Norway and Spitsbergen – Hurtigruten Sportsman's Route Exploration - Southbound

Longyearbyen – Svalbard – Bjørnøya – Norway – Amsterdam

Voyage from the heart of Arctic wilderness to the heart of Europe. Hurtigruten´s classic Sportsman´s Route has been modernised to offer unforgettable scenery in the fjords as well as a crossing of the Arctic Circle. We explore remote Bjørnøya and the realm of the polar bear under the magical Midnight Sun* on our High Arctic adventure before making our way along the Norwegian coast to vibrant Amsterdam.

  • Explore Arctic wilderness under the Midnight Sun*
  • Scan for the mighty polar bear and possibly reach 80° north
  • Sail through the magnificent fjords and delightful islands of the Norwegian coastline
  • Complete the voyage in vibrant Amsterdam


* While the Midnight Sun lasts until the 22nd of August in the High Arctic, voyages after that time enjoy a tremendous amount of daylight well into the autumn.

The historic Sportsman's Route

In 1896, Hurtigruten's founder Captain Richard With opened a hotel on Svalbard and established the Sportsman's Route to bring visitors to the high north. His ship, DS Lofoten, sailed the Barents Sea between Hammerfest and Svalbard, captained by veteran polar explorer Otto Sverdrup. The 1896 Sportsman's route marked the start of Hurtigruten's Explorer voyages. Today, we are proud to draw on more than 120 years of experience sailing in the most extreme conditions on Earth.

Realm of the polar bear

We explore some of the most scenic fjords along the west coast of Svalbard, all the way up to the northwest corner of Spitsbergen.

Our Captain will take advantage of the rapidly changing ice and weather conditions to create the best route. The bright Arctic nights are ideal for taking in the landscape and wildlife.

Be sure to scan the coastlines and any ice floes. If we are exceptionally lucky we might spot a polar bear family. In the water, watch out for a whale blow catching the sunlight. As well as marine wildlife, seabirds populate the bird cliffs that are abandoned during winter.

Over three days, we take our ice-classed ship ever further north, probing into Leifdefjord to enjoy views of the Monacobreen Glacier, or to step ashore on the green tundra of Krossfjord, dotted with the pink flowers of campion and yellow flowers of buttercups.

We may sail into pretty Magdalenefjord, where, on the north shore, little auks bustle back and forth, their laugh-like calls echoing off the rocks that hold their nests. On the south side, we can land close to a graveyard used by whalers in the 17th century.

Hornsund is likely to be on our list, with sharp granite peaks such as the Hornsundtind rising to more than 1,400 metres over broad ice glaciers. Then we cross the Arctic Ocean to Bjørnøya, situated about halfway between Svalbard and the Norwegian mainland. Our goal is to go ashore, where an astronomical number of breeding birds spend their summer.

The rugged coast of Norway

Norway has an incredibly long coastline, stretching from 71° to 58°N. This rugged shoreline features a hugely diverse landscape, from lush fjords to steep mountains, islands, skerries and Arctic wilderness.

The North Cape, at the very northern tip of Europe, has been a great adventure destination for travelers for centuries. Take in the view and stand atop the steep cliff 307 metres above the Arctic Ocean marking the end of the continent.

A bit further south you can experience the pristine beauty at the Arctic paradise islands of Sommarøy.

Next on our journey south is the staggering beauty of the Lofoten, characterised by jagged mountains and peaks, deep fjords, sheltered inlets, white beaches and idyllic fishing villages.
Later we sail into Geiranger fjord in the heart of Western Norway and blessed with an excess of dramatic fjord scenery. In this area, you will experience lush hills, high mountains, powerful waterfalls and charming little villages.

We make a final coastal stop at historic Rosendal, before crossing the North Sea towards mainland Europe.

A cosmopolitan end to our voyage

Enjoy disembarking in Amsterdam, one of Europe's most culturally rich cities. Once the home of Rembrandt and van Gogh, it has a wealth of museums and art galleries. Take some time to experience this city of canals, cafés and culture before heading home.

Price includes: 

  • Hurtigruten Expedition with cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
  • Economy flight from Amsterdam to Longyearbyen
  • Transfer from airport to ship in Longyearbyen
  • Wind and water-resistant jacket
  • Landings with small boats and activities on board and ashore
  • Professional English speaking Expedition team that gives lectures as well as accompanies landings and activities
  • Free tea and coffee

Not included: 

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional excursions and gratuities

Related voyages


The itinerary

This is an expedition where the elements rule, and the weather, wind and ice conditions will determine our final schedule. Safety is paramount and the captain will decide the sailing itinerary during the voyage. Therefore, this itinerary is just an indication of what you can experience, and why every expedition with Hurtigruten is unique.

