Spitsbergen, Jan Mayen, Iceland – Arctic Islands Discovery (Westbound)

Spitsbergen, Jan Mayen, Iceland – Arctic Islands Discovery (Westbound)

Travel information 14 days MS Fram
Departure
15 July 2022
Price from
$ 9133
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included

Discover picturesque fjords, majestic glaciers, mountain peaks and thrilling wildlife on an awe-inspiring expedition to High Arctic islands.

The world’s northernmost town

Your expedition starts in Longyearbyen, the town on top of the world. Get a taste of what it feels like to live this far north as you meet the ingenious, resilient and conscientious residents of this unique town. From here, we take in the stunning terrain of North West Spitsbergen National Park. Explore picturesque fjords, steep mountains and beautiful offshore islands while sweeping the landscape for wildlife.

A volcano in the middle of nowhere

Jan Mayen is Norway’s most isolated island. At 2,277m high, Mt Beerenberg, the northernmost active volcano on earth, dominates the skyline. Visits to Jan Mayen are rare, and we are one of the few to attempt landings on this Arctic island because of sea and weather conditions. From here, we set sail for Akureyri, Iceland’s lively ‘northern capital.’

The land of ice and fire

Discover Grimsey, home to large colonies of Atlantic Puffins. You’ll soak up the slow-paced life of remote fishing villages like Patreksfjördur and Stykkishólmur before exploring their scenic surroundings. Your journey then ends in Reykjavik, the world’s northernmost capital, where you’ll be just hours away from Iceland’s famous lagoons, geysers, hot springs and waterfalls.

Spitsbergen, Jan Mayen, Iceland – Arctic Islands Discovery (Westbound)
  • Day 1
    Oslo / Longyearbyen

    From 59º N to 78º N

    Your journey begins with an evening flight from Oslo, Norway’s fjord-side city surrounded by forested hills and lakes. The high number of electric cars you’ll see on the roads speaks to the city’s commitment to sustainability that led to it being awarded the title of European Green Capital in 2019. As you explore this green metropolis, you’ll discover its booming arts scene, modern beauty and culinary delights.

    Thanks to an efficient and well-connected public transport system, every area is accessible without using a car, so make use of the buses, trains and trams while you’re here! You can even tour the city on an Oslo city bike, admiring the work of Oslo’s world-renowned architects out in the open air.

    With no shortage of cultural experiences, you can spend the day visiting some of Oslo’s many excellent museums and contemporary art galleries. See the home of one of Oslo’s most celebrated cultural icons, Henrik Ibsen. Soak up the history of Norwegian Polar exploration at Fram museum, which has countless displays and the chance to step aboard a polar ship. Discover what it must have been like to live and work on it as you explore the deck and cabin rooms.

    When you need to rest, you’ll find plenty of options for enjoying traditional Norwegian dishes or New Nordic cuisine. Choose from cosy cafés, hip coffee shops, modern fine dining, hot dog stands and the many microbreweries.

    As a metropolitan city surrounded by nature, Oslo offers a variety of activities. If you have time, you might take a walk in the forested hills that frame the city. Or you could simply spend the time you have relaxing in one of the city’s many parks before your flight to Longyearbyen in the Svalbard Archipelago.

    Day 1
    Oslo / Longyearbyen

    From 59º N to 78º N

  • Day 2
    Longyearbyen

    Lively Frontier Town in the High Arctic

    Estimated time of departure is 8:00 PM

    After an overnight stay in your hotel, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the colourful frontier town of Longyearbyen before boarding your ship in the afternoon. This is a small town on the island of Spitsbergen, where the 2,000 inhabitants are outnumbered by snowmobiles.

    Walk up to the church just a few minutes away.  Maybe you will encounter the Svalbard reindeer that are often walking around town minding their own business. Although wild, you’ll find them more curious and tamer. Stroll the main street, admiring the colourful buildings and picking out souvenirs and gifts from the shops of the world’s northernmost town.

    During your visit, have lunch at one of Longyearbyen’s impressive restaurants and spend some time learning about the history and wildlife of the archipelago at the Svalbard Museum. Before entering most public buildings, make sure to remove your shoes! This is a custom that originated in the mining days to prevent people from trekking coal dust indoors, and is just one way the town’s mining history continues to affect its culture.

