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. 

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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Our best trips to the Arctic

More about travelling to the Arctic

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