Polar Bear Special - Around Spitsbergen in Luxury 13 Days
Arctic

Polar Bear Special - Spitsbergen in Luxury

Polar Bear Special - Around Spitsbergen in Luxury 13 Days aboard L'Austral

Follow the trail of the polar bear during an Expedition Cruise in the Arctic. Set sail aboard L’Austral for a memorable 13-day cruise around Spitsbergen, one of the jewels of the northern hemisphere.

The main island of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, Spitsbergen offers magical landscapes, a blend of ancient glaciers, jagged mountains and spectacular fjords. In summer, the sun shines day and night, to better showcase the vastness of the ice and the animals that inhabit the region – whales, arctic foxes, walruses, but also polar bears, the undisputed kings of the ice.

Setting sail from the cosmopolitan village of Longyearbyen, your journey will begin with an exploration of the wild and unspoiled east coast of Spitsbergen. You will then reach the Bellsund fjord, whose lush green valleys will not fail to delight you. This will be followed by a visit to Ny-Ålesund, the former mining town that is today home to a scientific base, a museum and the most northerly post office in the world. Further to the north you will find the majestic Monaco glacier, an impenetrable wall with blue-tinged highlights. You may even encounter a polar bear – a moving experience that you will never forget – before charting a course south to conclude your journey.

Toni Hart

Namibia Birding and Photography Guide

An 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 >

Jenny Luxton

Falklands Expert & Guide

Born 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 >

Highlights

  • A fully-comprehensive discovery of the kingdom of the polar bear, sailing in luxury through Spitsbergen's spectacular fjords
  • Stunning Arctic landscapes with ice floes, jagged mountains, icebergs, ice caps, steep-sided valleys, sheer cliffs & huge glaciers
  • Fascinating wildlife with polar bears, Arctic foxes, Svalbard reindeer, Arctic terns, walruses, whales & puffins
  • Zodiac excursions with naturalist guides and hiking opportunities

What's Included

  • Flights Paris to Longyearbyen & return
  • Transfers between airport and ship
  • Full board accommodation on board ship, including drinks
  • Polar parka
  • Loan of rubber boots
  • Landings and excursions shown in itinerary
12 nights 30/06/2019 - 12/07/2019
From Only £11,731pp
John Swindell
John Swindell
Arctic Specialist

Speak to someone who’s been to Arctic. Start planning your tailor-made trip by calling one of our friendly destination specialists on 0800 195 3385 or 44 1625 581143 for outside the UK.

ITINERARY

12 Nights   13 Days

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 | Paris to Longyearbyen - Embarkation
  • Day 2 | Gnalodden & Hornsund
  • Day 3 | Bakanbukta & Agardhbukta
  • Day 4 | Boltodden & Isbukta
  • Days 5 - 6 | Bellsund, Ny-Alesund & Kongsfjorden
  • Day 7 | Sailing toward the ice floes
  • Day 8 | Daghogda, Wijdefjorden
  • Day 9 | Jotunkjeldene & Monaco Glacier
  • Day 10 | At Sea - Ytre Norskøya
  • Day 11 | Signehamna & 14th July Glacier
  • Day 12 | Alkhornet & Nordenskiöld Glacier
  • Day 13 | Longyearbyen
Paris to Longyearbyen - Embarkation
1Day

Paris to Longyearbyen - Embarkation

Charter flight from Paris to Longyearbyen. Transfer to ship and set sail in the early evening.

Longyearbyen is the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, located on Svalbard’s main island, and is the northernmost territorial capital on the planet. With winter temperatures dropping to below 40°C, the landscapes of this mining town are simply breathtaking. The glaciers, the mountains stretching as far as the eye can see and the untouched nature, make you feel like you’re in completely unexplored territory.

Gnalodden & Hornsund
2Day

Gnalodden & Hornsund

The Gnålodden Cliff culminates at over 700 metres high and is home to over a thousand species of sea birds. Tridactyl gulls, northern fulmars and thick-billed murres are lords and masters in this often deafening commotion, particularly during the nesting season. Polar bears and Arctic foxes also frequent the site, a delight for lovers of the animal kingdom. The “bird cliff”, as it is known, is surrounded at its foot by very rich vegetation, unfurling its carpet of moss across a décor of wild tundra. During your visit, stop at the former hunter’s cabin, which was also used as a satellite station during the 1930s.

Nestling between millennial glaciers and carved mountains, and considered to be “the crown of Arctic Norway”, Spitsbergen is a place that never sees the night. Your ship will take you closer to this fascinating archipelago and, more particularly, the Hornsund fjord. Considered to be Svalbard’s southernmost fjord, it is especially reputed to be its most stunning: at the end of its vast bay, 8 great glaciers slowly make their way down to the sea before giving way to the many icebergs elegantly drifting along its cold and mysterious waters.

