Arctic Wonders: Iceland & Spitsbergen
A combination of ‘Iceland: Encircling the Land of Fire and Ice’ + ‘Spitsbergen: Realm of the Ice Bear’
Departure Date: 01 Jun 2025 – 23 Jun 2025 | 23 days
Departure/Arrival: Reykjavik, Iceland – Oslo, Norway
Voyage code: ISV001G
Ship: Greg Mortimer
Price: from USD $23,695 (Aurora Stateroom Twin)
Call us on 1 833 826 5828 for full pricing and special offers!
Welcome to Aurora Expeditions’ Arctic Wonders: Iceland & Spitsbergen expedition voyage.
On this adventure combining our Iceland: Encircling a Land of Fire and Ice and Spitsbergen: Realm of the Ice Bear voyages, we explore Iceland in the Low Arctic before venturing Spitsbergen in the High Arctic. Enjoy the incredibly diverse volcanic landscapes of Iceland, a land of lava fields, geysirs and waterfalls as we plan to circumnavigate the island nation before sailing north to Spitsbergen Island, the magical capital of the Svalbard Archipelago, land of the regal polar bear.
Note: In order to experience some of the incredible scenery of Iceland, a number of the shore excursions on this itinerary require coach travel away from the coast.
- Witness the incredible diversity of Iceland’s landscapes forged by the powerful seismic activity that has shaped the island’s appearance and way of life of the people.
- Visit Grimsey Island, located above the Arctic Circle, and features impressive cliffs teeming with nesting seabirds including charismatic puffins.
- Be in awe of Spitsbergen’s dazzling beauty, a frozen landscape that echoes from the rumble of calving glaciers
- Keep watch for arctic wildlife like polar bears, walrus, whales and seals
In true expedition style we encourage exploration and adventure, offering flexibility in challenging environments in a way that puts you among the action to see and do as much as possible. This itinerary is only a guide and subject to change due to ice and weather conditions.
Having made your way to Reykjavik, you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to our group hotel. Upon arrival at your included hotel, please visit the Aurora Expeditions hospitality desk to collect your luggage cabin tags and to speak with our ground operations team, who may have information to share with you about pre-embarkation or to provide you with information about where to dine, withdraw cash or purchase last minute items from a local pharmacy or supermarket.
The remainder of your time is at leisure. All meals today are at your own expense.
Accommodation: Fosshotel Reykjavik Hotel (or similar)
This morning, please ensure your cabin luggage is fitted with cabin tags clearly labelled with your name and cabin number. Your luggage will be collected from your hotel and transferred directly to the port for clearance and delivered to your cabin ahead of your arrival on board. Please keep any valuables or personal items with you throughout the day.
Breakfast and check-out. Join our guided Golden Circle and Geothermal Energy tour. With 85% of its electricity sourced from renewable sources, Iceland sets an outstanding example when it comes to sustainable energy.
Our journey takes us to the famous seismic sights of the Golden Circle route – Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir and history-rich Thingvellir National Park, before we experience first-hand how green, sustainable energy is produced at one of the largest single-site geothermal power plants on the planet at the Geothermal Energy Exhibition and Ljósafossvirkjun Power Station.
We’ll also spend time at a true eco-village. Powered with thermal and solar energy, Sólheimar is fully sustainable, boasting greenhouses and forestry programmes, while its sustainable workshops are dedicated to candle-making, carpentry, weaving and soap-making. Late afternoon we return to Reykjavik for embarkation.
This evening, get to know your fellow expeditioners, expedition team and crew.
At Arnarstapi, our Zodiacs tender as ashore. Located on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, this area features diverse landscapes characterised by lava fields, glistening fjords and home to Breidafjordur Bay which is rich in birdlife. The area is crowned by the magnificent, ice-capped Snæfellsjökull volcano, a 700,000-year-old dormant subglacial volcano, visible from Reykjavik on a clear day and immortalised in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. You can choose from a selection of shore excursion options that best suits your interests and level of fitness. Options include a bus tour to Mount Kirkjufell, one of the most famous mountains in Iceland, or a choice of hikes including a glacier hike at Snæfellsjökull Glacier.
Over the next two days, we explore the Westfjords region featuring outstanding landscapes with jaw-dropping views of dramatic fjords carved by ancient glaciers, sheer table mountains that plunge into the sea and pristine North Atlantic vegetation.
