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Jewels of the Russian High Arctic 16 Days
Arctic, Russia

Jewels of the Russian High Arctic

Jewels of the Russian High Arctic 16 Days aboard Ocean Adventurer

This thrilling Arctic expedition offers you the chance to discover two of the rarely-visited archipelagos of the Russian High Arctic. Cruising through some of the most enigmatic areas in all of the Arctic, you will witness breathtaking ice-draped coastlines, unique wildlife and far-flung destinations steeped in polar history. This once in a lifetime voyage will see you reach the heavily glaciated Novaya Zemlya and Franz Josef Land areas following in the paths of early Arctic explorers.

Please note, this itinerary requires a transfer package including return flights between Helsinki and Murmansk, as well as hotel stays pre and post-voyage. This package is priced at £1600.

Toni Hart

Namibia Birding and Photography Guide

An accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country. Read more >

Andy Pollard

Wildlife Guide & Photographer

Andy is a 6th generation Falkland Islander, with a passion for wildlife, plants and photography. Raised in the Falkland Islands, Andy developed a close affinity with the Islands natural environment at a young age. School holidays where spent in the ‘camp’ or countryside with friends and family. For more than 10 years, Andy had the privilege of spending a time on Sea Lion Island, visiting his mother who managed one of the Islands premier tourist destinations. Read more >

Chris Coe

Photographer and founder of the Travel Photographer Of The Year awards

A fascination with natural light and a passion with nature, landscape and travel underpin Chris Coe's photography. His images often have a striking simplicity and graphic quality. More recent work has introduced a subtlety with experimentation with both movement and light.Read more >

Jenny Luxton

Falklands Expert & Guide

Born in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. Read more >


  • Enjoy an in-depth exploration of two of the Russian High Arctic’s most impressive archipelagos Franz Josef Land & Novaya Zemlya
  • Spectacular scenery of glaciated coastlines, mountains and jagged ice cliffs
  • Search for iconic Arctic wildlife including walrus, whales and Polar bears
  • Abundant birdlife
  • Exciting Zodiac cruises and shore excursions

What's Included

  • Group transfers to and from ship
  • Full board accommodation on board ship
  • 1 night hotel accommodation in Helsinki pre-voyage
  • Programme of expert lectures
  • Guided Zodiac excursions
  • Expedition parka
  • Loan of rubber boots
15 nights 7/9/2020 - 7/24/2020
From Only £7,800pp
Simon Rowland
Simon Rowland
Arctic, Russia Specialist

Speak to someone who’s been to Arctic, Russia. Start planning your tailor-made trip by calling one of our friendly destination specialists on 0800 195 3385 or 44 1625 581143 for outside the UK.


15 Nights   16 Days

Itinerary Summary

  • Day 1 | Helsinki, Finland
  • Day 2 | Murmansk
  • Days 3 - 4 | At Sea
  • Days 5 - 7 | Novaya Zemlya
  • Days 8 - 12 | At Sea & Franz Josef Land
  • Days 13 - 14 | At Sea
  • Days 15 - 16 | Murmansk to Helsinki
Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland

Your adventure will begin with a one-night stay in Helsinki, Finland's capital. Arrive at your leisure and enjoy the sights of the city before a restful night's sleep in preparation for the adventures ahead.

Please note: A mandatory transfer package at a cost of £1600 is required for this trip.



After breakfast you will transfer to the airport for your private charter flight to Murmansk, Russia. Upon arrival in Murmansk you will transfer to the port to board your expedition ship. Settle in to your new surroundings and meet your expedition crew as we set sail into the Barents Sea.

At Sea
3 - 4Days

At Sea

The next two days will be spent at sea as we sail through the Barents Sea towards Novaya Zemlya. As we sail, your informative and entertaining lecture and presentation program will commence, with talks covering everything from Arctic wildlife and geology to the effects of climate change and the history of Polar exploration, including why this particular stretch of water is named after the great Dutch explorer Willem Barents. Some time on deck should reward in various seabird sightings including skuas, kittiwakes and fulmars, as well as sightings of whales and seals in the waters below. This is also a great time to simply relax in the comfort of your ship and prepare for the adventurous days ahead.

