Norway and Spitsbergen – The Route of Polar Pioneers

This short Arctic expedition is full of excitement! Stand on the northernmost point of Europe, step ashore on wild Bjørnøya and spend two and a half days exploring the beautifully rugged coastline and narrow fjords in the west of Spitsbergen. Excursion opportunities include hiking, kayaking and visiting a science station, and don´t forget there will be chances to spot the mighty polar bear.

  • Visit of the North Cape – the very northern tip of Europe
  • Northwest Spitsbergen: packed with history and wildlife
  • Chance of sighting polar bears
  • See the Midnight Sun in untouched Arctic wilderness

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 21 July 2019

Departs from Tromsø, Norway

The Gateway to the Arctic - Tromsø

We begin our adventure in Tromsø, starting point for some of history´s great expeditions and trapper adventures, all detailed at the fascinating Polar Museum.

The next morning, we go ashore in Skarsvåg. 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 that towers 307 metres above the Arctic Ocean, marking the end of the continent.

Cruising to Svalbard

Next, we sail towards Svalbard and aim to make an island landing at Bjørnøya, situated halfway between North Cape and Svalbard.   

Finally, we spend two and a half days exploring the rugged coastline and spectacular fjords of Spitsbergen, the largest of the islands of the Svalbard Archipelago.

Explore the great national parks and some of the most spectacular highlights of the Arctic. One might expect it to be unbearably cold this far north. However, thanks to the Gulf Stream, the Svalbard archipelago boasts a surprisingly mild climate in summer. Among a large variety of plants and wildlife in Svalbard are seals, thousands of seabirds, the Arctic fox and reindeer and the top predator: the polar bear.

In the summer, beautiful colours and contrasts provide the frames for dramatic glaciers, majestic mountain formations, deep fjords, buzzing bird cliffs and endless arctic tundra with its diverse flora and fauna. The Midnight Sun makes it possible to fill your days and nights with unforgettable experiences on this exciting Arctic exploration. 

Day 1
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City of Explorers and Hunters

Tromsø, Norway

Our voyage begins, as so many great explorations have, in Tromsø.  It’s a city with many great attractions but it is also easy to escape from the metropolis if you seek wilderness. In a traditional wharf house from the 1830s, you’ll find the Polar Museum where you can learn more about Tromsø’s polar history.  The experience centre Polaria lies five minutes from the heart of the city. Here you’ll find an Arctic aquarium, interesting knowledge-based exhibits, a panoramic cinema and a gift and souvenir shop.  The city’s most recognisable landmark is the Arctic Cathedral, built in 1965, featuring a huge original stained-glass mosaic.

Take the Fjellheisen Cable Car to the top of the Fløyfjellet Mountain (420 m) and enjoy breathtaking views of the city, mountains and fjords.

Day 2
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The Northernmost Point in Europe


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. Skarsvåg is a small village that lies along the northern coast of the island of Magerøya, and 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 about early expeditions and watch a panoramic film that takes you through the four seasons in this landscape full of contrasts, light and breathtaking scenery. 

Day 3

Middle of the Arctic Ocean


Bjørnøya, with a population of just nine persons, is the southernmost island of the Svalbard Archipelago. It is an isolated spot in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, known for hosting perhaps the largest concentration of sea birds in 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 4-5
Photo: Ragnar Hartvig Photo

Amazing Fjords with Fascinating History

West Coast of Spitsbergen

Cruising northbound from Bjørnøya, the Captain and Expedition leader will make the best use of the conditions at hand.  We may cruise into Hornsund and explore the ice-filled fjord by small boats, or land to hike to a viewpoint 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 who lived here in the 1930s.

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.

We might visit Kongsfjord, considered one of the most beautiful fjord areas in Spitsbergen, with mighty glaciers calving icebergs into the sea, framed by stunning mountain formations. On the shore of Kongfjord is the former mining settlement of Ny-Ålesund, now an international centre for research, with a picturesque mix of old and new buildings

Day 6

Last Landing and Isfjorden


Every great explorer's voyage comes to an end. Many guests report a subtle exhilaration in the afterglow of this journey, partly from the thrill of coming just a few hundred miles from the North Pole.

The final day, we will have a morning landing and sail into Isfjord, the most extensive fjord system on Svalbard, on our way to Longyearbyen. We arrive in Longyearbyen late in the evening and transport you to the airport for your night flight to Oslo.

Day 7

End of the Expedition

Oslo, Norway

We arrive in Oslo early in the morning. You can either fly back home, or spend some time to explore the Norwegian capital before returning home

Arrival 27 July 2019

Location Oslo, Norway

Price includes: 

  • Hurtigruten Expedition with cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
  • Transfer from ship to airport in Longyearbyen
  • Economy flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo
  • 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
Your ship
Things to see and do

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!)

Contact us

Contact us

Wish to add flights, transfers or other services to your voyage? Please get in touch with our customer service team by clicking the link below.