The Arctic offers incomparable, unique and beautiful sights and experiences. A mainstay of bucket lists, the Arctic is one of the most unexplored regions in the world. Here are seven incredible things to experience in this beautiful, fragile region:
1. Visit the Fjords
The northern stretches of Norway and their beautiful Fjords make up the outer reaches of part of the Arctic Circle. Snow-capped mountains, lush hillsides and almost endless stretches of deep still waters make up this incredible part of the Earth. Many of the waterways of the Norwegian Fjords are wide enough for large passenger cruise ships to journey through, providing an exceptional platform for experiencing the stunning beauty.
2. Complete an Arctic Trek
For the more adventurous amongst you, a trek across stretches of the Arctic offers uniquely peaceful tranquillity as you traverse unspoilt snowy plains. Arctic Treks offers a selection of structured tours throughout the Arctic Circle, providing access to unbelievably vast lands. Strong legs and a big coat are required for this rewarding endeavour.
3. Meet a Polar Bear
It is conceivable that wild Polar Bears may soon become a thing of the past with only captive members of the species surviving as the ice caps continue to melt. We may be the last generation who can experience the beauty of the polar bears in their natural habitat. Whilst it is inadvisable to get too close to one of the mighty bears, their diet of seals means they are often by the coastline and can be observed from the seas. Their white coat camouflage means you will have to bring your glasses though if you hope to spot them.
4. Enjoy the Northern Lights
One of the world’s best-loved natural phenomena, the Northern Lights have been mesmerising and transfixing visitors for hundreds of years now. A winter cruise through the Arctic Circle will give you nightly opportunities to enjoy the views from a range of different vantage points. The optimum time for enjoying the views traditionally falls between 11pm and 2am.
Perfect Cruise: Solar Eclipse & Northern Lights
5. Go Whale Watching
Off the shore of Northern Iceland is one of the world’s optimum places to catch a glimpse of the some of the biggest mammals in existence. The waters offer a great opportunity to spot the humpback whale as well as white-beaked dolphins, minke whales and small harbour porpoises. The area also plays host to the world’s largest mammal, the blue whale.
Perfect Cruise: Iceland & Northern Isles
6. Meet the Locals
In recent years, ethnographic tourism has grown significantly in the Arctic, allowing visitors to experience the life of the locals. Living in extreme conditions, the indigenous peoples of the Arctic have developed traditional survival techniques they honour to this day. Visitors can participate in these traditions, spending time with the indigenous folks and participating in their day-to-day tasks.
7. Preserve the Memory
Your children and their children may never be able to experience the beauty and splendour of the Arctic so preserve the memory by capturing it on film. The beautiful, unique landscapes offer limitless Kodak moments for you to catch. Summer days experience 24 hours of sun, making them ideal for wannabe David Baileys.
Image credits (Flickr): Tom Bech, Paxson Woelber, Lwp Kommunikaclo, Timo Horstschafer, Drew Avery, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center