Sailing & Exploring Isfjorden, Svalbard
- Vessel: Noorderlicht
- Where: Svalbard, Norway
- Duration: 8 days
- Embark: Longyearbyen Harbour - 2 September 2023, 16:00
- Disembark: Longyearbyen Harbour - 9 September 2023, 09:00
Discover the Arctic wonders of the glaciers, wilderness & wildlife of Svalbard with tall ship Noorderlicht.
Join expedition tall ship Noorderlicht as she takes guests on an adventure holiday of a lifetime to explore the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard under sail.
Navigate vast swathes of ice fields, explore frozen fjords ashore while spotting a plethora of Arctic wildlife from the infamous Polar bears to Walrus’, arctic fox and many different whale species. This voyage is perfect for the adventure traveller looking for that next bucket list location.
- Skippered sailing
- Private cabins
- All-inclusive board
- Bucket list location
- Polar bears
- Whale watching
Your Sailing Area
Located high in the Arctic circle between Norway and the North Pole, the archipelago of Svalbard is one of Europe’s last great wildernesses. With more Polar bears than humans, Svalbard’s fairy-tale like landscape is both alluring and formidable. This fascinating rugged wilderness of ice fields, glaciers, snow-peaked mountains and frozen fjords is a constant reminder of just how fragile life here can be.
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.
Often referred to as the “land of the midnight sun” when from mid-May to late September, the archipelago sits in 24hour daylight; this epic terrain is certainly not for the faint hearted!
Below is a rough day-to-day guide of what to expect based on previous voyages but please bear in mind that all itineraries are subject to the weather. As you board, the Captain will have a better idea with updated forecasts of what you can expect from your adventure sailing holiday in Svalbard.
Day 1: Longyearbyen
Climb aboard Noorderlicht in the small snowy town of Longyearbyen – the largest inhabited settlement in Spitsbergen. Enjoy a welcome from the crew and captain, before a delicious first dinner on board while the ship sets course towards Gipsvika bay, where it will anchor for the night.
Day 2: Visit the mysterious ghost town of Pyramiden
Wake up in Gipsvika Bay and get ready to head ashore and explore the pebble beach where you can find various cultural relics, left behind by the old mining company.
Once back aboard, set the sails to head deeper into the Isfjord towards the Russian settlement of Pyramiden. The town is named after the pyramid-shaped mountain next to the town which was founded by the Swedish in 1910. Along the way, keep your eyes peeled for Arctic wildlife!
Day 3: Gems of nature: Nordenskiöldbreen & Skansbukta
In the morning, take a tour through the ghost town where you will notice that the communist-style is still present. There is a large statue of Lenin’s head on the main square, there are inscriptions in Russian and some old installations belonging to the former coal mine.
After everyone is safely back on board, continue the journey towards the magnificent glacier of Nordenskiöldbreen, one of the largest glaciers in the Isfjord. Although the glacier has receded markedly in recent years, it is still very impressive. Keep an eye out for polar bears that have shown themselves here repeatedly in recent years!
In the evening, anchor in the beautiful Skansbukta bay underneath a clear and starry Arctic sky.
Day 4: Past historic Kapp Thorsden towards Trygghamna
Jump ashore to explore Skansbukta and walk among the impressive cliffs, where there are remains of the gypsum mine that once was active here.
Once back on board, set sail in the direction of Trygghamna and past Kapp Thorsden, a location where a lot of scientific research and mineral extraction has taken place. At this cape, you can find the oldest house of Spitsbergen, the Svenskehuset from 1872. Our expedition leader can certainly tell you more about this as the ship sails past the cape before dropping anchor in the sheltered bay of Trygghamna.
Day 5: Visit to bird cliff Alkhornet & a Soviet-style town: Barentsburg
After breakfast, explore ashore at Trygghamna, where you find the oldest traces of human activity in Svalbard. After the Western Europeans left, the Russian Pomors took over this area. Their activity was focused mainly on hunting walruses for their products and hides. The remains of this 18th-century Pomor (Russian hunters) hunting station can still be found here. 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 & Polar bears.
Depending on the availability of a berth in the port of Barentsburg, Noorderlicht will sail towards the Russian mining settlement after a hot lunch.
Day 6: Colesbukta – Borebukta
In the morning, set sail for Colesbukta, a former port that shipped and transported coal from the Soviet settlement of Grumantbyen where the remains of the once-thriving coal industry can be found. Visit the abandoned hut of the Russian geologist Vladimir Rusanov. Weather permitting, spend the rest of the day sailing to Borebukta staying close to experience the steep glacier front of the Borebreen before anchoring in Nansenbreen for the night.
Day 7: Sailing towards Longyearbyen
In the morning, make a final landing in Cape Bohemanflya, before sailing 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 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
What COVID policies are in place for sailing with Noorderlicht?
There are currently no Test & Sail policies in place for the 2022 season. Guests will just need to ensure they are following any international guidelines to travel to the boat.
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.
From: Longyearbyen Harbour
To: Longyearbyen Harbour
To see where the ports are, along with your likely sailing area, please view the sail area & highlights.
Fly into Oslo or Tromsø to get a connecting flight to Svalbard. There are several flights a day into Longyearbyen airport from Oslo and Tromsø in Norway. Your easiest route from the UK to Longyearbyen (LYR) Airport for Svalbard is from London Heathrow via Oslo with airline SAS.
Taxis and buses meet each incoming /outgoing flight, even the ones in the middle of the night and will stop at the marina on request, and the airport shuttle service stops at all hotels in the centre.
STAY IN SVALBARD:
There are plenty of places to stay in Svalbard. Try Gjesthuset 102, Mary-Ann’s Polarrigg or Funken Lodge.
Please note that you need a guide to travel anywhere outside the town of Longyearbyen due to the risk from polar bears.