Polar Pioneers of Svalbard

Tromsø - Longyearbyen - Tromsø

Set off on a spring expedition through polar waters to the High Arctic. In Svalbard, you'll see the summer's midnight sun over a landscape where winter still reigns - a unique combination that no other expedition voyages will experience. Go ashore on landings and excursions to enjoy a winter landscape that is beyond imagination.

  • Experience the midnight sun in a unique winter setting like no other place in the world
  • Venture through unique landscapes with chances of seeing the 'King of the Arctic' - the polar bear
  • Observe the beginning of the breeding season for seabirds and discover some of the world's largest sea cliffs
  • Join exciting winter outings with our expert expedition team


If you crave the return of spring with its blossoming trees and chirping birds, you should consider a classic journey along the Norwegian coast in summer. An expedition to the High Arctic brings you to latitudes where spring is more winter-like than the deepest winter in most of Europe. Wherever we go ashore, you'll have the pleasure of leaving footprints in snow and ice. In Spitsbergen, there is midnight sun while the winter still reigns – a unique combination that you will experience nowhere else on Earth.

An Expedition to the High North

Tromsø is the gateway to the Arctic, so, naturally, your expedition starts here. In the middle of the Arctic Ocean you will find the very isolated Bjørnøya Island, where you can join a rare landing.

Arriving in Spitsbergen, we will make attempts to enter fjords and where we can expect 'fast ice' – ice that is landlocked. In Longyearbyen, you can take part in great winter experiences such as dog sledding, ice caving, and snowmobile driving.

Cruising farther north to North West Spitsbergen National Park and the Kongsfjord, you will go ashore on landings and excursions to enjoy the winter scenery that is beyond imagination. On the way back to the Norwegian mainland, we arrive at the North Cape from the north, something very few people experience. Being back in Tromsø means that you return to urban civilization, a great contrast to the expedition you have just experienced.

Your Voyage Price Includes:

  • Hurtigruten Expedition Voyage in cabin category of your choice on a full board basis (daily buffet breakfast, buffet lunch, and set or buffet dinner)
  • Wind- and water-resistant jacket
  • Landings and activities on board and ashore
  • Professional English-speaking Expedition Team that gives lectures and accompanies landings and activities
  • Complimentary use of Muck Boot rubber boots
  • Complimentary tea and coffee

Not Included:

  • Flights from US
  • Travel Protection Plan
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional excursions and gratuities


  • Single cabins on request

Voyage Itinerary

This is an expedition where the elements rule, and the weather, wind, and ice conditions will determine our schedule. Safety is paramount and the captain will decide the final sailing itinerary during the voyage. Therefore, this itinerary is only an indication of what you can experience and why every expedition with Hurtigruten is unique.

May 17 & 18 2017

Departure port Tromsø, Norway
Day 1
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Photo: Vladaphoto / Shutterstock Photo

Gateway to the Arctic

Location : Tromsø, Norway

Tromsø is the gateway to the Arctic. When polar explorer Roald Amundsen recruited members for his famous expeditions more than 100 years ago, he went to Tromsø. This was the only place he could find men with navigational experience from polar seas. He needed men who knew how to survive with minimal means in the Arctic, men who had survived in Svalbard by trapping and hunting. Today, Tromsø is still home to people with the most experience andcompetence in polar operations and the academics who investigate global warming in the Arctic. It is also a melting pot with indigenous people, local people, and people from all over Europe. Tromsø is a natural starting point for several expeditions heading north – just like the one you are about to experience.

Day 2
Photo: dinozzaver / Shutterstock Photo

Join the Nine Inhabitants of Bjørnøya

Location : Bjørnøya, Svalbard

Bjørnøya, with a population of 9 people, is very isolated and the southernmost island of the Svalbard Archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. This small island is known for having a large concentration of seabirds. This is where the cold waters from the Arctic Ocean meet warm Gulf Stream currents. When these water masses collide, nutrient-rich water is pushed up to the surface, making it an ‘all-you-can-eat’ buffet for the 126 different bird species living here. We will try to make a landing here.

Days 3–4
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Photo: Krisgrabiec / Shutterstock Photo

Exploring the Icy Arctic

Location : Bjørnøya to Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Cruising northbound from Bjørnøya we will take advantage of the conditions at hand, focusing on the ice edge. We will attempt to enter fjords where we can expect 'fast ice' – ice that is landlocked. This is the platform in which the ringed seal casts (gives birth to) its offspring, making it the perfect hunting ground for polar bears. The Svalbard archipelago of islands is home to about 3,000 polar bears, most likely the largest concentration on Earth. On Svalbard, there are more polar bears than humans! Polar bears are solitary animals with no set colony or living area, although pregnant females use denning areas during winter. Therefore, it is more likely to observe this marine mammal on drift ice that is close to the ocean or even in the ocean. We often observe polar bears on this itinerary – although not every day and seldom at very close range. But the more eyes scouting through binoculars the higher the chance of observing the 'King of the Arctic' – the polar bear.

Day 5
Photo: mpcz / Shutterstock Photo

Beware of the Polar Bear

Location : Longyearbyen, Svalbard

The climate in Spitsbergen is mild considering its location. Longyearbyen, as one of the northernmost settlements in the world, benefits from the Gulf Stream. Try great winter experiences such as dog sledding, ice caving, and snowmobiling.

Days 6–7
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Photo: ondrejprosicky / Shutterstock Photo

Into the Arctic Wild

Location : Barentsburg to North West Spitsbergen National Park

You will certainly notice how different Barentsburg is from Longyearbyen. Everything here happens around the entrance to the coal mine, and there is very little commercial activity available to visitors. However, you are invited to see a lively cultural show, or you can visit the hotel or the museum. We will continue even farther north to North West Spitsbergen National Park and toward the second-largest fjord system on the west coast of Spitsbergen: Kongsfjord/Krossfjord. Go ashore and enjoy winter scenery beyond imagination.

Day 8
Photo: ondrejprosicky / Shutterstock Photo

Bear Island

Location : Bjørnøya, Svalbard

As we sail south, we will try to make another stop at the southern tip of Bjørnøya if conditions allow. Here, in the middle of the ocean, it is windy and exposed – and houses some of the largest bird colonies and birdcliffs in the world.

Day 9
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Photo: anibaltrejo / Shutterstock Photo

The North Cape

Location : Honningsvåg, Norway

After exploring Spitsbergen we head back to the Norwegian mainland. Arriving at the North Cape from the north is something very few people experience. We will pay a visit to Gjessværstappan, a bird cliff that will be teeming with spring-breeding Arctic species and creating a cacophony of sound.

Day 10
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Photo: v.belov / Shutterstock Photo

Return to Civilization

Location : Tromsø, Norway

When you disembark in Tromsø, you will feel like a polar hero. Being back in civilization again will be a great contrast to the expedition you have just experienced.

May 27 & June 5 2017

Location Tromsø, Norway
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