North Spitsbergen Arctic Summer by Sailing Ship 11 daysAboard: SV Noorderlicht
This exciting sailing adventure on board a historic two-masted schooner will take you along the pack ice and into the spectacular fjord systems of north Spitsbergen. Enjoy amazing scenery at every turn and great chances of spotting wildlife, including polar bears, as you sail through this remote wilderness close to the top of the world. Travelling during the Arctic summer, the majority of the ice packs will have cleared, allowing your ship to push further up the western coast of Spitsbergen to rarely explored lands that will not fail to delight.
- Sail aboard a historic 2 mast schooner sailing ship
- Search for an abundance of Arctic wildlife including polar bears, walrus, whales, seals, Arctic foxes and reindeer
- Spectacular Arctic summer scenery at every turn
- Myriad birdlife
- Enjoy pleasant hikes, walks and land visits
- Snowshoeing included
- Full board accommodation on board with all meals, snacks and hot drinks
- All Zodiac excursions and shore landings with expert guides
- Programme of expert lectures
- Snowshoe rental free of charge
So much to experience
Our popularitinerary Suggestions
All our itinerary holidays are fully customisable
Your Arctic sailing adventure will begin in Longyearbyen, the administrative capital of the Svalbard archipelago, where after having arrived independently you can enjoy some time exploring this unique Arctic town before making your way to the port for embarkation. After settling in to your historic schooner ship and meeting your new shipmates we will set sail through Isfjorden in the early evening towards Trygghamna. As we sail you may spot the first minke whale of your voyage, and upon arrival in Trygghamna we will stop here for the evening and enjoy our first night on board.
Please note, land and air packages are available for transport to and from Longyearbyen, please enquire for more details.
Trygghamna & Alkhornet
This morning we will transfer to shore via Zodiac boat to explore Trygghamna and see the remains of a 17th-century English whaling station and 18th-century Pomor hunting station. Later you can enjoy a walk to the large seabird cliff of Alkhornet to observe the birds scouting for breeding places as the Arctic spring sets in, and the Arctic foxes that stalk below the cliffs. If the ground is relatively free from snow, which we expect it to be, it is also common to see reindeer here grazing on the lush vegetation.
Fuglefjorden & Ytre Norskøya
Today we plan to sail into Fuglefjorden, passing scenic Svitjodbreen and Birgerbukta along the way. Here we have great chances of seeing great skuas and maybe even some polar bears. Whilst we are here we will board our Zodiac boats to reach the shore to visit Birgerbukta to see some 17th-century Basque ovens once used for cooking whale blubber.
In the afternoon we plan to visit the small but very special and historically significant island of Ytre Norskøya. The island served as a Dutch whaling lookout for many years and we can enjoy a gentle walk along the shore to see some more 17th-century blubber ovens and pay our respects at the graves of some two hundred Dutch whalers. This is also a well known breeding spot for Arctic skuas and common eiders, which we expect to see in good numbers.
As we sail further north up the west coast of Spitsbergen we will reach Raudfjorden, and as we sail you will be able to sample some of the spectacular scenery that Spitsbergen is famous for as we travel through an expansive fjord spilling with glaciers. Today we will mostly be on the lookout for fascinating wildlife sightings including the ringed and bearded seals that often frequent the fjord, beluga whales, and the thriving seabird colonies that reside in the cliffs and along the shorelines. We will also have good chances of spotting polar bears here!
Our aim today, if ice conditions permit, is to make land on the northern side of Reindyrsflya to discover the largest tundra area in Spitsbergen. Here you can enjoy a walk across the vast rolling plains in search of the Svalbard reindeers that are frequently seen here grazing on the vegetation. This is also an excellent spot for birding, with several species of waders breeding here and red-throated divers and king eiders often being spotted around the lakes.
