The north’s answer to Antarctica, the Arctic is fast growing in popularity and becoming a bucket list destination for travellers craving big adventures and one-of-a-kind experiences against the backdrop of raw and pristine panoramas. The northernmost region on earth, the Arctic spans Greenland, northern Norway (including Svalbard and Jan Mayen), the Canadian Arctic and Iceland.
Not only does it boast some of the world’s most magnificent fjord systems and unique, varied landscapes, the Arctic is home to iconic wildlife that can’t be found anywhere else on the planet, while being rich in Inuit culture and fascinating explorer history.
There are hundreds of good reasons we describe our Arctic expeditions life changing. However, with the help of our world-class Expedition Team, we’ve narrowed it down to the top 10 bucket list experiences that await you in the Arctic.
10. Squeezing the most out of your days under the Midnight Sun
Our Expedition Team love squeezing as much as possible out of each and every day, which is one of their favourite things about visiting the polar regions in summer, when the Midnight Sun stays above the horizon for up to 24 hours a day. In the Arctic, extended daylight hours mean more time to attempt shore landings and activities such as sea kayaking, scuba diving and rock climbing, more opportunities to participate in our Citizen Science Program, more time to search for iconic wildlife, and more time to enjoy the facilities onboard your purpose-built expedition ship.
9. Crossing the Arctic Circle
Enter the province of true adventurers, which few get to experience, when you sail across the imaginary line that defines the boundary of the Arctic Circle. The Arctic Circle is a line of latitude that circles the globe at approximately 66°33′ North of the equator, crossing the northern parts of Russia, Alaska and Canada, and including the Arctic Ocean. On our Across the Arctic Circle voyage, notice the subtle differences in the scenery as you head further and further north, while being rewarded with abundant Arctic wildlife.
8. Kayaking beneath seabird cliffs
With long summer days and some of the biggest seabird cliffs in the world, the Arctic is a dream destination for birders. Experience the immensity and cacophony of dramatic bird cliffs alive with breeding birds by paddling silently and unobtrusively in their shadow. Try to keep track of the different species help you identify, from guillemots to fulmars to puffins. If you don’t want to kayak, your skilful Zodiac driver can get you just as close to the action. Check out our Bird Watcher’s Guide to the Arctic.
7. Learning about early explorer history on Beechey Island
History buffs will relish a visit to the small windswept Beechey Island, which is rich in polar exploration history. Visit the graves of the brave explorers from Sir. John Franklin’s ill-fated Northwest Passage Expedition in 1845. Learn about Roald Amundsen, who landed at Beechey Island in 1903 during the first successful full Northwest Passage transit. Our knowledgeable Expedition Team love bringing these and other tales to life for expeditioners.
6. Uncovering Iceland’s varied terrain on foot
Our Expedition Team believes that the best way to experience Iceland, the “Land of Fire and Ice”, is on foot. Enjoy tundra hikes led by experienced guides surrounded by stunning scenery, passing curious wildlife like musk oxen, Arctic fox and reindeer. Shake off your sea legs, lace up your boots and head to the remote Westfjords region for beautiful fjords, endless beaches and quirky villages, or North Iceland for otherworldly landscapes, active volcanoes and powerful waterfalls that will take your breath away.
5. Rock climbing in Greenland
If you get vertigo riding an elevator, this one isn’t for you. However, seasoned climbers will jump at the chance to scale the rugged peaks of East Greenland with an experienced guide. At the top, be rewarded with unparalleled views of Scoresbysund’s ice-filled fjords spread out below, and return to the ship with photos that will make you the envy of your fellow expeditioners.
4. Crossing the fabled Northwest Passage
The icy channels of the Northwest Passage have enchanted explorers and adventurers for centuries. This fabled route is only accessible by ship between July and September, and only a handful of expedition companies attempt the full crossing, making it a unique and prestigious experience reserved for only the most adventurous explorers. While attempting the crossing, relish opportunities to immerse yourself in Innuit culture and watch the raw beauty of the Canadian Arctic unfold before you while staying on high alert for Arctic wildlife including polar bears, walrus and even narwhal if you’re lucky.
3. Zodiac cruising through Greenland’s fjords
Nothing comes close to the feeling of approaching a glacier front in a Zodiac, watching it get bigger and bigger as you shrink to the size of an ant. Experience the world’s largest fjord system in East Greenland’s Scoresbysund from water level, and cruise in the shadow of mountains that look like they have been painted in generous stripes of vibrant pinks, purples and oranges. Cruise around the awe-inspiring Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in West Greenland, listening to the ice hissing and popping as it calves; the music of this beautiful orchestra will remain with you for the rest of your life. Try your hand at sea kayaking in Greenland to experience paddling through sea and brash ice to reach enormous icebergs.
2. Watching a dazzling aurora borealis from the deck of the ship
Witnessing the Northern Lights is something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. However, there is no guaranteed destination to witness an aurora, which only adds to the mystery and appeal surrounding them. On the Northern Lights Explorer, passengers can witness the Northern Lights from multiple prime locations around the Arctic Circle, all without leaving the ship. Because no two displays are ever the same, multiple sightings may also mean that you get to see the full range of colours and patterns take over the night sky.
1. Spotting a polar bear
For an Arctic explorer, nothing is as rewarding as seeing a majestic polar bear in the wild. Our Expedition Team will maximise your chances of spotting one safely and without causing any disturbance to these not-so-gentle giants. Polar bears need sea ice to survive – a resource that is disappearing from the Arctic as the ice continues to melt with warmer global temperatures. However, as stated by Polar Bears International’s Dr. Steven Amstrup, it is still possible to remedy the situation in the Arctic through the significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. As one of the first operators to become an AECO member, we take responsible travel seriously, becoming 100% Climate Neutral. Learn more about our Sustainability in Action Plan.
Arctic & Beyond 2023-24 Season Brochure
Explore our Arctic & Global 2024 season, full of life changing adventures across the wildest and most remote destinations around the globe. Choose from 15 departures exploring the Arctic and 3 voyages to our hand-picked Global destinations.
Dive into our comprehensive 112-page brochure and find your next life-changing adventure.