Top of the World North Pole Cruise

Written by Anna Schneider
Last updated on 23rd Aug 2018
north pole cruise, Russia tour

Get on board for the ultimate North Pole adventure. Nothing compares to experiencing the untamed grandeur of the Arctic quite like seeing its majestic landscapes unfold from the deck of a state-of-the-art nuclear icebreaker. Imagine endless expanses of ice under the polar midnight sun. Pristine waters teeming with marine life. Prowling polar bears in the tundra. This is Mother Nature at her breathtaking best.

From Murmansk, Russia, you’ll embark the icebreaker 50 Years of Victory for a roundtrip voyage to the earth’s geographic North Pole. Our mighty vessel will plough its way through the frozen Arctic Ocean on a cruise that literally circumnavigates the globe in a matter of days. In addition to the exhilaration of cruising to the very apex of the earth, passengers will have the extraordinary privilege to land, via helicopter, on the scarcely visited Russian Arctic archipelago of Franz Josef Land, a remote wilderness home to an incredible abundance of wildlife.

NORTH POLE CRUISE HIGHLIGHTS

  • After 7 days of cruising from Murmansk, we’ll arrive at the geographic North Pole, the place where all meridians meet and the only direction is south. To celebrate our successful mission to the top of the world, we’ll ceremoniously drop anchor and disembark on a sturdy stretch of ice for the ‘International Round Dance’ – a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to literally walk around the world!
  • Franz Josef Land: Weather permitting, we’ll spend two days exploring this uninhabited archipelago, one most pristine Arctic habitats on earth. Made up  of192 islands, glaciers cover 85% of the land, carving out a spectacular terrain of steep valleys, caves and pinnacles

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Franz Josef Land and Svalbard Cruise

Written by Anna Schneider
Last updated on 27th Aug 2018
Franz Josef Land cruise Arctic Cruise Russia

This extraordinary Franz Josef Land cruise is as unique and authentic as the place itself. Franz Josef Land, part of the Russian Arctic National Park, is a nature sanctuary. Starting in Longyearbyen in the Norwegian territory of Svalbard, the Sea Spirit cruise ship crosses the icy, wildlife-rich Barents Sea to the Russian High Arctic. This remote wilderness is home to a variety of wildlife, including polar bears. In the surrounding icy waters, it is possible to spot seals, walruses, and the elusive bowhead whale. The archipelago also hosts an abundance of nesting Arctic seabirds such as the rare ivory gull.

Franz Josef Land and Svalbard Cruise Trip Highlights:

  • Upon our arrival in Franz Josef Land, we’ll spend a week exploring this uninhabited archipelago. We’ll navigate the shallow waters of the isles by Zodiac and make as many on-shore landings as possible. Made up of 192 islands, glaciers cover 85% of the land, carving out a spectacular terrain of steep valleys, caves and pinnacles
  • Our mission during our time in Franz Josef Land is to observe (sometimes at an extremely close range) the iconic Arctic animal species that call the islands home, including polar bears, walruses, beluga whales and narwhals

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Reindeer Herders' Festival in Yamal 2019

Written by Anna Schneider
Last updated on 16th Oct 2018
Reindeer herders festival

The Reindeer Herder’s Festival is a one-day holiday, celebrated annually in the Salekhard and Aksarka, the two major towns within the Yamal-Nenets region in the Russian Arctic. In 2019, the festival will take place on 23rd March (Saturday) in Salekhard and 6th April (Saturday) in Aksarka village. For the nomadic Nenets people, a festival day is a major event, which offers a chance to meet with friends and compete in contests of physical skill and a variety of other competitions. It has also become an event in which the Nenets are able to share with the world a fascinating slice of their unique culture, which has remained relatively unchanged through the centuries. On this tour you not only will witness the Reindeer Herders’ Festival in Yamal but also will stay with a Nenet family far from the city, giving you an amazing opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the nomadic way of life.

Trip Highlights:

  • Salekhard (population 43,000) is the only city in the world located right at the Polar Circle. Despite its remoteness, it harbours a great deal of wealth as the city at the centre of one of the world’s richest oil and gas regions
  • Reindeer Herder’s Festival Day: On the day of the festival, thousands of Nenets and Khanty descend on Salekhard. The day is a massive celebration, a huge social event for the usually isolated nomads and an incredible spectacle, with reindeer sleigh races, reindeer wrangling, wrestling competitions, a beauty contest for the women in their finest traditional dress

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Quest for Aurora Borealis

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 23rd Aug 2018
Northern lights Murmansk, Russia aurora borealis

To visualise the Northern Lights Murmansk experience, imagine a place that lives, works and plays above the Polar Circle. This extraordinary place is the Kola Peninsula in the far north west of Russia. Kola may not be on the tourist radar, but that’s what makes it special. Why do we visit Kola in the coldest part of the year? Well, the Northern Lights are best seen in the winter months. The city of Kirovsk in the Murmansk region of the Kola Peninsula, being so close to the Arctic Circle, is one of the world’s premier destinations to see the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, one of the most breathtakingly beautiful natural phenomenon visible from Earth.

