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
In the ‘Land of Ice and Fire’ where snow-capped peaks rise above glaciers and active volcanoes rumble, you will stroll along black-sand beaches strewn with glittering icebergs and walk amongst geysers and bubbling mud pools. Explore spectacular fjords and impressive…
- 11 Days
For anyone keen to experience Svalbard’s rich Arctic wildlife and spectacular scenery while travelling comfortably, this is a good option. Travelling in the company of naturalists on board a modern state-of-the-art ship, equal attention is given to your experience both…
- 8 Days
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
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
Truly escape the modern world and explore Svalbard onboard a schooner. Sail north through the melting spring ice, spot wildlife and learn about the archipelago’s rich history. Highlights include the Monaco Glacier, 17th century whaling settlements, close encounters with megafauna…
- 8 or 11 Days
This popular introduction to Svalbard is keenly priced and with early season departures guarantees plenty of ice. Sail onboard one of the newest ships in polar waters and spot bears from the plentiful deck space. Optional kayaking and hiking come…
- 10 Days
Beginning in Svalbard before sailing west across the Greenland Sea and exploring Greenland’s long eastern coastline to finish in Iceland, this is an audacious Arctic journey of startling diversity and contrast. Spectacular landscapes, towering glaciers and once-in-a-lifetime wildlife encounters will…
- 13 or 15 Days
Circumnavigate Spitsbergen onboard a choice of three small ships and in the company of specialist guides. Travelling in such small groups allows you more time to explore and some late season departures benefit from stunning autumn light. Ask about special…
- 11 Days
For the ultimate Arctic experience this unparalleled 24 day voyage is hard to beat. Created by splicing together two popular voyages, it maximises on wildlife sightings, with exploration of East Greenland’s deep fjords and towering icebergs and delivers extended time…
- 24 Days
Travelling at the height of summer this 14-day trip is the longest of any Svalbard cruise - providing the best possible conditions for wildlife encounters. This circumnavigation of Spitsbergen includes huge glaciers, bird cliffs and ice choked channels. There's even…
- 14 Days
For the ultimate Arctic achievement, board this mighty nuclear icebreaker to stand at the top of the world at 90 degrees north. The voyage is further enhanced by strong chances of polar bear sightings, helicopter flightseeing and a visit to…
- 13 or 14 Days
Sail to Svalbard aboard a sleek, elegant and all-inclusive expedition vessel in serious comfort. Not to be confused with a cruise, this is definitely an expedition with daily landings and a serious emphasis on wildlife sightings and experiencing the real…
- 10 Days
Explore Svalbard and sail north to find the pack ice where bears spend the summer months hunting. Cruise the ice edge before heading south along the east coast of Greenland where Scoresbysund awaits, whales swim among the ice and small…
- 11 Days
In the icy and labyrinthine channels of the legendary Northwest Passage, explore the archipelago of islands and channels that form Canada’s High Arctic region; meet local indigenous people; encounter enigmatic Arctic wildlife, including walrus, beluga whale, polar bear, musk ox…
- 17 Days
This comprehensive westbound voyage stands out for its compelling combination of West Greenland, in-depth exploration of the east coast of Baffin Island and the historic Northwest Passage. Jaw dropping scenery, towering icebergs, thrilling wildlife encounters, Inuit community visits and fascinating…
- 17 Days
An all consuming introduction to the Arctic, with a strong focus on wildlife, this trip is hard to beat. Search for bears, narwhal, beluga, walrus and musk ox, marvel at Greenland's ‘big ice’ and learn about the early explorers as…
- 12 Days
The big ice and small towns of West Greenland provide a stunning start to this trip before you sail across the Davis Straight to Baffin Island and enter the Northwest Passage. Blend history, scenery and wildlife; pay your respects at…
- 17 Days
Beginning deep inside the High Arctic and finishing in subarctic Iceland, we like this voyage for its diversity, sense of journey and extended time exploring East Greenland. Zodiac cruising amongst towering icebergs, glimpsing the Northern Light and tracking musk oxen…
- 14 Days
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
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
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
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 spots such as Thule, one of the northernmost towns in the world, and Smith Sound. Big ice,…
- 20 Days
Sailing in September, explore the massive fjords of East Greenland and their legendary icebergs, spot musk oxen and visit ancient and modern Inuit settlements, while late summer provides a great chance of spotting the Northern Lights. A choice of three…
- 8 Days
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…
- 15 Days
Find Your Arctic Ship
Making the correct choice of ship is key. With firsthand experience of all of the ships we offer, let Swoop help guide you to exactly the right one.
Ready to Book Your Arctic Adventure?
We'll spend some time listening to your aspirations, then discuss the kind of experience that might suit you.
Next we'll discuss the options, shortlist the best trips for you and present you our impartial recommendations.
We'll place a 24 hour hold on your preferred option - without obligation - whilst we talk through the details.
Our team of experts are ready to help you with any questions about a trip to the Arctic.