Novaya Zemlya
5 - 7Days

Novaya Zemlya

Your exploration of the Russian High Arctic begins in earnest as we reach Novaya Zemlya, the largest of the Eurasian arctic archipelagos and the third-largest wilderness area in Europe. Separated into two distinctive main islands, Novaya Zemlya offers up superb scenery with landscapes of jagged ice cliffs, huge extinct volcanoes and the Barents Sea’s most isolated mountain range. As with all Polar expeditions, your itinerary throughout your time in Arctic Russia may be dictated by weather and sea conditions, with your captain and crew choosing each day the best locations for exciting stops and shore excursions. Each day will bring something new and memorable as we explore around the islands in search of scenic opportunities and wildlife encounters.

The two main islands of Novaya Zemlya are called Severny (northern) and Yuzhny (southern), and we will spend our days exploring around both of these. Places we expect to visit include Inostrantseva Bay where we hope to enjoy a thrilling Zodiac cruise along the face of one of the most picturesque glaciers in the archipelago and along the coastal cliffs that are home to good numbers of Brünnich’s guillemots. For more wildlife delights we will head to the Oransky Islands on the east coast of Severny to seek out observations of large haul-outs of walrus, whales, more seabirds, and if we’re lucky, the iconic Polar bears! We also hope to visit Russkaya Gavan, Cape Spory Navalok and Cape Zhelaniya.

Alongside the spectacular scenery and wildlife opportunities, Novaya Zemlya is also an area of great historical significance and you will be able to trace the footsteps of famous explorers and reflect on the region’s history alongside your knowledgeable and informative expedition crew.

At Sea & Franz Josef Land
8 - 12Days

At Sea & Franz Josef Land

We now spend a day at sea cruising towards Franz Josef Land, the most northerly archipelago in Eurasia. As we reach this remote group of 191 islands that lie entirely within the Arctic Circle the excitement will build again as we prepare to make a number of landings on various islands within the archipelago. Rarely visited owing to its remarkably remote setting, the islands are home to a wide variety of wildlife including numerous walrus and polar bears, along with whales and myriad birdlife. As we discover what makes this archipelago so notable you will explore Cape Flora and discover historic remains from three ill-fated Arctic expeditions, as well as Cape Norway where Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen wintered from 1895 to 1896. Here you will be able to see the remains of their stone huts and a memorial dedicated to their explorations.

When weather conditions permit, we will enjoy thrilling Zodiac trips beneath towering cliffs to explore remote seabird rookeries and search for the wildlife that is often found here. On Hooker Island we will step back in time as we enjoy a walk through the ruins, see the site of an abandoned weather station and even send a postcard from the post office! We will also hope to visit Bell Island and the Stolichky and Appolonov Islands for more exciting Zodiac excursions in search of walrus sightings.

This part of the Arctic Ocean is so remote that Franz Josef Land was discovered after Antarctica, and a visit here will be the perfect way to round off your exciting Russian High Arctic expedition.

At Sea
13 - 14Days

At Sea

As we leave Franz Josef Land behind and head across the Arctic Ocean back to Murmansk you can enjoy your final days onboard looking for wildlife on deck and reminiscing with your shipmates about the adventure you have experienced together.

Murmansk to Helsinki
15 - 16Days

Murmansk to Helsinki

As you disembark in Russia's most northerly city, it will be time to bid farewell to your ship and transfer to the airport for your charter flight back to Helsinki, Finland to enjoy one final night with your trip mates.

After an overnight hotel stay you can choose to extend your stay in Helsinki or make your way to the airport for onward travel.

