15 Nights Iceland, Jan Mayen, Svalbard & Northern Norway Expedition

15 Nights Iceland, Jan Mayen, Svalbard & Northern Norway Expedition

$16,110.00Price

Be on the lookout for Iceland’s fabled wildlife – including 13 different species of duck – as you sail into the Arctic on this voyage. Watch out for whales as you wend your way past majestic red Devonian sandstone mountains into the fjordic paradise of Svalbard. Enjoy Zodiac cruises looking for the icon of the North, aka the emblematic polar bear and, weather permitting, enjoy shore walks and kayak outings along the rugged coastline.

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  • For Reykjavik to Tromso departure -

     

    Day 1 Reykjavik

    The capital of Iceland’s land of ice, fire and natural wonder, Reykjavik is a city like no other - blossoming among some of the world’s most vibrant and violent scenery. Home to two-thirds of Iceland’s population, Reykjavik is the island’s only real city, and a welcoming and walkable place - full of bicycles gliding along boulevards or battling the wind when it rears up. Fresh licks of paint brighten the streets, and an artistic and creative atmosphere embraces studios and galleries - as well as the kitchens where an exciting culinary scene is burgeoning. Plot your adventures in the city's hip bars and cosy cafes, or waste no time in venturing out to Iceland’s outdoor adventures. Reykjavik’s buildings stand together in a low huddle - below the whip of winter’s winds - but the magnificent Hallgrímskirkja church is a solid exception, with its bell tower rising resolutely over the city. 

     

    Iceland’s largest church's design echoes the lava flows that have shaped this remote land and boasts a clean and elegant interior. The Harpa Concert Hall’s sheer glass facade helps it to assimilate into the landscape, mirroring back the city and harbour. Its LED lights shimmer in honour of Iceland’s greatest illuminated performance – the northern lights. Walk in the crusts between continents, feel the spray from bursts of geysers and witness the enduring power of Iceland’s massive waterfalls. Whether you want to sizzle away in the earth-heated geothermal pools, or hike to your heart’s content, you can do it all from Reykjavik - the colourful capital of this astonishing outdoor country.

     

    Day 2  Grundarfjorudur, Iceland

    As double acts go, Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall and Kirkjufell Mountain are hard to beat. Said to be Iceland's most photographed spot, the perfectly symmetrical mountain taper of Kirkjufell complements the roaring waterfall, and is said to be the most photographed spot in Iceland. That's a bold claim, considering the country's abundance of natural assets, but this natural duo is an undeniably unique and mesmerising sight. Occasionally, as the sun fades away, a stunning trio is formed, with the northern lights dancing overhead, casting its ethereal green haze over the scene below. Reach the stirring views with a short walk from Grundarfjorudur town, or head out into the wilderness on horseback, along well-trampled bridleways. The mountain is known as Church Mountain, due to its isolated peak, which pierces the sky like a spire. 

     

    You might recognise it as a 'mountain shaped like an arrowhead', however, which is how it was described during its Game of Thrones cameo. In Grundarfjorudur itself, fishing boats gently bob amid the dramatic, snow-flecked mountain scenery. With whales cruising the fjords and eagles diving overhead, you're also at the centre of some of Iceland's most spectacular and atmospheric wildlife. As a highlight of Iceland's glorious, cinematic scenery, Grundarfjorudur is sure to whet your appetite for Iceland's immense natural beauty.

     

    Day 3 Sudureyri, Iceland

    Sudureyri is a typical small fishing village in Iceland’s Westfjords at the entrance of Sugandafjord. Unlike most other fishing villages that date back hundreds of years, Sudureyri was only started in the early 20th century and has some 270 inhabitants. As the Sugandafjord is surrounded by high mountains, the only way to safely reach Sudureyri used to be by boat. Since the village has been connected to the outside world by tunnel (opened only in 1996) it has been visited by those interested in angling and fishing for cod and halibut in the fjord and open water. Just east of the village is the Lagoon, an area that has been dammed off. Cod has been released into the lagoon and visitors are encouraged to feed the fish -this actually is considered the village’s main attraction. The cod can easily return to open waters via a pipe place under the dyke’s road, but many seem to like being fed.

