Follow Norway's fjord-carved coast past the North Cape to the icy isles of Svalbard on board the National Geographic Explorer. Visit charming towns in Sweden and Norway before entering the fjordlands. Kayak narrow inlets that slice between towering peaks, visit fishing villages, and hike wildflower-strewn islands. Explore Tromsø and Bear Island on the way to Svalbard, where polar bears prowl and walruses loll on glaciers and magnificent icebergs.
Stroll past medieval wooden houses of Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage site in Bergen.
Discover hidden inlets and cascading waterfalls while kayaking in the spectacular fjord lands.
Learn about the cultures that flourish on the Arctic's edge.
Spot polar bears and seals on the ice floes of the Svalbard archipelago.
Itinerary - 17 Days
Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Bergen, Norway
Depart on an overnight flight to Bergen, the gateway to the fjord lands. Ringed by seven hills, this beautiful city was once an important Hanseatic trading center. Discover Bergen’s maritime history on a guided walk of Bryggen, a UNESCO World Heritage site before embarking the National Geographic Explorer.
Day 3 — Nordfjord
Glide through the little-known Nordfjord and travel overland to see the jagged peaks and turquoise lake of Olden Valley. Hike through deep, glacially carved valleys to Briksdal Glacier.
Day 4 — Smøla
A small, flat island in the North Sea, Smøla is home to a fishing community of about 2,100. Spend time today exploring the wetlands, fishing villages, and rugged coasts by special permission. Go for a coastal walk or bike ride, or a take a kayaking
excursion in its protected bays. Many a ship has sunk around Smøla, and our ROV should be able to view wrecks dating back hundreds of years.
Days 5 & 6 — Exploring the Fjords of Norway
Along the dramatic coast of central Norway, cruise in a Zodiac along vertical rock faces, paddle a kayak past countless waterfalls, and go for a hike with our naturalists. Explore hidden gems such as Melfjorden, a spectacular narrow channel that cuts between high granite cliffs.
Day 7 — Lofoten Islands
Travel among the islets by Zodiac to view Atlantic puffins, razorbills, and guillemots. Go ashore for a stroll through the fishing village of Aa. Later, cruise into dramatic Trollfjorden, one of the most famous fjords in Norway.
Day 8 — Tysfjordan
This morning, enter the long fjord of Tysfjorden, where only a few small villages cling to the rocky shores. Explore Hellemobotn and the area’s numerous side channels by Zodiac, kayak, or on foot. (B,L,D)
Day 9 — Tromsø
Tromsø is known as the “gateway to the Arctic” because so many Arctic expeditions originated here. Visit the Polar Museum and the Arctic Cathedral, where the unique architecture evokes snow and icebergs.
Day 10 — Bjørnøya (Bear Island)
We now set our sights on the high Arctic, taking
advantage of opportunities to explore on our way to Bear Island. Glide a Zodiac into the coves and inlets of this mist-shrouded island, populated by hundreds of thousands of fulmars, kittiwakes, and guillemots.
Days 11 through 15 — Exploring Svalbard
Spend five days searching for walruses, seals, reindeer, arctic foxes, and polar bears among the deep fjords, mountains, and ice sheets of Svalbard. Our itinerary is flexible to allow us to make the most of ice and weather conditions, and wildlife sightings. Shore walks and Zodiac and kayaking adventures bring us up close to untouched landscapes and passing icebergs.
Day 16 — Longyearbyen/Disembark/Oslo
Disembark in Longyearbyen and visit the Svalbard Art Gallery and Svalbard Museum. Then board our charter flight to Oslo and check into the Radisson Blu Hotel.
Radisson Blu Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 17 — Oslo/U.S.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight.
A diverse team of experts, including naturalists, historians, and a National Geographic photographer, will accompany each expedition aboard the National Geographic Explorer. See one of the members of our extraordinary team below.
Sisse Brimberg and Cotton Coulson
Photographers Sisse Brimberg and Cotton Coulson have collectively photographed more than 50 stories for National Geographic and National Geographic Traveler magazines. They have spent much of their careers working in Europe, shooting stories from the Arctic and Scandinavia to Italy and France. Sisse and Cotton have been awarded prizes by Pictures of the Year International, the National Press Photographers Association, White House Press Photographers Association, and Communication Arts. Based in Denmark, Sisse and Cotton will share their love of photography, Scandinavia, and the Arctic.
Sisse Brimberg and Cotton Coulson will join the following departures: