Adventure Sailing in Svalbard
- Vessel: Noorderlicht
- Where: Svalbard, Norway
- Duration: 8 days
- Embark: Longyearbyen - 29 April 2023, 16:00
- Disembark: Longyearbyen - 6 May 2023, 09:00
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Sail high into the Arctic circle and discover the remote island of Svalbard with an expedition sailing adventure on tall ship Noorderlicht.
Join tall ship Noorderlicht in Svalbard for an Arctic sailing holiday adventure to remember. With fairy tale white landscapes, floating sea ice home to polar bears, seals & walruses, the absence of busy tourism and fresh cold air blended with crystal clear skies; there really is no better way to discover Svalbard than under sail.
Sailing with tall ship Noorderlicht is perfect for adventure travellers whether travelling solo or in groups. Sailing in this fascinating part of the world certainly leaving life-long memories. Noorderlicht is fully crewed but guests are welcomed to get actively involved with all aspects of sailing.
- Skippered sailing
- Private cabins
- All-inclusive board
- Bucket list location
- Polar bears!
Your Sailing Area
The Svalbard archipelago sits high in the Arctic circle and is the world’s most northernmost town, sitting halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. From mid-May until the end of September, the island is referred to as “the island of the midnight sun” where it remains light for 24 hours a day.
Ice covered fjords, colossal glaciers and soaring mountains really hit home how wild, rugged and fragile this beautiful landscape is. Discovering Svalbard under sail with a tall ship is by far the best and most sustainable way to see the very best of this Arctic archipelago. Svalbard has strict tourism policies in place with travellers unable to leave the main town of Longyearbyen without a registered guide. Noorderlicht has been given special permission to sail and explore this magical landscape with a registered guide onboard meaning guests are in safe hands at all times.
Below is an intended but suggested itinerary. Due to the wilderness of Svalbard, the boat and crew will need to make sure they are following the appropriate weather guidance to ensure the safety of guests.
Day 1: Embarkation in Longyearbyen
Longyearbyen is the largest inhabited settlement in Spitsbergen and the world’s most northerly inhabited town with more than 1000 inhabitants. Discover the fascinating history of the island as you join Noorderlicht on the ‘floating pier’.
Enjoy a welcome from the crew and captain, before a delicious first dinner on board while the ship sets course towards Trygghamna bay, where it will anchor for the night.
Day 2: Visit to seabird cliff Alkhornet
Head ashore to explore the whaling and hunting station off the Pomor in Trygghamna. From here you can hike to Alkhornet cliff, where some 10,000 pairs of different seabirds breed.
The cliffs are composed of carbonate rock, which is more than a billion years old where the tundra at the bottom of the cliff receives nutrients from the sea birds and provides meadows for reindeer, nesting sites for geese and shelter for Arctic foxes and Polar Bears.
If the entrance of the fjord at Forlandsundet is free of ice, Noorderlicht will sail overnight into the St. John Fjord. This beautiful and sheltered fjord system contains multiple glaciers and is one of the Captains favourite spots!
Day 3: The Ice limits & wildlife in the Forlandsundet
With guidance from the expedition leader, a spot will be selected to go ashore and explore before hoisting the sails to make our way out of the fjord. Depending on the accessibility of the ice at Grimaldibukta, Noorderlicht will look for an anchorage for the night. After a 3-course dinner, we hope to make an evening walk to admire the walrus populations at Sarstangen.
Day 4: Panoramic view from Prins Karls Forland
Murraypynten, named after a Scottish oceanographer, is a peninsula north of the Grimaldibukta. From the hills, you have a beautiful panoramic view of the rugged mountain and glacial landscape of Spitsbergen and the flat landscape at the foot of the mountain makes it wonderful and easy to walk. On the south side of Murraypynten, you can visit a ruin of a hut built by a German expedition in 1963. Continue the journey south, back to the Isfjord, where Noorderlicht will anchor in the sheltered bay at Ymerbukta for the evening.
Day 5: Ghost Town in Soviet-style: Barentsburg
The Esmarkbreen glacier flows into the bay of Ymerbukta providing panoramic views while walking. Explore the historic mining town of Barentsburg. In 1926 the mining town was taken over by the Russians, after which it grew into a town of miners with more than 1000 inhabitants. Today there are still about 400 people of mainly Russian or Ukrainian descent.
In the evening you can enjoy the locally brewed beers and Russian snacks, together with part of the crew of the Noorderlicht.
Day 6: In Borebukta searching for Polar bears
After a morning walk through Barentsburg, Noorderlicht will set sail for Borebukta. At this time of the year, it is usually partially or completely frozen so there is a high chance of encountering arctic animals such as the polar bear here. We will try to get as close to the northwestern end as possible to get a look at the steep glacier front of the Borebreen. We then continue to the west side of the bay, close to the Nansenbreen, where we will anchor for the night.
Day 7: Sailing towards Longyearbyen
After breakfast, it’s time for one last stop at the historic mining settlement of Cape Bohemanflya before our sail back to Longyearbyen.
Day 8: Goodbye Noorderlicht!
After a hearty breakfast, you can disembark by 09:00.
All voyages for Noorderlicht
Guest berths: 20 Rig: Schooner
Originally built in 1910, Noorderlicht has a colourful history and has spent much of her life sailing the Baltic Sea and exploring Svalbard. With various refits, hull extensions and rigging reconfigurations, she now sails as a graceful two-masted schooner taking guests on bucket-list sailing holidays in the Arctic.
With comfortable accommodation for up to 20 guests in private twin cabins, Noorderlicht offers guests whale watching and wildlife expeditions exploring the Arctic waters of Northern Norway & Svalbard. Her size and draft mean she can reach some of the most remote areas of Svalbard so she is a great way to discover the hidden gems that this breathtaking part of the world has to offer.
