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Four Arctic Islands: Spitsbergen, Jan Mayen, Greenland and Iceland

18 days

From impressive icebergs to iconic wildlife to traditional Inuit culture and more, the Four Arctic Islands: Spitsbergen, Jan Mayen, Greenland and Iceland expedition gives you a generous sampling of four unique Arctic regions. This voyage is ideal for first time visitors who want a taste of everything the Arctic has to offer. Beginning in Norway, your adventure takes you to Spitsbergen, renowned for its stunning scenery and abundant, varied wildlife such as polar bears and walrus. From there, sail south to the mysterious, volcanic Jan Mayen, a nature reserve so remote that few before have been fortunate to explore it. Then, venture to Greenland’s east coast, cruising deep into Scoresbysund to discover the world’s largest fjord system and icebergs larger than you could ever imagine. Finally, to cap off your epic expedition, you’ll sail under the midnight sun to Reykjivik, where you disembark and can soak up Icelandic culture in a city that never sleeps.

The Arctic has been inspiring explorers for centuries, and our expeditions offer the chance for you to discover why. We’re excited to host you on your unforgettable adventure! Feel free to reach out to our team of Polar Travel Advisers or your travel professional, who can answer your questions and provide assistance at any time.

Day-by-Day Expedition in Brief

  • Search for iconic arctic wildlife, such as polar bears, walrus and reindeer
  • Explore the wildlife haven of Spitsbergen, the volcanic Jan Mayen and the breathtaking Greenlandic fjord system all in one trip
  • Visit a remote Inuit community
  • Cruise in a Zodiac to explore glaciers, icebergs and more
  • Immerse yourself in the icy realm of the Arctic with optional kayaking adventures

Day 1 — Arrive in Oslo, Norway

Your Arctic adventure begins in Oslo, where you may arrive at any time during Day 1 of your itinerary. Upon arriving in this splendid capital city, known for its green spaces and museums, you will check into your included airport hotel.

Day 2 — Embarkation Day in Longyearbyen, Svalbard

This morning, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement.

Days 3 to 6 — Exploring Spitsbergen

Exploring Spitsbergen, the largest island in the Norwegian Svalbard archipelago, rewards you with abundant wildlife and austere beauty. Here, you’ll visit spectacular glacier fronts and steep-walled fjords, with walrus, polar bears and Svalbard reindeer amongst your possible wildlife sightings. Birders will be thrilled to see arctic terns, skuas, long-tailed ducks, kittiwakes and ivory gulls.

Days 7 and 8 — At Sea

While sailing south through the historic Greenland Sea toward Jan Mayen, your Expedition Team will keep you informed with presentations about the storied history and politics of the Arctic, its fascinating wildlife, geology, ecology and climate, and the incredible sights you will soon explore. On deck, you’ll learn to identify seabirds “on the wing.” The team will also keep a lookout for the whales that frequent the waters here.

Days 9 and 10 — Exploring Jan Mayen

North of the Arctic Circle, about 280 miles (450 km) east of Greenland and 340 miles (550 km) north of Iceland, is the mysterious Jan Mayen, deep in the North Atlantic Ocean. Often shrouded in thick fog, the small mountainous island was declared a nature reserve in 2010 and is rarely visited, save for the 18 rotating personnel of the Norwegian military and Norwegian Meteorological Institute, who are the only inhabitants.

Days 11 to 15 — Exploring Scoresbysund, Greenland

Your tour of Scoresbysund—the largest, deepest and, some say, most beautiful multi-armed fjord system in the world—will offer plenty of opportunities to explore ashore or by Zodiac cruise. At one moment you’ll be stepping back in time, exploring the remains of ancient Thule settlements with views of icebergs and towering mountains rising straight out of the sea, and the next you’ll be immersed in contemporary culture, meeting the locals and gaining an appreciation for their way of life in Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland’s most remote community.

Days 16 and 17 — At Sea

As we cruise south, the Denmark Strait is your pathway toward Iceland. Take in a lecture, share your photos, sip an icy cocktail in the bar or watch a movie—there are many things to do during your time at sea. Your Expedition Team will also be on hand to answer any questions and point out wildlife.

Day 18 — Depart Reykjavik, Iceland

You’ll disembark in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital, at the end of your journey. If you have booked post-expedition accommodation, we provide a transfer to a central downtown location.
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Adventure Options Add an Extra Rush of Adrenaline to Your Expedition

Every Quark Arctic voyage includes great daily outdoor activities including Zodiac cruises and hiking. We also offer kayaking on most of our voyages; a great way to experience the beauty of the Arctic in a more personal way. Contact a Quark Polar Travel Adviser to learn more about adventure options, including physical requirements.

Explore the ocean from a more intimate vantage point on a sit-on-top kayak. No experience is required to manoeuvre these very stable kayaks, allowing you to enjoy an unforgettable experience on the water, taking in breathtaking landscapes and wildlife. Whether it’s your first time in a kayak or you want greater flexibility to try other Adventure options, this shorter excursion is for you.  
 
Paddling in the Polar Regions is highly weather-dependent and a one-time experience. Your kayak guides will attempt to take you out on the water for 1-1.5 hours of paddling. Offered on most voyages, spaces are limited. All equipment, guides and instructions are provided by Quark. 

Pricing subject to change based on season. Please proceed to checkout or contact a Polar Travel Adviser for more details. 

Pre- and Post-Trip Options Extend Your Stay

Getting to the Arctic can be just as much fun as being there. Quark offers multiple travel packages that enable you to see more of the world before and after your Arctic adventure.

Iceland Experience Package

From the charming city of Reykjavik, to the therapeutic waters of the Blue lagoon, and the bubbling hot springs of Thingveller National Park, you will be mesmerized by the unique beauty and striking geography of this Nordic island. Iceland offers adventures for every activity and skill level – ask about the other options available to enjoy the fresh air and explore the dramatic landscape.