On a voyage aboard the new National Geographic Endurance, sail across the North Sea in the wake of legendary explorers and seafarers, traveling from Norway’s breathtaking fjords and snow-dusted mountains to Scotland’s rolling green hills and ancient ruins. Glide beneath the dramatic cliffs of the second largest fjord in Norway, explore the rich traditions and evocative seascapes of the Shetland Islands, and travel back in time amid the Stone Age sites of the Orkney Islands. With our knowledgeable expedition team, encounter an interwoven tapestry of histories and cultures as we explore on foot, by kayak, and by Zodiac.
This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.
Depart on an overnight flight to the coastal city of Bergen, the gateway to the fjords. Discover the city’s maritime history on a tour of Bryggen—the colorful old wharf and a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. Later, embark our ship.
National Geographic Endurance through Day 8
Norway’s glacier-carved western coast boasts some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. Launch kayaks and Zodiacs to explore the sublime Hardangerfjorden, the second longest fjord in the country and the fourth longest in the world. Cruise beneath staggering cliffs and rushing waterfalls. Then venture ashore to hike or bike against a backdrop of snow-dusted mountains, emerald valleys, and fruit orchards.
Drop anchor at the island of Hidra, which boasts a rich history dating from the Viking era through World War II. Explore the picturesque village of Kirkehamn by Zodiac or kayak, gliding along shores dotted with quaint, red-roofed buildings. Or venture to the town of Flekkefjord, located at the head of a vast fjord. Stroll amid the white wooden houses of the Dutch Quarter, a trading hub during the 16th and 17th centuries. Then visit the local museum which dates from around 1720 and houses a variety of exhibitions featuring traditional Norwegian interiors and textiles.
Our voyage takes us across the North Sea to the Shetland Islands, where Norse and Gaelic culture intermingle in fascinating ways. Cruise below the towering cliffs of Noss, a nature reserve which harbors thousands of seabirds including puffins, guillemots, and kittiwakes. Later, in the bustling seaport of Lerwick, choose from several options. Explore the town, strolling amid 18th-century sandstone warehouses; delve into local culture and history at the Shetland Museum & Archives; or embark on a birdwatching or a geology-focused excursion. Alternatively, discover the prehistoric settlement of Jarlshof—which reveals 4,000 years of near-continuous settlement—and examine Bronze Age ruins and Viking longhouses.
Arrive at Unst, the northernmost island of the Shetlands which harbors sheltered inlets, golden beaches, and a large nature reserve. Take to the trails onshore to skirt towering cliffs and heather-covered hills. Weather permitting, paddle the scenic coastline by kayak or cruise in a Zodiac to the farthest northern lighthouse in the U.K. Or visit the Unst Heritage Centre, which features local artifacts including handspun knit and lace, fishing tools, and wooden boats.
The Vikings held a strategic foothold in the Orkney Islands for centuries, and their Norse heritage is still evident. Explore fascinating Stone Age sites, including the megaliths of the Ring of Brodgar and the 5,000-year-old stone-slab village of Skara Brae. Visit the medieval St. Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, which was founded in 1137 by the Viking Earl Rognvald.
Disembark in Edinburgh and tour the city before transferring to the airport for your flight home.
- Bergen Extension1 days from $980
Overlooking the blue waters of Norway’s southwestern fjords, Bergen was once an important center of the bustling maritime economy ruled by the powerful Hanseatic League. Step into the city’s historic corners as you explore a medieval stave church and the colorful Bryggen wharf, and take in spectacular views from the top of Mount Fløyen.
Depart the U.S on an overnight flight and arrive in Bergen the following morning. Settle into our hotel, then set out to explore Norway’s second-largest city. This colorful seaside community was once a Viking stronghold, and later an important trading center of the Hanseatic League, which dominated commercial activity in northern Europe in the late Middle Ages. Step inside the intricate wooden Fantoft Stave Church, originally constructed in the Middle Ages and painstakingly rebuilt following a suspicious 1992 fire. Board a funicular and soar up to the summit of Mount Fløyen, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the sparkling sea.
After breakfast, explore the city’s maritime history, beginning with a tour of Bryggen. This colorful wharf is composed of Hanseatic buildings that have been destroyed and then rebuilt in their original style over the years. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, it is one of Norway’s most iconic urban areas from the Middle Ages. At the historic Maritime Museum, view artifacts of Norway’s seafaring past from an elegant Viking longship to artful scale models of various boats. This afternoon, embark our ship to begin your expedition.