Join in with the crew on an Arctic expedition sailing adventure to circumnavigate Spitsbergen.
On this exciting adventure, you will form part of the crew on an expedition sailing yacht. You will join in with the sailing activities, cooking and watchkeeping onboard. No is experience required as instruction will be provided. A passion to be part of an adventurous expedition is a must.
- Circumnavigate the remote Arctic island of Spitsbergen
Get up close to glaciers and witness the ice calving off into the fjords below.
Encounter an abundance of wildlife with a good chance of seeing polar bears and walruses.
Explore the coastline by Zodiac.
Explore ashore in the untouched wilderness with a guide.
- Warm and comfortable expedition yacht with enclosed wheelhouse, private cabins with comfy beds and hot showers.
|Trip Style||Hands-on Sailing and Arctic Exploration|
|Maximum Group Size||10|
|Accommodation||Shared Cabin with Bunk or Double Bed|
|Time of Year||Summer|
The Voyage & What To Expect
This journey is aimed at people who would like to participate in an exciting adventure to circumnavigate Spitsbergen and join in with the day to day running of an expedition yacht. Onboard you will be expected to participate in the watch system whilst the yacht is at sea (4 hours on, 8 hours off) and join in with the cooking. It’s all part of the adventure and the community spirit on board.
The departure point is Longyearbyen in Svalbard which is connected by an international airport. From there we will set off into the wilderness and up the north coast of Spitsbergen. The plan (weather and ice depending) is to circumnavigate Spitsbergen over the next 11 days.
Landing ashore will be made when the opportunity arises to visit different sites which can include humans settlements, wildlife spots, glaciers, and also some great hikes.
The focus of the trip is on sailing and exploring. You don’t require any previous experience, just a basic level of fitness.
The boat is comfortable and well-equipped meaning if you have never stepped foot on a yacht before you will feel right at home.
The expedition vessel is managed by a professional crew and you will be accompanied ashore by a professional guide trained in polar bear protection.
Day 1 – Get to know the boat, the gear and the other participants
We meet onboard the boat in the harbour of Longyearbyen at 12:00. We start with getting to know each other before we go through the plan for the week. We get to know the boat and the equipment and finish packing provisions. The life onboard requires cooperation, and before departure we go through routines and procedures onboard, for sailing and emergency situations.
In Longyearbyen, there is midnight sun this time of year, and we will make the most out of the afternoon and evening and set sail with a course towards the world’s northernmost settlement, Ny-Ålesund.
Day 2 – The world’s northernmost settlement New Ålesund
If we are lucky, we will see a walrus colony already this morning in the Forland Strait. A little farther north we get to the inlet of Kongsfjorden where we find the research town of Ny-Ålesund. Here we moor for a trip on land. Ny-Ålesund is also known as the starting point for Roald Amundsen’s journey to the north pole with the airship “Norway”. The Kongsfjord itself is considered one of the most beautiful places on Svalbard, so now it’s time to check that the setting on the camera is correct and start snapping the good memories. In the heart of the Kongsfjord there are three pyramidal mountains, Dana, Nora, and Svea, named after the Scandinavian countries. The mountains and the majestic glaciers in the area make this fjord a truly beautiful sight!
Days 3 – 5 – Cultural heritage in the desolated north
We continue north, to the north-west side of Spitsbergen. Here we sail into the Smeerenburgfjord, an area that has its name from Dutch whalers in the 17th century. There are clearly visible cultural monuments from the activity in “Spekkbyen” (blubber town). All remains from before 1946 are completely protected on Svalbard. We continue onwards to Virgohamna, which also has visible remains from the early whaling, but also carries a lot of polar history from the period this place was used as the starting point for reaching the north pole; both for Swedish Salomon August Andrée’s ballooning, and the attempt by Walter Wellman by airship. Furthermore, we head eastwards and into the fjords on the northern side of Spitsbergen towards Woodfjorden. Here we stop at the Mushamna fishing station for bonfires and stories on land. From here it continues north and we approach the milestone on the trip; 80 degrees north. At our northernmost point, we find both cold champagne and a suitable ice floe from the pole ice for a real celebration! Who will be the first to swim? Then, the journey goes south into the Hinlopen Strait, an area with a lot of water flow and sea life, and with small and large icebergs drifting from the surrounding glaciers. If weather permits, we go ashore and stretch our “sea legs” somewhere in Hinlopen.