    Polar bears live outside Longyearbyen, and while it’s rare to see one in town, keep an eye out for art inspired by these iconic Arctic bears. See if you can find the polar bear statue, or the giant polar bear mural in the centre of town.

    Once aboard the ship, you’ll pick up your complimentary expedition jacket, settle into your cabin and attend a mandatory safety drill. Locate the restaurants, Science Center, observation deck and Explorer Lounge and Bar - you’ll be spending a lot of time here. We’ll then say a fond farewell to Longyearbyen as we start our journey of discovery.

    Day 2
    Longyearbyen

    Lively Frontier Town in the High Arctic

  • Day 3-6
    North West Spitsbergen National Park

    On the Look-out for Polar Bears in Svalbard

    Leaving behind what little civilisation there is, we now enter full exploration mode. In these beautiful yet remote areas, there is no internet, nor are there telephone masts to provide a mobile phone signal.

    Free from emails and text messages, this is therefore your rare opportunity to disconnect and detox from the modern world. It's time to really get back in sync with what truly matters.

    North West Spitsbergen National Park embodies Arctic beauty in all its rugged, untouched glory. This is a wilderness of steep mountains, stark glaciers and eerily beautiful offshore islands. It’s also one of those rare spots of the world where natural beauty and fascinating history combine. Here, you’ll find the largest concentration of graves, blubber ovens and other cultural treasures from Svalbard’s first explorers.

    Weather and sea conditions will determine which areas we’ll attempt to visit. Kongsfjorden is one of the most beautiful fjord areas in Spitsbergen, with panoramic coastal views and a lush alpine tundra. Framed by dramatic mountain formations, you might catch sights of glaciers calving icebergs into the sea. 

    We may also call on Ny-Ålesund, a culturally rich former mining town now transformed into an international science centre. With a picturesque mix of old and new buildings, it hosts a variety of research stations from different countries dedicated to the study of glaciology, wildlife, and climate change.

    The north-west corner of Spitsbergen is a birdwatching mecca in the summer months. You’ll also scan for wildlife, including whales, bearded seals, walruses, Svalbard reindeer and the ‘Lord of the Arctic’ himself, the mighty polar bear. With a bit of luck, you’ll be able to spot one or more of these apex predators as they trek along the coast’s drifting ice on the hunt for seals.

    The stunning terrain of this region makes it ripe for outdoor adventure. We’ll attempt to take full advantage of any opportunities that come our way. Activities might include using our expedition boats to come ashore for hiking, participating in a beach clean-up or launching our kayaks.

    Day 3-6
    North West Spitsbergen National Park

    On the Look-out for Polar Bears in Svalbard

  • Day 7
    At sea

    A Relaxing Day at Sea

    Enjoy a relaxing day at sea with onboard lectures while we set course towards Jan Mayen. Sea days can be as active or relaxing as you choose!  

    Delve deeper into the places you’ve visited in the Science Center. It has cutting edge scientific equipment and an extensive library to enhance your knowledge of Svalbard's topography, history and wildlife.

    You won’t want to miss the fascinating lectures given by members of the Expedition team. They’ll recap your expedition so far, share their knowledge of the region with you and prepare you for the adventures ahead. Lecture topics will vary from local history and storytelling to biology and geology.

    As our journey gets underway, why not spend some time getting to know the crew and your fellow explorers. Strike up a conversation at the bar and see what you have in common with your shipmates.

    Day 7
    At sea

    A Relaxing Day at Sea

  • Day 8
    Jan Mayen Island

    The Isolated Arctic Island with an Active Volcano

    In the middle of the Norwegian Sea, Jan Mayen stands shrouded in mist. A snow-capped mountainous island streaked with lush mosses and lichens, which almost seem to glow green against the black rock. This volcanic isle is about as remote as you can get. It’s an untouched wilderness with a surreal atmosphere and no permanent residents, making it an unforgettable part of your Arctic adventure.

    Jan Mayen has two main areas. The north is dominated by Beerenberg, the northernmost active volcano on earth, which is mostly covered in ice and last erupted in 1985. The south is flatter and unglaciated, with a weather station that houses about 30 people in the summer, all of whom work for the Norwegian Meteorological Institute or the Norwegian Armed Forces.

