Best of Spitsbergen in Luxury 8 days aboard L'Austral
Join this classic Spitsbergen expedition to discover the exceptional far north and the immense open spaces of the Polar Arctic. Travelling aboard a luxury expedition vessel you will sail to the heart of Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Svalbard archipelago, for a journey of wildlife discovery and spectacular landscapes. Sailing to latitudes of 80° north, you will experience life at the top of the world, with Zodiac cruises and shore visits bringing you up close to the incredible charms that this remote island holds. Each day we will be on a constant lookout for the polar bears, walrus, myriad birds and marine wildlife that call these lands home, and accompanied by a specialist team you will learn all there is to know about the Arctic.
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 >
Wildlife Guide & PhotographerAndy is a 6th generation Falkland Islander, with a passion for wildlife, plants and photography. Raised in the Falkland Islands, Andy developed a close affinity with the Islands natural environment at a young age. School holidays where spent in the ‘camp’ or countryside with friends and family. For more than 10 years, Andy had the privilege of spending a time on Sea Lion Island, visiting his mother who managed one of the Islands premier tourist destinations. Read more >
Photographer and founder of the Travel Photographer Of The Year awardsA fascination with natural light and a passion with nature, landscape and travel underpin Chris Coe's photography. His images often have a striking simplicity and graphic quality. More recent work has introduced a subtlety with experimentation with both movement and light.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 >
Special Guest LecturerExclusive to this voyage, Doug Allan, a multi award winning polar photographer and cameraman, will be your special guest lecturer. Doug has been on over 20 expeditions to Svalbard to film its wildlife, and knows the wonders of this area more than most. Read more >
- Sail the fjords of Spitsbergen in ultimate luxury
- Witness wildlife including Arctic Foxes, Svalbard Reindeers, Arctic Terns, Walruses, Whales, Puffins and the possibility of viewing Polar Bears
- Spectacular landscapes of ice floes, jagged mountains, icebergs, icecaps, steep-sided valleys, cliffs, huge glaciers and glacier fronts
- Exciting Zodiac landings and land visits
- Hiking options available
- Full board accommodation on board, including bar/beverage service
- Flights from Paris to Longyearbyen & return
- Transfers between airport and ship
- Zodiac cruises and shore excursions
- Entertainment and expert lecture programme
- Loan of rubber boots
- Expedition parka
ITINERARY7 Nights 8 Days
- Day 1 | Paris to Longyearbyen
- Day 2 | Lilliehook & 14th July Glacier
- Day 3 | Magdalenefjorden & Virgohamna
- Day 4 | Iceberg Cruising
- Day 5 | Texas Bar & Monaco Glacier
- Day 6 | Ny Alesund & Kongsfjorden
- Day 7 | Pyramiden & Alkhornet
- Day 8 | Longyearbyen
Paris to Longyearbyen
Your adventure will begin this morning in Paris where you will meet your representatives and the rest of the passengers at the airport for your included flight to Longyearbyen. This 4.5 hour flight will see you landing in one of the most remote and enchanting settlements in the world, the capital of the Svalbard archipelago.
Upon landing you will then be transferred to the port to board your luxury expedition vessel. Spend some time settling in to your luxurious cabin and familiarising yourself with the ship as we prepare to sail away from Longyearbyen and into Isfjorden. Some time on deck should reward in excellent seabird sightings.
Lilliehook & 14th July Glacier
Our exploration of the west and north coast of Spitsbergen will begin in earnest today as we sail up the coastline and prepare for our first of many stops. As with all Polar expeditions, the sites visited and course taken throughout your time in Spitsbergen will mostly be determined by ice and weather conditions. Our route will be flexible, with your captain and experienced crew choosing the best course each day for unrivalled wildlife and scenic experiences, but there are many sites that we expect to be able to land at and explore. The first of these is likely to be the sublime Lilliehöök Glacier within the beautiful Cross Bay region of 14 Alpine glaciers which plunge majestically into the sea amongst an expanse of flower-covered mountain slopes. The front of the Lilliehöök Glacier is a massive 7km wide and a cruise through the iceberg filled waters will be a fantastic introduction to this magical area. As we explore, we can expect sightings of Svalbard reindeer, walruses, seals and myriad seabirds.