     

    Day 3  Bolungarvik, Iceland

    Although the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve is further north across the Isarfjardardjup, Bolungarvik is Westfjords’ and Iceland’s northernmost town. Despite its relative isolation, Bolungarvik has been settled for hundreds of years and is already mentioned in the settlement period of Iceland. Located next to rich fishing grounds and the cove of the same name, Bolungarvik has always been a place for fishermen and one of the town’s attractions is a replica of an old fishing station. Just to the northwest is Bolafjall Mountain which blocks off the wind and swell from the Atlantic Ocean. The view from the top (at 638 meters above sea level) not only covers Bolungarvik and the surrounding valleys and mountains, but several fjords and the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve. Although only 950 residents call Bolungarvik their home, this is the Westfjords’ second largest town. There even is a nine hole golf course (par 71) with 18 sets of tees.

     

    Day 4 Siglufjordur, Iceland

    A tiny town in the scenic north of Iceland, cosseted away by a jagged wall of mountain peaks, Siglufjordur is an isolated gem. With just over a thousand residents, Siglufjordur takes its name from the glassy fjord that stretches out nearby. Iceland's northernmost town, only a single-lane road tunnel, bored through the snow-capped mountains, provides a land link with the rest of the country. This evocative remoteness appealed to dark Nordic Noir writers - and the town has found recent fame as the star of the TV show Trapped. A much warmer welcome awaits you in real life than in fiction - fortunately. Siglufjordur is a historic Atlantic capital of herring fishing, and you can learn of the industry that gave the town its raison d'etre, and powered Iceland's economy at the award-winning Herring Era Museum. 

     

    The biggest maritime-themed museum in Iceland, it spreads across three buildings and covers every element of the town's relationship with its fishing waters - from expedition to preparation and preservation. While the industry has dried up since its heyday, wander to the harbour for views of the pretty town's cherry and lemon coloured former warehouses. Swirling seagulls look for offcuts, while fishermen sandpaper and varnish tiny vessels. Take a boat out around the scenic fjord, or embark on lengthy hikes out and above this romantically isolated outpost. The sounds of beautiful duo vocal harmonies and accordions are often heard echoing along the streets, and the Folk Music Museum is an enchanting look into quaint, rural Icelandic culture. The Folk Music Festival causes the town's population to swell dramatically, as visitors make for these picturesque shores to play and perform each year.

     

    Day 5 Husavilk, Iceland

    There's simply nowhere better than Husavilk - the European capital of whale watching - for getting up close and personal with the majestic giants of the ocean. Feel the awe as whales breach the waves around you, before gulping in air and plunging away with almighty tale flicks. Pretty Husavik is framed by the majestic Húsavíkurfjall mountain, which swells up behind, creating a stunning backdrop for the town's tiny wooden warehouses, cherry red houses and undulating fishing ships. The little wooden church has been a beacon of light, guiding tired fishermen back to the shores of Iceland's oldest settlement, since 1907. Let the wind rip through your hair and the sea speckle your face, as you ride waves out among the region's almighty marine creatures, who throw their weight around so spectacularly. Sail among gentle giants in Shaky Bay, spotting humpbacks, minke whales and the world's biggest – blue whales. 

     

    You may also see teams of smaller white-beaked dolphins skipping across the waves, displaying the full range of acrobatic skills. The town's whale museum is an interesting journey through Iceland's relationship with the sea giants, while its restaurants serve up local specialities – taste juicy reindeer burger and plokkfiskur, a buttery mash of local fish. Hikes and horseback rides into the surrounding countryside can take you up around Lake Botnsvatn, to views down from the slopes of the Húsavíkurfjall - where purple spired lupin flowers spill down amongst the emerald slopes. From the summit, look out over views of the bay, reaching out to the crumpled snowy peaks beyond. Or feel the full force of this land of natural power, at Dettifloss Waterfall, one of Europe's most powerful, thrashing flumes.

