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Jewels of the Russian Arctic: Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya

16 days

Follow in the footsteps of early arctic explorers on the Jewels of the Russian Arctic: Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya expedition, voyaging to two of the most isolated, icy archipelagoes in the Russian High Arctic. From the mountains of Novaya Zemlya to the wildlife sanctuary of Franz Josef Land, these are rugged and essentially uninhabited landscapes that few have ever experienced. There’s no shortage of amazing adventures in these remote regions, where ice-capped peaks soar majestically out of the water and polar bears wander in their natural environment.

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

  • Explore this rarely visited region of the Russian Arctic
  • Encounter iconic arctic wildlife, such as polar bears, walrus and seabirds
  • Explore glaciated Novaya Zemlya, where the earliest Arctic explorers overwintered
  • Visit significant sites at Franz Josef Land and learn about the region’s storied history

Day 1 — Helsinki, Finland

Your Arctic adventure begins in Helsinki, renowned for its extraordinary architecture and intriguing mix of eastern and western influences.

Day 2 — Embarkation in Murmansk, Russia

After breakfast, we will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Murmansk, Russia. Once aboard, get acquainted with the ship and crew and settle in for your voyage north.

Days 3 and 4 — At Sea

As we sail through the Barents Sea, your Expedition Team will prepare you for the adventures that await. Learn about the storied history and politics of the region, its fascinating wildlife, geology, ecology and climate, and the incredible sights you will soon explore.

Days 5 to 7 — Exploring Novaya Zemlya

The largest of the Eurasian arctic archipelagoes, the rarely visited Novaya Zemlya (“New Land”) is the third-largest wilderness area in Europe. This seemingly long, narrow island actually consists of two main islands, Severny (northern) and Yuzhny (southern), separated by the imposing Matochkin Strait. As we explore Novaya Zemlya, expect a new adventure every day. Each expedition will be unique, depending on the weather and ice, but a few landing sites we strive to visit include Inostrantseva Bay, the Oransky Islands, Cape Zhelaniya, Cape Spory Navalok and Russkaya Gavan.

Day 8 — At Sea

Bid farewell to Novaya Zemlya as we cruise farther north to Franz Josef Land. There are several activities to keep you engaged while at sea. Attend presentations by your Expedition Team, relax in our polar library or simply spend some time on deck, admiring the sea.

Days 9 to 12 — Exploring Franz Josef Land

This remote group of 191 islands, many covered in ice, forms the most northerly archipelago in Eurasia and lies entirely within the Arctic Circle. A nature reserve, it is part of the Russian Arctic National Park. Weather and ice conditions will shape our exploration, but we do hope to explore historical sites, remote seabird colonies and walrus haul-out at some notable destinations, such as Cape Flora, Cape Norway, Bell Island and Tikhaya Bukta. Polar bear encounters are also possible.

Days 13 and 14 — At Sea

As your Arctic expedition winds down you have a couple of days to sail through this wildlife-rich sea, where whales of various species are often seen. Take in a presentation, reminisce about your incredible journey with your shipmates, relax in the lounge while swapping stories and photos or enjoy the solitude of the sea.

Day 15 — Disembarkation Murmansk & Fly to Helsinki

Returning to Russia’s most northerly city, you’ll have time to bid farewell to your Expedition Team and crew before catching our group charter flight back to Helsinki, where you will have one more night in this exquisite city.

Day 16 — Helsinki

After breakfast, spend time exploring more of the Finnish capital or catch your homeward-bound flight.
View complete itinerary »

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.

Explore Helsinki Package

This package includes an extra night and tour of Helsinki, a capital with extraordinary architecture and an intriguing blend of eastern and western influences. Experience a Finnish sauna and visit their spectacular church carved into a giant rock.