Rarely visited today yet significant in the history of polar exploration, Franz Josef Land is worthy of its legendary reputation.
This extraordinary expedition to Franz Josef Land is as unique and authentic as the place itself. Starting in Longyearbyen in the Norwegian territory of Svalbard, we cross the icy, wildlife-rich Barents Sea to the Russian High Arctic. In Franz Josef Land we discover unparalleled landscapes, wildlife, and history in one of the wildest and most remote corners of the Arctic.
Back in Svalbard we have the opportunity to explore beautiful fjords and islands on the northwestern coast of Spitsbergen. Here we seek the full range of Arctic wildlife in one of the world’s most impressive polar desert environments.
*Please note: Cruises in 2019 start and end in Longyearbyen (Svalbard), but do not include exploration of Spitsbergen.
Franz Josef Land, part of the Russian Arctic National Park, is a nature sanctuary. Polar bears, walrus, endangered bowhead whales, and other Arctic wildlife can be spotted anywhere, anytime in and around the archipelago. Svalbard is a similarly protected wilderness where we find flowering tundra and tidewater glaciers.
Steep cliffs and scree slopes in both island groups accommodate enormous colonies of nesting seabirds such as dovekies, guillemots, and rare ivory gulls. 24-hour daylight allows us to exploit every opportunity for wildlife viewing in this unique polar ecosystem.
In Franz Josef Land we encounter a stark and enigmatic landscape steeped in the drama and heroism of early polar exploration. At places like Bell Island, Cape Flora, and Cape Tegetthoff we have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Fridtjof Nansen, Frederick George Jackson, Julius von Payer, and other polar explorers.
At Tikhaya Bukhta we find the ruins of a Soviet-era research facility that was also a major base for polar expeditions. Across the archipelago there are monuments, memorials, crosses, and the remains of makeshift dwellings, all testimony to incredible historical events.
On this voyage we also experience stunning scenery and abundant wildlife in Spitsbergen, Svalbard’s largest island. This classic Arctic destination is home to reindeer, Arctic fox, millions of seabirds, numerous marine mammal species, and a high concentration of polar bears.
In this multifaceted landscape of glaciated mountains and coastal plains we also find historical sites and the Arctic research community of Ny Ålesund, complete with gift shop, post office, and museum.
|Itinerary||Dates||Days||Activities||Special Offer||Rates from|
Russian High Arctic
July 21, Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen) - August 2, Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen)
|20 Jul - 02 Aug 2020||14||Early Booking Discount*||
Russian High Arctic
August 2, Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen) - August 14, Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen)
|01 Aug - 14 Aug 2020||14||Early Booking Discount*||
Russian High Arctic
August 14, Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen) - August 26, Longyearbyen (Spitsbergen)
|13 Aug - 26 Aug 2020||14||Early Booking Discount*||
Franz Josef Land offers an abundance of unique photo opportunities. Our free photography program gives you the chance to learn and practice your photography skills alongside an expert photographer.
A dynamic land of contrasts, Franz Josef Land boasts lush tundra oases amidst vast polar deserts, bird cliffs in sight of glaciers, and sea ice any time of year. You can capture it all with the benefit of 24-hour daylight.
This enchanting landscape also has photo-worthy geological features such as the mysterious stone spheres of Champ Island. Our expert will be available to help you make the most of this bounty in your viewfinder.
If visitors to these islands are few, then kayakers who have taken advantage of these waters are far fewer still. This is a shame, as Franz Josef Land offers some amazing paddling opportunities.
A variety of ice features and the possibility of encountering seals and walrus make this an exciting place to be a kayaker. Paddling adventures here are real and unscripted as we explore rugged coastlines and uncharted waters in this remote Arctic wilderness.
Sea Kayak Club participants in Franz Josef Land have the opportunity to paddle where very few people have paddled before. If you enjoy sea kayaking, then do not miss your chance to participate in this fun and interesting optional activity.