Dreaming of an unparalleled adventure of epic proportions? A Russian Arctic & North Pole expedition may be just the ticket to the wild north you’ve been looking for. A colossal passage of the world’s harshest seas, a spectacular glimpse into magnificent and pristine wilderness and encounters with the stoic people who live on the roof of our world. Plus…there are always the polar bears. These are just some of the Highlights of a Russian Arctic Expedition.
The Russian Arctic is a remote part of uncharted land that’s only recently opened up to commercial tourism. People come here in search of the impossible, the remote, the harsh and the utterly mesmerizing. From the wilds of the Siberian coastline to pristine arctic islands like Wrangel, encounters with the hardy folks who call the remote Chukotka Region home, sea voyages across the wildlife-enriched Barents Sea and even fly-in adventures to the North Pole base camp: the chances for unforgettable adventures here are abundant and phenomenal.
Here are the most incredible highlights of a Russian Arctic & North Pole Expedition:
Svalbard, Norway – The most well-known destination in the Arctic region, Svalbard is the world’s northernmost populated land and a cluster of supremely pristine islands floating about half way between the Scandinavian mainland and the North Pole. One of the best Northern Lights viewing platforms on earth, Svalbard boasts a swath of frozen tundra home to Arctic Foxes, Polar Bears and endemic reindeer. Of all the destinations on Russian Arctic Expeditions, Svalbard is by far the most renowned, the easiest to reach and the one with the best infrastructure. Tourism popularity notwithstanding – because all things are relative, after all – Svalbard is that hauntingly harsh frozen wonderland you dream of when you think of an Arctic adventure. Vertiginous glaciers, snow-capped mountains, endless horizons of rock and ice and a place where Polar Bears reign and humans survive. The most pristine and remote corner of Europe offers husky-led overland adventures, snowmobile excursions and boat trips by icebreakers. Svalbard is one of the most popular and convenient springboards for Russian Arctic & North Pole expeditions.
Crossing of the Barents Sea
With ocean waters shared by Norway and Russian, the Barents was a hotly contested chunk of Arctic Sea for many years, all the way up until 2011 when a treaty between the two nations was finally signed. Arguably the most prolific breeding seabird sanctuary on our planet, the Barents Sea is a phenomenal confluence of freezing cold Arctic waters and warmer Atlantic waters, spawning a plethora of unique marine wildlife. A crossing of the Barents Sea is an awe-inspiring experience. As summer creeps, more and more of the sea defrosts, attracting nearly 20 million sea birds in search of food and optimal breeding grounds. The world’s largest cold water reef is a magnet for large colonies of seals and whales on hunting missions.
Franz Josef Land, Russia
A cluster of high Russian Arctic islands inhabited only by local army personnel, a Franz Josef Land expedition can be your first taste of a ‘totally out there’ Russian Arctic & North Pole experience. Once you leave the comforts of Svalbard and sail across the Barents Sea, you’ll reach the northernmost archipelago on earth, a collection of 192 islets that’s about as remote as one could get. These islands are currently under scientific scrutiny and seem to hold many answers as to the consequences of global warming on our planet. Endless harsh plains of basalt inhabited by walruses, foxes and Polar Bears. Harsh frigid seas that are playgrounds for bowhead, beluga and humpback whales. Up here, you are 800 nautical miles north of the Arctic Circle, where permafrost and arctic winds prevent all but the hardiest of flora and fauna from thriving. In summer, when the sun never sets, the landscapes of Franz Josef Land are spectacularly breathtaking.
The Northern Sea Route
This is about as epic a sea voyage as one could get on this planet and arguably the most comprehensive highlight of a Russian Arctic & North Pole expedition. The Northern Sea Route was defined by the Russians and is a shipping lane which stretches from Kara Gates in Siberia all the way to the Bering Strait. Recent ice melt has rendered this passage navigable to tourism expedition vessels in summer and grants a glimpse into what is, without a doubt, the least chartered and most inhospitable waters on earth, where ferocious storms and arctic winds rule the day. To discerning seafaring adventurers, a Northern Sea Route passage is the ultimate travel thrill and offers the chance for a mouth-watering quest from Anadyr in the eastern Chukotka Region to Murmansk in the northwest tip, passing remote archipelagos, visiting Franz Josef Land, polar bear-brimming Wrangel and Ayon islands among others, and incorporating a crossing of the Barents Sea, the Kara Sea and East Siberian Sea. When you’ve ‘run out’ of world to explore or simply wish to sail where few others have sailed before, a Northern Sea Route expedition should definitely tickle your travel-fancy.
Chukotka Autonomous Region
In Far East Russia, just west of the Alaskan coastline, is where you’ll find the Chukotka Autonomous Region, an enigmatic land where man, flora and fauna live in unison. On a Chukotka expedition, you’ll meet indigenous Chukchis and learn all about the rich Arctic history of the area; explore endless tundra plains, encounter a treasure of endemic wildlife and discover a region shaped by a kaleidoscope of cultural and natural wealth. For lovers of pristine and unique wilderness and wildlife, and all those interested in far-east cultures, history and adventures, a journey to Chukotka is not to be missed.
North Pole Base Camp
There are few places which can offer an unforgettable ‘long weekend adventure’ like a jaunt to the North Pole Base Camp. Short on time but BIG on adventurous dreams? Then set off on the helicopter ride of your life, as you leave Svalbard behind and set your sights for the Barneo Ice Camp, a temporary icy and floating camp located close to the North Pole. On this North Pole express adventure, you’ll be among the last people who’ll visit Barneo for the year and experience life in extremes. You’ll be guided the whole way by a team of professionals and enjoy the warm comforts of all the most modern luxuries which can be towed this far north. A wicked adventure and certainly a few days you’ll never forget.
A journey of discovery to the ‘top of the world’, on a Russian Arctic & North Pole expedition, is an adventurer’s ultimate dream. Wild frozen horizons, breathtakingly dramatic landscapes, a swath of unique wildlife and encounters with some of the most enigmatic people on earth. Dream adventures on the roof of our planet and a chance for unforgettable experiences.