    Although there are no mammals native to Jan Mayen, the island is far from empty. Designated an Important Bird Area, large numbers of seabirds flock to the steep cliffs and slopes of Jan Mayen to breed. The island supports populations of birds such as the Northern Fulmar, Brünich’s Guillemot and Little Auk.

    Not just a prime destination for birders, the waters around Jan Mayen are rich with life too. If the weather is calm, you might be able to see one of a number of whale species nearby, or even seals having a feast in the rich fishing grounds.

    Visits to Jan Mayen are extremely rare, and Hurtigruten are one of the few to attempt landings on this Arctic island. If we’re successful, you’ll be setting foot on one of Earth’s most remote islands, taking in views rarely seen. You’ll also feel the sense of peace that comes from being surrounded by such pristine nature.

    Day 8
    Jan Mayen Island

    The Isolated Arctic Island with an Active Volcano

  • Day 9
    At sea

    A Relaxing Day at Sea

    Days at sea are an opportunity to wind down. Recline in the panoramic Explorer Lounge, drink in hand, and take in the view. For even deeper relaxation, soak in a hot tub and recap the journey so far with your shipmates.  

    On the other hand, if you’d rather work up a sweat, head to the gym on deck 7.  Equipped with large windows, you can work out knowing you’re not missing out on any of the stunning scenery outside.

    Join the Expedition Team in the Science Center to learn about what you’ll encounter in North Iceland, the next leg of your expedition. You may learn about Iceland’s stunning landscape, culture and belief in the Hidden People, aka. Icelandic Elves.

    Day 9
    At sea

    A Relaxing Day at Sea

  • Day 10
    Akureyri

    Capital of Northern Iceland

    Akureyri is located near the base of the longest fjord in Iceland, Eyjafjörður. As we cruise along the fjord, you’ll have incredible views of snow-capped peaks and a lush coastline. The fertile waters here make it one of the best places in the country to spot whales and dolphins. Species including humpback whales, white-beaked dolphins and harbour porpoises are regular visitors, although orcas and blue and fin whales have been seen here too. 

    Nicknamed ‘Iceland’s Northern Capital’, Akureyri is a lively university town. With a population of almost 20,000 it’s the largest metropolitan area outside the populated southwest region, meaning there’s plenty to delve into here including some top-notch eateries and museums. Check out the Akureyri Museum, which gives you an insight into how Icelanders used to live here. The Nordurslod Museum of natural history also combines exhibitions about the local environment and the history of settlers.

    You’ll be astonished by the array of flowers and foliage at the Arctic Botanical Gardens. Its serene atmosphere is like an oasis of lush green in the most unlikely of settings. And while you’re exploring the town, check out the striking architecture of Akureyri Church, designed by the famous architect Gudjon Samuelsson.   

    On an optional excursion outside town, you can explore natural treasures often considered some of the must-see sights in Iceland. At Goðafoss waterfall, nicknamed ‘waterfall of the gods,’ you’ll have the chance to see translucent turquoise water pounding against immense black rocks.

    Located within a highly active volcanic area, Lake Mývatn has unique and beautiful geology, with shimmering waters and otherworldly colours. It’s also a great place for birds; Eider and Harlequinn Ducks in particular. Watchers of hit series Game of Thrones may recognise it

    Day 10
    Akureyri

    Capital of Northern Iceland

  • Day 11
    Grímsey

    Step Across the Arctic Circle

    When people imagine a windswept, remote Icelandic isle, they’re probably thinking about Grimsey. We'll use our tender boats to reach this small, green and grassy island. With roughly 60 people, the only settlements are located on the southern and western parts - mostly around the little harbour.

    Grimsey is serene, beautiful, and steeped in folklore and legend. The hardiness of the local fishermen is attributed to Grimsey’s first settler Grímur. Legend has it he slew the giants and trolls who inhabited the island and took one of their daughters as his bride.

    Grimsey’s sheer cliffs are home to vast colonies of sea birds – outnumbering humans 17,000 to 1 – and in summer, the intrepid islanders will abseil down them to collect the eggs that are considered a local delicacy. The chance to see Atlantic Puffins, the iconic seabird species of Grimsey, is a major attraction for bird lovers.

    Grimsey is probably best known for its proximity to the Arctic Circle, which cuts across the island - the only part of Iceland to do so. You’ll have the chance to step across that line, North to South.

