The rugged, remote Arctic remains one of the most unexplored domains on the planet. This ice-laden region encompasses the Canadian High Arctic; Greenland; the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, which includes Spitsbergen; Russia; and at the very top of the planet, of course, the North Pole. It’s inhabited by polar bears, muskoxen, arctic foxes, beluga whales, reindeer, seals, walruses and migratory birds, among other wildlife species.
What You Need to Know
What to Expect
The Arctic encompasses several countries and cultures. You can learn about Inuit customs in Nunavut, Canada’s newest territory, or also explore the Indigenous cultures of Greenland. Then there’s the outpost of Longyearbyen in Spitsbergen, the capital of the Svalbard archipelago. Visitors can have an entirely different experience in the remote lands within the Russian Arctic. Such diversity is part of the appeal of an Arctic expedition.
How to Get There
Speak to your Polar Travel Advisor who can explain where your voyage will embark and provide information on the nearest airport. Transfer flights are sometimes included in your package and are arranged by Quark Expeditions. Some embarkations require passengers to book flights at preferred times. Speak to your polar travel advisor.
Visas & Passports
Always travel with a passport that’s valid for at least six months. Some Arctic expeditions may require a visa in addition to your passport, depending on your nationality and the country you’re visiting. Remember that some of our expeditions visit multiple countries. Speak to one of our experienced Polar Travel Advisors, who can outline the travel documents required for your chosen expedition, or contact your local consulate or embassy.
The Canadian High Arctic includes lands in the Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut. There are more than 35,563 islands in the remote Canadian Arctic Archipelago, which includes Baffin Island and Ellesmere Island. The mountains, glaciers, tundra, remote rocky shorelines, granite cliffs and Arctic waters are home to polar bears, grizzly bears, muskoxen, beluga whales, harp seals, walruses and migratory birds, among other wildlife species.
The best of Greenland can be found along its coastline, which is dominated by icebergs, glaciers, deep fjords, mountains and vast stretches of wilderness. Greenland’s traditional Inuit communities (descendants of the Thule people) appeal to travelers with a passion for ancient cultures. For nature-lovers, Greenland offers unrivalled wildlife-viewing: polar bears, muskoxen, humpback whales, walruses, sea eagles and reindeer. And of course, there’s the Aurora Borealis, commonly known as the Northern Lights.
The chance to stand at the very top of the world lures travelers to the North Pole, which is often called “terra incognita,” the unknown land. No one lives on this constantly shifting ice domain in the middle of the Arctic Ocean at 90° North. The closest permanently inhabited settlement is Alert, Nunavut, about 800 kilometres (508 miles) away. There’s an otherworldly quality to the North Pole—where every direction you look is south.
Russia’s Arctic territory, most of which has no permanent human population, includes 24,140 kilometres of coastline along the Arctic Ocean, the Barents Sea, Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk. Various Arctic archipelagoes, such as Novaya Zemlya and Severnaya Zemlya, make up much of the Russian Arctic. Russia’s remote, seldom-visited Franz Josef Land, 950 kilometres from the North Pole, attracts polar adventurers, as well.
Spitsbergen is the largest island in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, and is often called “The land of the midnight sun.” The island is also known as “The Wildlife Capital of the Arctic.” Polar bears, walruses, reindeers, arctic foxes, beluga whales, seals and seabirds are found amongst the icebergs, glaciers and snow-covered mountains.
Popular Expeditions in the Arctic
Spitsbergen Explorer: Wildlife Capital of the Arctic
Under the Northern Lights: Exploring Iceland & East Greenland
Jewels of the Russian Arctic: Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya
Special Insights from Our Guests
We explored the Far North, discovering an Arctic world with wonderful new friends and grand daily adventures. We attended lectures, jumped into zodiacs for new shores, walked on the ice pack, learned about northern life and its peoples, and shared vibrant conversations at meals. Hotel staff very hospitable and expedition staff wise and fun. An outstanding adventure was had.