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A guide to the must have experiences in Antarctica

Home Destinations Polar Antarctica A guide to the must have experiences in Antarctica

From its extraordinary wildlife and awe-inspiring scenery, to the relics of a fascinating history of science and exploration, the ‘Great White Continent’ of Antarctica has undeniable appeal.

This far end of the Earth offers a wealth of incredible experiences; here is our pick of 10 of the best.

1. Hang out with penguins

Flightless, noisy and seemingly awkward on land, penguins nevertheless are hard to resist and in Antarctica, they hold icon status. Watching these inquisitive birds go about their business in their natural habitat is a true delight. With eight different species commonly encountered in Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands, penguins are the number one draw for visitors to the Great White Continent. Read our guide to the penguin species of Antarctica »

Get inspired: Did you know this about penguins? 

Suggested Itinerary: Classic Antarctica

antarctic peninsula gentoo penguins waddling uphill istk

Marvel at ice all its forms

From intricately sculpted icebergs to towering glaciers shaped to perfection, the ice in Antarctica will take your breath away.

Snow-covered glaciers and gigantic icebergs alongside delicate ice sculptures; the size and scope of the ice in Antarctica is extraordinary and mesmerising. Blue-hued icebergs and “bergy bits” strewn on beaches provide captivating photography subjects alongside the panoramic vistas.

Suggested Itinerary: Crossing the Antarctic Circle

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3. Follow in the footsteps of polar legends

Whether you visit legendary explorer Shackleton’s final resting place on South Georgia, or head to the South Pole to pay homage to Scott of the Antarctic, you cannot fail to be impressed by the achievements of these legendary explorers.

And after the recent discovery of Shackleton’s ship ‘The Endurance’ on the Weddell Sea bed in 2022, the heroic tale of his 1914-1917 Trans-Antarctic Expedition resonates even more.

Suggested itinerary: Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia

Alternative itinerary: South Pole Adventure

antarctica south georgia abandoned church whaling station grytviken istk

4. Explore the Sub-Antarctic Islands

Some people may argue that no trip to Antarctica is complete without visiting rugged South Georgia. The towering mountains and vast king penguin colonies offering one of the most iconic sights of this region. The windswept islands of the Falklands are rich in history as well as wildlife. Both can be visited on longer voyages with the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula completing the experience.

Voyages to East Antarctica provide the opportunity to drop in on the sub-Antarctic Islands of Australia and New Zealand including Macquarie Island, Campbell Island and Enderby Island – all offering outstanding wildlife encounters.

Suggested itinerary:  Peninsula, Falklands & South Georgia

Alternative itinerary: Ross Sea Voyage

south georgia king penguin colony astk

5. Participate in conservation and research projects

Take the opportunity to help protect the fragile polar environment by getting involved in real-life Citizen Science research projects. Projects on some voyages include whale tracking, data gathering and penguin surveys. You can also attend educational lectures conducted by world-renowned scientists and specialists in their field. Discover more about Citizen Science »

Suggested vessels: M/S Seaventure and Sylvia Earle

antarctica passenger involved in citizen science pl

6. Camp on the continent

What better way to empathise with the great explorers of the past than to spend a night under canvas in this beautiful wilderness? Camping on the frozen continent offers a wonderful opportunity to connect with Antarctica in a more personal way.

Suggested Itinerary: Classic Antarctica


7. Visit the world's most Southerly Post Office

Built during World War II, Port Lockroy on Goudier Island in the Antarctic Peninsula, is today run by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. A small team man the station during the austral summer living among the small colony of resident gentoo penguins. Visitors can learn about the rich history of this site and also send a postcard home!

Suggested itinerary: Crossing the Antarctic Circle


8. Take the Polar Plunge

Considered a rite of passage by many, the Polar Plunge is a must-do on any Antarctic voyage. Take this once in a lifetime opportunity to jump off the boat and fully immerse yourself in some of the coldest waters the world has to offer. If that prospect isn’t exciting enough, what makes it even more exhilarating is that you never know when the opportunity is going to present itself in the voyage, meaning there’s no time to overthink it. But don’t worry, health and safety is taken very seriously and staff are always nearby to help you out of the water.

Suggested itinerary: Classic Antarctica


9. Enjoy a BBQ feast out on deck

Another memorable activity on any Antarctic voyage. What could be better than sitting out on deck, breathing in the fresh, crisp air and taking in the spectacular scenery whilst savouring a freshly cooked food and a chilled wine or beer? Just don’t let the amazing food distract you from any possible wildlife sightings!

Suggested Itinerary: Peninsula, Falklands & South Georgia

sea spirit passengers enjoying bbq on deck

10. Extend your stay in Argentina or Chile

With the majority of Antarctic voyages setting off from Argentina and Chile (in the case of the Fly-In), you have the perfect opportunity to sample some latin magic. Enjoy a tango class in Buenos Aires, take in the largest waterfall system in the world at Iguazu Falls or admire the dramatic landscapes and varied wildlife of Patagonia. Wherever piques your interest, all add-on trips can be tailored to suit you.

Discover more about Argentina or Chile trips.

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