At Patreksfjordur, a shore excursion by coach takes us to Latrabjarg cliffs. As Europe’s largest bird cliff, Latrabjarg is home to millions of seabirds, such as puffin, razorbill, fulmar and guillemot. Enjoy the impressive variety of natural wonders and unspoiled nature. Latrabjarg also happens to be the westernmost point in Europe, east coast of the North American continent on the other side of the Atlantic. Alternatively, enjoy a shore excursion by coach to Rauthasnduris to explore the beach and seal watching.
At Dynjandi, witness one of Iceland’s most impressive waterfalls – a difficult feat in a country that is filled with spectacular cascading falls.
Picturesque Akureyri is Iceland’s second largest city outside the capital area and is blessed with a superb snow-capped mountain backdrop. Choose from a selection of shore excursions in Akureyri to best suit your interests and level of fitness. Choose to visit Godafoss Falls and soak at Myvatn Nature baths, an outdoor hot spring bathing complex surrounded by mountain views. Alternatively, explore both Godafoss and Dettifoss waterfalls, the Mývatn region and Krafla.
In the late afternoon, we reboard our vessel in Husavik, the whale watching capital of Iceland.
Located approximately 40 km (25 miles) off the mainland, Grímsey is a verdant grassy island, probably best known for its proximity to the Arctic Circle, which cuts across the island. Many people travel to Grímsey just to say they have stepped across the imaginary line. With a tiny population of approximately 100 inhabitants, it’s a fantastic place for Zodiac cruising, kayaking, and photographing seabirds such as guillemots, gulls and puffins.
Leaving Grímsey to return closer to the mainland, we spend time scanning the waters of Skjálfandi Bay around Húsavik, a town known as the Iceland’s ‘whale watching capital’, home to up to 24 different whale species, as well as dolphins and 30 variety of birds. The largest animal on earth, the blue whale, has also been spotted in Skjálfandi Bay, and if you are lucky, you might catch a glimpse of this magnificent creature as well as others, such as orcas, fin whales and pilot whales.
We spend some time exploring Seydisfjordur, a picturesque fishing village that is renowned for its charming collection of colourful wooden buildings located around the lagoon. Take a stroll around town and discover the timber houses that are remnants from when the Norwegians settled here and established the herring fishing facilities from 1870-1900. From the valley above the town, the river Fjardara tumbles down in beautiful cascades to the lagoon. There are a number of delightful hiking trails to explore, or alternatively, you can discover a flourishing cultural scene with an arts centre, the famous blue church that stages music concerts and the only two cinemas in the east of Iceland. Back in town, browse the stores where you will discover handicrafts by local artists and artisans – perfect as a souvenir or gift.
In Iceland’s east, we disembark in Djupivogur, our gateway to Vatnajokull National Park, home to Europe’s largest glacier. We drive to Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon, a glacial lagoon filled with floating icebergs that wash up on shore and stand gleaming on the nearby black-sand beach, dubbed Diamond beach. At Jokulsarlon, you can choose from a boat excursion on the lagoon, try a hike on the glacier or hike to a canyon, visiting a number of waterfalls along the way.
As we sail east back to Reykjavik, enjoy a sea day to catch up on editing your photos and enjoy an informative lecture from our knowledgeable expedition team.
Located off Iceland’s south coast, the Westman Islands were formed by volcanic eruptions around 10,000 years ago. Sail past Surtsey Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site that emerged from the sea in 1963 and is one the youngest land masses on earth. Westman Islands are surrounded by 15 other uninhabited islands and around 30 rocks and skerries offering refuge for rich array of seabirds. Westman Islands are considered to have the largest Atlantic puffin colony in the world, and when sailing around the islands it is not uncommon to see puffins but also whales and seals.
Heimaey is the main island in the archipelago, and it has the population of around 4,200. Ashore on Heimaey, the only inhabited island in the archipelago, we see half-buried houses that remain from a violent 1973 eruption of Eldfell volcano, which you can hike up if you wish.
Eruptions are a big part of the history of the Westman Island, where there are two volcanoes – one that erupted some 6,000 years ago, and Mount Eldfell that erupted in 1973, forcing all of the island’s inhabitants to evacuate for the mainland. Serendipitously, due to bad weather the day prior to the eruption, all the fishing boats remained in the harbour and were able to help transport the inhabitants of Heimaey to the mainland. You can learn more about the story of the eruption and the aftermath at the fascinating Eldheimar museum, which includes a display of a house that was buried in ash during the eruption.
During the early morning, we cruise into Reykjavik and bid a fond farewell to expeditioners ending their journey here. Enjoy an excursion in Reykjavik while your crew and expedition team prepare the vessel for our sailing north to Longyearbyen in the High Arctic later this afternoon.
