Top 10 Experiences
A frozen ocean surrounded by continents, the Arctic attracts visitors with its breathtaking scenery, plentiful wildlife and fascinating history. Here are a handful of our favourite Arctic highlights to inspire you in planning your own Arctic adventure.
1. Kayak through icy waters
To experience the spectacular scale and beauty of the polar regions from a kayak is truly unforgettable. Paddle silently past huge glaciers and enjoy a unique perspective of these remote landscapes.
Itinerary idea: Spitsbergen to East Greenland Cruise »
2. Go Hot Air Ballooning At The North Pole
Join the world's most powerful ice-breaker on a voyage to the North Pole and crush through the pack ice to 90 degrees north. At the very top of the world there's the unique opportunity to get even higher by taking a hot air balloon ride over the pole.
Itinerary idea: Voyage to the North Pole
3. Go in search of polar bears
Top of the Arctic food chain, the mighty polar bear is the world's largest land predator and an impressive sight to behold whether prowling the shore for prey or relaxing on an ice-floe. Spot them in the wild on the Svalbard Archipelago.
Itinerary idea: Around Spitsbergen
4. Meet the people of the North
Visiting remote settlements along Canada's Atlantic and Arctic coastlines and in West Greenland is a real eye-opener, and whether they're populated communities or the remains of ancient settlements they offer a rare insight into how people have adapted to living in this hard environment for over 1000 years. Vikings, missionaries and Inuits have all made their homes here, and the history of these coasts is as enthralling as the landscapes and wildlife.
Itinerary idea: Wild Labrador
5. Follow in the wake of polar explorers
The fabled Northwest Passage has captured the imaginations of travellers for hundreds of years. Now that the riddle of its navigation has been discovered, the Passage is slowly beginning to reveal some of its secrets. In 204 the HMS Erebus, one of the ships lost on Sir John Franklin's ill-fated expedition, was discovered 170 years after she went missing. Mystery still surrounds the fate of the other ship, and their crews – three lonely graves on Beechey Island serve as a memorial to these brave explorers.
Itinerary idea: Northwest Passage
6. Visit Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land
Remote and rarely visited, Franz Josef Land is one of the most recently discovered archipelagos in the world. This stunning chain of islands and ice was found in the late 1800's, and even today it remains mostly unexplored. There are 191 islands in this naturalists' paradise, inhabited by polar bears, walrus, arctic foxes and seals, while you'll find beluga whales and many more marine species in the seas. Combine with a visit to the Svalbard archipelago for a real voyage of discovery
Itinerary idea: Spitsbergen & Franz Josef (Details to follow!)
7. Go on an Arctic safari
Camping in the Arctic has never been so comfortable. The safari-style tents (with proper beds and cosy blankets) at Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge are pitched close to the Cunningham Inlet on Somerset Island where hundred of belugas arrive each summer. Alternatively, out on the ice floe the specially designed yurt-style tents of the Arctic Safari Camp are the perfect base from which to head out to snorkel with narwhal and spot polar bears.
Itinerary idea: North Pole Ice Camp (details to follow!) | Discovery at Arctic Watch | Narwhal & Polar Bear Safari
8. Immerse yourself in Inuit culture
Nunavik – the far north of Québec – is a unique place to visit, with a strong sense of indigenous culture as well as sweeping landscapes and Arctic wildlife. Travelling with local Inuit guides, and staying in Co-op hotels run by Inuit and Cree staff in remote settlements ensures that you learn about – and directly support – the communities that make their homes in the far north.
Itinerary idea: Nunavik's Big Three
9. Watch for the northern lights
The northern lights are visible in the dark skies over Greenland as early as September, making it a fantastic time to explore as there's still enough daylight to appreciate the incredible landscapes of this remote destination. Did you know, for example, that Greenland has the largest National Park in the world? It covers the entire north east corner of the country, and its dramatic fjords are cut by immense glaciers and flower meadows, which you can explore by day – before looking to the skies at night.
Itinerary idea: Greenland's Northern Lights Cruise
10. Set sail on the trail of the Vikings
Sail from Scotland across the North Sea and up the coast of Norway, all the way north to Svalbard. Tracing the trading (and raiding!) routes that the Vikings and their stone-age forebears would once have sailed, this voyage combines history with the iconic coast of Norway and the wildlife that plies the waterways too.
Itinerary idea: Scotland to Svalbard
North Pole Voyage