Follow the Viking trail aboard the new National Geographic Endurance on a voyage from Norway to the far-flung islands and archipelagos of the Arctic. Cruise the famed Norwegian fjords and the magical Lofoten islands, explore Bronze Age sites in Scotland’s Shetland Islands, and delve into the legacy of the Vikings amid the turf-roofed cottages of the Faroes. Then trace Iceland’s most remote shorelines, witnessing geological wonders from volcanoes to thundering waterfalls.
This trip is offered in partnership with Lindblad Expeditions.
Fly overnight to Oslo, and check into our hotel in the heart of the city. On an afternoon tour, stroll amid the city’s famed Vigeland sculptures—hundreds of life-size human figures set in terraced parkland. Visit the Fram Museum, showcasing the polar ship Fram and dedicated to the explorers and wooden vessels that navigated the Arctic Sea in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The evening is free to explore Oslo on your own.
Take a charter flight to Tromsø, known as the “gateway to the Arctic” due to the large number of Arctic expeditions that originated here. Visit the Arctic Cathedral, where the unique architecture evokes icebergs; and peruse the Polar Museum, which showcases the ships, equipment, and seafaring traditions of early Arctic settlers. Embark our ship this afternoon.
National Geographic Endurance for the entire voyage
This morning, enter the long fjord of Tysfjorden, where only a few small villages cling to the rocky shores. Glide beneath the fjord’s steep walls on Zodiac and kayak excursions; and explore a U-shaped valley whose fjord reaches far inland, ending just a few miles from the border of Sweden.
Start your day on deck as we glide into Trollfjorden, one of Norway’s most dramatic fjords. The Lofoten archipelago boasts an enchanting landscape of picturesque villages framed by jagged, granite peaks that rise straight from the sea. Explore the many islets, and go ashore at Værøy to hike and kayak. Seek out Atlantic puffins, razorbills, and guillemots on a Zodiac cruise.
Carved by glaciers over millions of years, Norway’s northern coast is laced with steep-walled fjords, mountainous islands, and chiseled peaks. Cruise in a Zodiac along vertical rock faces, kayak through serene fjords, or go ashore on a secluded sandy beach to hike amid verdant valleys and birch forests.
Spend a relaxing morning at sea as we sail toward the Shetland Islands, an archipelago of about one hundred islands and islets located north of the Scottish mainland. Glide past the towering cliffs of Noss to view murres, puffins, kittiwakes, and other seabirds.
Dock in Lerwick, a town where Norse and Gaelic cultures intermingle. Explore the town, delve into local culture and history at the Shetland Museum & Archives, or embark on a bird-watching or geology walk. Alternatively, venture to the prehistoric settlement of Jarlshof to examine its Bronze Age ruins and Viking longhouses. In the afternoon, continue to Foula, a stark but spectacular island edged with towering cliffs and blanketed with peat bogs, where people are drastically outnumbered by puffins.
This entire archipelago is made up of islands gouged by dramatic fjords and almost completely covered in turf and peat. We will explore the stunning scenery with a variety of hikes and encounter Faroese art, culture, music, and food through unique interactions with locals. Visit the capital in Torshavn, to see the natural history museum and the Kirkjubøur archaeological site, a medieval farming and religious center. See the incredible bird cliffs and scenic landscapes of the southern island of Suðuroy.
After a day at sea, we awake along Iceland’s rugged eastern coast, an unspoiled stretch of rocky outcrops, hidden coves, and hills that beckon hikers. We may visit one of several locations in this region. Depending on the weather and tides, go for a Zodiac cruise to view the sea stacks near Rauđanes peninsula or hike along a stretch of the Langanes peninsula. Continue to Grímsey on the Arctic Circle and celebrate our official arrival in the Arctic.
Located in the Westfjords region, the town of Ísafjörđur is surrounded by water on three sides, sculpted by glaciers. Take a bike ride along the coast of the fjord or explore Icelandic cuisine. Explore by Zodiac and hike ashore to view the local landscape and photograph flowering plants. The next day, visit Flatey island, a fishing and trading post for centuries. Navigate the coast by Zodiac to see where Erik the Red is believed to have set sail around the year 982, bound for Greenland. Sail past the soaring Látrabjarg cliffs, the westernmost point of Iceland and home to teeming populations of bird species, including razorbills and puffins.
