Spitsbergen: Land of the Ice Bears: Jun 04—14, 2016

An In-Depth Exploration of Arctic Svalbard Aboard the National Geographic Explorer

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Departs: Oslo, Norway
Tour Limit: 20
Operations Manager: Greg Lopez
Download Itinerary: PDF (1010.6 KB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Denver Holt

Denver Holt is a wildlife researcher and graduate of the University of Montana. He is founde...

The VENT leader is guaranteed to be on this departure.

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Polar Bear, Svalbard, Arctic Norway

Polar Bear, Svalbard, Arctic Norway— Photo: Ralph Lee Hopkins

Visit one of the last great wildernesses in search of polar bears, walruses, Ivory Gulls, and more aboard one of the best expedition cruise vessels in existence.

North of Norway, only 600 miles from the North Pole, lies Spitsbergen, a land regarded by more than one authority as the last great expanse of an untrammeled high Arctic ecosystem. This remote island outpost, the largest within the Svalbard Archipelago, is a place of supreme beauty. Dramatic landscapes and seascapes, immense icebergs, calving glaciers, sheets of pack ice, snow-blanketed mountains, sheer fjords, and glorious, flower-spangled tundra characterize this polar wonderland.
VENT is returning to Spitsbergen to experience the superlative wildlife and outstanding natural beauty found here at the height of the northern summer. For this expedition, we have reserved an allotment aboard the National Geographic Explorer for a near-circumnavigation of the main island. Newly refurbished and fully stabilized, the Explorer offers all the comforts of home while providing a first-rate polar expedition.

Since Spitsbergen is almost entirely protected, perhaps no other destination offers such a breathtaking pageant of Arctic wildlife. From the Explorer’s Zodiac landing craft, we will visit untrammeled beaches, towering sea cliffs, and protected nearshore waters in search of the island’s most charismatic wildlife. This is the best place to see polar bears, and the list of marine life we will encounter includes some of the far north’s most range-restricted animals. Beluga whales, ringed and bearded seals, and the mighty walrus are all expected.

VIDEO: Arctic Svalbard aboard National Geographic Explorer, by Lindblad Expeditions


National Geographic Explorer

National Geographic Explorer— Photo: Sven-Olof Lindblad

Representing the birds is a dazzling array of waterfowl, shorebirds, and cliff-nesting alcids. Arctic Loons, Common and King eiders, Pink-footed and Barnacle geese, Dovekies and Thick-billed Murres, and even Ivory Gulls are among the highlights that include the spectacle of thousands of other nesting birds.

The stunning scenery of Spitsbergen is captured inland where the tundra blazes with beautiful Arctic wildflowers represented by poppies, saxifrages, avens, buttercups, and more.
The emphasis on this trip is quality rather than quantity. While the species diversity is comparatively limited, a visit to Spitsbergen is really about experiencing a spectacular part of the high Arctic and its natural history—and what an experience it is!

All travel and accommodations aboard an excellent expedition cruise ship and Zodiac landing craft; excellent food and accommodations; warm to cold weather.