Norway, Bear Island & Spitsbergen
Norway, Bear Island & Spitsbergen 12 Days aboard MS Spitsbergen
This expedition takes you from the fjords of Norway to the Arctic wilderness of Svalbard. Learn about the fascinating history of explorers and whalers, and experience the thriving wildlife and untouched scenery. Visit isolated islands, settlements and charming fishing villages, some of which are only reachable by sea.
Namibia Birding and Photography GuideAn accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country. Read more >
Falklands Expert & GuideBorn in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. Read more >
- Discover the Norwegian coast and the crown of Arctic Norway; Svalbard
- Experience the North Cape and isolated Bjørnøya in the Arctic Ocean
- Sail through the famous Lofoten Islands
- Experience true Arctic wilderness with a chance to sight whales and polar bears
- Expedition in cabin grade of your choice on a full board basis
- Economy flight Longyearbyen to Oslo
- Transfer ship to airport 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 accompany landings and activities
- Free tea and coffee
ITINERARY11 Nights 12 Days
- Day 1 | Bergen
- Day 2 | Dalsfjord
- Day 3 | Grip
- Day 4 | Coast of Helgeland
- Day 5 | Træna and Vikingen
- Day 6 | Lofoten Islands
- Day 7 | Sommarøy
- Day 8 | The North Cape
- Day 9 | Bjørnøya (Bear Island)
- Day 10 | Hornsund
- Day 11 | Ny-Ålesund/Longyearbyen
- Day 12 | Longyearbyen/Oslo
Nestling between seven mountains, steeped in history and with a wide array of attractions, Bergen is famous for its unique charm and atmosphere. Make sure to spend a Day or two in this international city with small-town charm, before you start your northbound expedition. Stroll through the picturesque streets and enjoy the well-known sites like Håkon’s Hall and Rosenkrantz Tower, St. Mary’s Church, Bergen Harbour and the famous fish market. Bergen was founded in 1070, and we recommend a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage listed houses of “Bryggen” (the wharf).
The Sunnfjord area is known for its high mountains and beautiful waterfalls. We sail deep into the Dalsfjord, and far in, we encounter the scenic village of Bygstad. Come ashore to explore this little fjord community with its historic church, see the waterfalls and perhaps do some shopping or visit the local café.
The archipelago Grip lies 14 km off the mainland coast. The abandoned fishing village Gripholmen was settled in the 1400s and was once Norway’s smallest municipality with a couple of hundred inhabitants. Today,Gripholmen is a beloved summer holiday retreat. A multitude of colourful houses and an old stave church welcome you to this unique place.
Coast of Helgeland
Enjoy a closer look at the “Torghatten” - the mountain with a massive eroded hole right through it, located on the coast of Helgeland. This beautiful and famous landmark has a fascinating geological history, not to mention being a source of local legend. Even better, it is relatively easy to walk through the hole, which rewards you with superb panoramic views of hundreds of small islands and majestic mountains. Come ashore, explore the island or make the hike up to the mountain to walk through the hole.
Træna and Vikingen
Træna is one of the smallest districts in Norway with more than 1000 islets, rocks and skerries and less than 500 inhabitants, situated on the Polar Circle. Later you might have the chance to go ashore on the island Vikingen, where you will find the statue representing the actual border of the Arctic Circle and enjoy an “Arctic ceremony”.
Henningsvær is a super charming fishing village with Mount Vågakallen as the highest point. The settlement is located off the coast of Austvågøya in the Lofoten archipelago. Henningsvær is known for its traditional and well preserved fishing village architecture and stunning natural location. Later that Day we sail through the Raftsundet strait and then 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 these mountains. We navigate carefully far into the Trollfjord, where mountain walls rise directly out of the sea. Enjoy sailing into this pristine channel is at times so narrow it feels as though you can reach out and touch the side of the fjord.
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 island.
The North Cape
Over the past centuries, adventurers, royalty and expeditions have set the North Cape plateau as their goal. Standing at the far edge of mainland Europe, overlooking steep cliffs and watching the eternal horizon is a feeling that cannot be fully described. Join our optional excursion here – either by foot or bus. Alternatively, you could visit Skarsvåg, said to be the world’s northernmost fishing village or Gjesvær, an old fishing village with history that goes back to the Viking Age. As we continue sailing further north, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the cape from the sea.
Bjørnøya (Bear Island)
Bjørnøya (Bear Island) is the southernmost of the Svalbard group of islands, situated in the Arctic Ocean between the Norwegian mainland and Spitsbergen. This 178 square kilometres island has a fascinating history and geology and an abundant bird life. The nine people living here form a crew appointed and sent to the island by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. The island has been named “the largest concentration of sea birds on the Northern Hemisphere”.
Around the southern tip, the overhanging cliffs with stacks off shore represent an extremely important breeding habitat for seabirds. This is the northern limit for some auk species, for example. One of the reasons for this being such a avian hot-spot is that this is where cold water from the Arctic Ocean meets warm Gulf Stream currents, forming part of the global marine conveyor belt system. In the convergence of waters of different salinity and temperature, there are often optimal feeding grounds for sea birds. This is also the place to measure concentrations of pollutants in species high in the food chain.