    You can explore the island on foot and hike to the ‘Orbis et Globus’ a nine-ton concrete sphere that marks the edge of the Arctic Circle. The walk to the monument will allow you to take in the windswept scenery and observe birds. The three-metre globe is moved a bit each year by the locals as the Arctic Circle creeps slowly northwards at a rate of about 48 feet a year.

    By 2050, Grimsey Island will lie outside the Arctic – more reason to visit now.

    Day 11
    Grímsey

    Step Across the Arctic Circle

  • Day 12
    Patreksfjördur

    West of the Westfjords

    When Orlygur Harppsson saw today’s destination for the first time in the 9th century, he gave it a straightforward name - Patreksfjördur, or ‘the fjord of St Patrick,’ after his spiritual guide. Its appeal today is just as uncomplicated – this settlement on the west coast of Iceland is utterly gorgeous.

    Discover the peace and silence of a tranquil fishing village. Serving as a fishing port as far back as the 16th century, this is a town shaped by a rich maritime history. Patreksfjördur served as a base for English, French and German fishermen, merchants and naval mariners in olden times.

    As you explore the lively harbour, you’ll learn about the towns local fishing tradition and the different kinds of fish found in its waters. You can also choose to take a dip in the outdoor pool, a new addition to the town with wonderful views over the fjord. The sheer beauty of this region makes hiking through it such a rewarding activity if conditions allow.

    On an optional excursion, you can visit Latrabjarg, Europe’s largest bird cliff and most western point. It’s home to millions of birds including Puffins, Northern Gannets, Guillemots and Razorbills. The bird watching here is spectacular. Safe from arctic foxes, the birds bravely cling to the high cliffs, and offer excellent photo opportunities.

    The dream beach of Raudsandur is also close by. In contrast to other beaches in Iceland which are black with volcanic sands, the colors of Raudsandur are rose–coloured with golden hues. 

    The Dynjandi series of waterfalls are also one of the big draws of this area, and it’s easy to see why. Six different waterfalls combine to make the largest waterfall in the Westfjords with a cumulative height of 100m. In a country famed for its waterfalls, this is one of the most impressive.

    Day 12
    Patreksfjördur

    West of the Westfjords

  • Day 13
    Stykkishólmur

    Welcome to Sagaland

    Stykkisholmur, pronounced ‘Stikkish – holmur’, is a small fishing town surrounded by views of innumerable islets in the picturesque Breiðafjörður Bay. With a population of roughly a thousand people, no traffic, and a laid-back, slow pace, it gives the impression of a place where time has stood still.

    Perhaps Stykkisholmur’s most defining feature is the well-preserved houses found in its old city center. Bursting with colour, they stand out in contrast to the distant mountain ranges. Ingeniously repurposed, the former library is now an art installation, the old recreation center now harbours a volcano museum, and the fish processing plant is now a restaurant that serves a delicious fish soup.

    Another highlight of the town is Norwegian House, named for the Norwegian imported wood used to build it in 1832. The Regional Museum of Snæfellsnes is based here, with rotating exhibitions and handicraft on sale. For a lovely view over the town, hike to the top of the cliff with the little orange lighthouse.

    Most people, however, come here to see the fantastic Snæfellsnes Peninsula National Park. It’s nicknamed ‘Little Iceland’ as everything the country has to offer can be found here, including fjords, mountains, waterfalls, volcanoes, lava fields and more.

    An optional excursion to Snæfellsnes will take you to some of its most iconic sights, such as the black-sand beach at Djúpalónssandur, where – if you’re feeling energetic – you can try your hand at lifting ‘strength testing’ rocks placed there by Vikings. A word of warning though: the heaviest rock weighs 154kg!

    Another stop is at the Lóndrangar basalt cliffs where huge stacks of jagged rock jut photogenically out of the sea. Interesting fact: the massive Snæfellsjökull volcano, which looms over the landscape, is the setting of the classic sci-fi novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne.

    Day 13
    Stykkishólmur

    Welcome to Sagaland

  • Day 14
    Reykjavik

    The End of the Adventure

    Estimated time of arrival is 6:00 AM

    Our voyage of discovery ends in Reykjavik, the northernmost capital in the world. Reykjavik is quaint and cosmopolitan at the same time. This small city is the perfect size for a walking tour, packed full of art, culture and history.

