Spitsbergen, Iceland, Faroe Islands – Island Hopping in and around the Arctic (Southbound)

Spitsbergen, Iceland, Faroe Islands – Island Hopping in and around the Arctic (Southbound)

Spitsbergen, Iceland, Faroe Islands – Island Hopping in and around the Arctic (Southbound)

Spitsbergen, Iceland, Faroe Islands – Island Hopping in and around the Arctic (Southbound)

Travel information 15 days MS Spitsbergen
Departures
22 September 2022
23 September 2023
Price from
5816 €
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Check prices and availability

Discover the history and natural wonders of five wild, beautiful islands in and around the Arctic across four countries.  

Exploring Spitsbergen and Jan Mayen  

Your expedition starts in Longyearbyen - the town on top of the world. During our two days exploring Spitsbergen you’ll be keeping your eyes peeled for the ‘lord of the Arctic,’ the regal polar bear. Afterwards, we’ll attempt to land at Jan Mayen, Norway’s most isolated island where Mt. Beerenberg, the northernmost active volcano on earth, dominates the skyline. 

The land of ice and fire 

Our first stop in Iceland is its vibrant ‘Northern Capital’ Akureyri. Heading east, you’ll explore Husavik, dubbed Iceland’s ‘Whale Capital.’ If you’re lucky, you might get the chance to see one or more of these giants of the sea before we head to Bakkagerdi. This is a tiny hamlet on the coast of Borgarfjörður Eystri that is said to be inhabited by elves. We can’t guarantee you’ll see many elves, but you’ll enjoy a pristine wilderness with top-class bird watching opportunities.  

Island hopping expedition-style 

Experience the peaceful and soothing atmosphere of Elduvik in the Faroe Islands. A short hop away is Torshavn, a place where the modern and the ancestral stand side by side. Sample the variety of fish dishes in Lerwick in the Shetland Islands, from salmon and shellfish to lythe, ling and John Dory. Your journey ends in Bergen, where you can explore the UNESCO-listed Bryggen district with its famous fish market and colourful wooden wharfs.

Spitsbergen, Iceland, Faroe Islands – Island Hopping in and around the Arctic (Southbound) Spitsbergen, Iceland, Faroe Islands – Island Hopping in and around the Arctic (Southbound)
  • Day 1
    Oslo / Longyearbyen

    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

    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 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
    Longyearbyen

    Lively Frontier Town in the High Arctic

  • Day 3-4
    Spitsbergen

    Exploring Spitsbergen

    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.  

    Spitsbergen showcases arctic beauty in all its rugged, untouched glory. This is a wilderness of steep mountains, stark glaciers and eerily beautiful offshore islands. Over the next two days, we’ll attempt several exciting landings in different parts of the archipelago. 

    Some of the most dramatic fjords in the world are located in Spitsbergen. As we sail along this beautiful island under the midnight sun, you’ll take in immense U-shaped valleys brightened by the lush flora of the arctic. You’ll see vistas of dramatic mountain ranges perfectly mirrored on the waters glassy surface. Cruising silently on the water, you might also hear the tell-tale creaks and groans of chunks of ice about to plunge into the sea. 

    Naturally, 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.  

    Svalbard is one of those rare spots of the world where natural beauty and fascinating history combine. You’ll hear stories from our expedition team of the explorers who have either conquered Svalbard or perished from its harshness.  

    Summertime is also when polar bears trek along the coast’s drifting ice on the hunt for seals. With a bit of luck, we hope to spot one of these apex predators during our time in Svalbard.  When all’s said and done, we’re sure that you, like many explorers before you, will relish your adventures in Svalbard. 

    Day 3-4
    Spitsbergen

    Exploring Spitsbergen

  • Day 5
    At sea

    Relaxing 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 the topography, history and wildlife of the islands we’re headed to.    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. You might also learn about the researchers and meteorologists who are stationed at Jan Mayen.  

    Day 5
    At sea

    Relaxing at Sea

  • Day 6
    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 6
    Jan Mayen Island

    The Isolated Arctic Island with an Active Volcano

  • Day 7
    At sea

    Towards Iceland

    Enjoy a relaxing day at sea with onboard lectures while we set course towards Akureyri. Sit at the bar, drink in hand, and get chatting with your new shipmates. You might be surprised at how much you have in common!  

    For a truly relaxing experience, soak in a hot tub up on deck. Don’t forget to keep your eyes open for marine life and seabirds.  

    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. There might even be a chance to improve your knitting skills in one of our workshops. 

    Day 7
    At sea

    Towards Iceland

  • Day 8
    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 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. 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. 

    • Included Akureyri City Walk
    Day 8
    Akureyri

    Capital of Northern Iceland

  • Day 9
    Húsavík

    Top Spot for Whale-Watching

    Welcome to Husavik! Widely considered Iceland’s whale capital, this small town on Iceland’s northern coast has gained international popularity as one of the world’s best places to see whales. 

    Husavik looks out over the Skjálfandi Bay which enjoys regular visits from whale species including humpback, minke, white-beaked dolphin, harbour porpoise and the elusive blue whale. If you’re lucky, you might get the chance to see one or more of these giants of the sea.  

