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 Reykjavík, Iceland and finishes in Longyearbyen, an Arctic settlement on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen. First we explore the scenic Vestfirðir (Westfjords) of Iceland and call at the historic port of Ísafjörður. 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.
Deep fjords, cascading waterfalls, and rugged mountains make the Westfjords one of Iceland’s most scenic regions. The windswept peninsula’s long coastline hosts many millions of nesting seabirds, including razorbills and puffins. The surrounding seas are home to a variety of whale species.
In one particularly pretty fjord, the historic fishing port of Ísafjörður embodies Iceland’s unique blend of rich cultural heritage and contemporary charm. The town’s longstanding historical significance is reflected in its large collection of old timber-frame houses and various museums.
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.
On this voyage, our optional sea kayaking program is conducted in the Spitsbergen portion. This is a truly world-class paddling destination that very few kayakers have had the fortune to experience.
Spitsbergen rewards kayakers with spectacular scenery, unique marine wildlife, and a variety of excellent paddling locations. Spitsbergen also offers the possibility of kayaking in the vicinity of tidewater glaciers.
Sea Kayak Club is a fun and interesting way to experience the landscapes and wildlife of this unique Arctic environment. If you enjoy sea kayaking, then do not miss your chance to participate in this exciting adventure option.
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 Iceland’s rugged coast to Jan Mayen’s icy volcano, 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.