• St Russia Franz Josef Land Cape Tegetthoff

Arctic Russia Holidays

Arctic Russia and the Russian Far East are characterised by an extensive remote and untamed wilderness. Stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk and the Kuril Islands in the south all the way through the Bering Strait to the Chukchi Sea and Wrangel Island in the north, this is an untouched haven for wildlife. Bears are a focus for visitors as the Kamchatka Peninsula, a barely accessible ‘land of fire and ice’ renowned for its active volcanoes, is home to the Kamchatkan brown bear, and Wrangel Island is home to the mighty polar bear.

Sea otters, Steller's sea lions, ribbon seals, and northern fur seals are amongst some of the marine mammals which populate the area. The waters provide important feeding, wintering, and migrating habitat for many species of whales, including sperm whales, orca, humpbacks, and bowhead whales, as well as endangered species like fin whales and the North Pacific right whales.

This is also an area that is a paradise for birders, with an abundance of species including the critically endangered spoon-billed sandpiper which is endemic to the region, the rare Steller’s sea eagles and tufted puffins.

 

 

Arctic Russia Whale Breach and Ship | © K Ovsyanikova

Arctic Russia Highlights

Wrangel Island, situated well above the Arctic Circle and lying 140km off the northeast coast of Siberia, has the highest level of biodiversity in the high Arctic and was declared a nature reserve in 1976. It has one of the highest concentrations of polar bears on the planet and is sometimes referred to as the ‘Polar Bear Maternity Ward’, due to the large number of cubs born here. It also boasts the world’s largest population of Pacific walrus, and cetaceans such as belugas and occasionally bowhead whales can be seen offshore. Wrangel is thought to be the last place on earth where woolly mammoths survived

100 miles off the eastern coast of the Kamchatka peninsula, the Commander Islands are the westernmost of the Aleutian Islands, most of which are part of Alaska. The Aleutian Islands arc can be considered as a connecting link between Asia and North America – a bridge along which plants and animals migrated. The islands are renowned for their diversity and abundance of bird and marine life with over a million seabirds estimated to nest on the cliffs and beaches of this remote archipelago, including endemic species such as the ancient murrelet.

The Kuril Islands, a chain of 56 islands and islets, many of which are volcanically active, are located in the cold waters of the North-western Pacific Ocean between the Kamchatka Peninsula and Hokkaido. There are at least 100 volcanoes amongst the islands, 40 of which can be described as currently active. 

On the western flank of Russia, Franz Josef Land is another wild and remote corner of the Arctic across the Barents Sea. The archipelago, part of the Russian Arctic National Park since 2012, is a nature sanctuary. Polar bears, walrus, seals and whales can be spotted and the scree slopes and cliffs around the islands host enormous nesting colonies of seabirds such as guillemots, dovekies, and kittiwakes.

Bearded Seal Sea of Okhotsk

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Why book with us

We are destination specialists

Our team of specialists have extensive on-the-ground knowledge and have all lived, guided or explored in great detail the destinations that they sell.

We are wildlife specialists

As a leading specialist operator we have excellent partnerships with naturalists and conservationists. We know our wildlife and do what we can to preserve its natural habitat.

We really care about our destinations

We frequently monitor the social, economic and environmental impact of our travel operations to ensure our trips are sustainable and ethical.

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