Days 6- 8 – With the bow heading south
We are now about halfway and our course is taking us south. We sail through Freemansundet, an area known for many polar bears. Furthermore, we pass the inner parts of Storfjorden, a large and shallow fjord that extends all the way down to the southern parts of Spitsbergen. Along the way, we pass some of the most beautiful, and least visited areas throughout Svalbard. Along the east coast there are several mountains we can climb, especially the Keilhau mountain is a good option with a steep ascend. We are now approaching Sørkapp (south cape), which we have to round before turning northward up the west side and towards Hornsund.
Days 9 – 11 – Towards civilization
We spend the last days onboard in Hornsund, along the west coast, up towards Isfjorden and Longyearbyen. Hornsund is an incredibly beautiful area, with good protection against wind and weather from the sea. A somewhat more inland-like climate makes this a good area for anchoring, and the possibilities for mountain hikes are many. In the fjord, four glaciers meet, and the sight and sound of the glaciers calving into the sea is nothing less than enormous. As we approach Longyearbyen, we pass Isfjord Radio lying at the entrance of the Isfjord, an old radio station which today is an attractive place for accommodation. Inside the Isfjorden, we hopefully have time to a stop at the Russian mining town of Barentsburg; a special place with its own rhythm and atmosphere. The last morning we sail into Longyearbyen, we clean and wash the boat, and check out at 15:00. We encourage everyone to stick around at least until the next day, with accommodation on land, so we can meet for a farewell dinner on land in Longyearbyen this last night.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to experience Longyearbyen in advance of the trip, then we recommend staying an extra day or two before traveling home. It’s always smart to add time for some rest and calmness before and after such a trip, to let the impressions sink in and see what’s happening.
The program may change according to weather and conditions, but it gives an indication of how we spend the days. We start every day with a good breakfast and make a packed lunch before we go ashore. Some of the days we eat dinner right away after getting back to the boat, other days we just eat a snack at the beach, and then sail on before we make a later dinner. Some days, we spend time fishing, and time to look around. If the weather should be in disfavor of a trip on land, then we spend the day sailing or do something else fun.
A high latitude expedition sailing yacht is the perfect alternative to large cruise ships for the environmentally conscious traveller looking to get closer to nature.
Circumnavigate Spitsbergen on a 70-foot long expedition sailing yacht. Made from steel, she is built to withstand the toughest Arctic conditions.
- Small group size of 8-10 explorers ensures an intimate experience
Private cabins with either double or bunk beds
Large saloon area
5 x Bathrooms / Showers
- A Zodiac landing craft for going ashore
Warm and comfortable living space with radiators throughout the boat
Steel hull built for travel in the polar regions
Retractable keel to allow her to reach shallow waters that are inaccessible to larger vessels
Life Jackets are provided
Find out why we prefer small expedition vessels to larger ships here.
Double Cabin – Sleeps 2
Double Cabin – Sleeps 2
Twin Cabin – Sleeps 2
Cabins vary in size and are allocated on a first come first served basis. If you have any questions about accomodation please check with us at the time of booking.
Are you wondering if this Spitsbergen circumnavigation expedition is a good fit for you?
Please get in touch and we will use our expertise to recommend the right voyage for you dependent on your experience and comfort levels.
Dates & Availability
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This trip has been handpicked by us and is operated by a trusted Secret Atlas partner. We guarantee the best price for your journey at the time of booking.
Please ensure you have read our booking terms and conditions here. A full set of terms and conditions from our supplier will be sent to you at the time of booking.
It is a condition of booking that you have your own travel insurance to cover the activities listed.