As we sail the Norwegian Sea to Longyearbyen, enjoy informative and entertaining talks and presentations from our knowledgeable expedition team, or stay active in the fitness centre before relaxing in the sauna. Our state-of-the-art vessel offers a choice of observation lounges and a well-stocked library for you to enjoy.
Note: We do not recommend booking flights departing prior to 12.00pm on the day of disembarkation, as we may experience delays at the conclusion of the voyage.
In Longyearbyen, our crew and expedition team prepare to welcome expeditioners joining us on our Spitsbergen: Realm of the Ice Bear voyage, while you enjoy a full-day excursion exploring Longyearbyen. In the late afternoon, reboard the vessel and meet your fellow expeditioners to begin the next part of your arctic adventure in Spitsbergen.
The island of Spitsbergen is the largest in the Svalbard Archipelago and offers Arctic wilderness at its best. The members of our experienced Expedition Team, who have made countless journeys to this area, will use their expertise to tailor our day-to-day itinerary, choosing the best options, based on the prevailing weather, sea-ice conditions and the possibility of encounters with wildlife.
Phenomenal fjords, magnificent mountains ranges, and a polar desert rich in fossils, set the stage for heroic tales of early exploration. See walrus hauled-out on sea ice or on beaches. On land, we stretch our legs on walks across tundra carpeted in brightly coloured wildflowers. We visit towering cliffs noisy with nesting guillemots and puffins, and scree slopes that hold Svalbard’s largest little auk colonies. Most memorable will be encounters with the majestic polar bear on pack ice. Your Expedition Team is just as keen as you are to find them – they will be on constant watch to spot these inspiring creatures.
If you have chosen an optional activity such as kayaking, you will have an opportunity to enjoy that activity when conditions allow. For those who are enthusiastic to participate in a polar plunge, as soon as conditions are suitable, you will hear the announcement to prepare for an exhilarating dip – a memory you will savour for years to come.
During the early morning we cruise back into Longyearbyen. Farewell your Expedition Team upon disembarkation and enjoy some free time before transferring to the airport for your return charter flight to Oslo to continue your journey.
- All airport transfers mentioned in the itinerary.
- One night’s hotel accommodation including breakfast, in Reykjavik on Day 1.
- Visit Iceland’s famous Golden Circle prior to embarkation, on Day 2.
- Charter flight from Longyearbyen to Oslo on Day 23.
- Onboard accommodation during voyage, including daily cabin service.
- All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage.
- Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner.
- Captain’s Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages.
- All shore excursions and Zodiac cruises.
- Educational lectures and guiding services provided by Expedition Team.
- Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consultation).
- One 3-in-1 waterproof, polar expedition jacket.
- Complimentary use of Muck Boots during the voyage (in Spitsbergen).
- Comprehensive pre-departure information.
- Port surcharges, permits and landing fees.
- International or domestic flights – unless specified in the itinerary.
- Transfers – unless specified in the itinerary.
- Airport arrival or departure taxes.
- Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination fees and charges.
- Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges.
- Hotel accommodation and meals – unless specified in the itinerary.
- Optional excursions and optional activity surcharges.
- All items of a personal nature, including but not limited to alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), gratuities, laundry services, personal clothing, medical expenses, wi-fi, email or phone charges.
Note: A $15 USD per person per day gratuity for the crew is automatically added to your onboard account. It is at your discretion if you would like to remove the tip (or adjust the amount) when you settle your bill. It is not necessary to tip the expedition team members. This gratuity amount is included for suites as part of their ‘Suite Benefits’.
Lectures on wildlife, our environment, history and destinations
Near shore cruises
Walking & hiking
Whale and mammal spotting
Cabins & Prices
Browse our comfortable staterooms and suites below. Please contact us for best pricing and current availability.
Some cabin images of the Greg Mortimer are artist’s impressions only and final results may vary.
Prefer a shorter voyage?
‘Arctic Wonders: Iceland & Spitsbergen’ is a combination of the 11 day Iceland: Encircling the Land of Fire and Ice & the 8 day Spitsbergen: Realm of the Ice Bear. View these itineraries below or contact us for more information.
Welcome to Aurora Expeditions’ Iceland Circumnavigation expedition. Explore the ‘Land of Ice and Fire’ where snow-capped peaks rise above glaciers and active volcanoes rumble. Explore Westfjords, one of the remotest and...
From USD $9,516.00/pp