WEALTH OF WILDLIFE
Svalbard boasts one of the Arctic’s highest concentrations of polar bears. They are the world’s largest land carnivores and have become a symbol of the imperiled Arctic wilderness. This is one of the best places in the world to view polar bears hunting in their preferred habitat: the pack ice.
Svalbard is home to impressive colonies of nesting seabirds, a variety of seal and whale species. This is a protected wilderness where we find flowering tundra and tidewater glaciers. You can also encounter a great abundance of nesting seabirds, and land mammals such as Arctic fox and reindeer.
In Greenland coastal plains are home to prehistoric-looking musk oxen and other wildlife.
Franz Josef Land, part of the Russian Arctic National Park, is a nature sanctuary. Polar bears, walrus, endangered bowhead whales, and other Arctic wildlife can be spotted anywhere, anytime in and around the archipelago.
In Svalbard you will see a varied landscape of mountains, tidewater glaciers, and flowering tundra.
Greenland is the place where you will find some of the finest scenery in the world. Extensive fjord systems provide access to the mountainous interior of Greenland where tidewater glaciers create colossal icebergs. Each night in Greenland brings a new possibility to see incredible displays of northern lights, also known as aurora borealis.
Jan Mayen landscape is dominated by the heavily glaciated Beerenberg, an impressive stratovolcano considered to be the northernmost active volcano on the earth’s surface.
In Iceland, in the ruggedly beautiful Westfjords, we will visit the historic fishing port of Ísafjörður. This small town embodies Iceland’s trademark blend of contemporary charm and rich cultural heritage.
POLAR LEGENDS AND HISTORY
Arctic is rich with historical sites. You may find here the staging areas for many historic expeditions to the North Pole, including those of Roald Amundsen and Walter Wellman.
In Svalbard, modern human endeavor can be experienced at Ny Ålesund, a former mining town that is now home to a multinational community of Arctic researchers. In addition to a museum, gift shop, and post office, visitors to this extreme northern settlement find a famous bust of Amundsen and a historic airship mast.
In Franz Josef Land we encounter a stark and enigmatic landscape steeped in the drama and heroism of early polar exploration. At places like Bell Island, Cape Flora, and Cape Tegetthoff we have the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Fridtjof Nansen, Frederick George Jackson, Julius von Payer, and other polar explorers.