Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land

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Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land

from £10,195 excluding flights

  • 12, 13, 24 nights
  • Jul-Aug
01737 214 250
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Enquire Now worldwide team jo cooper bw

One of our specialists

Meet Jo C

4 Arctic cruises

20 Species of whales & dolphins seen

7 Continents visited

arctic franz josef land walrus pos

Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land

from £10,195 excluding flights

  • 12, 13, 24 nights
  • Jul-Aug

Customers rate Discover the World

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Highlights

In pictures
arctic franz josef land lone polar bear on ice psdn

Explore wildlife-rich sites in Franz Josef Land

Abandoned hut in Franz Josef Land

Visit fascinating historic and scientific sites

arctic franz josef land lone zodiac through the ice psdn jzaccaria

Cruise past glaciers and icebergs in a Zodiac

Little auks and polar bear, Franz Josef Land

Spot less celebrated island inhabitants such as the little auk

Why this trip...

antarctica peninsula ships bow ll choice of vessels white

Choice of vessels

We offer a wide choice of small ships from simple budget-conscious options to purpose-built luxury vessels

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Expertly guided

In-depth knowledge and expertise will enrich your experience on this trip

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Immersive exploration

Immerse yourself in your surroundings on a true exploration of remote and spectacular areas

Overview

This unusual and remarkable voyage takes you to an unknown world in some of the Arctic’s most remote regions. Encounter archipelagos only lightly touched by the hand of man and still relatively unexplored. Steeped in history and rich in wildlife, the islands that make up Svalbard and Franz Josef Land are ideal destinations for those wanting to journey the path less travelled and get a taste for the experiences of the earliest polar explorers.

In the far north of Russia is the icy realm of Franz Josef Land, one of the most remote and raw archipelagos in the world. Discovered less than 150 years ago, it comprises around 191 islands and is home to the walrus, polar bear, seal, Arctic fox and beluga whale, as well as rich birdlife. Now considered a nature reserve within the Russian Arctic National Park administration, the landscapes of the islands are still dotted with relics from famous explorers of the past. Combining this other-worldly experience with the imposing landscapes and abundant wildlife of Norway’s Svalbard archipelago makes for an unforgettable Arctic adventure.

This is expedition cruising at its most authentic. As such, the route and exploration opportunities in Franz Josef Land are heavily dependent on weather and sea ice conditions. The experienced captain and expedition leader will decide the daily itinerary and continually adjust plans as conditions and opportunities allow.

Itinerary

Day 1 arrive in Longyearbyen

Fly to Longyearbyen, Svalbard for an overnight stay in a hotel (included). This is Spitsbergen’s largest settlement and the world's most northerly town.

Fly to Longyearbyen, Svalbard for an overnight stay in a hotel (included). This is Spitsbergen’s largest settlement and the world's most northerly town.

Day 2 embarkation in Longyearbyen

Enjoy a morning at leisure to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting. This afternoon board your ship and set sail through Isfjorden, keeping an eye out for your first marine mammals.

Enjoy a morning at leisure to stroll around this former mining town, whose parish church and Polar Museum are well worth visiting. This afternoon board your ship and set sail through Isfjorden, keeping an eye out for your first marine mammals.

svalbard longyearbyen coloured houses summer istock

Days 3-4 across the Barents Sea

From Isfjorden proceed around Svalbard and east across the Barents Sea towards Franz Josef Land. Along the way, remain vigilant for sightings of marine mammals such as the elusive bowhead whale, various Arctic seal species, and the majestic polar bear.

From Isfjorden proceed around Svalbard and east across the Barents Sea towards Franz Josef Land. Along the way, remain vigilant for sightings of marine mammals such as the elusive bowhead whale, various Arctic seal species, and the majestic polar bear.

spitsbergen mountain view istk
arctic polar bears resting on pack ice istk
spitsbergen mountains and glacier near longyearbyen istk

Days 5-11 exploration of Franz Josef Land

Between obligatory initial and final stops at the Russian polar station Nagurskoye, in wildlife-rich Cambridge Bay, the ship is free to explore the many waterways and islands of this unique Arctic wilderness in whatever way best suits the conditions encountered.

The archipelago, part of the Russian Arctic National Park since 2012, is a nature sanctuary. Polar bears and other quintessential High Arctic wildlife can be spotted anywhere in and around Franz Josef Land. Scree slopes and cliffs around the islands host enormous nesting colonies of migratory seabirds such as guillemots, dovekies, and ivory gulls. 24-hour daylight means you have the opportunity to spot wildlife both day and night.

Franz Josef Land is also home to some interesting geological features, such as the mysterious stone spheres, or spheroliths, on Champ Island. Fans of geographical extremes may take note that Cape Fligely on Rudolf Island is the northernmost point of land in the Eastern Hemisphere.

The archipelago also offers visitors the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of famous polar explorers at well-preserved historical sites. The journals of explorers such as Julius von Payer, Benjamin Leigh Smith, Frederick George Jackson, and Fridtjof Nansen come alive at Cape Norway, Cape Flora, Eira Harbour, and Cape Tegetthoff. Memorials, monuments, crosses, and the remains of dwellings are testimony to incredible historical events that are further illuminated by the expert lecturers.