Spend the day in the Westman Islands, one of the world’s younger archipelagos, formed by undersea volcanos some 11,000 years ago. In 1973, the isle of Heimaey was threatened by lava flows that nearly closed off the harbor. We’ll visit the Eldfell volcanic crater, where the earth is still hot from that eruption, and take in views over landscapes engulfed in lava rock. We’ll also spy Surtsey, one of the world’s youngest islands, which was formed by volcanic eruptions between 1963 and 1967.
Disembark in Reykjavík and choose to either soak in the geothermal waters of the famed Blue Lagoon; or visit hot springs, a geothermal power plant, and an Icelandic horse farm. Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
- Norwegian Fjords Extension5 days from $4,590
Before embarking on your expedition cruise, spend seven days venturing deep into Norway’s western fjordlands. Travel by train between snow-dusted peaks, and explore the majestic landscapes of the Sognefjorden—the longest and deepest fjord in Norway—on foot and by ship. Kayak the clear waters of the Sørfjorden, and hike past verdant mountainside orchards around Ullensvang. Marvel at the intricate architecture of wooden stave churches in medieval mountain towns, and enjoy the daily rhythms of life in farming villages up and down the fjords.
Depart on an overnight flight to Bergen, the gateway to the fjords. This picturesque coastal city was once a hub for the powerful Hanseatic League, which ruled northern Europe’s commercial activity from the 13th to the 15th centuries. Check in to our centrally-located hotel and enjoy a dinner of local cuisine.
Explore Bergen’s historic city center, from its colorful old wharf to the Hanseatic Museum, which details the history of German merchants in the region. Step inside St. Mary’s Church and the reconstructed Fantoft Stave Church. This intricate wooden church was originally built in 1150 on the edge of an inland fjord, but was moved to Bergen in the 19th century. Later, discover the home of Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg, and then ride the famed funicular to a peak providing panoramic views of the city and the bay.
Today’s adventure will take us through Norway’s spectacular fjordlands by train and ferry. Begin the day with a drive to Voss, known as the adventure capital of Norway. From here, catch a train to Myrdal for a journey amid towering green mountains. Then board the famed Flåm Railway and ascend some 2,900 feet in less than an hour, traveling through breathtaking valleys and along stunning fjords to reach the charming village of Flåm. After lunch, set sail from Gudvangen for a voyage through the Nærøyfjorden, part of a UNESCO World Heritage site, and two other arms of the famed Sognefjorden. Glide past the base of majestic peaks rising over 5,000 feet into the clouds, and spot the white streaks of waterfalls cascading down wooded mountainsides. Return to Gudvangen and drive to Bruraviga, enjoying superb views of Stalheim Canyon and Nærøydal Valley. Later, travel by ferry to Brimnes, then transfer to Ullensvang. Upon arrival, check in to our historic hotel situated on the stunning Sørfjorden, an arm of the Hardangerfjorden—the second longest fjord in the country.
Enjoy a day to savor the beauty of our idyllic surroundings, choosing from a variety of activities. Explore the clear waters and green shores of the Sørfjorden by kayak or canoe. Hike past lush cherry and apple orchards lining the edge of the fjord, or relax on the waterfront where composer Edvard Grieg spent his summers. Or choose to visit Ullensvang Church and the Hardanger Folk Museum to learn about the history of this captivating region.
Today, discover an array of wild and spectacular landscapes as we journey east to Oslo. Marvel at the delicate streams of Tvindefossen waterfall and the reflection of forested hills in the mirror-like surface of Oppheim Lake. Stop to view the dramatic Vøringsfossen waterfall as it plummets deep into Måbødalen valley. In the village of Ål, visit the Torpo Stave Church, constructed around 1192 and bearing the runic inscription of its builder. After lunch in the historic town of Gol, continue to Oslo and enjoy a free afternoon to explore Norway’s capital.
After breakfast, set out on your own to discover Oslo’s diverse cultural offerings, from the famed Vigeland Park sculpture garden to the stunning waterfront Opera House. In the afternoon, meet fellow travelers for a guided city tour before embarking on your expedition cruise.