Departure 02 & 26 August and 19 September 2019

Departs from Amsterdam and Longyearbyen
Day 1
Photo: BriYYZ/Flickr Photo

From 59°N to 78°N

Location: Amsterdam and Longyearbyen

This exploration voyage starts with an evening flight from Amsterdam. Take some time to explore the rich and colourful city of canals, museums and cafes before boarding your flight to the High Arctic and Longyearbyen.

Day 2
Photo: Shutterbird Productions Photo

Into the Arctic

Location: Longyearbyen and Isfjord

Upon arrival in Longyearbyen, you will be transferred to your ship, MS Fridtjof Nansen. Enjoy your first night on board before departing Longyearbyen in the morning.

We sail out into the Isfjord, the most extensive fjord system on Svalbard. Join us on deck for some evening whale spotting!

Day 3-5
Photo: Renèe Schneider Photo

Exploring Svalbard

Location: Spitsbergen, Svalbard

Cruising towards the north west corner of Spitsbergen we will take advantage of the conditions at hand, focusing on the ice edge. Early in the season, we will attempt to enter fjords where we can expect fast, or landlocked ice. Later in the season, we will have to take our search for ice further north. Within the Svalbard Archipelago there are about 3,000 polar bears, which depend on the ice to hunt for seals. Polar bears are solitary animals with no set colony or living area.

We are most likely to observe this marine mammal on the drift ice, close to the ocean or even in the water. We often observe polar bears, although not every day and seldom at very close range. Like most things in a true wilderness, there are no absolute guarantees. But the more eyes scouting through binoculars, the better our chances of observing the King of the Arctic.

The Captain will make the best use of the conditions at hand. We may cruise into Magdalenefjorden, where we find graves, blubber ovens and other cultural treasures from when men first started to inhabit Svalbard. We might also see the enormous Monaco Glacier in Liefdefjord, before making a landing nearby at the old trapper hut at Texas Bar. Later we may attempt to cross the 80th parallel close to Moffen Island, where sometimes walrus are seen.

Hornsund is a favourite area in the south of the island we may explore the ice-filled fjord by small boats, or step on land to and ascend to a view point overlooking the glacier. The Expedition team will tell stories of the history of the area, including that of Wanny Woldstad, the first female trapper-hunter to live here in the 1930s.

Day 6

Middle of the Arctic Ocean

Location: Bjørnøya

Bjørnøya, with a population of just 9 persons, is the southernmost island of the Svalbard Archipelago. It is an isolated spot in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, known for hosting “the largest concentration of sea birds on the Northern Hemisphere”. This is where the cold waters from the Arctic Ocean meet warm Gulf Stream currents. When these water masses collide, nutrient-rich water is pushed up to the surface, making it an "all-you-can-eat" buffet for 126 different bird species. If conditions allow, we will land here.

Day 7
Photo: Ruben Holthuijsen Photo

The Northernmost Point in Europe

Location: Skarsvåg

A few hours before we arrive at Skarsvåg we will sail past the spectacular North Cape cliff, offering you a stunning view of this famous landmark. Don’t worry about missing it: our Expedition team will let you know!  Skarsvåg is a small village that lies along the northern coast of the island of Magerøya.

It claims the distinction of being the world's northernmost fishing village. Join the optional excursion to the North Cape and get a feeling what it’s like to stand at the end of the Earth. There is a combined museum and restaurant at the plateau, where you can learn more on the early expeditions to North Cape and watch a panoramic film that takes you through four seasons in a landscape full of contrasts, light and breathtaking scenery. North Cape is a spectacular place for experiencing the Midnight Sun. 

Day 8
Photo: Harald Groven Photo

Park your Husband

Location: Sommarøy

Sommarøy is an archipelago of small islands with white, sandy beaches and a lively fishing community. Sommarøy has a couple of small shops where you can buy handicrafts and groceries. Inside the local shop, you will find “Kaillkråa” (the gentlemen’s corner) where husbands are usually “parked” while the wives do their shopping.

And, as this shopping might be a time-consuming activity, the local men have private hooks on the wall for their coffee cups to pass the time. We offer a variety of excursions like hikes and kayaking, or you can take this opportunity to visit Tromsø. This lively small city is known as the Gateway to the Arctic. The colourful downtown area is rich in polar history, and it is beautifully situated, surrounded by the dramatic Lyngen Alps, blue fjords and hundreds of islands.

