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Sailing in Svalbard; Whalers Footsteps

  • Vessel: Noorderlicht
  • Where: Svalbard,Norway
  • Duration: 11 days
  • Embark: Longyearbyen - 4 June 2022, 16:00
  • Disembark: Longyearbyen - 14 June 2022, 09:00
Single berth in Twin Cabin £3,100 £775.00
Single berth in twin cabin (single occupancy)£4,650 £1,162.50

Follow in the footsteps of the Arctic whalers as you explore Svalbard with tall ship Noorderlicht.

Join Noorderlicht in Svalbard for an Arctic sailing holiday adventure to remember.

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’. After a welcome from the captain, the mooring lines will be cast off and you will receive a safety briefing from the crew. Afterwards, you will enjoy a delicious first dinner on board, while the ship sets course towards Trygghamna bay, where it will anchor for the night. The name Trygghamna comes from the original Dutch name ‘safe harbour’, because of its sheltered and safe anchorages.

Day 2: Visit to seabird cliff Alkhornet

After breakfast, it’s time to prepare for the first zodiac landing in Trygghamna, where you can see the remains of a 17th century English whaling station and 18th-century hunting station of the Pomor (Russian hunters).

From here we will hike to the 428-meter high 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. 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.

The next stop will be into Forlandsundet. This beautiful strait is located between the main island of Spitsbergen and the island of Prins Karls Forlandet. At the bay Grimaldibukta, we will anchor for the night. We can go ashore at Murraypynten to admire the walrus colonies and discover the beautiful panoramic views of the rugged mountains and glacial landscapes of Spitsbergen.

Day 3: Bird cliff Fuglehuken & the gem Magdalena Fjord

After breakfast, we will leave Grimaldibukta to continue in a northerly direction sailing the Forlandsundet strait. Due to its shallow draft, Noorderlicht is one of the few ships that can navigate these waters while you keep an eye out for large groups of walruses that can often be found at Sarstangen and Poolepynten!

If the weather permits, we sail to Fuglehuken, the northernmost tip of Prins Karls Forlandet. Large numbers of guillemots and kittiwakes nest here on the steep cliffs and here we also find graves of whalers. After a walk ashore, we will sail further north to the breath-taking blue-green bay of the Magdalenafjord, one of the most impressive fjords in Spitsbergen. With rugged and pointed mountain peaks and impressive glaciers, it’s an Arctic paradise.

Day 4: Center of the Dutch whaling industry: Smeerenburg

As we sail further north we come across the island of AmsterdamØya, where we can get a good insight into 17th-century whaling. Here you will find Smeerenburg, a former settlement of Dutch whalers that grew into the centre of Dutch whaling in the period from 1617 – 1646. The settlement consisted of warehouses, homes and a blacksmith shop. Horseshoe-shaped ovens were used to boil the blubber of the whales, extract oil which was used for soap and fuel for lamps. Today, little can be seen of the activities that took place 400 years ago. Remains of blubber ovens, tombs and houses can still be found here and there.

Once ashore there is a fascinating talk given about the local whaling history in Smeerenburg before the ship moves to Sallyhamna to anchor overnight. In this area, full of shallow spots, polar bears have been spotted frequently so keep your binoculars at hand!

Day 5: The Zeeuwsche uitkijck & ‘Spitse bergen’

Today we plan a shore excursion near Ytre NorkskØya where we hopefully can land at the’ Zeeuwsche Uitkijck. Here in 1617, whalers from Zeeland built a blubber cookery and were able to keep a good lookout over the sea for whales from the highest point of the island. On the coast remains of the blubber furnaces and the graves of Dutch whalers can still be found, very well preserved in the frozen subsoil.

Sail south again to Virgohamna where the steep mountains with sharp peaks in this area are the most striking of all of Spitsbergen! Our goal is Virgohamna, where a Harlinger blubber cookery can be found on the Danish island.

Day 6: The glaciers of the Kongsfjord and Krossfjord

The next morning we sail to the beautiful Kongfjord and Krossfjord where we will be greeted by the towering face of the “14th July” glacier. Bearded seals often lie to rest on the broken ice floes, and near the glacier, we may find breeding colonies of black-billed guillemots, kittiwakes and puffins.

These fjords in particular feature the historical heritage of the English. The English obtained the right to hunt south of the Magdalenafjord and the Dutch were granted control over the northwestern corner of Spitsbergen.

We may be able to organize a landing on the Blomstrandhalvoya peninsula, where the remains of a marble mine can be seen at Ny London. From here, we also have a beautiful view of the Tre Kroner, the three iconic mountain peaks that shine through the ice cap.

Day 7/8 : Ghost Town in Soviet-style: Barentsburg

In the next few days we will turn south and make our way back to the Isfjord if possible making a stop in the sheltered and beautiful bay of St. Johnsfjord. Depending on the availability of a berth in Barentsburg, we will sail towards the Russian mining settlement where we will arrive towards the end of the afternoon. After an adventurous journey in the unspoilt nature of Spitsbergen, you will have the opportunity to move freely without the supervision of a guide with a rifle, as is necessary for most of Spitsbergen.

The name Barentsburg was given in 1924 by the Dutch Spitsbergen Company to the then Dutch mining settlement. 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. Since the mine has not been profitable for a long time, the focus has shifted more and more to tourism.

Day 9: Dutch coal mine Rijpsburg

In the morning we take a short walk through Barentsburg where the expedition leader will show you the sights of the mining town. When everyone is safely back on board, we leave for Borebukta. We will try to get as close as possible to the northwestern end 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.

As with all Nooredrlicht’s sailing holidays, your ticket price includes Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks and Tea/Coffee. All cabins are private twin cabins with shared bathrooms. 

Simply click “Enquire Now” to reserve your berth for five days whilst you sort your travel plans. No booking form or deposit is required until you are ready to book! Upon booking, Noorderlicht requires a 50% deposit with the remaining balance due 90days before departure. Noorderlicht is giving full refunds in the event of Coronavirus restrictions that mean they are unable to sail.


VoyageSet SailDaysCost p/p
Sailing in Svalbard; Whalers Footsteps4 June 202211£3,100Enquire now
Sailing in Svalbard; Whalers Footsteps14 June 202211£3,100Enquire now
Sailing in Svalbard; Whalers Footsteps25 June 202211£3,100Enquire now


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 plan

Noorderlicht deck plan More about Noorderlicht


  • 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 and Gluten free but sorry no vegans.

  • What language is spoken onboard?


  • What are the sleeping arrangements?

    10 x Twin Cabins with shared bathrooms

  • How many toilet/showers does she have?

    4 Shower rooms and an extra single toilet

  • Is there WIFI?

    No, but you should easily be able to reach 3G/4G from the shore.

  • Can I charge my phone/Camera?

    Yes, please bring european adaptors

  • Are there 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

To: Longyearbyen


Fly from most UK airports to OSLO, Norway where you can continue to Harstad-Navik, Evenes Airport. SAS airlines offer affordable flights.

You can then catch the airport bus to Harstad which is about a 50-minute journey.

Noorderlicht will be moored on the quay near Havnegata, 9404 Harstad, Norway.

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