when to travel to the arctic

When To Explore The Arctic


  • Discover ancient cultures in Scotland and Norway.

  • Take the world’s most beautiful cruise, the Norwegian coast.

  • Search for Polar bears in Svalbard, Norway, Franz Josef Land, Wrangel Is & Canada.

  • Meet inspiring Greenlandic Inuits along the east and west coasts of Greenland.

Timing is everything right? 

The time you choose to travel in the Arctic may make or your break your bucket list. If the Northern Lights are a passion you’ve had since you were a child, then choosing to travel in May is not going to end well when you vessel pulls alongside at the end of the voyage. Below we have quickly summarised each of the three distinct seasons in the Arctic and the experiences each of them brings.

Early Summer; May – June

Polar Bear cubs on ice berg

Polar bear cubs emerge from their winter den. Photo Kylie Wade

In the early summer months of the Arctic, you will find the vessels are focused their itineraries around Scotland, Norway and Svalbard. May and June are some of the best times to discover Polar bears around Svalbard, the pack is still thick, the bears are hungry from their hibernation and lucky for them seal pups are being born. 

Search Early Summer; 2020 Voyages or 2021 Voyages

Summer: June – August

Kayak greenland musk ox

Kayaker’s gentle paddle past a Musk Ox in Greenland. Photo by Raven Eye

This is the time when the Arctic is most alive and we see all of our expedition vessels operating an extensive array of itineraries. June through to August in the Arctic is the height of summer, the days are long as you cruise under the midnight sun, flora and fauna are flourishing at this time and with the ice breaking access to remote regions are at their best.

Search Summer Voyages; 2020 Voyages or 2021 Voyages

Late Summer: September – November

Can you imagine dancing under the Aurora Borealis? Photo Mads Pihl

At this time of year, we are beginning to see the available option becoming more limited, at this time vessels will often head to dry-dock or begin their journey south towards Antarctica. There are still a number of itineraries and vessels operating, at this time of year Arctic voyages are really focused on Northern Light (Aurora Borealis) experiences, as well as the Canadian Arctic. It is also the best time to complete the Northwest and Northeast Passage routes.

In November, January and February our Snorkel with Orca voyages are in search of Orca and the Northern Lights. Search voyages here. 

Search Late Summer Voyages; 2020 Voyages or 2021 Voyages

With 21 Arctic expedition vessels operating in the Arctic and more than 400 Arctic departures in our collection, there is a huge selection to choose from. You can jump to our Arctic search page here and begin your search for the ideal voyage. 

iExpedition is Australia’s only dedicated expedition specialist. We deliver an advanced, search and booking site for Australian travellers interested in expedition travel. With a selection of more than 1,000 Antarctic and Arctic expedition departures, across close to 60 expedition vessels, we make it easy for you to search, compare, save and reserve or book your next expedition.

We are here to help, so please feel free to Contact Us via email or on 1800 960 577.  

Ready for adventure? Your expedition begins here.