Top 5 reasons to visit the Canadian High Arctic

  1. A landscape of vast untouched wilderness; over 36,000 different islands and covering around 500,000 square miles
  2. Canada is one of the best places in the world to see polar bears in the wild
  3. The Northwest Passage and its rich history of exploration
  4. Visit thriving Inuit communities 
  5. Whether you come to explore on foot, onboard a ship, by vehicle or plane, the Canadian Arctic offers unparalleled choice in terms of experiences

Choosing your cruise to the Canadian Arctic

Places to visit

Canada's arctic makes up over 40% of the country's landmass, the portion north of the Arctic Circle, east of Alaska and west of Greenland. A significant chunk comprises a group of over 36,500 islands, the Canadian Arctic archipelago, located in Nunavut and part of the Northwest Territories.

Adventurous travellers are drawn to remote Baffin Island, with its bowhead whales and Inuit communities, Newfoundland's fascinating Norse history and national parks, the First Nations culture and history of Northern Canada, and of course, the famous Northwest Passage itself.

Looking out onto the ice, Northwest Passage, Arctic

Looking out onto the ice, Northwest Passage

Getting there

Distances are vast, so the best way to access the Canadian Arctic is by flying to Edmonton or Ottawa, the main gateway cities to catch an onward flight further north to Iqaluit on Baffin Island, Cambridge Bay, Resolute, Kugluktuk (Coppermine) or Kangerlussuaq in West Greenland. Here, you'll embark your ship, by far the best way to explore such a remote, vast icy labyrinth.

July and August have the most choice in terms of voyages, when the passages have become freer from ice, allowing safe passage. To transit the Northwest Passage, you should aim to travel in August.

NWP

Our best trips to the Canadian Arctic

Northwest Passage, Ellesmere & West Greenland

Traversing west to east this voyage takes you to iconic sites such as Cambridge Bay, Lancaster and Smith Sounds and Ellesmere Island, before exploring the fjords and towns of West Greenland. Bears, narwhal, musk ox, beluga and northern lights are…

  • 17 Days
  • $11,995
Arctic Wildlife Safari: Northwest Passage

An all consuming introduction to the Arctic, with a strong focus on wildlife, this trip is hard to beat. Search for bears, narwhal, beluga, walrus and musk ox, marvel at Greenland's ‘big ice’ and learn about the early explorers as…

  • 12 Days
  • $7,595
Baffin Island & West Greenland In-Depth

Using Iceland as your entry and exit points, this 15 day High Arctic adventure offers the best of both West Greenland and Canada’s Baffin Island. High points will be the epic scale of West Greenland’s ice, chanced encounters with The…

  • 15 Days
  • $16,890
Greenland, Baffin & Northwest Passage In-Depth

This comprehensive westbound voyage stands out for its compelling combination of West Greenland, in-depth exploration of the east coast of Baffin Island and the historic Northwest Passage. Jaw dropping scenery, towering icebergs, thrilling wildlife encounters, Inuit community visits and fascinating…

  • 17 Days
  • $15,495
​Ultima Thule: Northwest Passage & West Greenland

Spending time exploring Canada’s historic Northwest Passage and West Greenland, we like this voyage’s balance and variety as much as exploring little visited spots such as Thule, one of the northernmost towns in the world, and Smith Sound. Big ice,…

  • 20 Days
  • $14,845
Luxury West Greenland & Baffin Island

Circumnavigate legendary Baffin Bay as part of this extraordinary Arctic adventure which cherry picks the region’s highlights. From West Greenland’s spectacular glaciers and pretty Inuit villages to the remoteness and rich wildlife of Baffin Island, this is a journey of…

  • 17 Days
  • $17,339
Wilderness Explorer: Greenland, Labrador & Newfoundland

In two weeks and over 2,200 nautical miles, sail from west Greenland to Newfoundland along Canada’s dramatic Labrador coast. Along the way explore four pristine Canadian National Parks. Prepare to be wowed by the variety with everything from Inuit culture…

