Attractions and landmarks
The vast scale of the Arctic can sometimes feel unfathomable, with 8 different sovereign states including the United States, Canada, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden, so it can help to identify a few landmarks to shape your trip.
- The bird cliffs on Prince Leopold Island promise skies filled with darting birds, an incredible sight to behold
- For the emerald green Aurora Borealis dancing across the sky, plan a trip to West Greenland
- Build education into your adventure at Ny-Ålesund on Svalbard, the world's most northerly science lab
- History buffs will be familiar with Beechey Island, Franklin's place of rest, but you can also visit the abandoned huts of explorers in the Russian Arctic
- For huge ice sculptures the size of tower blocks, don't miss Disko Bay, with its landscape that sparkles in the low light.
An Arctic archipelago halfway between Norway and the North Pole, Svalbard is one of the most easily accessedparts of the High Arctic.
In the spring, pristine snow conditions make it an ideal place for snowmobiling and dog sledding adventures. During high summer, the melting of the ice turns Svalbard’s dramatic coastline and fjords into exciting cruising grounds for expedition ships.
Long sought by early adventurers as a sea route linking the Northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, this labyrinthine waterway through Canada’s Arctic archipelago is no stranger to ship-based exploration.
Travelling the Northwest Passage is to step back in time, following in the footsteps of Franklin, Peary, Amundsen and so many other early adventurers who gave their names in perpetuity to the islands and bays you will explore.
The world's largest island is also the least densely populated country in the world, challenging the adventurous with its vast swaths of beautiful, unfenced wilderness.
From cruising the iceberg strewn water to trekking the world's largest ice cap, Greenland is a sensory assault on all levels., and its empty spaces is like a siren call for the adventure traveller.
For a few weeks each year, the outpost town of Churchill on the shores of Hudson Bay becomes one of the best places in the world to see polar bears.
During October and November this is somewhere you can very nearly guarantee sightings and it's been known to see over forty individuals in one day! At other times of year you can see countless beluga and in the winter the northern lights make dramatic appearances.
Dog sledding in spring, standing at the North Pole in summer or encountering polar bears in Churchill in autumn, it's the inexhaustible variety of Arctic experiences which keeps me returning again and again.
Cassia Jackson Polar Specialist
The Canadian Arctic is well known for its diverse wildlife, fascinating history, rich native culture and spectacular scenery.
A vast area in total, encompassing the Canadian Arctic archipelago, a watery wilderness which in late summer thawing ice allows expedition ships to explore, following the early explorers in their search for the fabled Northwest Passage.
To travel to 90 degrees north and stand on the roof of the world at the Geographic North Pole, where all lines of longitude convergence, is a ‘Bucket List’ item shared by many.
Whether you travel by nuclear-powered icebreaker in high summer or arrive by helicopter in April, the North Pole is more accessible than you might think.
For seasoned travellers in search of a truly remote destination, they don’t come much wilder than the Russian Arctic. A vast, largely ignored region at the top of the world which the dismantling of the Soviet Union opened up, this is expeditionary cruising in its purest form.
In late summer the pack ice temporarily moves northwards allowing access to Wrangel Island, one of the most important polar denning sites in the whole Arctic Region where polar bear sightings in significant numbers are almost guaranteed.
Kayaking in the thick brash ice by a big glacier, on a beautiful sunny day was a highlight....but then again, so was when the walrus popped its head up out of the water right in front of me when in the zodiac!
Leslie & Nancy Steenbeke (Grossman) United States Of America June 2018
Close-up views of a blue whale on the first evening as we left Longyearbyen was a great start. Fantastic to have sailed beyond 82N into the ice cap.
Steve & Tina O'Shea United Kingdom July 2018
We actually arranged some additional time in Oslo and Iceland before and after the trip ourselves, and Swoop’s advice and coordination were extremely useful.
Charles & Lesley Cook United Kingdom August 2018
The trip was good, the light gorgeous, the icebergs fantastical, and the wildlife wonderful with more polar bears than expected. The traditional villages made us think about their future, and we met new friends.
Carol & Gerard Yorke United States Of America August 2018
I will tell my grandchildren that we had a barbeque on the front upper deck and got to 82 degrees north!
Dianne & Jim Spry United Kingdom July 2018
Beyond my expectations, and I would recommend unreservedly.
Val Chiswell United Kingdom November 2018
Our best Arctic cruises
This 11-day Svalbard voyage is a ‘classic’ providing ample time for near guaranteed polar bear sightings, alongside encounters with the region’s other plentiful wildlife and exploring its dramatic scenery. Phippsoya, 14th of July glacier and Hinlopen Strait are all popular…
Plan your trip
When to visit the Arctic
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Arctic Cruise Ships
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Expeditionary cruising is a very practical way to discover the Arctic, allowing you to comfortably explore often untouched areas of wilderness you can’t otherwise reach from …
A Guide to Arctic Travel
Standing as an ice mass that stretches up to 14 million square miles at peak winter, the Arctic is one of the last wildernesses left on Earth. The Frozen Planet series inspired …