Ocean Adventurer

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What Our Customers

Ann Macleod, Scotland Sarah & David, Portsmouth James and Pamela Chapman, Halifax Geoff & Magda, Adelaide, Australia Ann & Paul, East Grinstead, Sussex Chris Janner, Manchester Gavin Burnett Stirling, United Kingdom Chris Pye, North Wales Chris Pye, North Wales Chris Conlan, Manchester, UK Boyan Todorov, Holland Karen Worton, Suffolk,UK Malcolm Green , UK Malcolm Green , UK Frances Hadfield, East Sussex, UK Mike Unwin, Brighton, UK Christine Matthews, London, UK Jan Broderick, Northumberland
Superlatives abound – a truly amazing experience...awesome. Thanks to all for making it such a memorable experience.
We have just returned from our Spitsbergen trip with Wildfoot and had to tell you what an amazing time we had! We saw 6 polar bears including a mother with 2 cubs as well as whales, walruses and lots of birds. The ship (Expedition) was really comfortable and the guides were so helpful and friendly. Thank you so much for making it all so easy.
I came to Wildfoot because a friend had booked with you when you were Antarctica Bound and they were right. Everything went perfectly, even when our flight was cancelled, you made sure we still made it to the ship with time to spare. L’Austral is a beautiful ship with first class service and food and the guides looked after us well. Very happy to recommend Wildfoot and L’Austral...
We had always wanted to see the Arctic and travelling all the way from Australia needed lots of information. After getting nowhere, we came across Wildfoot and found people who knew what they were talking about! Sara and John were so helpful and made the process easy, suggesting Iceland Greenland and Spitsbergen. This was perfect for us – amazing scenery and lots of wildlife, especially the polar bears in Spitsbergen. Thanks for everything. Ps, the ship was great too!
Just wanted to say thank you for suggesting a trip to Franz Josef Land as something different for the Arctic. We had a super trip and really enjoyed the Sea Spirit. Galapagos next!
Standing on the North Pole has been an ambition of mine since childhood and now I have done it! Thank you for making the process so easy - seeing polar bears and whales too was a real bonus.
The Sea Spirit expedition was excellent and the team organising it all were extremely good. 10 out of 10. Everything went very smoothly. The Iceland extension worked perfectly, all the organisation, connections etc. were excellent
The cruise was beyond my expectations. Got to see everything the captain wanted, even a polar bear mother with three cubs. Coal Miners Cabins were smashing. I did loads of birding and exploring over three days. All the people were great from the expedition leaders down to the passengers. So glad to have achieved my ambition of some 50 years standing and got amongst the ice of the Arctic, walked amongst it’s islands and witnessed the antics of its wonderful wildlife. What’s next??? I’ll need to speak with Sara again.
Thanks so much for enabling me to get to places I had always wanted to see from a very young age. “Ace” as my boys used to say!
Just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you very much for all your help in arranging our recent trip to Svalbard. Everything ran smoothly and the trip was a great success. Unfortunately I had to flew back a few days early and missed out on Isfjord Radio, which the rest of the team said was a brilliant place with amazing food, still the Basecamp Hotel and Nordenskiold Lodge were pretty amazing places, so I’m not complaining!
Writing back to tell you that the trip to the Arctic was all that it promised and more. It was a great wild-life sightseeing opportunity and the staff were really good.I had an excellent trip and have thousands of photos to go through.
I had an absolutely fabulous time won the Sergey Vavilov, it is an excellent ship. Sara was indeed right in her recommendation that they would be the most likely to push north into the ice to find the polar bears. We even circumnavigated Spitsbergen which was awesome and not o n the itinerary.It is such a wonderful way to take a trip when you are on your own – so if any of your potential single clients are unsure, definitely recommend it – I didn’t feel alone from the moment I stepped on board. I will be at the Birdfair next weekend and so will catch up with whoever is there – regarding this trip, and potentially my next!
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
Great cruise, staff and expedition team. Had a great trip.
We had a wonderful time, even though we didn't do all the places we were supposed to but we all felt were we went instead couldn't beaten. Saw animals I wanted to see. Bit worried what the food was like as some of the ships cooking leaves something to be desired, but food was very good. We thought all the guides were brilliant and informative, friendly and knowledgeable It was far better than we expected and even my husband thoroughly enjoyed it!
I wanted to let you know that I had a wonderful cruise in the Russian Far East. The landscape and destination were inspiring, we had some excellent wildlife sightings (sea otter, grey whale, Steller's sea eagle, snowy owl and Arctic fox were all firsts for me), and the Heritage team were superb. Rough seas forced a few changes to the itinerary but we also had some fabulous weather. All in all, a thrilling travel experience.Thanks once again for all your efforts
I thought you might like to know that this was an excellent holiday. Our guide, Brad, was absolutely wonderful, his enthusiasm and knowledge made the holiday even better. All in all the whole trip was excellent and we saw lots of bears, 24 on the first day. Fewer on the second and third days but still plenty, as well as arctic foxes,silver foxes and snowy owls. Even on the last day near the town we saw a bear on rocks by the beach.
What a great trip! Wildfoot built a great trip for us and every aspect was spot on. Our Iguazu guide was fun, interesting and helpful and all the transfers were timely and comfortable. The Antarctica Trip was superb - WIldfoot had given us the best advice and helped us choose the right ship and tour for what we wanted - A truly memorable Experience Thank You Wildfoot

Expedition Highlights Gallery

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Zoe Savage-Morton
Senior Travel Expert