Circumnavigating Svalbard - The Ultimate Expedition

Circumnavigating Svalbard - The Ultimate Expedition

Circumnavigating Svalbard - The Ultimate Expedition

Circumnavigating Svalbard - The Ultimate Expedition

Travel information 12 days MS Fram, MS Spitsbergen
7 departures between Jul 2022 and Sep 2022
Price from
$ 12269
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
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Join us as we attempt a full circumnavigation of Svalbard, taking in mighty glaciers, peaceful fjords and Arctic wildlife

Last Frontier before the North Pole 

Your expedition starts in Longyearbyen, the town on top of the world. Chalk of your list of things you can do in the world's northernmost town. From here, we embark on our epic circumnavigation of the Svalbard archipelago, starting with North West Spitsbergen National Park. Explore picturesque fjords, steep mountains and beautiful offshore islands while sweeping the landscape for wildlife.  

Be aware that most places in Svalbard don’t have mobile phone coverage. So, take advantage of this opportunity for a digital detox and enjoy being in the moment and the serenity of this wondrous archipelago! 

Looking out for bears and birds 

Eastern Svalbard boasts the highest population of polar bears in the archipelago. Over our three-day exploration of Spitsbergen’s eastern seaboard, we’ll be on the lookout for these iconic but shy predators. The cliffs in this region attract huge numbers of birds, with Svalbard being home to a wide variety including thousands of Brünnich’s Guillemots, gulls and Kittiwakes.   

Awe inspiring scenery 

Prepare to explore the majestic landscape and geology of Hornsund. The rugged mountains and breathtaking fjords here make for some of Svalbard’s most scenic panoramas. After exploring this area, we’ll sail north towards the Isfjord before concluding our expedition cruise in Longyearbyen. 

Circumnavigating Svalbard - The Ultimate Expedition Circumnavigating Svalbard - The Ultimate Expedition

Our Svalbard Attempts are expeditions where we, in true expedition style, challenge the elements and the ice-edge of the Arctic Ocean, to circumnavigate this remote archipelago – in a safe way. Several alternative routes combined with our deep knowledge of the area and flexibility are key factors to giving you the most amazing experience. And if we really manage to circumnavigate Svalbard, it will be one for the books.

  • Day 1
    Oslo/Longyearbyen - Hotel

    From 59º N to 78º N

    Your journey begins with a 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 city, 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 needing 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 the many excellent museums and contemporary art galleries. Soak up the history of Norwegian Polar exploration at Fram Museum, which has many displays and the chance to step aboard a polar exploration vessel. Discover what it must have been like to live and work on it as you explore the decks and cabins.  

    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 or maybe even a microbrewery.    

    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 many parks before your flight to Longyearbyen in the Svalbard Archipelago. 

    Day 1
    Oslo/Longyearbyen - Hotel

    From 59º N to 78º N

  • Day 2

    The Norwegian Stronghold 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 on your own before boarding your ship in the afternoon. An excursion is included in your voyage – or, choose from a selection of optional adventures before your cruise begins. 

    Longyearbyen is a small town on the island of Spitsbergen, where the 2,000 inhabitants are outnumbered by snowmobiles. During your stay, 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 quite curious and tame. Stroll the main street, admiring the colourful buildings and picking out souvenirs and gifts from the shops of the world’s northernmost town. 

    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 mural in the centre of town.  

    Once aboard the ship, you’ll pick up your complimentary expedition jacket, locate your cabin and attend a mandatory safety drill. Seek out the restaurants, Science Center, Observation Deck and Explorer Lounge & 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

    The Norwegian Stronghold in the High Arctic

  • Day 3-5
    North West Spitsbergen National Park

    Exploring Amazing Fjords with Fascinating History

    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 parts of the world where natural beauty and fascinating history combine. Here, you’ll find the largest concentration of graves, blubber ovens and other cultural relics 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 sight 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 hub. 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 magnet for birdwatchers 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 3-5
    North West Spitsbergen National Park

    Exploring Amazing Fjords with Fascinating History

  • Day 6-8
    Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserve

    Enjoy Expedition Days in the Arctic

    Eastern Svalbard boasts the highest population of polar bears in the archipelago. We have high hopes that over the next three days in this region, you’ll spot the elusive ‘Lord of the Arctic.’   

    In this part of Svalbard, the Arctic Ocean is full of drifting ice, and its frozen seascape changes constantly. Being modern-day explorers, the captain and the Expedition Team will carefully analyse the sea ice’s density and movements using advanced sonar and live satellite imagery. They’ll determine which part of this Arctic wilderness we’ll explore in landings, hikes and optional kayaking opportunities.  

    If conditions are favourable, we will cross 80° N, sail through the Hinlopen Strait and head south, scouting for walrus and seabirds along the way. This region is home to thousands of Brünnich’s Guillemots, gulls and kittiwakes. 

    As we cruise through Freemansundet, you’ll marvel at the sight of seabirds soaring against a panoramic backdrop. Not to be confused with its cousin, the fjord, Freemansundet is a sound separating Barentsøya, to the north, from Edgeøya.  

    We’ll attempt landings along the coasts of Edgeøya or Barentsøya. We might explore Kapp Lee, an excellent site where you will find cultural heritage from all eras of human exploration of Svalbard. If we are lucky, we may meet some of the marine mammals of Svalbard as we head towards the South Cape Land. 

