On a carefully-crafted itinerary that we’ve perfected over time, set out to explore some of the most stunning landscapes of the north aboard the National Geographic Explorer or the new National Geographic Endurance. Follow Norway’s fjord-carved coast from charming Bergen to Tromsø, discovering tiny fishing villages on our way to the icy shores of Svalbard. Spend five days exploring Svalbard with a world-class expedition team, kayaking deep into ice-fringed inlets; hiking windswept islands; and searching for iconic wildlife—including the majestic polar bear.
This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.
Depart on an overnight flight to Bergen, the gateway to Norway's fjords. 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—the city's colorful old wharf, and a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. Later, settle into your accommodations aboard the National Geographic Endurance.
National Geographic Endurance or National Geographic Explorer through Day 15
This morning, we begin our exploration of Norway's dramatic fjords. Glide through the little-known Nordfjorden and travel overland to see the jagged peaks and turquoise lake of Lodalen Valley. Using tips and tricks from our National Geographic photographer, capture the lake's unique color, caused by rock dust from nearby glaciers. Then hike through deep, glacially carved valleys to Kjenndal Glacier, an arm of Jostedal Glacier—the largest ice sheet glacier in continental Europe.
Along the stunning fjord-laced coast of central Norway, cruise in a Zodiac beneath vertical rock faces, paddle a kayak past countless waterfalls, and go hiking with our naturalists. As we make our way north to the Arctic Circle, explore hidden gems such as Melfjorden, a spectacular narrow channel that cuts between high granite cliffs. View snowcapped mountains reflected in the fjord's clear waters, and spot the few colorful houses that are perched on shore.
Due to the warm currents of the Gulf Stream, the magical Lofoten islands experience relatively mild temperatures year-round. Travel among the archipelago by Zodiac and witness how the good weather creates a haven for wildlife such as otters and moose, as well as some of the largest concentrations of seabirds in Europe— from sea eagles to Atlantic puffins, razorbills, and murres. Go ashore at the island of Værøy, where fishing remains a major contributor to the local economy. Later, find a spot on deck as we cruise into Trollfjorden, one of the most dramatic fjords in Norway.
This morning, enter the long fjord of Tysfjorden, where only a few small villages cling to the rocky shores. Hike the U-shaped valley of Hellemobotn, whose fjord reaches far inland and ends just a few miles from the border of Sweden.
Tromsø is known as the “gateway to the Arctic” for the numerous Arctic expeditions that originated here. Visit the Polar Museum, which showcases the ships, equipment, and seafaring traditions of early Arctic settlers. Observe the high concentration of historic wooden houses on Tromsø's tree-lined streets, and step into the Arctic Cathedral, where the unique architecture evokes snow and icebergs.
We now set our sights on the high Arctic, taking advantage of opportunities to explore Bjørnøya, or Bear Island—the southernmost island of the Svalbard archipelago. Cruise past the eastern highlands of Miseryfjellet mountain and view sea caves and rock pillars carved out of the rocky shore. Glide a Zodiac into the coves and inlets of this mist-shrouded isle, and use your binoculars to take in the spectacular sight of tens of thousands of fulmars, kittiwakes, and murres communing on the sheer granite cliffs.
Svalbard lies north of the Arctic Circle, where the summer sun never sets. Extended daylight hours and a flexible itinerary allow us to make the most of our time here in the far north. With our fully stabilized, ice-class ship, we probe the floes in search of wildlife. Join our spotters on the bridge, scanning the edges of the pack ice for massive walruses, bearded and ringed seals, arctic foxes, reindeer, and polar bears; and venture ashore with our naturalists to hike tundra abloom with wildflowers. Sail deep into beautiful fjords to kayak quiet coves surrounded by sparkling icebergs, and board Zodiacs to view tidewater glaciers and spectacular ice formations. Enjoy nightly recaps and talks by our National Geographic expert on the natural wonders we encounter, and view underwater video footage taken some 1,000 feet below the surface by our remotely operated vehicle (ROV).
Disembark in Longyearbyen and visit the Svalbard Gallery and Svalbard Museum. Then board our charter flight to Oslo and check in to our hotel.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your return flight.
- Iceland's Natural Wonders Extension4 days from $4,910
Discover some of Iceland's most geothermally active areas on a post-trip extension. Wander among twisted lava stacks and caves near Lake Mývatn, and stroll the black-sand shores of Kleifarvatn Lake. Explore historic landmarks in Reykjavík and set out into the surrounding countryside for a tour of the famed Golden Circle.
Depart from Oslo and arrive at the Reykjavík airport, then fly on to Akureyri, a port city on Iceland’s northern coast. Check in to our hotel and enjoy stunning views of snow-capped peaks that descend into the sea.
Today, head east to explore the Mývatn geothermal area, dominated by volcanic craters and natural lava sculptures. The mineral-rich waters of Lake Mývatn provide a sanctuary for flora and fauna, including colonies of unique algae balls called Marimo and more than 10 species of duck. Return to Akureyri to enjoy a gourmet dinner at a local restaurant.
Fly to Reykjavík this morning and explore the world’s northernmost capital. Visit the Parliament House of the Althing, the oldest parliament in the world. Gaze up at the impressive tower of the Hallgrímskirkja church, one of the city’s best known landmarks. In the afternoon, choose to soak in the geothermal waters of the famous Blue Lagoon.
Set out on a tour of Iceland’s famous Golden Circle to explore the dramatic landscapes that inspired the country’s nickname—“the land of fire and ice.” Stand in the spray of thundering Gullfoss Waterfall and walk between steaming fumaroles and bubbling mud pots in the Geysir geothermal area, namesake of all the world’s geysers. At Thingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, view the rift between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates and learn about the early democracy of Viking settlers in Iceland.
This morning, choose to relax in your hotel, or join an excursion to the wild Reykjanes Peninsula. Discover the vivid hot springs, deep craters, and bright red, green, and yellow soils of the Krýsuvík geothermal area. Stroll on the black-sand beach at the edge of Kleifarvatn, one of the country’s largest and deepest lakes. Visit the Kvikan House of Culture and Natural Resources in the fishing village of Grindavík to learn the surprising history of saltfish, once one of Iceland’s most vital economic exports. After lunch, transfer to the airport for your flight home.