Top 5 reasons to visit the Canadian High Arctic
- A landscape of vast untouched wilderness; over 36,000 different islands and covering around 500,000 square miles
- Canada is one of the best places in the world to see polar bears in the wild
- The Northwest Passage and its rich history of exploration
- Visit thriving Inuit communities
- 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.
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.
Our best trips to the Canadian Arctic
This comprehensive westbound voyage stands out for its compelling combination of West Greenland, in-depth exploration of remote Baffin Island and the historic Northwest Passage. Jaw dropping scenery, towering icebergs, thrilling wildlife encounters, Inuit community visits and fascinating history pervade this…
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 places like Thule, one of the northernmost towns in the world. Big ice, rich history, exotic wildlife,…
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…
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…
This trip is ideal for those wanting to immerse themselves in Inuit history and culture as part of their Arctic adventure. Numerous community visits are planned, alongside daily excursions by zodiac and on foot. West Greenland’s spectacular whales and glaciers…
Major landmarks in the Canadian Arctic region
About the Canadian Arctic
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.
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.
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.
Canadian Arctic: FAQs
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.
From £5,000 per person upwards, depending on the length of the voyage and the ship you are on.
To be confident of securing your preferred option the answer is - the sooner the better. Typically departure dates are released 18 months in advance.
More Arctic cruises
Northwest Passage Cruises
This labryinthine waterway was long sought by early adventurers as a sea route linking the Northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Canada's Arctic archipelago is therefore no …
Greenland assaults your senses with pure air, crystal waters, blue ice, staggering fjords, a fascinating past and a welcoming present. Whether you are whale watching in Disko …
North of the Arctic Circle and halfway between Norway and the North Pole, Svalbard’s dramatic coastline and fjords are largely ice-free during high summer providing incredible …
Cruises & expeditions to the North Pole
Travelling due north by icebreaker through heavy pack ice to stand at 90 degrees north at the Geographic North Pole is a ‘bucket list’ item shared by many. Achieving it will …