    Day 6-8
    Eastern Svalbard Nature Reserve

    Enjoy Expedition Days in the Arctic

  • Day 9-10
    South Spitsbergen National Park and the area of Bellsund

    The Expedition Continues

    Our aim for today is to reach the southernmost tip of Spitsbergen. Explore the wonderfully varied landscape and geology of Hornsund, a part of the South Spitsbergen National Park. For many, this is Svalbard’s most beautiful fjord. 

     Hornsund’s rugged, steep mountains, stunning fjords, and rich, colourful vegetation make it one of the world’s most scenic natural corners. As we cruise along the 30-kilometre fjord, you might catch sight of glaciers calving ice in the waters. On a clear day, you may also see the towering Hornsundtind, reaching 1,431 m above sea level. After exploring this area, we’ll sail north towards Bellsund. 

    If you guessed that the name Bellsund means beautiful sound, we wouldn’t blame you. It features snowcapped mountains, glaciers and striking geological formations formed by the converging of tectonic plates. However, Bellsund actually borrows its name from the bell-shaped mountain Klokkefjellet at the mouth of the sound. 

    Large colonies of auks, guillemots and Northern Fulmars have made the large cliffs in the area their home. You might spot migrating geese, and Svalbard reindeer grazing the lush vegetation fertilised by droppings from the seabirds above - talk about the circle of life! 

    Bellsund has a long hunting and trapping history, starting with whaling at the beginning of the 17th century. One of the stories the expedition team may recount in the available hunters and trappers lecture, is that of Wanny Woldstad. She was a taxi driver from Tromsø who became the first female arctic trapper.  

    Cultural remains from other periods of Svalbard’s history can be seen throughout Bellsund. The ruins from the mining settlements are still visible. You might see them as we spend the day exploring the area. 

    Day 9-10
    South Spitsbergen National Park and the area of Bellsund

    The Expedition Continues

  • Day 11
    The Isfjord

    Fjord, Wilderness

    Today we sail into the remarkable Isfjord, the most prominent fjord system in the Svalbard archipelago. Leading out to many smaller fjords, it forms a lush and beautiful system rich in wildlife and vegetation. Prepare to explore immense U-shaped valleys carved out of the mountains by giant glaciers some ten thousand years ago.  

    To the north of the fjord, Alkehornet is a prominent landmark. It’s an imposing example of carbonate rock, with a horn-shaped mount at its peak. Naturally, the surrounding wildlife has conquered it. Arctic fox might be spotted here, as well as Svalbard reindeer and thousands of guillemots and kittiwakes.  

    It is noticeable how well traces of early human presence have been preserved in Isfjorden. You can find cultural remains of Svalbard’s whaling and hunting heritage along the beaches and bays, such as hunting stations and tryworks.  

    A more modern cultural icon is further south of the fjords. Here lie the buildings of the famous Isfjord Radio station, a former radio and weather station established in 1933 that now serves as undoubtedly, one of the most beautifully situated hotels in the world.  

    The landscape of the inner parts of Isfjorden is constantly changing. Still, we have several good landing sites in this area, and we will decide where to go and what to do based upon weather and ice conditions when we arrive. 

    Day 11
    The Isfjord

    Fjord, Wilderness

  • Day 12

    End of the Expedition

    Estimated time of arrival is 6:00 AM

    Your Arctic adventure around Svalbard is over for this time. As you wind down from your expedition, you’ll have some time to look back on all your new memories, still holding onto that elated feeling of having just been quite literally near the “top of the world.” 

    After saying goodbye to the ship and its crew, you’ll take a transfer to the airport for your flight back to Oslo. 

    In Longyearbyen, you’ll often find many places hold the record for being the most north anything. The world’s northernmost cinema, church, library, high school, supermarket – they’re all here. You can chalk off each landmark with a customary selfie.  

    If you have the time, grab some souvenirs from the local shops before heading home. A toasty Svalbard sweater or a box of local handmade chocolates would make a wonderful gift for family and friends. Svalbard is a duty-free zone and Longyearbyen has a selection of sports and outdoor clothing shops, so you could stock up on supplies for your next expedition cruise.    Whatever’s next for you, we wish you a safe onward journey and look forward to seeing you again!    Post-programme 

    Guests sailing aboard MS Fram have the option of extending their stay in Longyearbyen with one of our unique Post-Programmes. Please enquire for further details. 

    Day 12

    End of the Expedition



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What's included

Included in your voyage


  • Return flights in economy class between Oslo and Longyearbyen


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


  • 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 (on MS Fram only) 
  • 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, panoramic sauna and 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  

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


  • 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

Year built 2007
Year of refurbishment 2020
Shipyard Fincantieri, Italy
Passenger capacity 250 (200 in Antarctica)
Beds 276
Car capacity 0
Gross tonnage 11 647 T
Length 114 m
Beam 20.2 m
Speed 13 knots

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

MS Spitsbergen

Year built 2009
Year of refurbishment 2016
Shipyard Estaleiro Navais de Viana do Castelo (POR)
Passenger capacity 180
Beds 243
Car capacity 0
Gross tonnage 7,344
Length 100.54m
Beam 18m
Speed 14.5 knots

Our new ship, MS Spitsbergen will take you on a voyage beyond the ordinary.

Read more about MS Spitsbergen

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