The rugged, remote Arctic remains one of the most unexplored domains on the planet. This ice-laden region encompasses the Canadian High Arctic; Greenland; the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, which includes Spitsbergen; Russia; and at the very top of the planet, of course, the North Pole. It’s inhabited by polar bears, muskoxen, arctic foxes, beluga whales, reindeer, seals, walruses and migratory birds, among other wildlife species.
Land of the Midnight Sun
Experience 24-hour daylight that illuminates the fjords, glaciers, and landscapes of the Arctic, providing extended opportunities to appreciate its beauty—from wildlife spotting to photography—day or night.
Diverse Arctic Wildlife
The Arctic is one of the few places on earth where you can experience an abundance of wildlife in its natural habitat, including polar bears, walrus, reindeer, Arctic fox, beluga whales and numerous species of seabirds.
Palatial Fjords & Glaciers
Immerse yourself in the environment with a variety of activities from sea kayaking and paddling excursions to hiking and Zodiac cruising; each will provide unique perspectives of the fjords and glaciers of the Arctic.
Visit indigenous communities in Nunavut and Greenland for a richer and more intimate glimpse of what life in the Arctic is really like.
20th Century Explorers’ Huts
Visit preserved cabins and encampments used by early 20th explorers and hunters, as well as other historical sites, such as the marked graves of members of the tragic Franklin expedition (1845-46) on Beechey Island.
Last Charted Territory
Explore Severnaya Zemlya, the last territorial discovery on the planet made in 1930, located in the remote Russian High Arctic.
What You Need to Know
What to Expect
The Arctic encompasses several countries and cultures. You can learn about Inuit customs in Nunavut, Canada’s newest territory, or also explore the Indigenous cultures of Greenland. Then there’s the outpost of Longyearbyen in Spitsbergen, the capital of the Svalbard archipelago. Visitors can have an entirely different experience in the remote lands within the Russian Arctic. Such diversity is part of the appeal of an Arctic expedition.
How to Get There
Speak to your Polar Travel Advisor who can explain where your voyage will embark and provide information on the nearest airport. Transfer flights are sometimes included in your package and are arranged by Quark Expeditions. Some embarkations require passengers to book flights at preferred times.
Visas & Passports
Always travel with a passport that’s valid for at least six months. Some Arctic expeditions may require a visa in addition to your passport, depending on your nationality and the country you’re visiting. Remember that some expeditions visit multiple countries.
Canadian High Arctic
The Canadian High Arctic includes lands in the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut. There are more than 35,563 islands in the remote Canadian Arctic Archipelago, which includes Baffin Island and Ellesmere Island. The mountains, glaciers, tundra, remote rocky shorelines, granite cliffs and Arctic waters are home to polar bears, grizzly bears, muskoxen, beluga whales, harp seals, walruses and migratory birds, among other wildlife species.
The best of Greenland can be found along its coastline, which is dominated by icebergs, glaciers, deep fjords, mountains and vast stretches of wilderness. Greenland’s traditional Inuit communities (descendants of the Thule people) appeal to travelers with a passion for ancient cultures. For nature-lovers, Greenland offers unrivalled wildlife-viewing: polar bears, muskoxen, humpback whales, walruses, sea eagles and reindeer. And of course, there’s the Aurora Borealis, commonly known as the Northern Lights.
The chance to stand at the very top of the world lures travelers to the North Pole, which is often called “terra incognita,” the unknown land. No one lives on this constantly shifting ice domain in the middle of the Arctic Ocean at 90° North. The closest permanently inhabited settlement is Alert, Nunavut, about 800 kilometres (508 miles) away. There’s an otherworldly quality to the North Pole—where every direction you look is south.
Russian High Arctic
Russia’s Arctic territory, most of which has no permanent human population, includes 24,140 kilometres of coastline along the Arctic Ocean, the Barents Sea, Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk. Various Arctic archipelagoes, such as Novaya Zemlya and Severnaya Zemlya, make up much of the Russian Arctic. Russia’s remote, seldom-visited Franz Josef Land, 950 kilometres from the North Pole, attracts polar adventurers, as well.
Spitsbergen is the largest island in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, and is often called “The land of the midnight sun.” The island is also known as “The Wildlife Capital of the Arctic.” Polar bears, walruses, reindeers, arctic foxes, beluga whales, seals and seabirds are found amongst the icebergs, glaciers and snow-covered mountains.
