We've put together 10 weird and wonderful facts we bet you didn’t know about The Arctic Circle.
The Arctic is home to a dizzying variety of wildlife, have a read to see some of its more unusual residents.
Packing for The Arctic can seem daunting so we here's a list of what we consider essentials.
When to go to the Arctic
There's lots to see in The Arctic so we thought we'd put together a guide to when you'll see what. The best (and only) time to visit the Arctic is in the summer months as large patches of the Arctic Ocean are frozen between October to March, so sailing is almost impossible.
Early Season (June & July)
If you’re going to the Arctic in search of polar bears, then June or July is your best bet. This is the season when the polar bears emerge from hibernation, hungry after the long winter and gather in large numbers in Spitsbergen, Svalbard to hunt for seal. It is a time when adult polar bears are courting, and pups are learning to hunt. Virtually every cliff and ledge are teeming with birdlife – Franz Josef Land’s Rubini Rock is a particularly impressive sight! Minke whales can be seen swimming through the fjords while fin and sei whales may be seen out in open water.
This is also the time when the ice starts to melt, allowing the rugged terrain to come to life with flora and fauna. Pack ice, which is a mass of ice floating in the sea, will still be present in June. This is also the best time to see the snow and icescapes.
Mid Season (Late July & August)
This is peak season for wildlife. Birds, walrus, seals and the iconic polar bears are all out on the ice, minke, humpback, fin and even blue whales can be found in the Arctic Ocean, competing for food. The Arctic tundra flowers are blooming and it’s the bird’s egg laying season, both of which attract the Arctic foxes. This is an excellent time to head to West Greenland where you can go in search of whales. Less ice also means more channels around Svalbard can be explored by boat or kayak.
Late Season (Late August & September)
As the Arctic summer comes to an end, days get shorter and several of the Spitsbergen expedition boats complete their season by heading over to East Greenland. Here you will see magnificent fjord scenery and have the chance to see the aurora borealis as the nights reappear. Avid bird watchers will particularly enjoy the vast movement of seabird colonies as they prepare t return south for the winter. Svalbard’s west coast is now entirely ice free and polar bears are increasingly sighted on land.