Bakanbukta & Agardhbukta
3Day

Bakanbukta & Agardhbukta

Located to the east of Spitsbergen, this bay has many surprises in store. At the entrance to the national park on the east coast, it is a region often taken over by the ice until late in the season. This preserved bay offers the opportunity to discover the assets of the High Arctic: the tundra, glaciers and polar bears. Near to the bear den areas of Barentsøya and Edgeøya, this site often provides an occasion for great sightings of the local fauna.

Located to the east of Spitsbergen, in Storfjorden, Agardhbukta is a former trapping site where a cabin remains. During your visit here, you will have the opportunity to see the ice floes and explore one of the spots where the polar bears pass by to travel to Bellsund, on the western coast of Spitsbergen. The vast plains of the Agardhdalen area also offer the possibility of long hikes to disover the High Arctic tundra.

Boltodden & Isbukta
4Day

Boltodden & Isbukta

On the eastern coast of Spitsbergen, in the heart of an exceptional geological site, set off to discover the remnants left by the first to explore the region, the Pomors. These settlers, hunters and trappers from Nothern Russia, were the first to discover the Svalbard Archipelago, in the 14th century. At the time, they believed they had arrived on the coast of Greenland. They named this land “Grumant”. This port of call will certainly fascinate history and geology lovers.

Nestling on the south-east point of the island of Spitsbergen, the small bay of Isbukta shelters an immense glacier, the Vasil’evbreen, whose front is more than 20 kilometres long. This is an opportunity for an unforgettable Zodiac® outing. If the conditions allow it, you will be able to land directly at the foot of this majestic, so as to discover the moraine and walk on the first section of the glacier. Depending on the ice conditions, you will also perhaps be lucky enough to approch Stellingfjellet, home to one of the largest guillemot colonies on the archipelago.

Bellsund, Ny-Alesund & Kongsfjorden
5 - 6Days

Bellsund, Ny-Alesund & Kongsfjorden

During your cruise, discover Ny-Ålesund, a former mining town that has been transformed into a scientific base. Founded in 1916, this small town was the departure point for many Arctic expeditions, including those of the famous explorer Roald Amundsen. Don't miss a visit to the museum and its famous post office, considered to be the most northerly in the world!

Very close to the former mining town of Ny-Ålesund, set off to discover Kings Bay and the magnificent surprises it holds in store for you. Your ship will sail in one of the most beautiful fjords in Svalbard: Kongsfjorden (the fjord of the King), a gateway to grandiose landscapes. Here, the snow-capped mountains are reflected in the water where superb icebergs try to outdo each other in their beauty, a delight for photographers. Bearded seals, reindeer, barnacle geese and black guillemots frequent these places that have a unique atmosphere. Once you arrive at the end of the fjord, admire the Kongsbreen (glacier of the King) and its three characteristic rocky points, which take their names from three Scandinavian countries: Svea (Sweden), Dana (Denmark) and Nora (Norway).

Sailing toward the ice floes
7Day

Sailing toward the ice floes

Your captain will sail right up to the limit of the ice, to the edge of the ice floe. Weather conditions and state of the ice allowing, you will be able to go out in a Zodiac® dinghy for a unique experience in the middle of these floating slabs of ice. In addition to this grandiose journey through the middle of these floes with their cut and blue-tinged edges, sometimes over 2 metres thick, it is also often an opportunity to see a particular kind of fauna, totally dependent on the ice floe: birds, seals and polar bears.

Daghogda, Wijdefjorden
8Day

Daghogda, Wijdefjorden

Sailing into Wijdefjorden will guarantee you an unforgettable moment of wonderment. The particularity of this gigantic fjord is that it almost entirely separates the island of Spitsbergen in two, from north to south. Sailing in Wijdefjorden will enable you to reach the Daghøgda Valley and go for an exceptional hike along an ancient glacial valley. At the end of your walk, you will reach two lakes surrounded by impressive vertical cliffs. It is an exquisite spectacle, in the heart of the Svalbard Archipelago’s longest fjord.

Jotunkjeldene & Monaco Glacier
9Day

Jotunkjeldene & Monaco Glacier

Discover the thermal springs of Jotunkjeldene. Located in Bockfjorden, to the north-east of Spitsbergen, they offer sumptuous landscapes thanks to their geological and botanical particularities. You will be surprised by the site’s entirely brown and red décor, punctuated by a carpet of algae and moss. Surrounded by majestic glaciers, the fjord rests on the Sverrefjellet volcano, which erupted 100,000 years ago and is now extinct. However, warm springs rise to the surface all year long. During your visit, do make sure that you walk on the surrounding moraine so as to preserve as much as possible the carbonate deposits formed by the springs, which are very fragile and subject to erosion.

Located to the North-West of the Svalbard archipelago, the Monaco Glacier is probably one of Spitsbergen’s most beautiful and majestic. Named in honour of Prince Albert I of Monaco, a sailor, it stands as an impenetrable, blue-tinged jagged wall, the last glacier before reaching a latitude of 80° North. Imagine the sound of the ice cracking as it breaks free and crashes into the transparent water. And to make the magical landscape even more perfect, you might be lucky enough to spot bears and whales, as these two animals have a special fondness for this area.

