear waters. Heading up to Krossfjorden and Mitrahalvøya, you will see ancient whaling huts, lush alpine tundra (in which you may spot reindeer) and dramatic cliffs where thousands of birds nest. There may be an opportunity to set foot and cross a glacier with your expedition guides. Visit the tiny historic mining outpost of Ny-Ålesund, resident to international arctic scientific teams who carry out research in this incredible environment. Explore the whaling history of Svalbard in the region of Smeerenburg, where you can the fascinating remains of ancient blubber ovens. Other possibilities including hiking in picturesque Raudfjorden, kayaking in Hamiltonbukta and witnessing the incredible sight of the enormous Monacobreen glacier.
Over the coming few days, there will be high hopes of spotting the elusive polar bear, known to frequent the north-eastern reaches of Spitsbergen in the pack ice. Conditions allowing, you will head to Sorgfjorden where you may spot walrus and thousands of seabirds. Sorgfjorden is also historically known as being the location of the northernmost sea battle in human history, between French and Dutch whalers over 300 years ago. The expedition team plan to land at the island of Kvitøya (‘white island’), an island covered by a 700 square kilometre icecap. Here you will experience spectacular Arctic wilderness and discover where the remains of the Andrée expedition were found, following an attempt to fly to the North Pole in a hydrogen balloon in 1897. There may be potential to explore Kapp Lee on the island of Edgeøya, once used by Pomor and Norwegian trappers and a popular walrus haul-out.
The expedition continues towards the southern regions of Spitsbergen, exploring the stunning Hornsund fjord, regarded as one of the most beautiful in Svalbard. With spectacular glaciers, soaring mountain cliffs, green Arctic tundra and opportunity to spot wildlife including polar bear, Arctic fox, reindeer, seal and whales, it is a sure to impress.
You will continue exploration of Hornsund, and then onwards towards central Spitsbergen. En-route, the expedition team will guide you through the inner and outer regions of Isfjord, Spitsbergen’s largest fjord. Visit the Alkehornet peak in the outer fjord region to see thousands of Brunnich guillemots and kittiwakes nesting. Heading into the inner Isfjord, you will see breathtaking u-shaped valleys, formed by glacial erosion 10,000 years ago, and a chance to spot the endemic Svalbard Reindeer. An optional trip to the Russian Pyramiden is also on offer.
You bid farewell to your newfound friends and expedition family, departing the ship in the morning where you will be transferred to the airport for your flight back to Oslo.
The MS Fram is a purpose built 11,600- ton vessel that incorporates all the best of both practical and traditional design. Her 127 cabins carry passengers to the most remote locations on Earth in comfort and style. Because the ship is slightly larger than other expedition ships, it offers more in the way of on-board facilities and comfort.
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