Two Unique Destinations, Unlimited Adventure
Our Norway holidays are like no other and take place on an expedition vessel that takes just 12 guests. Each unique voyage is led by a highly experienced expedition leader, so you get to go exploring in a small group.
Join an expedition cruise to explore Svalbard during the summer months. See polar bears and other wildlife in their natural home. Get up close to some of Svalbard’s mighty glaciers. Read More>>
A Unique Norway Holiday Experience
Norway is a Scandinavian destination that offers complete escapism with remote locations, stunning scenery, and an abundance of wildlife. The only way to access many of these locations is by taking a voyage. All our Norway holidays take place on a small expedition vessel with just 12 guests.
We offer expedition micro-cruises to exciting, northerly destinations. During the summer months, we take guests on a once-in-a-lifetime exploration of the frozen archipelago of Svalbard, which is halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. And in the winter, passengers can board at Tromso in northern Norway for an unforgettable winter escape, gazing up at the northern lights at night, and cruising the regions’ fjords to go whale watching by day.
Welcome To Svalbard
Norway holidays made for explorers
Norway holidays are perfect for active, adventurous, and curious travellers. Have you dreamed of visiting the high Arctic and following in the footsteps of explorers? Or seeing a polar bear in its natural habitat? Join us aboard our expedition micro-cruise vessel the MV Togo in a group of 12 guests and we’ll take you exploring.
Our expeditions all depart from Longyearbyen, the most northerly town on Earth (although only a short flight from either Oslo or Tromso in mainland Norway). From there, we’ll begin our adventure exploring the Arctic wonderland of Svalbard – an archipelago of frozen islands in the high Arctic. Its nine islands are home to an abundance of rare and incredible wildlife including polar bears, whales, Arctic foxes, puffins, and walruses.
Secret Atlas Svalbard holidays will take you on an unforgettable journey deep into Svalbard to explore remote and rarely visited places. It’s the chance for a real adventure, led by our highly experienced expedition leader and expert guide.
Each day is different, but we will make regular shore landings in the Zodiac landing craft. Exploring ashore, we’ll go wildlife watching, hiking in the wilderness, and visit stunning natural glaciers, tranquil fjords, and find cultural remains from early exploration.
Our highly experienced expedition leaders will share their passion and deep knowledge of this beautiful, and little-known part of the world.
A Small Expedition Vessel Holiday Is the Most Intimate Way to Encounter Svalbard’s Natural Beauty
When it comes Norway holidays by expedition vessel in remote locations like Svalbard – smaller is better. These days expedition cruise ships can take up to 350. Our expedition micro-cruise vessels only take 12 people, which leaves less of an impact on the environment, and is a real luxury when it comes to exploring remote and natural places.
Smaller ships like are can reach remote destinations that larger ships can’t access due to shallow anchorages, or narrower waterways like fjords. Our small expedition vessel can also be flexible, allowing us to change course according to conditions rather than having to stick to a rigid itinerary – all part of the spirit of adventure.
By travelling in a small group of just 12, you won’t have to hang around to go ashore either – there’s room for everyone on the Zodiac landing craft, so we can maximise our time on land.
From towering glaciers to wild mountains, and serene fjords – Svalbard is a natural paradise. Travelling on an expedition vessel with 12 guests led by experienced guides is a rare and unique experience. It’s one of the best places in the world to see polar bears in the wild, and you’ll get to experience untamed Arctic nature up close, with a small group.
Experience the Arctic Silence
Visiting Svalbard is a chance to reconnect with nature, away from daily distractions. And if you want some moments of quiet reflection, then an expedition micro cruise is the way to do it. , Travelling with a small group is the perfect way to experience the Arctic silence for yourself in the wilderness, something that isn’t possible in large tour groups.
Encounter incredible wildlife with a good chance of seeing polar bears
Travelling on a small expedition vessel gives us a great deal of flexibility, we can adapt our course according to conditions which are ideal for wildlife watching. Svalbard’s wildlife is diverse and well protected. We’re frequently fortunate enough to encounter polar bears on our expeditions, as well as walruses, whales, Arctic foxes, and an exciting array of birdlife.
A young polar bear in Svalbard captured by Chase Teron. You can join a photo holiday in Norway with Chase here.
Smaller groups are also less disruptive to wildlife too, and all Secret Atlas expeditions follow the strict rules laid out by The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) for safety as well as to minimise our impact on the environment.
