The Arctic

Compared to Antarctica, the Arctic region is relatively easy to access. It is possible to travel there from North America, Europe and Russia. The most visited regions are North Canada, Alaska and Spitsbergen (Svalbard). All these regions are different : they have important cultural aspects linked to the Inuit in Greenland, a high concentration of wild life in Spitsbergen and great mineral landscapes, for example in North Canada.

Our selection of voyages to the Arctic…

Spitsbergen or Svalbard:

Svalbard is an archipelago administrated by Norway, located half way between North Pole and North Cape. The main settlement is Longyearbyen with 2500 inhabitants and is served daily from Norway by two Norwegian airline companies and sometimes also by chartered flights.
This archipelago is like a « recap » of the Arctic but without indigenous people (as in Greenland for example). The tundra is beautiful in summer with tiny coloured flowers, glaciers are fantastic with different ranges in size, and the wildlife is diversified: large numbers of birds (eiders, auks, geese, skuas, gulls…) and a few species of mammals (walrus, cetacean, seal, fox, reindeer). The emblematic species of Svalbard is the Polar bear, protected there since 1973. It can be encountered everywhere with a population of around 3000 animals in the Barents Sea region.
Most of the tour operators propose journeys of between 8 and 16 days in general, starting from Longyearbyen city. Expedition cruise ships operate between the beginning of June until late August or beginning of September. Even if years are different, there is usually still sea ice on the northern coast of the archipelago at the beginning of the summer. Whereas there is less sea ice on the second part of the summer, which makes possible navigation toward the East coast and circumnavigation as well.

Spitzbergen or Svalbard
The only way to fly to Longyearbyen, is direct from Oslo or with a transit by Tromso (a four hour flight).

☞ Highlights: important biodiversity (birds, mammals, plants), polar bear, glaciers, history (whalers, trappers, sealers, early explorers, former military bases…), calm sea and sheltered fjords…
☞ Contrasting high lights: no indigenous people

Our selection of voyages to Svalbard…

Landscape of Svalbard Tundra and reindeers
Polar bear on ice Trapper's hut

Greenland:

Greenland is an ideal destination to discover great landscapes and the Inuit culture. Tour operators often include a visit to a settlement during their journey, in order to discover the life, economy, tradition, and culture of these people from the North. It is on the West coast that most of the population is situated, with important cities like Nuuk the capital, or Illulissat.
On the East coast there are only few small villages, so less people live there, but the landscapes like the longuest fjord in the world, the Scoresby Sound, surrounded by high cliffs and peaks, are fantastic! Greenland is also well known for the ice cap, number of glaciers and huge icebergs calving from them. It’s impossible to return disappointed from Greenland, unless maybe regarding the wildlife. Polar bears and seals are usually shy and live far away from humans and villages.

Greenland
☞ Highlights: culture, landscapes, glaciers, icebergs
☞ Contrasting high lights: wildlife can be difficult to observe, unless you travel in remote areas or away from villages

Our selection of voyages to Greenland…

Upernavik village Iceberg
Scoresby Sound Muskox

Our selection of voyages to the Arctic…
More pictures of the Arctic…