The Polar Regions & Iceland

The polar regions of the Earth continue to fascinate people, partly due to their diverse origins and histories, but perhaps even more importantly because they are so seldomly explored and documented.

In today’s modernized world, there are very few natural landscapes that fascinate mankind as much as the Arctic and Antarctic regions. Perhaps attributable to the fact that a large majority of these practically inaccessible icy regions remain unexplored, or perhaps because these regions are viewed with growing concern due their vital role in regulating the planet’s climate system. Either way, nothing sparks the idea of expedition style adventure quite like the polar regions.

Why Visit?

Polar Bears

Svalbard is one of the best places on the planet to see and photograph the world's largest land carnivore and the true king of the arctic.

Arctic Wildlife

From polar bears and arctic foxes to whales and puffins, Arctic wildlife relies on the changing seasons and is as diverse as it is beautiful.

Antarctic Penguin Colonies

Penguin colonies — known as rookeries — are often huge, with up to a million nesting pairs and it always a highlight of a visit to Antarctica.

Zodiac Adventures

Essential for expedition cruises in polar regions, Zodiacs are robust boats that can go up on a beach, a rocky outcrop or pack ice and gets you closer to the visual beauty of the arctic and Antarctic.

Northern Lights

Iceland is one of the best places in the world to see the aurora borealis, or northern lights. At 65° N on the southern edge of the Arctic Circle, you can see auroras almost every night.

Waterfalls and Ice Caves

Iceland ice caves are natural wonders and combined with some of the most spectacular waterfalls you can imagine, Iceland makes for a truly unique photographic destination.

From the Arctic to The Antarctic

Our footprint in these regions includes scheduled expeditions to Svalbard in the Arctic, the quintessential bucket-list adventure of Antarctica, and whilst strictly not a Polar region by definition, exploration of the northern lights and ice caves of Iceland.

Expedition style adventure

Departures to all these destinations provide guests with the opportunity for true expedition style adventure, and experiences unlike anything else our wonderful planet has to offer. Be it the opportunity to photograph polar bears and the incredible landscapes of Svalbard, massive penguin colonies and leopard seals of Antarctica, or the northern lights and breathtaking glaciers of Antarctica, you can be sure that very few people would have experienced anything like it.

6 Highlights in the Region

Polar bears

The polar bear – also known as the King of the Arctic – is one of the world’s largest carnivores. The polar bear population in the Svalbard archipelago and Barents Sea is around 3,000, which exceeds the human population. The polar bear is considered a marine mammal as it spends most of its life on the drifting sea ice. Polar bear sightings are most common on the surrounding islands east of Spitsbergen, but you should be prepared to encounter a polar bear anywhere in Svalbard.

Female polar bears give birth to their cubs in snow caves, and the cubs generally remain with their mother until they are around two years old. Their diet consists primarily of ringed seal, which is the most common seal species in the waters surrounding Svalbard.

Arctic wildlife

Diverse landscapes—from the sea ice to coastal wetlands, upland tundra, mountains, wide rivers, and the sea itself—support abundant wildlife and many cultures. Of all the wildlife in the Arctic, the polar bear is the most fitting icon for this region. It’s amazing adaptation to life in the harsh Arctic environment makes it an impressive species.

Apart from polar bears, the arctic offers a wide range of wildlife, including walruses, the arctic fox, seals, reindeers and mesmerizing flocks of nesting birds

Zodiac Cruises

Both our Arctic and Antarctic expeditions afford guests the ability to disembark the more traditional cruise ships, and jump on board the more agile Zodiac boats, allowing for regular landfalls to explore the polar wilderness and to enjoy closeups with spectacular wildlife.

Our voyages are primarily defined as explorations and we spend as much time ashore as possible. We can be flexible, taking advantage of wildlife opportunities by using our zodiacs for both landings and cruises. Our knowledgeable guides assist on these outings, providing detailed information. This is supplemented by lectures on board which covers topics such as wildlife, nature and history.

Antarctic penguin colonies

Mid to late February is an exciting time to witness penguin colonies in Antarctica. Young penguin chicks start fledging and learning to swim in the shallows and are typically very active and curious, chasing parents for food as soon as they return from fishing trips.

Their colonies — known as rookeries — are often huge, with up to a million nesting pairs. In the pure Antarctic air, you can smell a penguin rookery from a long way away! Penguins generally breed on exposed rock, beaches or tussock grass, with the exception of the emperor, which breeds on sea-ice

Northern Lights

Nothing sums up the magic of Iceland quite like the Aurora Borealis. The ethereal northern lights have inspired wonder and awe for generations. The result of a particular solar activity, it’s no wonder it seems like something from another planet!

The otherworldly aurora borealis, or northern lights, begin high in the Earth’s atmosphere—at altitudes from 60 to more than 250 miles—when charged particles from the sun become trapped in the Earth’s magnetic field. The result is a colorful, dancing light show.

Waterfalls and ice caves of Iceland

Although the skies above Iceland are as dramatic as anything you will see, sometimes there’s magic to be found underground. Unique cave systems and waterfalls shift with the changing glacier every year. The ocean blue ice crystals make for an incredible composition, and the light dancing off the crystals all around means this is a once in a lifetime opportunity for any photographer.

Entering an ice cave feels like leaving reality behind and entering a fairy tale. Sparkling like a diamond, cyan blue, and crystal clear, ice caves have a surreal atmosphere that cannot be experienced anywhere else in the world, only deep inside the body of a glacier.

Eleven percent of Iceland’s total land area is covered by glaciers. This allows you the greatest selection of these enthralling natural wonders. With crystal blue caves, black ice caves, ice walls that are striped with layers of volcanic ash, man-made ice tunnels, and even indoor ice caves, Iceland has you covered!

Upcoming Tours to this Destination

Craft a Private Guided Tour

If you’d love the exclusivity of a premium experience that caters to your specific needs, and if you want to be able to get the most from your safari in the company of a dedicated and skilled professional, look no further than a Private Guided Tour.

Book a Custom Tour

Allow our team of experienced tour planners to build a customized itinerary around the destinations you would like to visit, the amount of time you’d like to travel for, your group size and of course, your budget.