The remote island of Jan Mayen and the wild coast of Spitsbergen are High Arctic destinations accessible only by ship.
This unique voyage departs from Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland and starting point of our expedition. The famous Castle rising above the city gives immediate evidence of Edinburgh’s rich history. While the Town area boasts medieval architecture, the New Town accommodates newer 18th century buildings. We then cross the Arctic Circle on our way to the rarely visited island of Jan Mayen.
After stopping at Jan Mayen we continue to Spitsbergen in the renowned High Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. We explore the fjords on the west side of the island in search of polar bears and other iconic wildlife. We complete the Arctic experience by enjoying stunning scenery and visiting places rich with polar history.
Please note: cruise 21 May - 01 June 2020 starts in Leith (Edinburgh), United Kingdom and ends in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen. See the map below for more details.
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 Spitsbergen, 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.