Day 9
Photo: Christoph Strässler Photo

Picturesque Reine

Location: Reine & Trollfjord

In the morning we enter the magnificent Trollfjord. Surrounded by mountains that stretch up to 1,200 meters above sea level, this narrow fjord slices deeply and dramatically into heart of the island. We navigate carefully far into the Trollfjord, where mountain walls rise directly out of the sea. This pristine channel is at times so narrow it feels as though you can reach out and touch the side of the fjord.

As we head south towards Reine, keep your eyes open for white tailed sea eagles, often seen in this area.

Red and white traditional fisherman’s cottages - known as Rorbuer - sit perched on stilts over the water’s edge with a background of granite spires jutting skywards in lovely Reine.  Stroll slowly here, taking in the serenity of the place. 

Day 10
Photo: Herbert Ware Photo

Crossing the Arctic Circle

Location: At sea along the Norwegian Coast

We take the inside route as often as possible as MS Fridtjof Nansen weaves her way between the islands and green coastlines of Norway. If the air warms up as we sail south, why not take a dip in one of the pools on deck? Days at sea are an opportunity to wind down and watch the waves, or enjoy a lecture or two from the Expedition team.

Day 11
Photo: Tommy L/Flickr Photo

Glacial Splendour

Location: Geiranger

The Geirangerfjord is often referred to as the "jewel in the crown" of the Norwegian fjords, surrounded by a fairytale landscape with majestic, snow-covered mountaintops, wild and beautiful waterfalls, lush green vegetation and the deep, blue fjord itself.

Geiranger is a small tourist village at the end of the fjord. The area has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005, and it has been named the best travel destination in Scandinavia by Lonely Planet.

Look out for the powerful waterfalls as they tumble from mountain to sea. De Syv Søstrene (The Seven Sisters) consists of seven waterfalls that thunder down the mountain side next to the abandoned farm of Knivsflå.  Frieren (the Suitor) waterfall lies on the opposite side of the fjord, frustratingly unable to connect with any of the sisters!

The Geirangerfjord is about 300 metres deep, almost as deep as the surrounding landscape is high. 

Day 12
Photo: Donald West Photo

The Most Romantic Garden in Norway

Location: Rosendal, Norway

Rosendal is a small town on the shore of Hardangerfjord, Norway’s second largest fjord. 

It is best known for the Barony Rosendal, a historic estate and manor house that was completed in 1665. Around 200 years later, in 1850, an extensive, and very romantic garden was laid out around the main house. This garden is often referred to as the most magnificent Victorian garden in Norway. Among other flowers around 2,000 roses in bloom can be experienced here from June to November, perfectly timed for our visits!

Alternatively, if you are feeling energetic, why not take a hike 890 metres up to Malmangernuten?  Your reward is a beautiful view over Rosendal and the Hardangerfjord encompassing the ocean and majestic mountains.

Day 13

North Sea Wildlife and Lectures

Location: The North Sea

A tranquil day at sea is a chance to catch up on your reading, organize some of the many photos taken or even write a postcard. The Expedition team will continue their lecture programme, perhaps with a focus on the oceans. The North Sea has been an important waterway from Viking times to the modern era. It was the center of the feared Viking's rise, and later the transport hub of the Hanseatic League.

Today, this shallow north-eastern arm of the Atlantic Ocean is very important for marine transport.  The shipping lanes are among the busiest in the world, Enjoy a day on deck.  Breathe in the fresh salt air, look for birds, mammals, ships and oil rigs - all part of the lively North Sea.

Day 14
Amsterdam_ ©JeniFoto_Shutterstock_Day 3_1200x600.png

Cosmopolitan Heart of Europe

Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands

It is hard to believe that vibrant Amsterdam developed from a small 13th century fishing village to become one of the most charming and culturally important cities of the world. The city became a famous worldwide trading center with important connections to the Hanseatic League in the 17th century.

Evidence of Amsterdam´s "Golden Age” can still be seen in the Patrician houses of the famed Canal District, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city is well-known for its outstanding museums like the Rijksmuseum, the Rembrandt House and the van Gogh Museum.  Take time to explore this world-class city before heading home.

Arrival 15 August, 8 September & 02 October 2019

Location Amsterdam, Netherlands
Your ship Things to see and do


Prepare for your voyage and read up on the Svalbard and Norway before departure.

Hurtigruten Land Adventures

Complete your holiday with a Hurtigruten land adventure before or after your sailing. Choose between excursions of several hours and multi-day tours including hotels. (NOTE: Hurtigruten land adventures can only be added to your voyage after booking. Please call to book!)

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