    It only fits that a town so geared towards whales would have a museum to match. If you want to learn more about these gentle giants of the ocean, you have to visit Husavik’s highly informative Whale Museum.  

    If you’re also interested in space travel, the Exploration Museum is fascinating. The astronauts involved in the Apollo space missions trained in Husavik in 1965 and 1967. Iceland’s basalt rocks are a close approximation of lunar rocks and provided essential geology training. The museum’s main exhibition is centered around this pioneering endeavor.   

    Around 2km south of Husavik, Kaldbakur pond offers a swimming experience out of the ordinary if you’re looking for something a little different. Not only is it a heitur pottur heated by geothermal energy, you’ll also be swimming with goldfish. 

    • Included Discover the Whale Capital of Iceland
    Day 9
    Húsavík

    Top Spot for Whale-Watching

  • Day 10
    Bakkagerði

    The Land of the Elves

    With stunning rhyolite peaks on one side and the majestic Dyrfjöll Mountain range on the other, the coastal village of Bakkagerdi could not have a more scenic location. According to regional folklore, this tiny hamlet on the coast of Borgarfjörður Eystri inhabits a large population of elves. As a matter of fact, the hamlet derives its name from the rocky hill Alfaborg, the supposed home of the elf queen herself.  

    A settlement of around 100 people, Bakkagerdi is well off the typical tourist track and offers peace, quiet and lovely views. A short walk is all it will take to explore the town. You can sample freshly caught fish in one of the cafes; the tasty fish soup is a local favourite.  

    This area’s natural beauty, however, is the main draw and allows for fantastic hiking. Shades of pink, blue, and yellow rhyolite rocks give way to lush green valleys in multiple hiking trails. In any direction, you’ll be rewarded by a pristine wilderness and the sights and sounds of the prominent wildlife to be found here - birds.  

    The coastal cliffs of Bakkagerdi are home to a wide variety of birds, including Fulmar and Kittiwake. This is also a good place to see Eider farming, which has been done for hundreds of years in Iceland. The end product is the very exclusive eiderdown, the most prized variety of down in the world.  

    The stars of the show, however, are Puffins. If conditions allow, we’ll attempt to visit Hafnarhólmi, a fishing harbour home to a large Puffin colony, and some of the best bird watching in Iceland. A boardwalk and several platforms will allow you to get really close to the Puffins safely. For nature and bird lovers, this region is an absolute gem  

    • Included Local Living Walk of Bakkagerði
    Day 10
    Bakkagerði

    The Land of the Elves

  • Day 11
    At sea

    Enjoy a day at sea

    The day is at your leisure aboard the ship. Rest, enjoy the ship’s facilities and take stock of what you’ve experienced so far. Perhaps you’ll break a sweat in the indoor gym or relax in the panoramic sauna while gazing out at the view. 

    To build excitement for the next part of your adventure, spend some time in the library reading up on the places you have yet to visit, or attend lectures from the Expedition Team in the Science Center.  

    By now you’ll likely have plenty of photographs and stories from the various excursions, and you’ll be eager to swap experiences of the expedition so far with your fellow explorers. 

    Day 11
    At sea

    Enjoy a day at sea

  • Day 12
    Elduvík

    Charming Village of the Faroe Islands

    Located in the Funningsfjordur inlet in the Faroe Islands, the village of Elduvík lies by the shore at the end of a long, lush valley with towering green mountains either side of it. The river Stórá runs through the middle, splitting the village in two. Just 23 people inhabit Elduvík, and you’re sure to find its peaceful atmosphere and natural surroundings soothing. 

    As you wander the streets, admire the small, rustic houses. Almost all of them have been built in the style of traditional Icelandic village houses, with painted or tarred wooden walls. Many of the roofs are covered in grass instead of slate, a traditional style element that offers much-needed insulation and protection against the weather.   

    Despite having so few inhabitants, this remote village is complete with a school, church, dock and pier. Wander around and get a taste of village life. Visit the church, which was inaugurated in 1951, so the residents of Elduvík  would no longer have to travel to the nearby town of Oyndarfjørdur every week for service. 

    The songs of seabirds and the bleating of sheep combine with the crashing waves of the fjord to create Elduvík’s subtle soundscape. Listen to the sounds of Faroese nature and feel the cool sea air on your face as you stand on the pier and look out over the sparkling water, with the nearby island of Kalsoy rising above the waves in the distance. 

    Day 12
    Elduvík

    Charming Village of the Faroe Islands

  • Day 13
    Torshavn, Faroe Islands

    Northern Europe’s oldest capital

    On the southeast coast of Streymoy, the largest of the Faroe Islands, is a city where the modern and the ancestral stand side by side across a truly Scandinavian landscape. Spend some time wandering the cobbled alleyways that weave between the traditional Faroese turf-roofed homes and the brightly coloured wooden houses that wouldn’t look out of place in a storybook. 

    Named “Thor’s Harbour” in Danish, after the god of thunder, Tórshavn was founded by Norsemen in the 10th Century and might very well be the oldest capital in northern Europe. Visit the local museums and be transported back through time to learn about the city’s origins, or gain a deeper understanding of the flora, fauna and geology of the Faroe Islands. 