Why This Is a Unique Svalbard Holiday
- Small groups with just 12 people
- One leader for every 6 guests for a more enriching experience
- A chance to go exploring with real explorers
- Encounter nature in up close, in an intimate and low impact way
Our Norway Holidays to Svalbard in 2022 and 2023
Duration: 8 Days
Travel to Norway at the start of the season and we’ll transport you a frozen, polar wilderness. Svalbard’s scenery is stunning as it emerges from the long, dark winter months. Experience icy Arctic landscapes and crisp, white coasts before the snow thaws. We’ll cruise along the north-west coast of Spitsbergen, where we’ll see sea ice along the fjords, and enjoy the magic of this frozen wonderland from the comfort and warmth of our expedition vessel the MV Togo. And if you’re keen on landscape photography, this is the perfect time to take your camera on an adventure.
Natural Wonders of Svalbard
Duration: 9 days
Join us on a micro-expedition cruise vessel to explore Svalbard’s stunning natural beauty during the summer months with the advantage of 24 hr daylight. Setting off from Longyearbyen, we’ll set sail through the majestic Adventfjord, and through Isfjord keeping a lookout for whales as we travel. The sea ice to north of Svalbard stretches all the way to the North Pole, and in calm conditions, we’ll cruise to its edge, where we may encounter polar bears. There will also be plenty of time spent ashore, with regular landings by Zodiac landing craft. Gear up for wilderness hikes, seeing glaciers close up, and visiting historic sites.
Duration: 15 days
The ultimate Norway holiday! Step aboard for the ultimate Svalbard exploration experience, 15 days circumnavigating Spitsbergen, the largest island of the archipelago. The sea ice opens up during the summer, which creates the perfect opportunity to take our group of 12 guests on an in-depth exploration of Svalbard. This trip is all about exploration, and we’ll be making daily shore landings led by our expedition leader and expert guide to go hiking and discovering raw natural Arctic beauty including the majestic Austfonna Ice Cap.
Bear Island and Svalbard explorer
Duration: 10 days
The most exciting Norway holidays involve voyages to remote places. Join us in Tromso where we’ll cruise from the mainland to Svalbard to explore the rarely visited Bear Island and the south coast of Spitsbergen. We’ll cross the Barents Sea and spend three full days exploring Bear Island’s remote and dramatic coastline. This is the most southerly island on Svalbard, and it’s known for its sheer bird cliff and untamed scenery. From there, we’ll cross over to Spitsbergen for another three days of exploration and experiencing the majestic south coast as it transitions from the winter on an unforgettable trip with just 12 travellers.
Svalbard photography holidays
Duration: 8 – 9 Days
Dates: April and May
Take your camera on an Arctic adventure and learn to take nature and wildlife photos with the help of professionals. Secret Atlas photography holidays are a chance to explore Svalbard’s untamed beauty, capture frozen landscapes, dramatic vistas, glaciers fjords and photograph an abundance of wildlife. World-class photographers Rick Tomlinson and Chase Teron led small groups of just 12 with professional tips, tutorials, and one-on-one help to get the perfect shot.
Welcome To Tromso
Norway holidays to see the Northern Lights and Killer Whales
We offer exciting and activity-packed Norway holidays in the winter months too. Join us in Tromso in the north of Norway to witness the aurora borealis, aka the northern lights, an incredible natural phenomenon that fills the clear skies with light and colour. By day, we’ll board the micro-expedition cruise vessel and head to the fjords in search of the orca – killer whale.
Why Tromso Is Ideal for Witnessing the Northern Lights
Tromso is one of the best places in the world to see the northern lights, due to a combination of its northern latitude of almost 70° and the fact it lies in an area known as the auroral oval (the area with the highest probability of seeing the aurora borealis). The city also has very little light pollution, so while we can’t guarantee sightings, the odds are more than favourable.
The celestial lights are caused by collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun’s atmosphere. It’s possible to witness them on multiple occasions, and see how they shift in colour and shape -sometimes in large, swirling patterns, or smaller patches. The most common colour you’ll see is green, but they can also appear as red, blue, yellow, and even purple
Our winter Norway holidays run from November to February, but the best time to see the northern lights is in November.
Winter whale watching in Tromso
Although daylight hours are much shorter in Norway during the winter, there is plenty to experience on a micro-expedition cruise by day. Cruising to the fjords north of Tromso offers an excellent chance of spotting orcas as they spend around 40 per cent of their time travelling during the winter searching for herring to feed on. The rural areas surrounding Tromso are filled with stunning scenery including glacial lakes, and beautiful remote villages.
When is the best time to go on holiday to Norway?
Our Svalbard trips run from April – September which is the best time to see Svalbard from the coast. Our Tromso trips run from November until February as this is the best time for witnessing the northern lights and encountering whales.
