The extremes of the Arctic
See three Arctic islands and one of the least visited and largest national parks in the world
Departure dates: 24 Aug 2016 (16 days), 8 Sept 2016 (reversed itinerary ending one day earlier/15 days) & 24 August 2017 (Days 14-15 omitted from below itinerary/14 days)
Norway's capital Oslo is often referred to as "the blue, the green and the city in between". Forest, lakes, hills and a fjord surrounds this city. Downtown you will find a very varied architecture, a strong cafe and bar culture, top-notch restaurants, endless shopping possibilities, and a large and visible immigrant community who add their own colourful touch to the city. You leave Oslo in the evening, heading for the High Arctic - Spitsbergen.
The Svalbard Islands are located in the Arctic Ocean, halfway between Norway and the North Pole. In the midst of a mighty and wild nature you find the Norwegian settlement of Longyearbyen. After an overnight stay in one of our hotels you can join a sightseeing tour of Longyearbyen before embarking the MS Fram.
The first national park we visit covers the northwest corner of Spitsbergen. The area is characterised by big inland glaciers and a typical alpine landscape contrasted by green areas and moraines. We continue into Kongsfjord and Magdalenefjord, offering spectacular scenery and interesting history. At 78º 55’ N we visit Ny-Ålesund, the starting point for numerous expeditions towards the North Pole in the old days. Today it is home to an advanced High Arctic research station.
Spend a relaxing, but exciting day at sea. We will begin our lecture series and enjoy sights of wildlife from deck.
As we arrive in the largest national park in the world, you will start dwelling upon the thought that we are quite alone in a far corner of the globe. Apart from some abandoned trapping stations, a weather station and the traditional Sirius sled patrol there are absolutely no signs of humans here.
Within the borders of North East Greenland National Park there are only about 30 souls that overwinter. In the very short summer season, when the waters around are not frozen, 500 expedition cruise guests visit the park. Yellowstone has 1 visitor per hour of the year; North East Greenland National Park has just 500 visitors per year!
Once inside the fjords of North East Greenland your sense of distance, size and shape of landscapes will be challenged. These are the largest fjords in the world and the alpine landscape around, with hanging glaciers and vertical granite faces reaches as far as the eye can see.
As well as terrestrial wildlife like musk oxen, arctic fox, hare and wolf, we may see a variety of sea birds. And remember, where there is ice there might be polar bears!
The very isolated weather and research station, Danmarkshavn is one of the places we visit en route. Sailing into fjords like Kaiser Franz Josef Fjord or Alpefjord will give you an experience of a lifetime. The majority of our landings are performed as pure wilderness expeditions.
We might meet the Sirius Patrol (The Danish Navy) that supervises the park using traditional methods, mushing dogs. Before the Danes acquired sovereignty of this area, the Norwegians claimed it. A natural place to attempt a landing is Myggbukta (Mosquito bay), where the legendary Governor of North East Greenland had his base.
During this expedition you will have ample amount of time to get the feeling of being in one of the most isolated places on earth. Still you will feel totally safe aboard one of the most fitting expedition vessels. Our expert guides and lecturers will safely guide you on hikes and small boat trips in addition to briefings and lectures about the places we go.
In the most isolated town in Greenland, you can visit the museum, church and a photo exhibition, or walk around on your own.
We set course towards the Westfjords of Iceland. The area has a feel of untouched nature with cliffs and valleys, high waterfalls and crystal-clear streams. Grundarfjörður is located at the Snæfellsnes peninsula, often called “Iceland in a nutshell”. Enjoy the sights of lava and rock formations, glaciers, volcanic activity, hot and cold springs as well as an abundance of bird life and picturesque landscapes.
Flateyri has been a trading post since 1792 and was a base for shark hunting and whaling operations in the 1900's. Today Flateyri is dependent on tourism. There is a nice sandy beach on the other side of the fjord, and although the sea might be colder for bathing than most people prefer, the sand is great for building sand castles. We will offer optional excursions to explore the area.
Ísafjörður is the capital of the Westfjords region. Take a stroll around this cosy town and enjoy its diverse architecture. You'll find the country's oldest dwelling here, along with fine examples of timber houses built by wealthy foreign traders in the 18th century. Our optional excursions offer a variety of experiences from hikes to tastings of local food.
Iceland's capital offers a lot to tempt the curiosity of its visitors. Relatively close to Reykjavik you find glaciers, waterfalls, geysers and mountains. Reykjavik has also a vast selection of restaurants, museums and shops. We will arrive in the morning hours, and here our voyage ends.
Highlights of Snæfellsnes peninsulaExcursion Iceland, Grundarfjordur (4 Hours) From £ 85
Kayaking in IcelandExcursion Iceland
Small boat cruises in IcelandExcursion Iceland
Horse riding in ÞingeyriExcursion Iceland, Isafjordur (3 Hours) From £ 134
Savour the flavour of SuðureyriExcursion Iceland, Isafjordur (3 Hours) From £ 72
Vigur Paradise IslandExcursion Iceland, Vigur Island (Approx. 3 hours) From £ 85
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