     

    Day 6 At Sea

    Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.

     

    Day 7 Jan Mayen Island, Norway

    Humpback and minke whales cavort and feed in the waters around the impressive volcanic island of Jan Mayen with its towering ebony peaks and broad black lava beaches. The primordial landscape is dominated to the north by the 7,500 feet high (2,300 meters) Mt Beerenberg, an active volcano covered in glacial ice that last erupted in 1985. With permission from the Norwegian authorities, a landing is possible at this rarely visited outpost. Visitors may walk to the research and weather station, or beyond, for birds-eye views of the meteorological station and the long black sandy eastern shore of the island. Birds to be seen here may include Atlantic Puffins, Northern Fulmars, and Snow Buntings.

     

    Day 8 At Sea

    Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is going to the gym, visiting the spa, whale watching, catching up on your reading or simply topping up your tan, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.

     

    Day 9-10 Svalbard Northern Region

    Svalbard’s northern region is less influenced by the Norwegian Current coming through the Greenland Sea than the southern region and shows more ice. The northern part of the island of Spitsbergen shows quite a number of impressive fjords, bays and glaciers. The Nordaust Svalbard Nature Reserve includes Spitsbergen’s east coast, the Hinlopen Strait, Nordaustlandet and some islands further east like Kvitoya and Storoya. Several walrus haul-outs, spectacular glaciers, bird cliffs and bird islands, as well as surprising flora in Arctic deserts and the possibility to see polar bears and to visit historically important sites make this an area prone for exploration. Ice conditions will dictate which sites can be seen.

     

    Day 11-13 Svalbard Southern Region

    Svalbard’s Southern Region and specifically Spitsbergen’s west coast is less ice-clogged than the rest of Svalbard due to the moderating influenced of the Gulf Stream. Several fjords cut into the western coast of Spitsbergen and have been used by trappers and hunters, as well as the different mining companies that tried to exploit the riches of the archipelago’s largest island of Spitsbergen. Remains of huts and mines, as well as active commercial and scientific settlements can be found and visited. Depending on the time of the season, glaciers can be visited on foot or by sea. Hornsund will reveal fascinating views of geological formations, craggy mountains, spectacular glaciers and a variety of seabirds and seals.

     

    Day 14. Cruise and Explore Bear Island

    Bear Island is considered Svalbard’s southernmost island, roughly half way between Spitsbergen and Norway’s North Cape. Although the last polar bears were seen in 2004, the name goes back to Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz and his visit in 1596. The island has been used to hunt walrus, for whaling, and even coal mining has taken place. The strategic location on the border of the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea has led to a meteorological station being set up by Norway near Gravodden on Bear Island’s north coast. Some two thirds of the island is a relatively flat plain with shallow freshwater lakes and Ramsar Wetland, while the entire island and the surrounding waters are a Nature Reserve. Bear Island has also been designated an Import Bird Area as it is a staging area for Pink-footed and Barnacle Geese and the steep cliffs south of Sørhamna are home to thousands of breeding seabirds. 

     

    This is a specially protected area where Zodiacs are allowed to cruise along the cliffs around Kapp Kolthoff. In smaller amounts Atlantic Puffins, Northern Gannets, Glaucous Gulls and Great Skuas are found in between the large Black-legged Kittiwake, Little Auk, Common Guillemot and Brünnich’s Guillemot colonies. The constant battering of the sea has not only created impressive sea caves and tunnels, but unfortunately the Russian vessel Petrozavodsk shipwrecked near Revdalen at the base of the limestone cliffs and the waves are causing a continuous disintegration of the remains of the ship.

