Tag: sailing holidays in Norway

Why a guided sailing expedition is the best way to experience Svalbard

Nooderlicht sailing in Svalbard

Svalbard truly is a bucket list destination; far flung, closer to the arctic circle than Europe and an icy land of polar bears and glaciers.

It’s an increasingly fragile place and one most impacted by climate change. For that very reason, there are already strict tourism rules in place however, these are set to get tighter, making exploring this special part of the world that little bit trickier. But fear not! Our low impact sailing holidays around Svalbard are one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable ways to discover this incredibly vast, wild and vulnerable archipelago. Find out why our adventure sailing expeditions on Noorderlicht are the best way to experience Svalbard;

  1. Leaving Nothing in our Wake
    Sailing on tall ship Noorderlicht is an utter joy. She boasts an interesting history and was originally built for the German Navy. Much of her sailing life has been spent navigating the waters of the Baltic Sea, exploring the fjords and islands of Norway and crossing the Arctic circle to discover Svalbard. Her size and draft allow her to reach some of the most remote parts of Svalbard, enabling guests to explore quietly without turning on her motors. Low-impact travel and sustainability form a huge part of Noorderlicht’s ethos and her crew pride themselves on offering environmentally friendly travel. One of the new proposed restrictions is a ban on all motorised traffic on sea-ice on selected fjords after March 1st. This is to protect polar bears and ringed seals but they won’t have an impact on Noorderlicht as she operates mainly under sail, gracefully travelling these waters leaving nothing but her wake.

  2. Fully Guided Expedition in Svalbard
    It is simply not possible to explore Svalbard without a guide and taking expedition trips can prove both costly and timely. When you sail in Svalbard with Noorderlicht, guided expeditions are part of the holiday with all crew fully trained and highly knowledgeable about the landscape, wildlife and history of this stunning region. On land, you will be led by experienced crew members who will provide guided tours complete with safety briefings and mesmerising anecdotes. At sea, their well-trained eyes are used to spotting wildlife ensuring that guests really get the most out of their sailing holiday.

  3. Fully Licensed
    Noorderlicht is a familiar sight in the waters of Svalbard and having operated here for many years, she is fully licensed and holds all the necessary permissions to sail here with guests. She remains up to date with local laws, is in regular contact with local organisations to ensure any changes or advisories are adhered to and, as Noorderlicht is only able to carry up to 20 guests, each of her ventures remain well within required passenger limits.

  4. Noorderlicht is Perfect for Expedition Cruising and Wildlife Watching
    A well-balanced two-masted schooner with a small draft, Noorderlicht is perfectly built for expedition cruising among the fjords and small islands of Svalbard. This also means she is able to reach areas that many other vessels can’t, offering her guests the opportunity to experience parts of the world that very few others can.

    Coupled with this, her spacious, open decks provide plenty of viewing areas to spot the multitude of wildlife that Svalbard is famous for. The nutrient-rich waters here are home to the strange and beautiful Narwhals as well as White and Bow-head whales with nine other species – including the Blue, Humpback, Fin and Minke – frequently spotted during the summer months, when food is more favourable.

    Other marine mammals to keep binoculars at the ready for include Polar bears, Walruses and five species of seals, all of whom play a vital role in supporting Svalbard’s fragile eco-system. We approach all marine wildlife with the utmost of care and remain a respectful distance way, operating on a ‘they come to us’ policy to cause as little disturbance as possible. Our accomplished crew are well-tuned to the local wildlife and their behaviours, monitoring their actions whilst provide commentary on each species spotted along the way. Keep cameras at the ready!

  5. Adventures On Land
    Tall Ship Noorderlicht always sails with two zodiacs which are used to enable wildlife viewing and landing opportunities in Svalbard which may otherwise be inaccessible. Daily guided hikes are planned for each sailing holiday, subject to the weather, and these are a wonderful way to discover more about the fascinating flora, fauna, geography and history of the area. Walk in the footsteps of whalers, learn about Svalbard’s role in World Way II and visit some of the mining outposts, which, despite the move towards greener tourism, remain active to this day.