Low impact and environmental travel go hand-in-hand with Noorderlicht’s ethos. Her ability to set sail and explore this part of the world is the best way enjoy the beautiful unspoiled nature.
In the early 90’s she was refitted to become a charter vessel and so her accommodation below decks was given careful consideration. She has ten comfortable twin cabins that all share four bathrooms. The galley and downstairs seating area sits in the middle of the ship with another seating area and bar in the deck-house.
Noorderlicht is sailed by her loving owners along with a friendly crew who are all well trained to sail the wilderness of Svalbard. They invite guests to get involved with sailing Noorderlicht but it is certainly not mandatory!
Deck planMore about Noorderlicht
Life on board Noorderlicht
Sailing and exploring the wilderness of Svalbard with expedition vessel Noorderlicht is an experience of a life-time. Exploring this fascinating landscape from the comfort of your own tall ship is a bucket list holiday, perfect for the adventure traveller.
Noorderlicht has been sailing and exploring Svalbard for over 10 years so her crew are well versed in the nuances of this remote and wild location. On all Svalbard expeditions, not only is there a full crew but a qualified and verified guide is present at all times. Guests are not permitted to go ashore without the guide due to the risk of Polar bears and the harshness of the environment. The guide is permitted to carry a shotgun for the safety of the guests and crew. Guests will be briefed upon arrival but ultimately, the crew’s aim is to make this adventure a fun, awe-inspiring and unforgettable experience.
Sleeping and Relaxation
The interior of Noorderlicht // Reade Swan is authentically decorated giving an informal, cosy and nautical atmosphere below decks. There are spacious seating areas in the upper-and lower deck salon for all the passengers. There is a small board library available filled with informative lecture about the concerning area, but also some fine novels. Besides there is a small, cozy bar in the upper deck salon.
The sleeping area is situated at the lower deck in 10 twin cabins. All cabins have upper and lower berths, a built-in closet, a washbasin with cold and warm water and a mirror. In your cabin you will also find 220V power outlet to charge your electronics. Furthermore the ship has 5 toilets and 4 showers which are for common use.
If we have learned anything from our years of experience on sailing ships, it is the importance of good and nutritious food on a ship! Although the Arctic area gives rise to limitations on the possibilities and supplies of the food onboard, our professional cook will prepare you excellent meals from the international kitchen three times a day.
Full kit information will be given at the time of booking or can be requested beforehand- please just email us at [email protected]
A 50% deposit is required at the time of booking with the final balance due 90days before departure.
How cold is it in Svalbard?
Temperatures vary from April through to September. Depending on the time of year you can expect lows of -30 and highs of +10. It is hard to predict but appropriate clothing is paramount.
- All inclusive meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and hot drinks)
- All bedding (pillow, sheets & duvet)
- Full crew plus tuition
- Marina and fuel fees
- All tender trips to and fro the boat
What’s not included
- Any flights
- Transit hotels
- Travel to and from the boat on the day of joining/leaving
- Travel insurance
- Sailing Insurance (Please read our Sailing Insurance page for more information)
- Crew tips
- Personal expenses
Travel insurance notes
As this is an active adventure holiday, we advise that everyone has the appropriate personal accident travel insurance whilst onboard in addition to standard travel insurance which would cover you in the time between making your booking and departing for your adventure. These policies can sometimes be combined so please check with your travel insurance provider.
This voyage will be not more than 12miles offshore.
Are all meals included?
Yes, all meals on board are included in the price. (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and hot drinks) Alcohol is not included.
Can you cater for dietary needs?
We can cater for vegetarian, dairy-free and gluten-free. We cannot cater for a vegan diet.
What language is spoken onboard?
Do I need to tip the crew?
Tips are not mandatory but are welcomed by the crew (and can be paid by card or in cash €)!
What are the sleeping arrangements?
10 x Twin Cabins with shared bathrooms
Are bedding and towels provided?
All bedding is provided but please bring your own wash towels. Micro-fibres are great - quick-drying and lightweight for travelling.
How many toilet/showers does she have?
4 shower rooms and an extra single toilet
Is there an age limit?
Yes. No children younger than 11. Above aged 16 is fine, but ages 11-16 we must check directly with the boat on a case by case basis.
When is the best time to see the Northern lights in Norway/Svalbard?
You have the best chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis from mid-late September through to mid-March.
How cold is it in Svalbard?
Temperatures vary from April through to September. Depending on the time of year you can expect lows of -30 and highs of +10. It is hard to predict.
Are muck boots (similar to Wellington boots) essential?
Yes 100%. Without them your Svalbard experience could be limited, as they will absolutely be required for a number of shore landings from the RIB/tender.
What luggage type is best for taking on a boat?
Duffel type bag; made with water-resistant material is desirable. If you must take a hard suitcase (though we do not recommend it) it must be kept in your cabin.
Is there Wi-Fi?
No, but you should easily be able to reach 3G/4G from the shore.
Can I charge my phone/camera?
Yes. There are power points in all cabins. Please bring 2-pin European adaptors.
Are life jackets provided?
Are waterproofs provided?
Do I need sailing experience?
No, absolutely not! Just a lust for adventure.
Will I be sea sick?
Everyone reacts differently but we recommend if you are at all worried to take some medication 24 hours before departure.
To see where the ports are, along with your likely sailing area, please view the sail area & highlights.
Fly from most UK airports to OSLO, Norway where you can continue to Longyearbyen. Norwegian Airlines or SAS airlines offer affordable flights.