     

    Day 15  Skarsvag (Nordkapp), Norway

    For those who like to travel far (very far) off the beaten track, then you have found your Nordic nirvana in Skarsvag. Large, sparsely populated (there are just 60 human year round residents), and a joy to all those who revel in stark, unbridled beauty, Skarsvag also enjoys the auspicious title of being the world’s most northerly fishing village. But rolling hills, prolific birdlife and arctic fjords aside, Skarsvag is above all famous for its proximity to the North Cape. Found on the island of Magerøya, the most northernmost point of Europe above the arctic circle is a bucket list basic. Stand beneath the massive metal globe and gaze out onto the Barents Sea, where the only land between you and the North Pole is the Svalbard archipelago. This is truly the land of the midnight sun – in fact, you are so far north that the sun doesn’t even dip beneath the horizon between May and mid-July. 

     

    The island’s famous bird cliffs are quite spectacular, and home to thousands of puffins, gannets and cormorants. Those willing to hike to cape Knivskjellodden, the northernmost point on Magerøya, will be rewarded with stunning cliff face views of the North Cape Plateau. Before leaving, head into the impressive North Cape Hall for exhibitions on the North Cape’s history. Travellers have been visiting since 1664, when Italian priest Francesco Negri arrived, so there are some tales to tell! More intriguingly, a tunnel has been hewn into the rock, leading down to the cliff face, complete with a chapel.

     

    Day 15 Gjesvӕrstappan, Norway

    Almost a hundred islands and rocks make up the Gjesvӕrstappan Nature Reserve, one of Europe’s largest and most accessible nesting areas for Atlantic seabirds. Less than 10 nautical miles from Nordkapp more than one million nesting birds have been counted on Storstappen, the largest of the islands, and the minor islands next to it. One of the most significant Atlantic Puffin colonies in North Norway is found in this nature reserve. Zodiacs are the best way to look for the Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, Black and Common Guillemots, Northern Gannets, White-tailed Eagles, and Arctic Skuas, Common Eider Ducks, Common Shags and Great Cormorants as well as various other species.

     

    Day 16 Tromso, Norway

    Feel your heart flutter, as you catch your first glimpse of that famous emerald haze dancing across the stars, during your visit to this wonderful Arctic gateway. Located in the far north of Norway, a visit to Tromso beckons you to the extremes of this magical country, to explore a fairytale land of jagged mountains, glistening glaciers and husky-pulled sledges. Despite its remote location, you'll discover a perhaps surprisingly cosmopolitan city, with a healthy student population injecting plenty of energy. Sat 250 miles above the Arctic Circle - at 69° north - you can bathe in the midnight sun's glow during summer, before winter brings the thick blackness and starry skies of endless polar nights. The darkness doesn't stop the fun - with a polar night half-marathon taking place in January - but the return of the sun is always a reason for a celebration here. 

     

    To get the best view over the city, take the cable car to Storsteinen's amazing viewpoint. Magnificent views down over the city, fjord and Tromso's arching bridge will unravel before you. Learn more about northerly traditions, polar expeditions and arctic hunting at the Polar Museum. The Science Centre, meanwhile, explains how humans have harnessed and survived these epic landscapes over the years, and explores Tromso's breathtaking natural spectacle - the northern lights. The city is famed for its extraordinary viewing opportunities, which are often said to be the best in the world. The Alpine Botanic Garden is the most northern such garden on the planet, showcasing some of Norway's hardiest plantlife, which survives and thrives at this nose-bleeding altitude.

     

    For Tromso to Reykjavik to departure -

    Day 1 Tromso

    Tromsø surprised visitors in the 1800s: they thought it very sophisticated and cultured for being so close to the North Pole—hence its nickname, the Paris of the North. It looks the way a polar town should—with ice-capped mountain ridges and jagged architecture that is an echo of the peaks. The midnight sun shines from May 21 to July 21, and it is said that the northern lights decorate the night skies over Tromsø more than over any other city in Norway.

