Discover a region that is rich in natural beauty on your dream Arctic cruise. The Arctic is a destination that always scores high on many travel ‘wish-lists’. Pristine snowy scenery, undisturbed wildlife, and stunning natural phenomena make Arctic cruises unique and unforgettable experiences, ideal for those who want to follow in the footsteps of intrepid explorers.
Sailing through the cobalt blue seas of this remote region immerses you in one of the world’s richest diversities of marine life. Hear the calls of rare seabirds and seals, and watch the horizon for enormous whales that breach the waves. Keep your eyes on the vast white landscape and you may be lucky enough to spot a polar bear. When your Arctic cruise docks, passengers can experience picture-postcard towns, where the warm and welcoming locals are waiting to greet you. You’ll find that the indigenous people are only too happy to enthuse about the ancient folklore and traditions that are native to this fascinating and relatively untouched region.
Northern Lights cruises sail mostly the northern coast of Norway, with some venturing to Iceland and Greenland. Expect charming fishing villages that are smothered in a blanket of snow, bustling commercial ports and dramatic tundra landscapes. Trips ashore offer thrills such as dog-sledding, cross-country skiing or skidoo driving. If you’re looking to relax, why not try an overnight stay in a (surprisingly warm!) ice hotel, or take a cultural tour to visit the settlements of the natives.
Of course, the main events are the Aurora Borealis themselves. Native American legend has it that the mysterious lights were war omens – and the Vikings believed that the spectacular lights were the armour of the Valkyries, the warrior maidens of Norse mythology. Perhaps the most exciting tale comes from the Arctic Circle’s indigenous people – where the mystical Northern Lights can be explained without fuss; they’re simply the spirits of the dead, who happen to be playing a game of ball with a walrus skull.
Iceland is famed for its dramatic volcanic landscape, hot springs, waterfalls and relaxed way of living. The vibrant and welcoming capital Reykjavik offers exciting nightlife, with many fine-dining restaurants and cafes – the city is also powered entirely by geothermal power from the ground. Unmissable natural phenomena include the steaming hot Blue Lagoon and colossal glaciers in Vatnajökull and Snæfellsnes national parks can be easily reached through day excursions, and are ideal for ice climbing or snowmobiling.
Greenland is a vast country that offers visitors art and culture, steeped in fascinating Norse history. Things to do include luxurious hot springs, boat tours, kayaking and hiking trips. Greenland’s capital Nuuk is nestled on the ice-free and fjord-lined coast, and is the smallest capital city on earth. Inuit tribes have lived in settlements in Greenland for centuries and you can learn about them in The National Museum, which awards visitors with a fascinating glimpse into the country’s colourful past. When you’re finished soaking up the culture, there are many gourmet restaurants and fashion boutiques in which you can cosy up and shelter from the cold.
Artic and Northern lights cruises are an effortless way to enjoy this wonderful part of the world. Prepare to make some truly magical memories as you head north and enter the Arctic Circle – a wonderful land of Inuit culture, Norse mythology, stunning scenery and friendly locals.
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