Polar deserts, shimmering glaciers and unique wildlife on land and sea – the Arctic has it all.
From visiting active Arctic research stations to tracing the paths of polar explorers on foot, the Russian Arctic is full of iconic polar experiences and sights. Starting and ending in Helsinki, this journey will take you to unspoiled areas like Novaya Zemlya, Severnaya Zemlya and Franz Josef Land. Polar bear encounters are a real possibility and there will be plenty of opportunities to spot walrus, seals, whales and wide variety of seabirds – both nesting on the icy cliffs and soaring above your ship. Discover the stunning ecology, geology and wildlife of this icy tip of the earth.
- Physical rating
- Min 8
- Group size
- Min 1, Max 132
Why you'll love this trip
Discover the immense polar deserts of Severnaya Zemlya.
Get up close to the stunning glacier of Inostrantseva Bay.
Search for polar bears, walrus and other wildlife in Franz Josef Land.
Explore the extraordinary mix of Eastern and Western influenced architecture of Helsinki.
Is this trip right for you?
This sturdy expedition ship was built in 1975 and underwent an $8 million refurbishment in 2017 which included new engines and refurbished cabins...
Meals IncludedThere are no meals included on this day.
- Breakfast (2)
- Lunch (2)
- Dinner (2)
Boasting one of the most picturesque glaciers in the entire archipelago, Inostrantseva Bay provides breathtaking panoramic views of pristine arctic wilderness. If conditions allow, you may explore ashore, or Zodiac cruise along the face of the glacier, at a safe distance, possibly witnessing the wonders of calving ice. Encounters with Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres) are likely, owing to a small colony in the coastal cliffs.
To the northwest side of Severny Island are the Oransky Islands. Wildlife abounds here, with a variety of animal and plant life to be discovered, Walrus have been sighted here on many previous expeditions. Coming across a walrus haul-out is unforgettable. These giant pinnipeds of the Arctic create a raucous as each walrus vies for a choice spot of coastline. Encounters with whales and seabirds are possible, as well as polar bears, a genetically distinct subpopulation here.
A significant site in polar exploration, Novaya Zemlya also offers a number of opportunities for you to trace the footsteps of famous explorers and reflect on the region’s history.
- Breakfast (3)
- Lunch (3)
- Dinner (3)
At the tip of the Taymyr Peninsula is Cape Chelyuskin, the northernmost point of the Russian and Eurasian mainland and the site of another active research station. Here, at the edge of the earth, you will hopefully get the chance to explore on foot.
An exploration of Severnaya Zemlya embodies the true spirit of adventure. Dominated by glaciers and polar desert, the archipelago was not discovered until 1913 and remained virtually unexplored till 1930–32, the last major undiscovered territory on earth. Amongst many possible destinations, you’ll hopefully visit a number of glaciers, including the Vavilov Ice Cap and those at Marat Fjord. If conditions are favourable, you may cruise the Red Army Strait, flanked by the massive Academy of Sciences Glacier (which also runs along the eastern shore of Zhuravlev Bay) and the smaller Rusanov Glacier. As one of very few people to ever explore this remote area in depth, you’ll want to have your camera ready to capture these amazing sights.
- Breakfast (6)
- Lunch (6)
- Dinner (6)
On Jackson Island, Cape Norway is where Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen wintered from 1895 to 1896. The conditions were astonishingly difficult, but they survived until the summer and continued their journey south. The remains of their small hut are still here today, along with a memorial marking the event.
Exploring Tikhaya Bukta (Calm Bay), the site of an abandoned weather station on Hooker Island, will feel like stepping back in time. There is plenty to discover as you wander the ruins, immersed in Russian polar history, and you may even be able to send a postcard from the post office.
The Stolichky and Appolonov Islands offer plentiful walrus encounters, as the lumbering giants can be found hauled out here. If ice and weather are in your favour, we’ll explore the area by Zodiac, at a safe distance, to view these pinnipeds of the Arctic in their natural habitat.
- Breakfast (4)
- Lunch (4)
- Dinner (4)
- Breakfast (2)
- Lunch (2)
- Dinner (2)
Meals21 breakfasts, 18 lunches, 19 dinners
TransportExpedition cruise ship, Plane, Zodiac
AccommodationExpedition Cruise ship 13 nights, Quality hotel 2 nights
Arctic and Antarctic bookings have an increased deposit requirement of 20% of the full voyage cost (before any discount). The balance is due 120 days before departure.
If a booking is cancelled 120 days or more before departure - the cancellation fee is the full loss of the deposit paid.
If a booking is cancelled between 119 days and departure - the cancellation fee is 100% of the total price of the voyage.
Other fees may apply for air tickets and other arrangements booked in conjunction with a Polar voyage.
There are strictly enforced luggage allowances on the charter flights included in this voyage. Please see packing list for details.
Your voyage is operated by our sister company, Quark Expeditions. All accommodation and transfer arrangements as listed in the itinerary are also operated by Quark Expeditions or their local representatives.
Essential trip information
Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.View Essential Trip Information