The Quest for Aurora Borealis Trip Highlights

  • Kirovsk is set against the backdrop of Lake Veliky Vudyavr and the surrounding snow-capped mountains and is considered one of the best places in the region to view the Northern Lights
  • The Snow Village in Kirovsk is a huge architectural structure made entirely out of snow and ice. Guests wander through a maze of fantastically lit up tunnels where artists have carved out incredibly detailed displays into the walls. There’s an ice sculpture park an even an Ice Chapel where it’s possible to be married

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Reindeer Migration with the Nenets in Yamal

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 23rd Aug 2018
Reindeer herders migration Nenets of Yamal Peninsula, Russian Festivals

As the world gets smaller, there’s a desire to travel further – and there are few places as enchantingly far away as the Yamal Peninsula. This cultural tour transports you deep into Siberia’s isolated Arctic region. ‘Yamal’ means ‘edge of the world’ in the language of the indigenous Nenets. The Nenets of Yamal carve out a unique way of life, seemingly at the limits of human tolerance. Each spring, the Nenets migrate from winter pastures on the Russian mainland to the summer pastures in the Arctic Circle, a one-way journey of up to 1,000km. This is your chance to experience a small part of this epic journey alongside these extraordinarily resilient people. This is a remarkable extraordinary opportunity to get to know one of the world’s last true nomadic reindeer herders through their eyes.

Reindeer Migration TRIP HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Salekhard is the only city in the world located right at the Polar Circle. Among the highlights on our tour of the city is the Shemanovskiy Yamal-Nenets District Museum, which includes an exhibition on mammoth remains found in the region
  • From Salekhard, we’ll board an all-terrain vehicle for a drive for up to six hours over the frozen surface of the River Ob to Yar-Sale village. The river is the only way to access the village – either by boat in summer or by driving the ice in winter

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Northern Lights Discovery in Russia

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 23rd Aug 2018
northern lights discovery, northern lights Russia tour

Painting the night sky with a dazzling display of shifting light and colour, the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights is one of the earth’s most spectacular natural phenomena. A bucket-list experience for countless travellers, certain places have become commercial tourist hotspots for seeing the Northern Lights. The Kola Peninsula, in Russia’s far northwestern Arctic Region, has so far remained under the tourist radar, despite being one of the best destinations on earth to view the Aurora Borealis. Here in Kola, you’ll be perhaps one a handful of visitors to witness the breathtaking spectacle of cosmic iridescence above the northern sky. At the same time, you’ll discover a little of the history and culture of the local Saami people and enjoy favourite winter pastimes such as dog sledding and snowmobiling.

Northern Lights Discovery Trip Highlights:

  • Moscow City Tour: Before we fly out for the Arctic, you’ll enjoy a guided tour of the capital’s highlights. Admire the Red Square in its finest winter decorations, explore the Kremlin and Armory Museum and much more
  • Discover the hidden charms of Murmansk. Visit the Lenin, the world’s first nuclear ice-breaker, and now a Naval Museum. With any luck, you’ll catch the Northern Lights dancing above Murmansk’s night-time cityscape

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Arctic Rail Explorer - Quest for Northern Lights

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 10th Oct 2018
Northern Lights train tour, northern lights Russia tour

Experience a train journey unlike any other. An adventure on rails to the top of the world, the lands above the Arctic Circle where the mythical Aurora Borealis performs her breathtaking celestial dance in the velvet black Polar night sky. This compelling 12-day Northern Lights Train Tour showcases the unique contrast between two of Russia’s most majestic cities and the isolated yet charming communities deep within the Russian and Norwegian Arctic Circle. Commencing in St. Petersburg, we visit some of the city’s most prominent historical and cultural sites, before embarking on this remarkable Arctic railway adventure in search of the elusive Aurora Borealis.

Arctic Rail Explorer Tour Highlights:

  • Admire the architectural splendour of one of Europe’s most beautiful cities on a guided two-day tour of St Petersburg that includes St Isaac’s Cathedral and the Hermitage, as well as a trip to Pushkin to visit the extravagant Catherine Palace
  • In the extreme north of Norway, above the Arctic Circle lies Kirkenes, a tiny frontier town near the Russian border. Ride a snowmobile across the frozen fjords outside town and try your hand at fishing for the Arctic’s most prized seafood, the king crab

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Wrangel Island Cruise - An Arctic Expedition

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 23rd Aug 2018
Wrangel island cruise expedition with polar bear, Wrangel island tour

Cruise to Wrangel Island, an area 140km off the northeast coast of Siberia, separated from northern Alaska by the Chukchi Sea. For 10 frozen months of the year, this lonely wilderness is completely cut off from the outside world. Reaching Wrangel and braving its polar climate is not for the faint of heart. Only the most dedicated nature lovers make the journey – but the rewards are without parallel. There is simply no better destination than to meet the wild denizens of the Arctic up-close, virtually undisturbed by human interference, and in numbers that will simply astound you.

Wrangel Island Expedition Cruise HIGHLIGHTS

  • Whale Bone Alley is the name given to a beach on Yttygran Island in the Bering Sea. Landing on the beach, you’ll take in the haunting atmosphere of this ancient site, where gigantic whalebones appear to sprout out of the ground, stretching along the coast for nearly half a kilometre
  • Uelen, the most northeasterly village in Russia, home to a predominantly Chukchi population. The village is one of the foremost centres for Chukchi and Inuit art. On our visit, we’ll be entertained by local folklore and a visit to the bone-carving workshops

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Yakutia: The Pole of Cold Festival

Written by 56th Parallel
Last updated on 22nd Aug 2018
Yakutia, visit Oymyakon Pole of Cold tour, Oymyakon Tour

The “Pole of Cold” is a place where the coldest temperatures on Earth have ever been recorded. In the northern hemisphere, the honour goes to a remote Siberian township known as Oymyakon, widely regarded as the coldest permanently inhabited place on the planet. Our Oymyakon tour is not just about experiencing one of the most unique cultural festivals on Earth. It’s about immersing yourself in a completely different reality, a place where people rely on time-tested traditions to live in a place that challenges the very limits of human endurance. READ MORE

About 56th Parallel

56th Parallel is a travel company specialising in providing packaged tours and travel services in Russia.

Our goal is to redefine travel to Russia, focusing on creating the most rewarding experiences, which help travellers unfolds the soul of this exciting destination.

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