When you look at travel articles, photos and tips, you start learning about different traveller profiles. For instance, city dwellers would like nothing more than to get rid of any trace of urban life even just for a while by going to tropical countries with picturesque beaches. The more adventurous types would also go to surfer and diver destinations, but the majority of them either would also like to go to perennially snowy places like the mountains of Switzerland to ski. And people who live in more rural places tend to go to big city destinations like New York, Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, and so on.
But it seems everyone wants to go to the Arctic. Indeed, a cruise to the Arctic is one of the most sought-after travel plans, not to mention, an obviously unique experience. The Arctic Circle spans quite a large space across the North Pole. Just to get a good picture of its size, you might be surprised to know that it surrounds the northern regions of the United States via Alaska, Russia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Greenland, Canada, and Iceland — which is a whopping 6% of the world.
Contrary to what people believe, though, the Arctic is not just a huge expanse of ice. Here, you will find countless wildlife, beautiful landscapes, and indigenous tribes that are still thriving like the Inuit tribes. One of the ways you can make sure you can see these stunning attractions is by checking the ports of call on your Arctic cruise.
In the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, you will find the Longyearbyen settlement on the island of Spitsbergen. With only about 2,000 residents, it is already the largest settlement among all the islands. But if you are looking for breathtaking sceneries, this is the best place to go. Snow-capped mountains jutting high, looming over the houses. You will see tundras and possible a whole sleuth of polar bears roaming around. You can also visit the Svalbard Museum where you will learn about its mining history, whaling in the Arctic, and everything about the natural environment.
Ilulissat Icefjord and Jakobshavn Glacier
The Ilulissat Icefjord and Jakobshavn Glaciers can be found in Greenland. The Jakobshavn glacier has the biggest ice stream outside of Antarctica and has the fastest moving ice sheets with heights of up to 131 feet. The Ilulissat Icefjord glacier, on the other hand, has been given the UNESCO World Heritage Site title. It annually calves over 35 km3 of ice and has helped scientists understand ice glaciology and climate change.
Now, if you really want to see the wildlife in the Arctic Circle, your best bet is the Wrangel Island in Russia. Located in the Chukotka region in the northeast of Russia, the island has been called the “polar bear maternity ward”, together with Herald Island. Obviously, it is because there is always a high number of cubs being born there.
So when you look at your Arctic Cruise plans, check which ports of call you will be visiting and plan your land trips accordingly.