A high Arctic archipelago situated between Norway and the North Pole, Svalbard is a place of deep fjords, snow-capped mountains, massive sheets of ice, and magnificent polar bears. Travel under the midnight sun aboard the National Geographic Explorer and experience nature in its purest form.
The National Geographic Explorer is an
ice-class vessel that allows us to probe the
floes in search of resident wildlife, including
walruses, seals, and the majestic polar
bear—the very symbol of the Arctic.
Discover unusual Arctic flora and tidewater
glaciers on walks with naturalists, and spot
huge walruses, bearded and ringed seals,
arctic foxes, and reindeer.
Experience the legendary midnight sun: the ethereal light of the northern summer, when the sun never sets.
Learn tips and techniques on wildlife and
landscape photography from the National
Geographic photographer who accompanies
Itinerary - 11 Days
Days 1 & 2 — U.S./Oslo, Norway
Depart on an overnight flight to Oslo. Upon arrival, check in to the SAS Radisson Blu Airport Hotel. On an afternoon tour of this charming city, stroll among the famed Vigeland sculptures—hundreds of life-size human figures set in terraced parklands. Visit the Fram Museum, showcasing the polar ship Fram and dedicated to one of the explorers and wooden vessels that navigated the Arctic Sea in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a welcome cocktail reception. Radisson Blu Airport Hotel (Day 2: B, D)
Day 3 — Oslo/Longyearbyen
Depart Oslo on a private charter flight, and enjoy views of the southern fjords en route to Longyearbyen. On arrival in Longyearbyen, meet up with a local guide and take a short bus ride to explore the Svalbard Museum and visit the art gallery in the area. Embark the National Geographic Explorer, your base for the next six days. (B,L,D)
Days 4 through 9 — Exploring Svalbard
This voyage is undertaken in the spirit of discovery, and our travel in the archipelago is exploratory by design. In a region ruled not by humans but by polar bears, we let nature guide our course. Svalbard lies north of the Arctic Circle, where the summer midnight sun never sets. With our fully stabilized ice-class expedition ship, we are able to probe the ice in search of wildlife; our exact day-to-day itinerary remains flexible, depending on local ice and weather conditions. Zodiacs and kayaks take us closer to experience the region's geologic features and wildlife and wildflowers that flourish during the summer months.
With our National Geographic photographer and a seasoned naturalist staff, venture to the foot of stunning tidewater glaciers, kayak among sparkling icebergs, and explore fjords that split the rugged coastlines. Hike through miniature gardens blooming on the tundra; and search the edge of the pack ice for polar bears, walruses, seals, reindeer, and arctic foxes. Svalbard is one of the best places on the planet to observe majestic polar bears in their natural environment. (B,L,D daily)
Day 10 — Longyearbyen/Oslo
Disembark in Longyearbyen, the largest settlement in Svalbard, and fly back to Oslo to overnight at the SAS Radisson Blu Airport Hotel. Radisson Blu Airport Hotel (B, L)
Day 11 — Oslo/U.S.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the return flight home. (B)
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.
For more than a decade, Erika Larsen has used photography to learn intimately about and document cultures that maintain strong connections with nature. She has followed Sami reindeer herders in the Scandinavian arctic and explored the significance of the horse in Native American culture for National Geographic magazine. Her work has been shown in the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Swedish Museum of Ethnography, and Ájtte Sámi Museum. Larsen is also the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, which sponsored her study of the North Sami language. She has recently published her first book of photographs, Sámi, Walking With Reindeer. Erika looks forward to sharing her insights into creating images and expressing a personal vision on this journey.
If departing from outside the U.S., plan to arrive on the morning of Day 2.
Add a five-day pre-trip extension to the
breathtaking fjords of Norway or a four-day
post-trip extension to Iceland that includes
Reykjavík, the Golden Circle,
Akureyri, and Lake Mývatn. Please call for details.
Travelers can choose between a light or moderate activity level. For a light level of activity, they should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, or easy hikes.
For a moderate level, travelers should be prepared for multiple hours of physical activity (e.g. hiking, kayaking, biking) each day.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.