The remote island of Jan Mayen and the wild coast of Spitsbergen (Svalbard) are High Arctic destinations accessible only by ship.
You can start this unique voyage from two iconic points, Edinburgh and Reykjavik. Edinburgh Castle famously rises above Scotland’s capital to give a sense of the city’s eclectic and eventful history. The quaint town boasts not only medieval buildings, but also 18th century architecture in its newer parts. By choosing Reykjavik, however, you will get a glimpse of this magnificent volcanic island. It’s also the only national capital in the world with its very own puffin colony!
Regardless of your starting point, you will visit Jan Mayen before continuing to Spitsbergen, part of the renowned High Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. Visitors will explore fjords on the west side of the island as they search for polar bears and other iconic wildlife. Stunning landscapes and the area’s rich anthropological and geological history will guarantee an unforgettable Arctic experience!
Everything you wanted to know about Svalbard and more: useful travel tips, polar bear safety procedures and human endeavor at the northern realms of our planet. Learn about the glaciers and landscapes of Svalbard and the ways you can actively explore this pristine polar wilderness. The guidebook is complete with a detailed wildlife account and a packing checklist.
There are few places more removed from the tourist track than Jan Mayen. Accessible only by boat, the island’s designation as a nature sanctuary protects its pristine Arctic ecosystem, including important breeding sites for hundreds of thousands of seabirds.
The landscape is dominated by the heavily glaciated Beerenberg, an impressive stratovolcano considered to be the northernmost active volcano on the earth’s surface. The island is uninhabited except for personnel who work at the Norwegian weather station, which we hope to visit. We also hope to explore more of the island on foot to discover remnants of the island’s whaling history.
The fjords and islands on the west and north coasts of Spitsbergen offer dramatic scenery and some of the High Arctic’s best wildlife viewing opportunities. This remote wilderness is home to impressive colonies of nesting seabirds, a variety of seal and whale species, and a high concentration of polar bears stalking the ice.
In this varied landscape of mountains, tidewater glaciers, and flowering tundra we also find sites significant in the history of early polar pioneers. We may also visit Ny Ålesund, a research settlement complete with museum, post office, and gift shop. There may even be a chance to swim in the Arctic Ocean.
British Isles are famous for a great mixture of surprisingly wild birding destinations and historical sites.
The monuments which are worth a visit include the sandstone St. Magnus Cathedral, considered the finest medieval building in the north of Scotland, the Ring of Brodgar - a huge ceremonial circle of stones dating back almost 5000 years, and the 5000-year-old village of Skara Brae with its remarkable dwellings revealed from beneath the sand dunes by storms only 150 years ago.
Fair Isle is a real paradise for birdwatchers. Huge number of birds inhabits the lush grasslands and spectacular cliffs. Over 345 species have been recorded here – more than anywhere else in Britain.
This voyage offers a wealth of photographic opportunities for novice and experienced photographers alike. Our free photography program gives you the chance to learn and practice your photography skills alongside an expert photographer.
In Svalbard, charismatic megafauna abound in dramatic Arctic icescapes. Species include walrus, bearded seal, and, of course, the photogenic polar bear. While at sea, whales and seabirds also make excellent subjects.
From the cliffy shore of the British Isles to Jan Mayen’s icy volcano and spectacular views of Spitsbergen, this voyage promises a wide range of great landscape photo opportunities too. Our expert will be available to help you make the most of this bounty in your viewfinder.