Arctic Saga: Exploring Spitsbergen via the Faroes and Jan Mayen

Start: Aberdeen Finish: Longyearbyen

Visiting: Spitsbergen,


Duration: 13 Nights

Physical rating: Leisurely

Special diets catered: Please inform Exodus of specific dietary requirements

Tour Operator: Exodus

Group size: 0 - 132

Age range: 18 to 99

Tour operated in: English


Prices From: $7651

Tour Overview

Sailing across the North Atlantic, you’ll be immersed in the region’s rugged beauty and whaling and Viking history, visiting the awe-inspiring and unspoiled destinations of Fair Isle, the Faroe Islands, Jan Mayen and Spitsbergen. Towering fjords, massive glaciers, soaring sea stacks and coastal cliffs teeming with thousands of seabirds, like the amazing Atlantic puffin, will take your breath away. So too will the diverse wildlife of this far-flung region, from Svalbard reindeer to dolphins, seals and whales. Having continuous daylight for part of the voyage means optimum chances to spot these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat at any time of day… or night!

Highlights

  • iconExplore the volcanic and glacier covered Jan Mayen island, in the heart of the North Atlantic Ocean
  • iconAccompanied by extremely qualified Expedition Staff
  • iconCruise in a Zodiac to explore diverse landscapes and wildlife
  • iconFollow in the footsteps of the Norsemen on Fair Isle and the Vikings in the Faroe Islands
  • iconEncounter iconic Arctic wildlife, such as puffins, reindeer, whales and seabirds
  • iconTravel in a small expedition vessel

Places You'll See

Cities & Attractions:

Itinerary

Map Image
icon Day 1 : Embark in Aberdeen, United Kingdom

Meals: dinner

Arrive any time on Day 1 and make your way to your included hotel. The gateway for your Arctic adventure, the Scottish city of Aberdeen, has many monikers, but its most famous is Granite City, as it was once the granite capital of the world. Wandering the streets, you’ll soon see why, as the Victorian buildings sparkle in the sun. A bustling cultural hub, Aberdeen also offers a range of museums, galleries, theaters, shops, cafés and restaurants to explore.

icon Day 2 : Embarkation Day

Meals: breakfast, dinner

Today you will have some free time before being transferred to the port to board your ship. As you set sail this afternoon, you’ll want to be out on deck, camera in hand—the area’s coastal waters offer excellent possibilities for spotting Bottlenose and White-beaked dolphins, Harbor porpoises and Minke whales.

icon Day 3 : Exploring Fair Isle

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

The U.K.’s most remote inhabited island, the extraordinary Fair Isle is located halfway between the Shetland and Orkney Islands. Boasting a rugged beauty, Fair Isle’s landscape is diverse, with fields and moors dominated by seaside cliffs and an astounding amount of sea stacks, natural arches and caves. Despite its small size, the island offers activities for history, nature and photography buffs alike. Visit the museum to immerse yourself in local artifacts, photos, knitwear and other historic memorabilia. Don’t forget to snap a shot of the circa 1935 classic red phone booth by the post office! In terms of wildlife, Orcas are native to the waters around Fair Isle, and they sometimes come close in pursuit of seals. But the island is best known for its coastal cliffs teeming with seabirds in spring and summer. The star attraction is the Atlantic puffin, a clown-like bird that clings to the steep slopes. Photographers will surely want to capture pictures of their bemused expressions, and Fair Isle’s easily accessible grassy banks make it one of the best places in the Shetlands to observe these colourful creatures. Northern fulmars, kittiwakes, Storm petrels, razorbills and guillemots are also likely to be spotted, soaring over the open waters. Visitors to this community of crofters, artisans and artists may be able to pick up a traditional Fair Isle sweater to keep you warm during the rest of your arctic voyage. Be sure to pick one up, along with a matching hat, scarf and mittens, at the town hall.