    Make use of the free bus service to get around the city and get an authentic island life experience. Choose between a traditional or a more contemporary meal in one of Tórshavn’s restaurants, or sit for a while in one of its picturesque cafes. Visit Svartafoss Waterfall and you’ll forget you’re in the middle of a city! Relax on the mossy rocks and take in the view as you listen to the rushing water.   

    The Faroe Islands are mostly treeless, with rocky hills covered in a layer of soft grass that stretches almost all the way to the shoreline. As you explore the open plains you’ll probably come across sheep, and along the seafront you’ll be able to spot various kinds of seabirds soaring above. Try to spot a Faroese Starling, with its beige-tipped metallic wings, or an Eider Drake, with its distinctive green patch on the back of its neck. 

    • Included Explore Torshavn (Walking Tour)
    Day 13
    Torshavn, Faroe Islands

    Northern Europe’s oldest capital

  • Day 14
    Lerwick

    Centre of Scotland’s Shetland Islands

    Lerwick is Scotland’s northernmost town and has grown over time to accommodate a third of the Shetland Islands' population. This is a place where Scandinavian roots run strong and are celebrated by those that live here. Listen to the locals to hear the Norse-influenced dialect, and visit the Lerwick Town Hall to admire the stained-glass windows that chronicle events from the Viking period. 

    Built on the herring trade in the 17th Century, Lerwick still lands more fish than the whole of England, Wales and Northern Ireland combined. This is reflected in its gastronomy. Sample the variety of fish dishes available here, from salmon and shellfish to lythe, ling and John Dory. If seafood isn’t for you, why not try some traditional reestit mutton soup, made with local mutton. 

    Shop for souvenirs in local boutiques along Commercial Street or visit the Shetland Museum to learn more about the town’s Norse heritage and culture. Take a look around the galleries, where Pictish carvings are contrasted with dainty Shetland lace shawls. Stand on the top of Fort Charlotte, an artillery fort in the centre of town with an intriguing past, and take in the remarkable views that stretch across Lerwick and beyond to the island of Bressay. 

    Grey and common seals are frequent visitors on Lerwick’s beaches, so if you spend some time along the waterfront, you might get the chance to see one of these delightful sea mammals poking its head above the water near the shore. Don’t forget your binoculars, as the Shetland Islands are famous for their unique birdlife, with species such as red-throated divers, redshank and curlew breeding here.

    Day 14
    Lerwick

    Centre of Scotland’s Shetland Islands

  • Day 15
    Bergen

    End of the Expedition

    Estimated time of arrival is 8:00 AM

    Your adventure ends in the bustling port city of Bergen. Founded in 1070 AD, Bergen was Norway’s capital for many years, and you’ll see that the city has retained a great deal of its local character, heritage and charm.  

    If you have time, the UNESCO-listed Bryggen district with its colourful wooden warehouses is a must see. The area dates back to the 14th century and now houses boutique stores selling a range of Norwegian arts and crafts. You can also visit Bergen’s famous fish market with its freshly sourced delicacies of the deep. 

    We recommend booking a Post-Programme to explore this beautiful and distinctive city further. Bergen has evolved into one of Norway’s most important cultural hotspots. If you want to immerse yourself in Bergen’s history, then head to the Old Bergen Museum. It’s an open-air museum showcasing what Bergen was like in the 1700s and 1800s. Another historic highlight is Fantoft Stave Church’s wooden medieval architecture – a beautiful combination of Norse and Christian styles.   

    You can hop aboard a funicular up to Mount Fløyen. The ride to the top of the mountain takes just six minutes. At the summit, over 1,000 ft. up, bask in stunning views over the city surrounded by seven mountains and the sea.    

    Once back in the centre of Bergen, spend some time wandering the cobblestone streets and alleyways of this thriving, compact city. If you want a taste of a local specialty, drop into one of the many cafés and try the local cinnamon bun, skillingsbolle – it pairs really nicely with a cup of coffee.    

    Whatever is next for you, we look forward to welcoming you back on your next adventure. 

    Day 15
    Bergen

    End of the Expedition

Departures

2022

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
September:
22.

2023

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December
September:
23.

What's included

Included in your voyage

Flights  

  • Flight in economy class from Oslo to Longyearbyen before the expedition cruise 

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  
  • Complimentary tea and coffee 
  •  Complimentary Wi-Fi on board. Please note there is no Wi-Fi or mobile coverage, except when we are 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

Notes

  • All planned activities are subject to weather and ice conditions 
  • Excursions and activities are subject to change  
  • Please ensure you meet all visa entry requirements 
  • No gratuities expected 
MS spitsbergen
A group of people posing for the camera
Photo: Stefan Dall / Hurtigruten
A room filled with furniture and a large window
Photo: © Tor Farstad
Your ship

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
MS spitsbergen

MS Spitsbergen will take you on a voyage beyond the ordinary. She cruises along the Norwegian coast from September to May, and becomes part of our global Expedition sailings during the rest of the year.

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