Liefdefjorden & Monaco Glacier
As with all polar expeditions, itinerary flexibility is the key, and each day your captain and experienced crew will determine the best course to travel in order to provide you with the very best scenic and wildlife observation opportunities. Today we hope for favourable conditions to sail into Liefdefjorden and cruise within sight of the 5-kilometer-long (3.1 miles) face of the precipitous Monaco Glacier. The base of the ice is a popular polar bear hunting ground so we will hope for lots of sightings of these majestic animals here along with the thousands of kittiwakes that make the front of the glacier their favourite feeding spot. If ice conditions are not favourable for a cruise into Liefdefjorden, your crew will determine an alternate, but similarly exciting, route along the west coast.
Fuglesangen & Magdalenafjorden
Today will be one for the birding enthusiasts among us. This morning we will arrive at Fuglesangen where we will board the Zodiacs to explore around and make land to observe the large communities of little auks, before returning to the ship to sail to Magdalenafjorden. Magdalenafjorden is renowned as being one of the glacier-filled highlights of Spitsbergen and we will make another landing here to see more large colonies of little auks and discover some remains of 17th-century English whaling.
Kongsfjorden and Krossfjorden
Today will be spent gently sailing along even more of Spitsbergen’s spectacular north-west coastline. The plan is to head for Kongsfjorden and Krossfjorden where the snow-encrusted landscapes will offer ample opportunities for walking and snowshoeing adventures.
As well as the spectacular scenery of colossal glaciers and lofty mountain peaks, we also hope to visit a number of historically significant areas such as Ny Ålesund, the northernmost community in the world, and Ny London, where you can see the remains of early 20th-century marble mining. We may also take a visit to some remote research stations and see the famous anchor mast of the dirigible Norge, which took the first flight across the North Pole to Nome, Alaska in 1926.
As your ship turns to sail back south we aim to make a landing at Fuglehuken where we can enjoy a walk around to see the large seabird colonies and good numbers of harbour seals that frequently haul-out here. We will also be able to see some fascinating remains from the era of polar bear hunting.
Should a landing at Fuglehuken prove impossible we shall instead land on the coast of Forlandsundet to see the large haul-outs of walrus that are often seen here and enjoy a relaxing walk along the tundra.
As your ship makes it way gently back towards Longyearbyen we will spend a day exploring around Isfjorden. The plan is to stop at Bohemanflya for a walk along the expansive tundra to see the unique geological formations that characterise this area and search for some unique Arctic bird sightings. Later we plan to visit Gipsvika to go ashore near the cliff of Templet, a mountainous location of eroded sedimentary rock from the Upper Carboniferous period – around 290 million years ago!
Our arrival back into Longyearbyen signals the end of our exciting Spitsbergen sailing voyage, and after breakfast you will disembark and bid a fond farewell to your expedition team and new-found friends. You may wish to spend some further time here exploring this unique Arctic town or enjoying some of the many extra excursions and activities that are on offer here. Please enquire for details of the land-based activities that we would be happy to arrange for you. Otherwise, it’s sadly time to make your way to the airport for your onward or homeward flights, filled with memories of the adventure of a lifetime.
A view from Above
Built in 1910, Noorderlicht is rigged as a two masted schooner with alternative diesel engine. It has a strengthened, steel hull and sails Arctic waters throughout the summer and autumn. There are 10 cabins, each with wash basin and twin bunks and shared showers and toilets. Cabins are all below deck and have daylight from roof lights. There is a bar/dining room/lounge and library/dining room/lounge. Noorderlicht offers a true sailing experience and passengers are encouraged to assist with raising and lowering sails and steering.
Too much to choose from? This is where we come in
Take advantage of our vast experience, passion and expertise to help you hand craft the perfect Arctic adventure for you.
As Senior Travel Expert, Simon has an absolute wealth of experience in adventure travel in some of the most fascinating places in the world. With in-depth knowledge and fantastic organizational skills, Simon’s first-hand experience and genuine passion drive him to work to create your perfect itinerary.
Mike lives and breathes adventure travel and has a wealth of experience in some of the most exciting and inspirational destinations in the world. His expertise and first-hand experience afford him the skills to help build holidays to remember.
Having amassed a host of extraordinary adventures in destinations all over the world, Amy’s experience, skills and enthusiasm for helping clients plan their ideal itinerary will help make your holiday unforgettable, action packed and life-changing.