Arctic travel in Summer 2023

Beluga whales in Hudson Bay


By June the reliability of navigation across the region is greater and so expeditions really pick up. The summer months present a unique opportunity to venture far into the fjords, allowing you to see the region's wildlife in all its magnitude. Spot birds, polar bears, harp/bearded/ringed seals, bowhead and beluga whales. Arctic reindeer can be observed on pastures, spending the whole summer feeding ahead of the next winter season, and calves born in June will begin to take their first steps across the tundra.


The peak of summer, July is the warmest month and subsequently offers much scope to explore by cruise. As the birds nest in the cliffs of Svalbard, predators like gyrfalcon and the Arctic fox try their luck for fallen chicks and eggs along the foot of the cliffs. The sea ice retreat encourages whales and dolphins to roam closer the fjords, and circumnavigations of the Canadian High Artic, the Northwest Passage and Spitsbergen are also possible by the middle of the month.


This is a great time to witness the feeding frenzy among the millions of birds that have summered in the archipelago. Travel further north, and bearded, hooded and harp seals may grace you with their presence. Soak up the year's final days of the non-stop shining of the sun, the Midnight Sun phenomenon, and admire the striking contrast of the dry brown-red ground and white snow-capped mountains.

Best Summer 2023 Cruises

Arctic travel in Autumn 2023

A polar bear in Churchill, the 'polar bear capital of the world'


You'll want your camera for the amazing views that you can see during September. Colder temperatures and dark evenings begin to set in as Autumn makes its arrival, giving rise to better visibility of the Northern Lights. The lack of snow and ice facilitates ongoing access deep into the fjords, and the dry conditions and a lesser volume of breeding birds provide good conditions for long treks.


Almost all of the summer wildlife has made the journey to warmer climes and expeditions have ended for the year. The returning ice pushes the ships south and land based travel takes over for the hardy souls who like the cold. Fewer tourists means you're more likely to be able to meet some locals, and if you're fortunate, see the first Northern Lights. Polar bears migrate through Churchill during the month, presenting the opportunity to see these huge, beautiful creatures from a close, but safe, distance.


The snowmobile engines well and truly warm up as the outside temperature drops and snowfall paints the landscape white once more. In mid-November, daylight disappears entirely and wildlife activity is limited to polar bears hunting where the ice is forming at Hudson Bay. This is a mesmerising time to experience both the vivid night skies and life for locals during the long winter - restaurants and shops remain busy and winter activities pick up again.

Best Autumn 2023 Cruises

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