Watching walrus from a Zodiac

A guide to the must have experiences in the Arctic

A frozen ocean surrounded by continents, the Arctic attracts visitors with its breathtaking scenery, plentiful wildlife and fascinating history.

Here are 10 of our favourite Arctic highlights to inspire you in planning your own Arctic adventure.

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1. 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. One of the key places to spot them in the wild is on the Svalbard Archipelago – don’t forget to keep your camera handy!

Suggested Itinerary: Around Spitsbergen

polar bear arctic

2. Meet the people of the North

Visiting remote settlements along Canada’s Atlantic and Arctic coastlines and in East Greenland is a real eye-opener. 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 harsh environment for over 1000 years. Vikings, missionaries and Inuits have all made their homes here, and the human history of these coasts is as enthralling as the landscapes and wildlife.

Suggested Itinerary: Spitsbergen to East Greenland

greenland inuit child vg

3. 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. Some 170 years after they went missing, the remains of the two ships lost on Sir John Franklin’s ill-fated expedition have both been discovered – the HMS Erebus in 2014 and the HMS Terror in 2016. Mystery still surrounds the fate of their crews, with three lonely graves on Beechey Island serving as a memorial to these brave explorers.

Suggested Itinerary: Northwest Passage

canadian arctic port leopold hut oo

4. Watch for Northern Lights

The northern lights are often visible in the dark skies over Iceland and Greenland from as early as September. This is a fantastic time to explore, as there’s still enough daylight to appreciate the incredible landscapes of these remote wildernesses. Did you know 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.

Suggested Itinerary: Spitsbergen to East Greenland

greenland northern lights over ice filled fjord

5. 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.

Suggested Itinerary: Scotland to Svalbard

scotland st kilda ae

6. Visit 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.

Suggested Itinerary: Spitsbergen and Franz Josef

7. 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.

Suggested Itinerary: Spitsbergen to East Greenland

canadian arctic kayaking thro

8. Enjoy aerial views of Greenland by helicopter

Immerse yourself in the dramatic landscapes of South Greenland with an expedition voyage which incorporates travel by land, sea and air!  Explore the lush southern tip of this country with heli-flightseeing and heli-hiking excursions. Up in the air, you may find yourself ascending cascading coastal glaciers and stepping out onto the vast polar plateau of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Suggested Itinerary: South Greenland Expedition Voyage

east greenland view from helicopter flight ch

9. Traverse the remote lands of Russia’s High Arctic

Experience the mystery and encounter sights rarely seen by even the most intrepid of adventurers. Venture into the rarely visited Russian High Arctic and set foot on Severnaya Zemlya, the world most recently discovered major territory, unseen until 1913 and largely unexplored until the 1930’s.

Suggested Itinerary: Russian High Arctic Explorer

Explore remote islands in the Russian Arctic

10. 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.

Suggested Itinerary: Voyage to the North Pole

arctic north pole hot air ballooning qe

Popular Arctic Holidays