Scotland, Norwegian Fjords & Spitsbergen – Expedition
|Resort:||Scotland, Norwegian Fjords & Spitsbergen - Expedition|
Set sail from Scotland, enjoying its beautiful isles en route to the Norwegian fjords and the remote shores of Svalbard. On this dazzling 15-day odyssey across the Norwegian Sea, walk across the glaciers that carved these stunning landscapes, explore subarctic islands by Zodiac in search of polar bears, and walk through history at UNESCO-protected sites on the coast of Norway.
Sail beneath Norway’s dramatic fjords – enjoy incredible glaciers and mountain scenery
Day 1 Edinburgh to Kirkwall
The expedition begins near Scotland’s incomparable capital city. Board the ship this afternoon in the suburb Port of Leith. The ship will depart in the early evening through a lock which leads down to sea level, before heading out to sail down the Firth of Forth. While on deck, keep a lookout for common eiders and northern gannets.
Day 2 Orkney Islands
Visit historic and mystical sites by coach on this remote island. Explore the Standing Stones of Stenness, the intriguing Ring of Brodgar, and the village of Skara Brae. There are few places in the world that offer as much as the Orkneys. Only six miles off the coast of Scotland, the islands are famous for their abundant marine bird life and dramatic coastal scenery. Enjoy an afternoon to explore the ancient history of the people of these Scottish Isles.
Day 3 Shetland Islands
Continue northwards to the remote Shetland Islands. Opt to visit Jarlshof or join the Puffin Bus to focus on puffins and seabird photography at Sumbrugh Head (weather dependent). Enjoy additional time to explore Lerwick. The Shetland archipelago is an engaging mix of Scotland and Scandinavia blessed with spectacular coastlines, varied and abundant birdlife and a number of archaeological sites that date back thousands of years.
Day 4 Alesund
Cross the famous North Sea to reach Norway. Spend the afternoon exploring the beautiful Art Nouveau district of Alesund, or take the 418 steps up to Fjellstua for the best view of the city, islands and bay. Opt to visit the Alesund Museum and learn about the culture and history of the town, including the fire which destroyed the city in 1904.
Day 5 Andalsnes
A full day to explore the town of Andalsnes and the surrounding mountains. Board the Rauma Railway taking you into the dramatic scenes of the Romsdalen mountains, or explore the town on foot. Known as one of Europe’s most beautiful train journeys, the Rauma Railway offers spectacular Norwegian scenery, past crystal blue fjords to snow-capped mountain peaks in about an hour. Board the train in Andalsnes and settle in for a journey into the Romsdalen valley, surrounded by the staggering Romsdalshorn and Trolltidene mountains on either side. See the Troll Wall and cross the majestic Kylling bru bridge over the Rauma River. Upon arrival at Bjorli station, transfer to a coach for the scenic drive back to town, with ample photo stops along the way.
Day 6 Trondheim
We continue on to Trondheim, a modern city surrounded by beautiful forests and mountains and is home to the remarkable Nidaros Cathedral. Built over the burial site of Saint Olav, the king of Norway in the 11th century, Nidaos Cathedral is the traditional location for the consecration of the king of Norway. Choose between taking an afternoon hike to the Sverresborg Folk Museum, or enjoy a city tour including the Folk Museum and the elaborate Cathedral, built between 1070 and 1300.
Day 7 Torghatten and Vega
The rugged coastline of central Norway features some of the world’s most beautiful scenery. The captain will liaise with local Norwegian pilots to determine our best landing options. Our aim is to visit Torghatten, one of the most bizarre rock formations in Norway and a significant local landmark. We will also try to cruise by ship and Zodiac, through the Treana archipelago, comprising of over a thousand tiny islands. Our on-board photography expert will be on hand to ensure that you make the most of the photographic opportunities found in this area. In the afternoon, we will head to the quaint and picturesque Vega Island, a listed UNESCO site. You will have time to wander through the picturesque fishing villages and appreciate the slow pace of life found here . This region is also renowned for its eider down harvesting.
Day 8 Svartisen and Vikingen
Today we visit Svartisen and Vikingen, where we will enjoy beautiful glaciers and a globe sculpture which marks Vikingen as a point directly on the Arctic Circle. Svartisen is Norway’s second largest glacier and water collected here is used for hydropower. Here, we hope to enjoy a scenic walk up to a glacier before continuing onto Vikingen. Our last stop of the day will be Sanna, a remote island that offers great walking opportunities and a chance to see some sea eagles.
Day 9 Lofoten Islands
The Lofoten archipelago is an enchanting area of picturesque villages, backed with jagged peaks which are perched by the sea. Go ashore via coach on the island of A, where cod fishing is still a major part of the economy. There will be a chance to visit the Torrfiskmuseum (Stockfish museum) before a bus tour across the Lofoten Islands to Svolvaer. We will stop here for photos and other interest points along the way, including the Viking Museum at Bostad. In the evening, stay on deck as you cruise into one of Norway’s most famous fjords, the short yet dramatic Trollfjord. Search the cliffs on your continuing quest to spot trolls.
Day 10 Explore Tromso
Today we arrive in Tromso. Explore this northern haven and be sure to visit the Arctic Cathedral, whose unique architecture is evocative of snow and icebergs and its stained glass windows are among the largest in Europe. Tromso, the capital of northern Norway, is known as the ‘Gateway to the Arctic’ since so many Arctic expeditions originated from here. Choose between hiking on the mountain top overlooking Tromso, or wandering through the city’s streets before taking a cable car to the mountain top. Enjoy a delicious lunch of traditional open-faced sandwiches while gazing over the city. Everyone will have the chance to visit some of the major sites, including the Polar and Tromso Museums and weather permitting, enjoy a stunning view from a cable car.
Day 11 At Sea
Sail past Bear Island. Even from afar, Bear island offers spectacular views, with thousands of bird species such as fulmars, kittiwakes, guillemots and gulls.Weather permitting, there may be an opportunity to explore mist-shrouded Bjrnya by Zodiac – a birdwatcher’s paradise. The weather is temperamental, so the option of a landing is not guaranteed.
Day 12 Hornsund
Explore the natural beauty of Hornsund and take advantage of the spectacular photo opportunities, as we explore by Zodiac. This scenic archipelago is made up of deep fjords, mountains and massive ice sheets. Keep your eyes peeled for walruses, seals, reindeer, Arctic foxes and of course, polar bears.
Day 13 Hornsund and Bellsund, Svalbard
Soak up the sights and sounds of Svalbard. Our focus is searching for wildlife, with a variety of sea and land mammals, as well as birdlife, calling this region home. Our flexible itinerary and experience allows us to take the best advantage of ice and weather conditions. Each season we attempt to discover new landing sites to explore, thus enhancing your expedition experience. Shore walks and Zodiac adventures bring us up close to mystical landscapes, icebergs, and of course the magical wildlife.
Day 14 Svalbard
Today, we will have a full day to enjoy this glacial wilderness. We will cruise by Zodiac amongst ice floes, where we may encounter some lounging walruses with their young. If we’re lucky, we may also catch a glimpse of an Arctic fox roaming the tundra, whilst we head out on a shore landing. At all times, we will of course keep our eyes peeled for the King of the Arctic, the might polar bear.
Day 15 Longyearbyen
Disembarkation will take place early in the morning, after breakfast. Depending on your flight times, a transfer will either take you to the airport or into the center of the town, where you are free to explore on your own. Longyearbyen boasts an outstanding Arctic museum, an art gallery and a number of other cultural attractions for you to enjoy.