Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land

from £10195
excluding flights *
12–13, 24 nights Jul-Aug
arctic franz josef land walrus cape tegetthoff istk 1


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.


  • Enjoy regular zodiac landings, which provide access to seldom visited sites
  • Explore two of the world's most isolated archipelagos
  • Experience quintessential arctic wildlife, including walrus, whales and polar bears
  • Spot some of the less celebrated island inhabitants, including little auk, the 'penguin of the north'

What's Included

  • Pre-expedition hotel accommodation in Longyearbyen
  • Shipboard accommodation
  • All breakfasts, lunches & dinners on board
  • Shore landings & Zodiac cruises
  • Experienced Expedition Team
  • Presentations on board
  • Expedition jacket
  • Loan of rubber boots during voyage

Full description

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.

Contact our Arctic specialists now
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Authentic holidays for passionate travellers

Prices & Dates *


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

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

Activity Key:


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

Itinerary & Accommodation

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Arrive in Longyearbyen, where an overnight hotel stay is included.

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.

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.

Days 5-11: exploration of Franz Josef Land

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.

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—such as walrus and some rare whale species—can be spotted anytime, 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.

Franz Josef Land 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.

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.

Day 14: Disembarkation in Longyearbyen

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


  • All voyage itineraries are intended as a guideline only - embracing the unexpected is part of the legacy of expedition travel. Actual routes and landings will be dependent on weather, sea and ice conditions. A degree of flexibility is essential in the polar regions!
  • The above sample itinerary is based on the 14-day voyage on the Sea Spirit. Other departures may vary in duration and routing, ie alternative embarkation or disembarkation ports, or do not include the pre-voyage hotel night. Please contact us for specific details.

Sea Spirit


Grade: Superior

Type: Expedition Ship

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

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Greg Mortimer


Grade: Deluxe

Type: Expedition Ship

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

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