Top Places to Visit in the Arctic
An expedition cruise through the Arctic is unlike any other vacation experience. As you follow in the wake of great explorers, you will discover firsthand the breathtaking beauty and surprising biodiversity that exists in the northernmost region of the globe. A cruise of the Arctic may circumnavigate one single country or cross the Arctic Circle on a comprehensive expedition.
Here are a few of the top places we recommend visiting for each region in the high Arctic:
Spitsbergen (Svalbard, Norway)
In the town of Longyearbyen, you can explore the layered human history that is alive in the administrative capital of the Spitsbergen archipelago.
Isfjorden, just outside of Longyearbyen, is a marvelous fjord to witness and is a fantastic place to spot whales.
As you cross the Hinlopen Strait you will see seals, polar bears, cliffs full of birds, and perhaps even the majestic blue whale.
Raudfjord is characterized by dominating glaciers that host ringed and bearded seals.
Wonder at your compass when you reach 90° North – the true North Pole!
The unforgettable archipelago of Franz Josef Land marks Russia’s northernmost territory, marked by towering volcanoes, pack ice, glaciers, and icebergs.
The small city of Murmansk is the embarkation point for many Russian cruises and has an archaeological museum with tons of local artifacts.
Embark in the capital town of Reykjavik, where you can stroll the streets to visit the main square, enjoy shopping and dining, and get a taste of Icelandic culture and history.
Isafjördur is among the most beautiful towns where you can take in the remote and daunting glory of the fjord landscape.
In Stykkisholmur, you can see the Snaefellsjokull glacier, sitting atop an extinct volcano, and the bird-rich Breidafjordur Bay.
At Djupivogur, you will see massive blocks of ice falling off of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier into the lagoon.
Scoresby Sund is one of the largest and most impressive fjord systems in the world, stretching out over 110 kilometers in length (68.4 miles) and spanning an area more than 38,000 square kilometers (over 14,500 square miles).
Nansen Harbor is a delightful bay just south of the pristine wilderness areas of Sermilik and Tasiilaq.
Mountains, glacial valleys, rocky outcrops, tundra, and willow forests characterize the breathtaking landscape of Skjoldungen Island.
Originally an American military base from 1941-1992, the town of Kangerlussuaq hosts an international airport and offers exclusive access to the northern hemisphere’s largest sheet of ice, home to arctic hares, musk oxen, arctic foxes, reindeer, falcons, and eagles.
In Greenland’s capital city of Nuuk, you will see how this tiny town of just 16,000 people seems populous compared to the tranquil nature that dominates the rest of this giant island.
Baffin Island and Disko Bay host startling biodiversity, including narwhals, humpback whales, polar bears, and more, all on a beautiful backdrop of ice, mountains, and fjords.
You can also follow in the footsteps of the greatest explorers of the high Arctic on an expedition cruise of the Northwest Passage. These extended Arctic cruises circumnavigate the northernmost tip of the planet, crossing from Greenland on the eastern flank of North America straight through the wild tundra and ice floes of northern Canada all the way to Alaska, and even Russia.
Along the way, travelers have the chance to kayak among fjords, see the abundant wildlife, and visit such spots as Nunavut, the abandoned village of Qariaraqyuk, Fort Ross on Somerset Island, the uninhabited Edinburgh Island, Minto Inlet, Franklin Bay, and more.