This 12-day voyage with Silversea lets you explore the northernmost reaches of the Arctic in the kingdom of the polar bear, as well as discover the volcanic landscapes of Iceland. Begin with time in Iceland’s capital, then venture north to experience isolated communities that have learnt to live among the elements. Be amazed by the frozen volcanic island Jan Mayen and enjoy some rest and relaxation days as you sail, learning all about the Arctic regions through which you are travelling.
Begin your journey in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland’s land of ice, fire and natural wonder, Reykjavik is a city like no other - blossoming among some of the world’s most vibrant and violent scenery. Home to two-thirds of Iceland’s population, Reykjavik is the island’s only real city, and a welcoming and walkable place - full of bicycles gliding along boulevards or battling the wind when it rears up.
Stykkishólmur, located in western Iceland at the northern end of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, is the commerce centre for the area. Its natural harbour allowed this town to become an important trading centre early in Iceland’s history. The first trading post was established in the 1550s, and still, today fishing is the major industry. The town centre boasts beautiful and well-preserved old houses from earlier times.
Flatey is the ‘flat island’ just as the name sounds. These days Flatey is mainly seasonally populated with many brightly painted, wooden summer cottages. Like many other small islands around Iceland though, Flatey was once a hub for fishing and trade. Thanks to the surrounding nutrient-rich waters 35 species of birds have been counted on Flatey ranging from Eider Ducks and Atlantic Puffins, to Arctic Terns, Red-necked Phalaropes, Ringed Plover and Snow Buntings. Enjoy a walking tour of Flatey Island.
Vigur Island is the second largest island in the Isafjardardjup Fjord, measuring 2 kilometres in length by 400 meters in width. It is home to a single sheep farming family, which ferries the sheep in summer across to the mainland so that the Eider Ducks nesting on the island will not be disturbed. One of the export articles from this small island was eider down and one can still see where the Eider Ducks nest is and how the down is collected and cleaned.
Although the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is further north across the Isarfjardardjup, Bolungarvik is Westfjords’ and Iceland’s northernmost town. Bolungarvik has always been a place for fishermen and one of the town’s attractions is a replica of an old fishing station. Just to the northwest is Bolafjall Mountain which blocks off the wind and swells from the Atlantic Ocean. The view from the top (at 638 meters above sea level) not only covers Bolungarvik and the surrounding valleys and mountains, but several fjords and the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Although only 950 residents call Bolungarvik their home, this is the Westfjords’ second-largest town. Take part in guided hikes here, and learn all about the native Arctic foxes.
Husavik, the whale watching capital of Europe, offers a unique experience with the majestic giants of the ocean. The town is surrounded by Húsavíkurfjall mountain, creating a stunning backdrop for its wooden warehouses, cherry-red houses and fishing boats. Visitors can spot humpback, minke and blue whales in Shaky Bay, as well as smaller white-beaked dolphins. The city's whale museum offers an interesting journey into Iceland's relationship with the marine giants, while local specialities such as reindeer burgers and plokkfiskur are available. Hikes in the surrounding countryside offer stunning views and natural power.
Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and enjoy the many amenities of your ship. Enjoy a visit to the gym, relax in the spa, enjoy a spot of whale watching or catch up on reading.
Humpback and minke whales cavort and feed in the waters around the impressive volcanic island of Jan Mayen with its towering ebony peaks and broad black lava beaches. The landscape here is dominated to the north by Mt Beerenberg, an active volcano covered in glacial ice that last erupted in 1985. With permission from the Norwegian authorities, a landing is possible at this rarely visited outpost. Visitors may walk to the research and weather station, or beyond, for birds-eye views of the meteorological station and the long black sandy eastern shore of the island. Birds to be seen here may include Atlantic Puffins, Northern Fulmars, and Snow Buntings.
Relax and enjoy the views as your ship sails towards Svalbard
For the next few days, explore the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, beginning with the northern region which is less influenced by the Norwegian Current coming through the Greenland Sea than the southern region and shows more ice. The northern part of the island of Spitsbergen shows quite a number of impressive fjords, bays and glaciers. Discover several walrus haul-outs, spectacular glaciers, bird cliffs and bird islands, as well as surprising flora in the Arctic desert the possibility to see polar bears and visit historically important sites makes this an area prone to exploration. Ice conditions will dictate which sites can be seen.
Svalbard’s Southern Region and specifically Spitsbergen’s west coast is less ice-clogged than the rest of Svalbard due to the moderating influence of the Gulf Stream. Several fjords cut into the western coast of Spitsbergen and have been used by trappers and hunters, as well as the different mining companies that tried to exploit the riches of the archipelago’s largest island of Spitsbergen. Remains of huts and mines, as well as active commercial and scientific settlements can be found and visited. Depending on the time of the season, glaciers can be visited on foot or by sea. Hornsund will reveal fascinating views of geological formations, craggy mountains, spectacular glaciers and a variety of seabirds and seals.
Disembark in Longyearbyen and begin your journey home
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