This relatively small fjord in South Spitsbergen National Park is a place that has a long tradition in Hurtigruten history. The old Hurtigruten steamer D/S Lyngen had scheduled stops here to serve trappers. This used to be a stronghold for the hardy folk that concentrated on Polar bear hunting, lasting up until 1973, when Polar bear hunting was prohibited in all Arctic countries. An exemption was granted to indigenous peoples that had a thousand year old tradition to refer to. The landscape of Hornsund is largely alpine with the majestic Hornsundtinden soaring highest of all. Another very special mountain is Bautaen or in English; the Obelisk, which, seen from the right angle looks like a giant Viking sword. Let your imagination roam while spending the Day in these extraordinary surroundings.
As we sail into the Kongsfjord, you will find one of only four permanent settlements on Svalbard: the old coal-mining town of Ny-Ålesund, one of the northernmost settlements in the world. Ny-Ålesund was the starting point for many expeditions to the North Pole. Names like Amundsen, Ellsworth and Nobile are strongly linked to this place. Even today you can see the mast that the airship ‘Norge’ was moored to before her departure on the first trans-polar flight. Some countries run their own national research stations here, and there is always plenty of research activity taking place during the summer months. We will also sail in the Isfjord, the most extensive fjord system on Svalbard, on our way to Longyearbyen.
We arrive in Longyearbyen at night, and transport you to the airport for your night flight to Oslo. You 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.
What Our Customers
Superlatives abound – a truly amazing experience...awesome. Thanks to all for making it such a memorable experience.
We have just returned from our Spitsbergen trip with Wildfoot and had to tell you what an amazing time we had! We saw 6 polar bears including a mother with 2 cubs as well as whales, walruses and lots of birds. The ship (Expedition) was really comfortable and the guides were so helpful and friendly. Thank you so much for making it all so easy.
I came to Wildfoot because a friend had booked with you when you were Antarctica Bound and they were right. Everything went perfectly, even when our flight was cancelled, you made sure we still made it to the ship with time to spare. L’Austral is a beautiful ship with first class service and food and the guides looked after us well. Very happy to recommend Wildfoot and L’Austral...
We had always wanted to see the Arctic and travelling all the way from Australia needed lots of information. After getting nowhere, we came across Wildfoot and found people who knew what they were talking about! Sara and John were so helpful and made the process easy, suggesting Iceland Greenland and Spitsbergen. This was perfect for us – amazing scenery and lots of wildlife, especially the polar bears in Spitsbergen. Thanks for everything. Ps, the ship was great too!
Just wanted to say thank you for suggesting a trip to Franz Josef Land as something different for the Arctic. We had a super trip and really enjoyed the Sea Spirit. Galapagos next!
Standing on the North Pole has been an ambition of mine since childhood and now I have done it! Thank you for making the process so easy - seeing polar bears and whales too was a real bonus.
The Sea Spirit expedition was excellent and the team organising it all were extremely good. 10 out of 10. Everything went very smoothly. The Iceland extension worked perfectly, all the organisation, connections etc. were excellent
The cruise was beyond my expectations. Got to see everything the captain wanted, even a polar bear mother with three cubs. Coal Miners Cabins were smashing. I did loads of birding and exploring over three days. All the people were great from the expedition leaders down to the passengers. So glad to have achieved my ambition of some 50 years standing and got amongst the ice of the Arctic, walked amongst it’s islands and witnessed the antics of its wonderful wildlife. What’s next??? I’ll need to speak with Sara again.
Thanks so much for enabling me to get to places I had always wanted to see from a very young age. “Ace” as my boys used to say!
Just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you very much for all your help in arranging our recent trip to Svalbard. Everything ran smoothly and the trip was a great success. Unfortunately I had to flew back a few days early and missed out on Isfjord Radio, which the rest of the team said was a brilliant place with amazing food, still the Basecamp Hotel and Nordenskiold Lodge were pretty amazing places, so I’m not complaining!
Writing back to tell you that the trip to the Arctic was all that it promised and more. It was a great wild-life sightseeing opportunity and the staff were really good.I had an excellent trip and have thousands of photos to go through.
I had an absolutely fabulous time won the Sergey Vavilov, it is an excellent ship. Sara was indeed right in her recommendation that they would be the most likely to push north into the ice to find the polar bears. We even circumnavigated Spitsbergen which was awesome and not o n the itinerary.It is such a wonderful way to take a trip when you are on your own – so if any of your potential single clients are unsure, definitely recommend it – I didn’t feel alone from the moment I stepped on board. I will be at the Birdfair next weekend and so will catch up with whoever is there – regarding this trip, and potentially my next!
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
We had a wonderful time, even though we didn't do all the places we were supposed to but we all felt were we went instead couldn't beaten. Saw animals I wanted to see. Bit worried what the food was like as some of the ships cooking leaves something to be desired, but food was very good. We thought all the guides were brilliant and informative, friendly and knowledgeable It was far better than we expected and even my husband thoroughly enjoyed it!
I wanted to let you know that I had a wonderful cruise in the Russian Far East. The landscape and destination were inspiring, we had some excellent wildlife sightings (sea otter, grey whale, Steller's sea eagle, snowy owl and Arctic fox were all firsts for me), and the Heritage team were superb. Rough seas forced a few changes to the itinerary but we also had some fabulous weather. All in all, a thrilling travel experience.Thanks once again for all your efforts
I thought you might like to know that this was an excellent holiday. Our guide, Brad, was absolutely wonderful, his enthusiasm and knowledge made the holiday even better. All in all the whole trip was excellent and we saw lots of bears, 24 on the first day. Fewer on the second and third days but still plenty, as well as arctic foxes,silver foxes and snowy owls. Even on the last day near the town we saw a bear on rocks by the beach.
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