At Sea - Ytre Norskøya
10Day

At Sea - Ytre Norskøya

During your day at sea, make the most of the many services and activities on board. Treat yourself to a moment of relaxation in the spa or stay in shape in the fitness centre. Depending on the season, let yourself be tempted by the swimming pool or a spot of sunbathing. This time without a port of call will also be an opportunity to enjoy the conferences or shows proposed on board, to do some shopping in the boutique or to meet the expert photographers in their dedicated space. As for lovers of the open sea, they will be able to visit the ship’s upper deck to admire the spectacle of the waves and perhaps be lucky enough to observer marine species. A truly enchanted interlude, combining comfort, rest and entertainment.

At first sight, the small island of Ytre Norskøya seems to be sterile and arid land. But once you are ashore, you will be welcomed by a thick carpet of golden moss, dotted with pygmy buttercups, Svalbard poppies and lichen. On the beach are the remains of the ovens that were used to melt whale blubber, precious evidence of the history of the whalers who came and set up in this area as of the 17th century. Another trace of the past: the presence of one of the largest cemeteries in Svalbard, with no fewer than 165 tombs. The Ytre Norskøya cliff is home to many sea birds, including little auks, barnacle geese, Atlantic puffins and thick-billed murres.

Signehamna & 14th July Glacier
11Day

Signehamna & 14th July Glacier

Located on the western coast of the Lilliehöök fjord, Signehamna bears many traces of its past. Indeed, you will see the remnants of a former German weather station that was used during the Second World War. In the heart of this sheltered bay frequented by many sea birds, abandoned cans, cables and utensils just lie on the floor like historic evidence that visitors are asked not to touch. Around you, admire the mosses and lichens that are characteristic of the tundra as well as the very old plutonic rocks. A short walk will enable you to enjoy a superb panorama with a view over the lake and a chain of snow-topped mountains.

At the entrance to Cross Bay, between tundra, plutonic rocks and mountains covered with a surprising endemic flora, the glacier’s surroundings are frequented by numerous birds (Tridactyl gulls, thick-billed murres, barnacle geese, common eiders, Atlantic puffins…), as well as Arctic foxes and reindeer. As you arrive in front of the glacier, admire the impressive wall of ice and the reflection of the cliffs in the water. It is quite common to see a section of ice come loose, or a bearded seal lounging on an iceberg.

Alkhornet & Nordenskiöld Glacier
12Day

Alkhornet & Nordenskiöld Glacier

At the northern entrance of Isfjorden, there is a small paradise for bird lovers: the Alkhornet Cliff. It is home to a very rich avifauna, made up of thousands of birds frolicking in a joyous tumult: gulls, guillemots, pink-footed geese, terns, seagulls, puffins, Arctic skuas… The Alkhornet Cliff, easily recognisable by its rhinoceros-horn shape, is also frequented by reindeer, which are not overly timid. Attracted by the tundra that covers the foot of the mountain, they come to graze in peace in a verdant setting covered with grass and moss. With a little luck, you will perhaps have the opportunity to see some seals and Arctic foxes, who are also regular visitors.

Situated deep inside Isfjorden, the Nordenskiöld Glacier is one of the very beautiful discoveries of your cruise. Its front of ice, nearly 5 km wide, is one of the most spectacular in the Svalbard Archipelago. 30 metres high, the glacier, like a gigantic frozen statue whose sections of ice sometimes come spectacularly loose, is impressive. The polar bear, the king of the Arctic, will perhaps make an appearance in these parts, which are also frequented by reindeer and seals.

Longyearbyen
13Day

Longyearbyen

Longyearbyen is the capital of the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, located on Svalbard’s main island, and is the northernmost territorial capital on the planet. With winter temperatures dropping to below 40°C, the landscapes of this mining town are simply breathtaking. The glaciers, the mountains stretching as far as the eye can see and the untouched nature, make you feel like you’re in completely unexplored territory.

Disembark in the morning and transfer to airport for flight back to Paris.

What Our Customers
Say...

Ann Macleod, Scotland Sarah & David, Portsmouth James and Pamela Chapman, Halifax Geoff & Magda, Adelaide, Australia Ann & Paul, East Grinstead, Sussex Chris Janner, Manchester Gavin Burnett Stirling, United Kingdom Chris Pye, North Wales Chris Pye, North Wales Chris Conlan, Manchester, UK Boyan Todorov, Holland Karen Worton, Suffolk,UK Malcolm Green , UK Malcolm Green , UK Frances Hadfield, East Sussex, UK Mike Unwin, Brighton, UK Christine Matthews, London, UK Jan Broderick, Northumberland
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.
What a great trip! Wildfoot built a great trip for us and every aspect was spot on. Our Iguazu guide was fun, interesting and helpful and all the transfers were timely and comfortable. The Antarctica Trip was superb - WIldfoot had given us the best advice and helped us choose the right ship and tour for what we wanted - A truly memorable Experience Thank You Wildfoot

Expedition Highlights Gallery

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