Spitsbergen Explorer – Wildlife Capital of the Arctic
The largest island of the Svalbard archipelago, Spitsbergen is known as the “wildlife capital of the Arctic,” and on this unforgettable 12-day voyage, you will discover why. Building on our Spitsbergen Highlights and Intro to Spitsbergen itineraries, this longer journey has been designed to maximize time on the west and northern/southern tips of the island, providing you optimal chances to witness the remarkable array of creatures who call this spectacular yet forbidding environment home—including whales, walruses, Svalbard reindeer, seabirds by the thousands, and that most iconic of Arctic residents, the polar bear.
In addition to giving you opportunities to observe this unique parade of wildlife, the longer itinerary also allows you more time to explore the vast tundra, appreciate the natural beauty of the surprisingly colorful Arctic wilderness, and benefit from our range of on-board lectures and educational programs. Come aboard with the most knowledgeable, experienced and passionate team in the industry for an extraordinary High Arctic adventure.
EXPEDITION IN BRIEF
Encounter iconic Arctic wildlife, such as polar bears, walrus and reindeer
Take advantage of continuous daylight
Hike the tundra and explore the polar desert
Cruise in a Zodiac to explore glaciers, fjords, icebergs and more
Immerse yourself in the icy realm of the Arctic with optional kayaking adventures
This morning, the group will transfer to the airport and board our private charter flight to Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen’s largest settlement. As your ship sets sail, enjoy your first view of the island’s rugged, glacier-topped mountains rising majestically from frigid waters.
Explore western Spitsbergen as well as stunning fjords and outlying islands to the north. From polar deserts to immense glaciers, the natural landscape here is just as varied as the wildlife. As you cruise around this magical island located above the Arctic Circle, your Expedition Team will constantly be searching for animals.
Each expedition presents new opportunities and different weather and ice, so we have no fixed itinerary; however, some of the places we may visit include the 14th of July Glacier, Smeerenburg, Phippsøya, Alkhornet and the Hinlopen Strait.
The destinations visited will be selected for optimum wildlife viewing with an appreciation of the history and geology of Spitsbergen.
The island offers multiple opportunities for wildlife photography. Since Svalbard’s legendary wildlife habitat is well-protected and almost entirely uninhabited, it’s one of the world’s best places to spot polar bears in their natural landscapes of ice, Arctic deserts and mountain scenery.
The towering cliffs of Alkefjellet provide homes to thousands of Brünnich’s guillemots (thick-billed murres).
Coming across a walrus haul-out is a moment you won’t soon forget. Get a chance to witness the intimate gatherings of giant pinnipeds as they haul out together on small coastal strips.
If you’re itching to experience a more intimate view from the water, you can prebook the sea kayaking or paddling excursion adventure options.
In Spitsbergen, there is no shortage of natural beauty. The tundra can be surprisingly colorful in summer, with wildflowers bursting for a taste of sunshine. Each day, you’ll see something interesting, whether it is an ever-changing gallery of spectacular icebergs, a polar bear resting between hunts, or an abandoned historical site from centuries ago.
The time to say goodbye has come. Your Arctic adventure ends as it began, in the frontier-style settlement of Longyearbyen. From here, we’ll transfer you to the airport for your return group charter flight to Helsinki, included in the transfer package.
Prices From: £5,440 per person
Rates include the following:
Leadership throughout your voyage by our experienced Expedition Leaders, including shore landings and other activities
All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program
All shore landings per the daily program
Shipboard accommodation with daily housekeeping
All meals, snacks, soft drinks and juices on board throughout your voyage (Please inform us of any dietary requirements as far in advance as possible. Unfortunately, the ships’ galleys cannot prepare kosher meals.)
Select beer and wine during dinner; and coffee, tea and cocoa available around the clock
Formal and informal presentations by the Expedition Team and guest speakers as scheduled
A photographic journal documenting the expedition
A pair of waterproof expedition boots on loan for landings and Zodiac cruising excursions
An official Quark Expeditions® parka to keep
Hair dryer and bathrobes in every cabin
All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program
All luggage handling aboard the ship
Emergency Evacuation insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of USD $500,000 per person
Transfers between Longyearbyen town center and port on embarkation and disembarkation day
Rates do not include the following:
Arrival and departure transfers in Helsinki
Passport and visa expenses
Government arrival and departure taxes not mentioned above
Meals ashore unless otherwise specified
Baggage, cancellation, interruption, and medical travel insurance—strongly recommended
Excess-baggage fees on international and domestic flights
Mandatory waterproof pants for Zodiac cruising, or any other gear not mentioned
Laundry, bar and other personal charges unless specified
Phone and Internet charges (connectivity may vary by location)
Voluntary gratuity at the end of the voyage for shipboard staff and crew
Additional overnight accommodation
Adventure Options not listed in Included Activities