Tikhaya Bukhta is currently a Russian Arctic National Park ranger station occupying Soviet-era research buildings and was also a major base for polar expeditions. Nearby the fascinating columnar basalt cliffs of Rubini Rock are home to thousands of nesting seabirds.

Between obligatory initial and final stops at the Russian polar station Nagurskoye, in wildlife-rich Cambridge Bay, the ship is free to explore the many waterways and islands of this unique Arctic wilderness in whatever way best suits the conditions encountered.

The archipelago, part of the Russian Arctic National Park since 2012, is a nature sanctuary. Polar bears and other quintessential High Arctic wildlife can be spotted anywhere in and around Franz Josef Land. Scree slopes and cliffs around the islands host enormous nesting colonies of migratory seabirds such as guillemots, dovekies, and ivory gulls. 24-hour daylight means you have the opportunity to spot wildlife both day and night.

Franz Josef Land is also home to some interesting geological features, such as the mysterious stone spheres, or spheroliths, on Champ Island. Fans of geographical extremes may take note that Cape Fligely on Rudolf Island is the northernmost point of land in the Eastern Hemisphere.

The archipelago also offers visitors the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of famous polar explorers at well-preserved historical sites. The journals of explorers such as Julius von Payer, Benjamin Leigh Smith, Frederick George Jackson, and Fridtjof Nansen come alive at Cape Norway, Cape Flora, Eira Harbour, and Cape Tegetthoff. Memorials, monuments, crosses, and the remains of dwellings are testimony to incredible historical events that are further illuminated by the expert lecturers.

Tikhaya Bukhta is currently a Russian Arctic National Park ranger station occupying Soviet-era research buildings and was also a major base for polar expeditions. Nearby the fascinating columnar basalt cliffs of Rubini Rock are home to thousands of nesting seabirds.

Cape Tegetthoff, Franz Josef Land
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arctic franz josef land champ island spherolith rocks psdn

Days 12-13 Barents Sea and Svalbard Coast

Following the exploration of Franz Josef Land, cross back through the bountiful waters of the Barents Sea and then along the islands of the Svalbard Archipelago. From panoramic open decks, enjoy Arctic landscapes and wildlife sightings – seals, whales, walrus and polar bears may be spotted anytime, anywhere in and around Svalbard.

Following the exploration of Franz Josef Land, cross back through the bountiful waters of the Barents Sea and then along the islands of the Svalbard Archipelago. From panoramic open decks, enjoy Arctic landscapes and wildlife sightings – seals, whales, walrus and polar bears may be spotted anytime, anywhere in and around Svalbard.

Day 14 disembark in Longyearbyen

Your adventure ends as it began, in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen.

Your adventure ends as it began, in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen.

Vessel Finder

Compare the features of the ships available on this voyage.

greg mortimer at sea

Greg Mortimer

Brand new for 2019, the Greg Mortimer is a custom-built expedition ship featuring cutting-edge design, superior comfort and environmentally friendly technology.

Brand new for 2019, the Greg Mortimer is a custom-built expedition ship featuring cutting-edge design, superior comfort and environmentally friendly technology.

  • Category: Deluxe
  • Passengers: 120
  • Class: Ice-strengthened
  • Balcony cabins
  • Sauna
  • Jacket to keep
  • Loan of rubber boots
  • Optional activities available
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Sea Spirit

This all-suite vessel couples adventure with spacious accommodation and a friendly atmosphere.

This all-suite vessel couples adventure with spacious accommodation and a friendly atmosphere.

  • Category: Superior
  • Passengers: 114
  • Class: Ice-strengthened
  • Balcony cabins
  • Jacket to keep
  • Loan of rubber boots
  • Optional activities available

Select 2-3 vessels to compare.

Prices and Departures

Price from £10,195 excluding flights

Airfares are quoted separately to the holiday price. When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.

What's Included

  • Shipboard accommodation
  • All breakfasts, lunches & dinners on board
  • Tea & coffee available around the clock
  • All Zodiac transfers, cruising & shore landings
  • Presentations by the Expedition Team and guest speakers
  • Expedition jacket - yours to keep
  • Loan of rubber boots during voyage
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

2021 Departures

Prices are per person, based on a twin cabin

Departure Duration Vessel Activities Prices from (pp)
14 Jul 2021 * 25 days Greg Mortimer £14,800
02 Aug 2021 14 days Sea Spirit £10,995
14 Aug 2021 13 days Sea Spirit £10,195

* Starts in Longyearbyen and finishes in Kirkenes

2022 Departures

Prices are per person, based on a twin cabin

Departure Duration Vessel Activities Prices from (pp)
22 Jul 2022 14 days Sea Spirit £11,295
03 Aug 2022 14 days Sea Spirit £11,295
15 Aug 2022 14 days Sea Spirit £11,295

Activity Icon Key

  • activity kayaking Kayaking

Note: British travellers will require a Russian visa for this voyage (additional cost - details available on request).

Offers

Meet our expert

worldwide team jo cooper bw
One of our specialists
Meet Jo C

4 Arctic cruises

20 Species of whales & dolphins seen

7 Continents visited

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