    Take a stroll along Laugavegur, the main shopping street, with its boutiques and outdoor shops. Or head towards the architecturally striking Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral. Art lovers can visit the Reykjavik Art Museum, National Gallery and the many smaller galleries and museums dotting the city. From the comprehensive National Museum to the delightful Icelandic Punk Museum, you’re bound to find one or more to engage you.

    The abundance of geothermal energy sources in Iceland has forged a strong tradition of public bathing in swimming pools and hot tubs known as “heittur pottur” in Icelandic. They’re what pubs are to the British - a perfect way of catching up with friends and unwinding after a long day. Reykjavik has 18 public swimming pools, many with saunas and heitur pottur.

    The list of possibilities doesn’t end there. Reykjavik means ‘Smoky Bay’ in English. It was named by the first Viking settlers who saw rising steam from the surrounding geothermal features. Here, you’ll be just hours away from Iceland’s famous lagoons, geysers, hot springs and waterfalls. If you have the time, it is well worth booking a Post-Programme to explore the surrounding area.

    The Golden Circle offers a route to three of Iceland’s most beloved attractions. Þingvellir National Park’s unique geology and natural features give it an almost otherworldly beauty. Natures raw power is on show at Iceland’s treasured waterfall Gullfoss. The Geysir geothermal area with its multitude of hot springs completes the trio.

    Whatever’s next for you, we wish you a safe onward journey and look forward to seeing you on your next adventure!

    Day 14
    Reykjavik

    The End of the Adventure

Departures

  • 2022
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15 July 2022

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What's included

Included in your voyage

Flights

  • Flight in economy class from Oslo to Longyearbyen.

Hotel

  • Overnight in Longyearbyen before the expedition cruise, including breakfast and lunch

Transfers

  • All transfers in Longyearbyen including an excursion before the expedition cruise
  • Expedition Cruise
  • Expedition cruise in a cabin of your choice
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner including beverages (house beer and wine, sodas, and mineral water) in restaurant Aune
  • À la carte restaurant Lindstrøm included for suite guests
  • Complimentary tea and coffee
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Please note there is very limited Wi-Fi and phone signal in the remote areas we travel to and streaming is not supported. When in Svalbard, there is no Wi-Fi or mobile coverage except in Longyearbyen or Barentsburg.
  • Complimentary reusable water bottle to use at water refill stations on board
  • English-speaking Expedition Team who organise and accompany activities on board and ashore
  • Range of included activities

Onboard Activities

  • Experts on the Expedition Team deliver in-depth lectures on a variety of topics
  • Use of the ship’s Science Center which has an extensive library and advanced biological and geological microscopes
  • Citizen Science programme allows guests to assist with live scientific research
  • Professional onboard photographer gives top tips and tricks for the best landscape and wildlife photos
  • Use of the ship’s hot tubs, sauna, indoor gym
  • Informal gatherings with the crew such as daily recaps and preparation for the day to come

Landing Activities

  • Escorted landings with small expedition boats
  • Loan of boots, trekking poles, and all equipment for activities
  • Complimentary wind and water-resistant expedition jacket
  • Expedition Photographers help with your camera settings before landings

Not included in your voyage

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Luggage handling
  • Optional shore excursions with our local partners
  • Optional small-group activities with our Expedition Team

Notes

  • All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions
  • Excursions and activities are subject to change
  • Please make sure you meet all entry and boarding requirements
  • No gratuities expected
MS Fram in Greenland
Photo: Stian Klo
MS Fram in Antarctica
Photo: Sandra Walser

Your ship

MS Fram

Year built 2007
Year of refurbishment 2020
Shipyard Fincantieri, Italy
Passenger capacity 318 (200 in Antarctica)
Beds 276
Car capacity 0
Gross tonnage 11 647 T
Length 114 m
Beam 20.2 m
Speed 13 knots
MS Fram in Greenland
Photo: Stian Klo

The original Fram was the most famous explorer ship of its time, and the achievements of her expeditions are unparalleled. MS Fram brings on the heritage of the original Fram, using the most advanced technology to make her exceptionally well suited for expedition voyages in Polar Regions.

Read more about MS Fram

Icebergs – one of many favorite photo motives when on an expedition with MS Fram
Photo: Tomas Mauch
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