    Land expeditions also offer the chance to spot one of the three land mammals who reside in Svalbard – the Svalbard Reindeer, Arctic Fox and Sibling Vole and perhaps the Svalbard Rock Ptarmigan, each of which are capable of building up enough fat reserves to survive through the harsh winters. From the end of May, eyes to the skies will be rewarded with sightings of migratory Geese, Auks, Fulmars and Arctic Terns as they return for breeding season.

    See our all inclusive guided expedition adventure sailing holidays in Svalbard on tall ship Noorderlicht here > Svalbard Sailing Holidays

Why you should choose a sailing holiday in Norway

Norway Fjord Stranda

With over 1000Nm of unbelievably stunning coastline, Norway is one of our best adventure sailing destinations with so much to offer for both the Salty seadog and the first time sailor.

Steep green fjords and Arctic tundra make for stunning landscapes, but it’s also the clarity of light and the feeling of freedom at sea that makes revisiting this unique country a fresh experience every time.

Skipper Nikki shares her love for sailing in Norway with some of her best coastal towns to visit.

Lysefjord and Pulpit rock
Traditional white wooden houses line the streets of Stavanger where the narrow and majestic Lysefjord begins. The sheer silvery rockface rises from the mysterious deep blue and it is Pulpit rock that has made this fjord so famous.  Looking up, rising high above us from the deck, you can just make out the figures of brave souls standing perilously on the high rock taking in the majestic view.  Such is the vastness of the landscape here, it makes this one of my favourite places to sail in all of Norway.  

Bergen
Bryggen is one of the most beautiful waterfronts in the world. It is everything you imagine Scandinavia to be with painted pine-log houses fronting onto the sea against a pine forest backdrop. Streets twist between old merchant houses reformed into cosy candlelit cafes drawing you in with smells of rich coffee mingled with scents of pine resin.

It is nearly essential to arrive into Bergen by sea as maritime skill and tradition run thick through the veins of many who live here. 200 years ago, so important was the trade and shipbuilding to the town, they named a type of vessel, Hardangar Jakt after the strong and seaworthy cargo vessels that traded from here throughout Europe.

Sailing in from the coast,  the sprinkling of rocky islets topped off with tiny red and white painted cabins, transforms into a wide-open bay surrounded by this idyllic town.  Bergen is the perfect stop off after a good day of sailing so do take time to explore for yourself this charming place. The outdoor market in the summer has everything from fresh berries to locally caught fish and wonderful cheeses.  Make sure you try the Fiskebolle soup, a fine traditional hearty soup made from local cod and potato.

Lofoten
Above the arctic circle lies a real gem that is definitely on my bucket list to explore. Lofoten is a chain of islands lying close to the coastline of Norway offering some of the best sailing holidays in Norway. Our expedition vessel Narwhal will be visiting here this summer.

These islands are so fairytale-like, you somehow expect trolls and goblins to inhabit this place. Realistically, the islands are home long lines of fishing families, working a trade that has sustained the islands for centuries due to the rich waters. Throughout Europe and Africa, Stockfisk, a dry, salted cod, became an important staple diet and Lofoten’s position in the cod trade rose to create charming villages and harbours. 

With such a dramatic landscape from uninhabited islands to sheer cliffs to mountains, you can’t help but be excited. Wildlife is in abundance here with moose, otter, whales and eagles very much part of the landscape so take the time to explore every hidden part. 

For me, one of my favourite pastimes while sailing in Norway is fishing for cod during the warm summer nights when the sun never sets but perches elegantly on the horizon. What better way to end a day of sailing than to hop into the dinghy with a line and hook. No phones, no noise just drifting on the tide, soaking up the peace and wondering at this incredible landscape, you nearly have to pinch yourself to see if it is real!

Food
Norway mixes traditional recipes focused on utilising local ingredients. The land is rich in wild food and the locals are certainly resourceful with their gathering. Berries and wild mushrooms grow abundantly in the early autumn and small coastal farms produce wonderful cheeses and flavoursome lamb. The seas are rich in wonderful fish and shellfish with fresh produce available to buy in all the coastal towns.  My top foodie things to try are Brunost, a rich, slightly sweet soft cheese; Fiskebolle Soup, a creamy fish soup with white fish balls; and of course as in all of Scandanavia everyone must try Herring with Schnapps.

Stop dreaming and start planning!
Take a look at our sailing schedule and start planning your sailing holiday in Norway today, and get one step closer to ticking it off your bucket list.