     

    Day 2 Day At Sea

    Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is whale watching from the Observatory Lounge, writing home to your loved ones or simply topping up your tan by the pool, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.

     

    Day 3 Bear Island

    Almost half way between Tromsø and Svalbard is isolated Bear Island – considered the southernmost island of the Svalbard Archipelago. The unglaciated island is an impressive Nature Reserve of steep, high cliffs that are frequented by seabirds, specifically at the southern tip. Brünnich’s Guillemots, Common Guillemots, Black Guillemots, Razorbills, Little Auks, Northern Fulmars, Glaucous Gulls, Black-legged Kittiwakes, and even Atlantic Puffins and Northern Gannets nest along the cliffs south of Sørhamna.

     

    Day 4-5 Svalbard's Southern Region

    Svalbard’s Southern Region and specifically Spitsbergen’s west coast is less ice-clogged than the rest of Svalbard due to the moderating influenced of the Gulf Stream. Several fjords cut into the western coast of Spitsbergen and have been used by trappers and hunters, as well as the different mining companies that tried to exploit the riches of the archipelago’s largest island of Spitsbergen. Remains of huts and mines, as well as active commercial and scientific settlements can be found and visited. Depending on the time of the season, glaciers can be visited on foot or by sea.

     

    Day 6-8 Svalbard's Northern Region

    There are several deep fjords and prominent glaciers in the northern reaches of Svalbard, as well as the northern hemisphere’s widest glacier front. Ice conditions will dictate how much can be accessed in terms of cruising bird islets like the Andøyane Islets or approaching glaciers like Monaco Glacier and Seliger Glacier. The Northern Region is also known to have several walrus haul-outs and areas defined as “Arctic Desert”. Walks and hikes ashore to have a closer look at flora and wildlife are a possibility in the spectacular Northern Region of Svalbard.

     

    Day 9-10 At Sea

    Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is whale watching from the Observatory Lounge, writing home to your loved ones or simply topping up your tan by the pool, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.

     

    Day 11-13 Scoresbysund

    Scoresbysund is the ultimate fjord system; likely the longest, largest and deepest of any in the world. The massive fjord is tucked into the eastern coast of Greenland and on the icy western edges of the Greenland Sea. Scoresbysund’s scale deserves several days to explore, especially while plying the waters between castle-sized icebergs as they gently drift under the persuasion of the Arctic waters in the mighty fjord. Scattered in the remote bays and smaller fjords are places to discover old Inuit settlements, slowly growing over with Arctic willow and dwarf birch

     

    Day 14 Ittoqqortoormiit

    On the northern side of the entrance to the Scoresbysund fjord system stands Ittoqqortoormiit, the only permanent settlement in the region. The population here is approximately 430 people, largely dependent on a subsistence lifestyle. The inhabitants make their living hunting seals, narwhals, muskoxen and polar bears. Ittoqqortoormiit is the northernmost settlement on Greenland’s east coast, apart from a few meteorological and military stations. Brightly colored, quaint little houses and dogsled enclosures dot the rocky slopes of the settlement.

     

    Day 15 Day At Sea

    Days at sea are the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and catch up with what you’ve been meaning to do. So whether that is whale watching from the Observatory Lounge, writing home to your loved ones or simply topping up your tan by the pool, these blue sea days are the perfect balance to busy days spent exploring shore side.

     

    Day 16 Reykjavik

    Sprawling Reykjavík, the nation's nerve center and government seat, is home to half the island's population. On a bay overlooked by proud Mt. Esja (pronounced eh-shyuh), with its ever-changing hues, Reykjavík presents a colorful sight, its concrete houses painted in light colors and topped by vibrant red, blue, and green roofs. In contrast to the almost treeless countryside, Reykjavík has many tall, native birches, rowans, and willows, as well as imported aspen, pines, and spruces.Reykjavík's name comes from the Icelandic words for smoke, reykur, and bay, vík.

     

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