Exploring further into the Cross Bay area we will next visit the equally impressive 14th July glacier which is found between tundra, plutonic rocks and mountains covered with a surprising endemic flora. As we go for a closer look you may witness icebergs calving off the glacier and enjoy some fantastic birdwatching opportunities. Species we are likely to see here include Tridactyl gulls, thick-billed murres, barnacle geese, common eiders and Atlantic puffins amongst many others. We will also hope for sightings of Arctic foxes and bearded seals lounging on the icebergs.
Magdalenefjorden & Virgohamna
Moving further up the spectacular north coast of Spitsbergen we will now reach the unmissable Magdalena Bay area. Surrounded by an awe-inspiring landscape of snow-topped Alpine mountains, deep fjords, majestic glaciers and beaches, the area is home to an abundance of wildlife. As we explore we will be on the lookout for sightings of Arctic foxes, whales, seals, walruses and birds including common eiders and terns. We will also be hopeful of some observations of the Kings of the Arctic here, the majestic polar bears! Whilst in Magdalenafjorden we will visit Gravneset where we will find the remnants of a former whaling station used during the 17th century, as well as the graves of many sailors buried here up until the end of the 18th century. There will also be a great hiking opportunity to the nearby Gully Glacier which will reward in outstanding views and photo opportunities.
Later in the afternoon we will move on to Virgohamna, an historically rich area that was home to another 17th century whaling station. Its main historical pull though is the fact that it was the staging area for the many attempts to reach the North Pole by balloon back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. On a visit here you will learn all about these hardy and often ill-fated attempts.
An exciting day of cruising through the icebergs close to the top of the world both by ship and by Zodiac boat. Each iceberg, sculpted by the waves, takes on diverse colours and shapes and at times are more than 60 metres high. The magical feeling of weaving your way through these imposing natural structures will be one to remember!
Texas Bar & Monaco Glacier
The next stop on our adventure will be Texas Bar, which despite its name, is a long way from Texas! Funnily enough, there also isn’t a bar here, but what does lie here is a landscape of exceptional proportions. Striking cliffs teeming with birds and covered with moss, lichen and flowers provide a remarkable backdrop to the old trapper’s hut that we will visit for a closer inspection. There is also a great hiking opportunity here up the slopes which will reward in a fantastic view to the incredible Monaco Glacier.
Getting back on board we will sail to the glacier for a closer look. Noted as being Spitsbergen’s most beautiful and majestic glacier, the Monaco Glacier is the last glacier before reaching a latitude of 80° North and this far north we will hope for sightings of the polar bears and whales that have a special fondness for this area.
Ny Alesund & Kongsfjorden
Cruising back southwards down the western coast the next stop on our list of enchanting landing sites will be the former mining town of Ny-Ålesund which is now an operational scientific base. We will visit here to learn all about the important work being carried out here and find out about how this was the starting point for numerous historical polar expeditions including those of the famous explorer Roald Amundsen. We will also hope to visit the museum and what is considered to be the most northerly post office in the world.
Later we will enjoy a relaxing cruise through Kongsfjorden, one of the most beautiful fjords in Svalbard where we will be accompanied by icebergs of every shape and size, and wildlife including bearded seals, reindeer, black guillemots and barnacle geese.
Pyramiden & Alkhornet
Our last full day of adventure will see us exploring around the northern entrance of Isfjorden where our first stop will be the birdwatcher’s paradise of the Alkhornet Cliffs. Home to thousands upon thousands of birds, a cruise around here could reward in sightings of Arctic skuas, gulls, pink-footed geese, guillemots, puffins, seagulls and terns amongst much more. The area is also often frequented by reindeer, seals and Arctic foxes.
For the historians amongst us the next stop will be a treat as we visit the ghost town of Pyramiden. We will enjoy an eerie walk around this deserted mining town to see its abandoned cinema, football pitch, play parks and swimming pool that are now visited only by a few tourists and lots of reindeers.
Our last adventure will take us to the Nordenskiöld Glacier deep inside Isfjorden which is thought of as one of the most spectacular glaciers in the Svalbard Archipelago and is often frequented by polar bears, reindeers and seals.
Upon arrival back into Longyearbyen you will disembark and transfer to the airport for your flight back to Paris. Numerous additional activities and excursions are available in Longyearbyen so please enquire for details should you wish to extend your stay in this unique Arctic town.
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.
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
How WILDFOOT creates your holiday Adventure
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Visit the wildfoot website for inspiration on your choice of adventures and destinations, then call us and speak to one of our specialists for first hand advice. We can start the planning process straight away, if you are ready.
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