Welcome to Aurora Expeditions’ Iceland, Jan Mayen, Svalbard expedition.

From the lush green mosses and bustling bird cliffs of Iceland to the stark, sublime volcanic beauty of Jan Mayen and following the ice edge to the Arctic wonderland of Svalbard, you will delight in the breathtaking contrasts as you sail across the Arctic Circle to the High Arctic attempting to reach N80˚ latitude. From the comfort of our state-of-the art vessel, we keep a close watch for tail flukes as whales prepare to dive or a pronounced blow as they surface for breath, and our binoculars are constantly focused on the pack ice looking for the majestic polar bears. Zodiac excursions reveal glacier-filled fjords and walruses hauled out on ice floes. Stretch your legs on guided hike across arctic tundra or enjoy a guided kayak along towering bird cliffs if you have signed up our kayak program.

May 30 – June 11, 2024 | 13 Days

Departure/Arrival: Reykjavik, Iceland – Longyearbyen, Norway
Ship: Sylvia Earle


• In Iceland, experience one of the planet’s youngest countries and marvel at its spectacular volcanic landscape.

• Cross the Arctic Circle from Iceland to Jan Mayen Island as we head to magical Svalbard situated in the High Arctic.

• Be one of few people to attempt to land on remote Jan Mayen Island, home to Mount Beerenberg, the northernmost active volcano in the world.

• Explore Svalbard, where dazzling scenery, mesmerising wildlife and adventure awaits.


Having made your way to Reykjavik, you will be met by a representative of Aurora Expeditions and transferred to our group hotel. Upon arrival, you will be provided with Aurora Expeditions cabin tags for your luggage. Please clearly label the tags with your name and ship cabin number.

Enjoy free time, and in the evening, dine at your leisure (dinner not included).

Accommodation: Fosshotel Reykjavik (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. After boarding, there’s time to settle into your cabin before our important safety briefings. This evening, meet your expedition team and crew at the Welcome Dinner.

Arnastapi is the starting point of our adventures on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, gateway to Snæfellsjökull National Park. Snaefellsnes Peninsula is an area of diverse landscapes that is characterised by lava fields and glistening fjords and home to a vast array of 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 two shore excursion options that best suits your interests and level of fitness:

Discover the natural wonders of the Snaefelsness Peninsula on a coastal hike before exploring the underground Vatnshellir Caves and Kirkjufell Mountain. Alternatively, embark on a dramatic cliff hike, climb the dormant Eldborg Crater and marvel at the Gerduberg basalt columns, before ending at Mount Kirkjufell.

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.

In the afternoon, enjoy the bountiful silence and magnificent landscapes as we make our way north, spotting whales and other wildlife along the way.

Thingeyri, a quaint village nestled on a slender strip of land, graces the shores of one of Iceland’s most picturesque fjords, Dýrafjörður. Much like many other coastal settlements in Iceland, the village’s culture and industry have been intricately woven with the influence of the sea over centuries. The surrounding landscape is adorned with towering mountains, lending a distinctive charm to the scenic expanse that envelops Thingeyri. This idyllic region is often hailed as the “Alps of the Westfjords,” especially the highland area nestled between the majestic fjords of Dyrafjordur and Arnarfjordur. The beauty of Thingeyri lies not only in its coastal simplicity but also in the dramatic backdrop of high mountains that paints a captivating portrait of this Icelandic village.

Today we take a short drive to Dynjandi waterfall, one of the most famous in Iceland. Following lunch on the ship, step back in time and learn about the Viking ways and how the hardy Norse people lived off the land at an interactive Viking Museum. Alternatively, hike Sandafell mountain.

We sail across the Denmark Strait to Jan Mayen Island accompanied by sea birds while keeping a close watch for whales. Enjoy informative and entertaining lectures and presentation from our team of experts, get to know your fellow expeditioners, stay active at the gym or treat yourself to a sauna in the wellness centre.

The approach to Jan Mayen is spectacular. The huge 2,277-metre (7,470 foot) Beerenberg volcano is the northernmost active volcano in the world, and it last erupted in 1985. The northern part of the island is a great place to look for whales and dolphins and contains impressive glaciers, some of which reach the sea. If the weather is favourable, we will try to land at Kvalrossbukta, a relatively sheltered bay on the island’s west coast. This is one of the landings used to supply the weather station Olonkinbyen, situated on the eastern side of the island. We hope to land on front of the Norwegian station at Olonkinbyen, stop to visit the weather station before embarking on a three-hour hike (weather permitting) to the other side of the Island where our vessel will be waiting for us in Kvalrossbukta, and our trusty Zodiacs will transport us back to the ship.

The sea around Jan Mayen offers excellent whale-watching opportunities (bottlenose, fin, and perhaps bowhead whales in the pack ice). Sail towards Svalbard, searching for the ice edge as we continue north, retracing the route of Dutch explorer Willem Barents who discovered Spitsbergen and the Barents Sea, named after him. It is breeding season for the harp seals, and we hope to see them breeding on sea ice. As we approach Svalbard, our focus will be on spotting polar bears hunting on the pack ice.

Svalbard 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 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 sail into Longyearbyen. Farewell your expedition team, before further enjoying explorations of fascinating Longyearbyen to learn the town’s history, its geology, flora, fauna and the modern community that call the place home. Visit Svalbard Museum and Galleri Svalbard, Office of the Governor, Svalbard Church, Nybyen (new town), some of the town’s mines including Santa Claus Mine, and make a quick photo stop at the famous beware of polar bear street sign. Afterwards, transfer to the airport to continue your journey.

Note: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Longyearbyen prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.