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Setting sail from Tromsø
Tromsø is often referred to as the Gateway to the Arctic. Its beauty astonishes new visitors with its magnificent views over the Tromsø strait. Tromsø's location, well within the Arctic Circle, means the summer months are lit by the Midnight Sun, a compensation for some rather long, dark winters. It is a wonderful city to explore on foot, wandering along the streets with their multi-coloured wooden houses. A must see is the amazing architecture of the Arctic cathedral, or perhaps take the cable car up to Mount Storsteinen (1382ft) for a fantastic view.
Visit during June or July to see the Midnight Sun - take the cable car for a better view (we were impressed that it runs until past midnight, but do check).
The port of Honningsvåg is the gateway to Europe’s most northerly point, the North Cape, and enjoys 24-hour daylight in summer. Aside from tourism, fishing is the major industry in this part of Norway, and the region is also said to be inhabited by trolls.
Murmansk is the largest city north of the Arctic Circle, of key strategic importance due to the fact that the port is kept ice-free by the warmer waters of the Gulf Stream. The city was heavily damaged during World War II but never captured, and while the Soviet architecture is not pretty, the surrounding countryside is well worth exploring.
Russia: Solovetsky Islands
The Solovetsky Islands, situated in the chilly waters of the White Sea, are known for both their natural beauty and their fascinating history. The Solovetsky Monastery, one of the most famous in Russia, was established here in the 15th century, and the islands later became a brutal prison camp during the Soviet era.
Arkhangelsk was Russia’s chief seaport during the medieval and early modern period, reaching its zenith in the 17th century. Although most of the city’s original wooden buildings have disappeared, the nearby Malye Karely museum is a beautiful showcase of traditional Russian architecture.
Russia: Kanine Cape
Russia: Novaya Zemlya
The Russian Arctic archipelago of Novaya Zemlya consists of two large islands, Severny and Yuzhny, and a host of smaller islands. Formerly a Soviet nuclear test site, the archipelago is home to wildlife including polar bears, reindeer, walrus, puffins and seals.
Russia: Franz Josef Land
Franz Josef Land is a remote and seldom visited archipelago in the high Arctic, only discovered in the 19th century. Uninhabited except for Russian military personnel, these icy and mountainous islands are a great place to spot polar bears, walrus, Arctic foxes and Beluga whales.
Russia: Severnaya Zemlya
Severnaya Zemlya is so remote and inhospitable that this was the last significant archipelago on earth to be explored, only mapped in the 1930s. Situated off the north coast of Siberia in the Russian Arctic, the islands are shaped by glaciers and populated mainly by birds, lemmings and wolves.
Russia: Zarya Peninsula
Russia: Stolbovoy Island, Lyakhovsky Island
Russia: Medvezhiy Islands, Ayon Island
Russia: Wrangel Island
Wrangel Island was one of the last refuges of the wooly mammoth, and is still home to an amazing variety of Arctic wildlife, including polar bears, walruses, reindeer, lemmings and musk oxen. There is also the possibility of spotting gray, bowhead and beluga whales around the coast.
Russia: Cape Dezhnev
Cape Dezhnev is the easternmost point on the Eurasian landmass, named after the 17th-century Russian explorer Semyon Dezhnev, the first European to sail through the Bering Strait. There is only one inhabited settlement on the Cape, the village of Uelen, and whales and seals are a common sight in the surrounding seas.
The island of Yttygran lies close to the coast of Chukotka, and is famous for its mysterious shrine known as Whale Bone Alley. This striking arrangement of bowhead whale skulls, jawbones and stones may have been used for initiation rituals or sporting contests, or may simply have been a centre for hunting and storing whale meat.
The former Soviet military port of Provideniya is home to just 2,000 people, many of whom belong to the Yupik indigenous group. The port sits on a fjord sheltered from the Bering Sea, and is close to the southern limits of the Arctic ice pack.
Arriving in Anadyr
Way out in Russia's remote northeast sits the city of Anadyr, capital of the Chukotka autonomous region. Life here isn't as gloomy as you might think - buildings are painted in bright colours to keep spirits up during the harsh winter months, and the city enjoyed significant investment under the governorship of Roman Abramovich, the famous oligarch who now owns Chelsea Football Club. There are some interesting exhibits in the Chukotka Museum, including carvings made from walrus ivory and mammoth tusk, while beyond the city limits lies the bleak expanse of the tundra.
For once-in-a-lifetime tailor-made itineraries, Mundy Adventures specialises in expedition cruises to some of the most wonderful places on earth; places often only accessible by water.
Your home from home
Crystal Endeavor is the world's largest and most luxurious expedition yacht, with more space per person than any other ship at sea.
What we love
This is the coolest expedition operation yet. On board is the ultimate in luxury at the Crystal level we know so well, but even more exciting is what is going to happen off the ship, as they navigate first year ice in the polar regions and follow the route of migrating whales.
A wealth of extraordinary toys including submarines, helicopters and remote operated vehicles will ensure that a Crystal Yacht Expedition creates the most extraordinary memories even for the most jaded of travellers.
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Tailor-make your trip
Our favourite hotel in Tromsø
The Scandic Ishavshotel has a great location on the quay so nearly all the rooms have magnificent views.
Take a tour by RIB to see the beautiful islands and beaches of this remote region, lapped by Gulf Stream waters.