icon Day 4 -5 : Exploring the Faroe Islands

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Known for its beautiful, unspoiled landscape, with verdant pastures giving way to rugged, steep cliffs, the Faroe Islands have a storied past, though the details of the archipelago’s early history are a bit hazy. The first settlers may have been seventh-century Irish monks seeking solitude on these islands far removed from any continent. Their isolation ended in 800 AD, with the arrival of Norse farmers, and Norwegian colonization continued throughout the Viking Age. Today, many of the inhabitants of the Faroe Islands, now a self-governing country within the Kingdom of Denmark, are descendants of Norwegian Vikings. We will have two days to explore this unspoiled and seldom-visited archipelago made up of 18 rugged islands located about halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The mighty North Atlantic is omnipresent wherever we go with no place on the Faroe Islands farther than 3 miles (5 km) from its shores. The sea has always dominated life on the Faroes – throughout history as much as today: rich fisheries, magnificent ocean views and thriving sea bird colonies make up this rare Nordic jewel – often referred to as Europe’s best kept secret. We will spend a day exploring the outer islands of the archipelago which are separated by narrow sounds and fjords and delight in their surreal landscapes, dramatic cliffs and rock formations, green valleys engulfed by steep dramatic mountains, protecting small picturesque villages with colorful turf-topped housed. Wind, weather and sea conditions will influence and shape our activity options, but we will of course always keep our eyes out for marine and bird life especially the iconic Atlantic puffin. Our second day in the Faroes will be dedicated to the capital city of Tórshavn, where the Vikings established their government in 825 AD. One of the world’s smallest capitals, the picturesque Tórshavn has a relaxed vibe and a number of historical and cultural sites. Meander the maze of narrow laneways of the Old Town, admiring the quaint wooden houses with traditional sod roofs and white paned windows. If you’re looking for more action, a hike up to the historic fort, built in 1580 to guard against pirate raids, offers stunning views of the port below. Or perhaps you prefer to wander the charming harbor, filled with cafés, pubs and old warehouses, and simply gaze out at the sea while sipping a latte.

icon Day 6 -7 : At Sea

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Say goodbye to the Faroes as we cruise toward the world’s most northerly volcanic island, Jan Mayen. There are several activities to keep you engaged while at sea. Learn to identify seabirds gliding alongside your ship, attend dynamic presentations by the Expedition Team, relax in our polar library or simply spend some time on deck, admiring the sea. With your binoculars and camera at the ready, keep your eyes peeled for the blow of a Humpback, Blue or Fin whale. Encounters with Minke whales or Orcas are also possible, since their curiosity can bring them near the ship. If you’re lucky, you may even see Harp seals.

icon Day 8 -9 : Exploring Jan Mayen

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

North of the Arctic Circle, about 280 miles (450 km) east of Greenland and 340 miles (550 km) north of Iceland, is the mysterious Jan Mayen, deep in the North Atlantic Ocean. Often shrouded in thick fog, the small mountainous island was declared a nature reserve in 2010 and is rarely visited, save for the 18 rotating personnel of the Norwegian military and Norwegian Meteorological Institute, who are the only inhabitants. Landing here will be dictated by the weather and sea. If conditions allow, as we approach, keep watch on deck as the spoon-shaped island’s highest summit emerges. At 7,470 feet (2,277 metres) high, the breathtaking Beerenberg volcano features a symmetrical cone shape and impressive glaciers that spill into the sea. During the summer months, the island’s lower landscape is covered with grass, moss and a smattering of hardy flowers that add a cheery pop of color to the otherwise barren black lava terrain. One site we hope to visit is Olonkinbyen and the surrounding area. Named after Russian-Norwegian Polar explorer Gennady Olonkin, it’s the island’s only settlement and the location of the meteorological station, where you may have the chance to learn about Polar research while seeing how weather is monitored at the top of the world. Another option might be the black sand beach at Kvalrossbukta, where the remnants of a 17th-century Dutch whaling station and a large fulmar colony can be found. In 1632, two Basque ships landed at the small bay and plundered the station. A Dutch party was sent here the following year to protect the land stations during winter, but all seven men perished from scurvy. Whaling in the area came to an end about 20 years later. If we’re fortunate, we may view the volcano and the stratified cliffs of the spectacular north coast as we Zodiac cruise around the island, searching for wildlife. Designated an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for the large numbers of breeding seabirds, Jan Mayen supports colonies of Northern fulmars, Little auks, Glaucous gulls, kittiwakes, and Black and Brünnich’s guillemots (Thick-billed murres). And if we are fortunate, you might see “sea parrots,” the Atlantic puffin again. The waters here are rich feeding grounds for marine life, so keep a lookout for Minke, Fin, Blue or Humpback whales.