Each month offers unique experiences and activities, so here’s a quick run down to help you plan your trip.
April is the peak breeding time for polar bears on Svalbard, although reaching them is easier as the sea ice starts to retreat from later in the month, or in May. Although temperatures are warmer than in winter, it’s still a pretty cold time to visit with average lows of -16°C and highs of -9°C so plenty of layers are essential. The snow is yet to thaw in April too, so you’ll need waterproof walking books, ideally with removable spikes for extra grip. Late April is also the start of the 24 hr sunlight too, so pack your sunglasses too. This is the time to visit if you want to see the archipelago in all its frozen splendour.
Temperatures go up in May, warming up throughout the month to lows of -7°C and highs of around -3°C, and it has the lowest levels of rainfall all year. Towards the end month, the sea ice begins to retreat and micro-expedition cruise ships like ours can visit more parts of Svalbard, offering opportunities for wildlife watching and exploring ashore.
By June, we’re well into the summer season, with 24 hr daylight and milder temperatures ranging from -1°C and 3°C, and low levels of rainfall. With it, comes the chance of spotting an abundance of wildlife from the mighty polar bear, as well walruses, whales, narwhals and vast species of birds including puffins, kittiwakes, and fulmars.
This is the warmest time to visit Svalbard, with temperatures ranging between 4.4°C and 8°C, – positively balmy for such a northern latitude. It’s a little wetter than earlier in the season, but it’s mostly drizzling rather than torrential rain – so not enough to get in the way of decent wilderness hikes, visits to historic sites, and getting up close to glaciers. This is the best time to come if you want to explore the archipelago in detail, the sea ice will retreat further meaning expedition vessels can circumnavigate areas like the Spitsbergen for more onshore exploration and wildlife watching opportunities.
As the summer season draws to a close, so does the 24 hr daylight – although the return of sunrises and sunsets on the horizon create stunning low light for Arctic photography. That in of itself is a great reason to visit Svalbard in August, as well as continually mild temperatures of between 2°C and 6°C. It’s also a rare chance to enjoy the last days of the polar summer exploring Svalbard’s remote and little-known places, following in the footsteps of great explorers and encountering wildlife.
As the summer season ends and autumn begins the air in Svalbard cools down and night returns once more. September offers great opportunities for photography as the sun rises and the sun sets return after the 24-hour daylight of the summer.
November – February
Throughout the winter months, we return to Tromso. The Norweigan winter offers a fantastic chance to witness the northern lights and whale sightings.
Five Reasons to Choose one of Our Norway Holidays1. Unique and sustainable travel experience
By taking small groups of only 12 guests, we’re not only minimising our impact on the incredible environment and wildlife of Svalbard and Tromso, but we’re also creating something special for those who travel with us. There are no crowds, which means more time spent exploring, and we have one expert guide or every six guests, for a more intimate guide to these incredible places.
2. Run by experts driven by a vision to make Arctic cruises better
Secret Atlas is a small team of passionate explorers, conservationists, and photographers with a love and deep knowledge of the Arctic. We started so we could share our dream of making cruises to this beautiful environment more personal, sustainable and with a lower impact. Each cruise is led by a veteran expedition leader and expert guide who will guide you ashore safely, and lead you on a one-off adventure to remote, rugged, and rare places.
3. Smaller vessels are better for getting closer to natural wonder and wildlife
Whether we’re circumnavigating the rugged coasts of Svalbard in the summer or sailing waters north of Tromso in the middle of winter – smaller vessels like ours are better for getting the most from Norway holidays. Expedition micro-cruises can reach places larger ships can’t travel to, and they’re more flexible too – meaning we can adapt our course according to conditions, which offers a greater chance of getting up close to wildlife, as well as natural beauty from the polar bears and glaciers of Svalbard to the orcas of northern Norway.
4. Incredible and unspoilt destinations
By joining us in for an expedition micro-cruise around Svalbard in the summer, or Tromso in the winter – you’ll be visiting some unforgettable and unspoilt nature. These Norway holidays are offer escapism but also plenty of action and adventure, so if you’re dreaming of light-filled skies over northern Norway, or seeing a polar bear hunt on the ice around Svalbard – your ship awaits.
5. Comfortable expedition vessels
Although we travel small, it doesn’t mean we’re not big on comfort. Our micro expedition vessels are built for safety and comfort – ice-strengthened for extra stability, and also for smoother travel. The accommodation is also incredibly comfortable too, no bunk beds – all cabins are either double or twin sized with en-suite bathrooms and our on-board crew includes a chef who will prepare three meals a day.