Getting to the Arctic

Most people fly to the Arctic, but you can get there by ship, or even car! Although flying is quickest, and cheap regular flights make the Arctic easily accessible, the adventure of the journey is far greater on an expedition vessel.

  • Flying is the most popular and quickest way to get to the Arctic. There are regular scheduled flights throughout the region
  • Ship operators mainly use charter flights, often included in the cost of your trip
  • Getting to the Arctic by boat is only possible for a few months each summer, with routes starting in either Scotland, Iceland or Norway
  • Voyages typically last 10-14 days and are a great way to experience the transition in climate and habitat as you journey north.

How do I get to the Arctic?

How to get to...

Svalbard (Spitsbergen)

Svalbard is one of the most accessible parts of the High Arctic, and the least expensive to get to. There are daily scheduled flights from Oslo (Norway) to Longyearbyen, which take around 3 hours. Though short, these flights can be at awkward times, requiring an overnight in Oslo.

Flights book up quickly in spring and summer, so booking flights early is strongly recommended for getting to Svalbard. Prices vary and fluctuate, so we also recommend doing a bit of research before booking. 

SPITSBERGEN(1)

How to get to Greenland

Surprisingly remote, getting to Greenland is only possible by plane via Denmark (4 hrs) or Iceland (3 hrs).

The most important route is Copenhagen - Kangerlussuaq, which has one daily flight in each direction. There are currently no direct flights from North America.

How to get to the Arctic

Trekking across tundra, Greenland

How to get to the North Pole

A truly iconic destination which resides on many a traveller’s bucket list, it's actually more accessible than many realise. The most popular route for getting to the North Pole is via icebreaker ship from Murmansk in Russia, during the summer months, forcing a path through the ice to reach 90 degrees north.

Alternatively, for those shorter on time, you can fly to Svalbard and from there arrive at the North Pole by helicopter (in April only).

How to get to the Arctic

Exploring the North Pole

How to get to the Canadian Arctic & Northwest Passage

In the absence of scheduled flights, charter flights from gateway cities like Ottawa, Toronto and Edmonton are called upon to reach remote Inuit communities and logistical centres.

Ship operators often book these charter flights in advance, so you don't have to, but we recommend checking your trip notes to see what is included.

Devon-Island-Sunset

How to get to the Russian Arctic

The Russian Arctic occupies the longest and least populated coastline in the whole of the Arctic. Access is limited and expensive, and visitor infrastructure rudimentary at best once you arrive.

One notable exception to this is summer trips by expedition ship from Anadyr to Wrangel Island, an important polar bear denning site.

How to get to the Arctic

A polar bear looks out from the shore

Our best trips to the Arctic

Svalbard Polar Bear Safari

This early season 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…

  • 11 Days
  • $9,495
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
Spitsbergen Circumnavigation

Maximise wildlife sightings with the chance to circumnavigate Spitsbergen island. Search for walrus, arctic fox, whales and of course the ‘King of The Arctic'. Sail through the Hinlopen Strait and visit abandoned trapping stations and experience glaciers up close all…

  • 11 or 13 Days
  • $10,317
Svalbard, Greenland & Iceland Polar Quest

Introductions to the High Arctic don’t come much better. Traverse the High Arctic between wildlife-rich Svalbard, via East Greenland’s towering icebergs and autumnal tundra then onto Iceland. Aurora sightings are possible at any point. The longer trip also includes Jan…

  • 15 - 18 Days
  • $10,495
East Greenland Express

Saving three days at sea by flying both ways, East Greenland’s towering icebergs, vivid displays of the Aurora Borealis and autumn tinged landscapes have never been more accessible. Highlights include exploring Scoresby Sund, the world’s largest fjord system, and the…

  • 10 Days
  • $6,695
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
Svalbard - A Small Ship Expedition

Discover Svalbard on this extraordinary journey onboard a 12 passenger vessel. Ideally suited to photographers these late season voyages experience amazing light. Your expedition guides plan to take you to Ny Ålesund, the Hinlopen Strait, Bird Mountain and Edgeøya capturing…

  • 10 Days
  • $8,918

More about travelling to the Arctic

When to visit the Arctic

When to visit the Arctic

The arctic summer, blessed with long days and buzz of wildlife and human activity, is favoured by travellers seeking the classic arctic experience. But delve deeper and you'll find…

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Getting to Svalbard

Getting to Svalbard

Svalbard is geographically closer to the North Pole than to Norway. Surprising then, that getting there is quite so straightforward, with regular flights from Norway to …

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Arctic Cruise Ships

Arctic Cruise Ships

We partner with selected ice-strengthened Arctic expedition vessels from small yachts and nimble little ships with convivial atmospheres, to larger Russian research boats and …

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Arctic Maps

Arctic Maps

One of history's expeditionary legends, The Arctic has captivated humankind's imagination for hundreds of years. It is defined as any area above 66 33'N and standing at a …

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Ready to Book Your Arctic Adventure?

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