icon Day 10 : At Sea

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

As we sail farther north, spend some time with your shipmates in the lounge, swapping stories and photos, or pause for a moment on the bridge, joining in as the Expedition Team looks out for whales, seals and a variety of seabirds.

icon Day 11 -13 : Exploring Spitsbergen

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

Rugged, wild, unspoiled and situated entirely within the Arctic Circle, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago is unforgettable. From immense glaciers to Polar deserts, the landscape here is as varied as the wildlife. As we explore the fjords of the southwestern corner of this magical island, it won’t take long for you to see firsthand why Spitsbergen is the “wildlife capital of the Arctic.” Some areas we hope to visit include Hornsund and Bellsund fjords and the Lilliehöök Glacier. The possible landing sites at Hornsund, the island’s most southerly fjord, have rich histories. En route to Isbjornhamna, a bay at the southern end, where we hope to explore the former science station, you may have the opportunity to discover old whale bones. You may spot Svalbard reindeer and colonies of delightful Little auks. A 12-mile (20 km) long sound, Bellsund lured miners a century ago to its natural resources. Today, visitors come to Bourbanhamna and Calypsobyen to see historic mining and trapper sites and marvel at the magnificent vistas. It may also be possible to hike along the colourful tundra, dotted with flowers bursting for a taste of sunshine. Viewing reindeer here is likely, as they frequent the area.

icon Day 14 : Disembark in Longyearbyen

Meals: breakfast

The time has come to say farewell to your newfound friends and Expedition Team. After disembarking, spend the day exploring the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen or catch your homeward flights. For the 2021 departure, you will be transferred to the airport for your included flight to Oslo where your adventure ends. 

What's Included

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    Meals

    8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 8 dinners.

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    Beer and house wine during dinner

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    All accommodation

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    All transport and listed activities

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    All meals while on the ship

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    Tour leader throughout and qualified Expedition Staff

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    We can include flights from the UK.  Please contact us for a quote.

What's Not Included

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    Visas or vaccinations

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    Travel insurance

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    Single accommodation (available on request)

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    Mandatory transfer package (2021) including flights from Longyearbyen to Oslo which is £600 (or equivalent in booking currency) paid at time of booking

Food

All meals while on the ship included. *Typical Meals* The ships galley offers good quality service and cuisine throughout, with excellent chefs preparing international menus including vegetarian dishes, accompanied by a wide variety of drinks from around the world on sale. *Breakfast:* Buffet style – unlimited tea and coffee, a selection of fruit juices, hot options including bacon and eggs or omelettes, a selection of bread and toast and jam/honey/marmalade, fruit and cereal. *Lunch:* Three course set meal, or the occasional buffet or BBQ. *Dinner: *Three courses with a starter of soup, salad or anti-pasto, a choice of three mains with at least one vegetarian and one seafood option and a dessert of sweet pudding or ice cream or fruit, tea and coffee. Vegetarians and vegans can be well catered for on this holiday - please do inform us before departure of any special dietary requests so that our local team can be well prepared.

Book with Confidence

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    Low Deposit

    Exodus requires a deposit of 20% to secure a place on this tour, and the final balance is not due till 70 days before departure..

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    Secure payments

    All payments to TourHub are deposited into an externally regulated Trust account.


Travel, Your Way

Good reasons for travelling privately

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    Personalise your trip

    Make changes to the itinerary, accommodation, or transport method

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    Increased safety during COVID

    Spend the majority of time amongst your group to reduce exposure to others

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    Travel more exclusively

    Your tour guide can focus all their attention on your group

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    Travel for a special occasion

    Celebrate an important event by only travelling with your friends or family

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Dates & Availability

Tuesday May 17, 2022

Nights

13

Available

8

$7651.11