  • 15 Days
  • $6,995
Into the Wild: Baffin & West Greenland

Visits to Canadian and Greenlandic communities Inuit history and culture are at the core of this journey, among those stops both Kinngait, the centre of Inuit Art and Nuuk, Greenland's capital are included. There's plenty of wildlife opportunities too with…

  • 13 Days
  • $4,995
Hudson Bay Beluga Safari

Each year Hudson Bay becomes home to around 60,000 beluga whales as they gather to give birth in the safe waters. Many thousand gather at the estuary to Churchill River, get in a kayak to see them up close and…

  • 7 Days
  • $6,495
Discover Churchill by Rail

Watch the scenery change and explore remote towns on this legendary journey by rail from Winnipeg to Churchill. Cap that off with time on the tundra when polar bears are gathering ahead of the big freeze of Hudson Bay. Dog…

  • 8 Days
  • $5,890
Introduction to Churchill's Bears

Discover Churchill and spot polar bears on the tundra. This compact trip includes two tundra expeditions to see the bears with a specialist guide in an adapted vehicle to keep you and the bears…

  • 5 Days
  • $3,205

About the Canadian Arctic

Culture

Northern Canada is one of the best places to come into contact with Inuit and First Nations communities, the resilient, welcoming and fiercely traditional people who make the Arctic wilderness their home.

Traditions vary widely between communities, but one thing is held in common throughout, overcoming the challenges of living in a hostile, remote environment, in a rapidly changing world. Tourism is an important part of life here, and you'll find many eager to share their way of life with visitors.

Cruises to the Canadian Arctic

History

For stories of ingenuity, discovery and heroism, it's hard to beat the Canadian Arctic. For a start, here you'll find archaeological evidence of the very first Europeans in North America, tenacious vikings who settled in Newfoundland and Labrador in the 11th Century.

Back then, the Norse called this area Vinland, and led by Erik the Red they built up settlements, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

ALB_4_ALB_RTD_LANSEAUXMEADOWS

Viking Settlement at L'Anse aux Meadows

1,500 years later, the Northwest Passage was to become one of the most fabled adventurer's routes in the world. History books are full of stories of the daring expeditions that attempted to find a way through the Northwest Passage, most of which ended in disaster due to the labyrinthine, ever-changing icescapes. It's possible to visit Victory Point, right near the wreck of Franklin's HMS Erebus, and Beechey island where the graves of him and his men stand proudly in the Tundra.

Cruises to the Canadian Arctic

Canadian Arctic: FAQs

  • Will I see Arctic wildlife?

    The wildlife in the Arctic is plentiful and also rather shy, but it can be seen with patience and tenacity. Some parts of the Canadian Arctic are better than others, and as ever with wildlife, there is a certain amount of luck involved. If seeing the Arctic Big 6 (polar bears, walrus, musk oxen, narwhal, beluga whales and birdlife) is your top priority, get in touch to make sure your cruise gives you the best possible opportunities for sightings.

  • What is the average trip length to the Canadian Arctic?

    Approx. 13 days in length, however, those transiting the Northwest Passage or combining with West Greenland are typically 17 - 20 days in length.

  • How much can I expect to pay?

    From £5,000 per person upwards, depending on the length of the voyage and the ship you are on.

  • When should I start to plan my trip?

    To be confident of securing your preferred option the answer is - the sooner the better. Typically departure dates are released 18 months in advance.

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Arctic Guide

The Arctic is so vast and diverse that one of the biggest challenges is knowing where to begin. Our exclusive guide will help you get started with your travel plans.

Download Guide

Ready to Book Your Arctic Adventure?

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Next we'll discuss the options, shortlist the best trips for you and present you our impartial recommendations.

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We'll place a 24 hour hold on your preferred option - without obligation - whilst we talk through the details.

Our team of experts are ready to help you with any questions about a trip to the Arctic.