Rewrite your Arctic bucket list

Long gone are the days when ‘regular’ once-in-a-lifetime experiences like seeing landmarks such as the Taj Mahal were the norm – now you can push your bucket-list boundaries at Earth’s northern polar frontier…

From Greenland’s frozen landscape to the Svalbard and Canadian Arctic archipelagos, adventure experts Quark Expeditions bring all corners of the planet’s northernmost region to life.

Serving up epic, pinch-me experiences on purpose-built ships, the polar leaders will take you on the voyage of a lifetime in this area of extremes...


The world’s largest island features an endless fjord-lined coast, diverse wildlife and rugged wilderness, often illuminated by the Aurora borealis, or Northern Lights. Almost 80 per cent of the land mass is covered by an ice cap, and, despite its size, there are no roads connecting the settlements – locals travel by boat or other means of transportation.

Go off-grid on a helicopter trip to Southern Greenland

Designed for intrepid travellers looking to discover the fjords, mountains and glaciers of South Greenland and set foot on the Greenland ice sheet (the second largest ice mass in the world), the Greenland Explorer voyage gives guests the unmissable opportunity to sail and soar on a helicopter adventure above the alpine Arctic – Quark Expeditions features the largest selection of helicopter activities in the region. This unforgettable experience is courtesy of new polar ship, the state-of-the-art, 199-passenger Ultramarine, which is equipped with two twin-engine helicopters – a Heli Landing is included in your trip, to transport you to remote ridges and vast peaks in South Greenland that others can’t reach, especially for off-ship excursions. These exclusive Heli Landings are included for all guests, who can also enjoy off-ship activities including camping, heli-hiking, kayaking, community visits and Zodiac cruises.

Camp out in the Tasermiut Fjord

At 70km long and punctuated with immense mountains, valleys, lakes and a glacier, the Tasermiut Fjord has been described as one of the most beautiful fjords in the world. Guests on Quark Expeditions’ Greenland Adventure: Explore by Land, Sea and Air voyages will get the once-in-a-lifetime chance to go camping in this exceptional fjord, alongside a highly experienced expedition team and local partners such as chefs and glacier guides to enrich and enhance the experience tenfold, including sampling a meal made from local ingredients. The ultimate access to this frozen wilderness is provided courtesy of Quark’s latest ship Ultramarine, whose high tech toys include a fleet of Zodiacs and two twin-engine helicopters to whisk small groups out into the remote environment for an overnight experience that previous guests have described as ‘spectacular and extraordinary'.

Cruise through Arctic Patagonia

Dubbed the ‘Arctic Patagonia' by adventure travellers, the 70km-long Tasermiut Fjord in southwestern Greenland attracts climbers and mountaineers from all over the world who are keen to tick off a major bucket list item – ascending one of the ‘big walls’ in the world of climbing. The fjord is accessible by boat from Nanortalik Island, which in Greenlandic means “Place of Polar Bears” or “Place Where the Polar Bears Go.” Cruising in a Zodiac or kayak, guests on Quark Expeditions’ Essential Greenland: Southern Coasts and Disko Bay voyage get access to the icy waters of this iconic fjord, which is situated in the rarely travelled southeast coast, before it meanders down to the southern tip. Also on this itinerary you can expect to search for Arctic wildlife, meet locals, experience traditional Inuit settlements and visit Norse historical sites while learning about the region's fascinating culture.

Glide past the UNESCO-listed Ilulissat Icefjord

UNESCO designation isn’t granted lightly, but Western Greenland’s Ilulissat Icefjord met specific criteria in order to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. And when you come face to face with the natural beauty of one of the world’s most fascinating natural phenomena, you’ll understand why it has been the object of scientific attention for more than 250 years. Take a deep dive into this icefjord, which plays a significant role in understanding and monitoring climate change effects, on Quark Expedition’s Best of the Western Arctic: Canada and Greenland voyage, in which guests will undertake Zodiac cruises for a one-of-a-kind perspectives of icebergs, glaciers and fjords. Along with marvelling at the sculpted icebergs that dominate the Ilulissat Icefjord, you’ll also search for Arctic wildlife, and undertake community visits for insights into life in the Western Arctic, both now and in the past.

Canadian Arctic

For those seeking a true off-the-beaten-track adventure, the Canadian Arctic is calling. Canada has more land mass in the Arctic than any other country, and more than 35,000 islands in the archipelago which includes Baffin Island, the world’s fifth-largest island. The region is known for its spectacular landscapes, rich native culture and diverse wildlife including polar bears and muskoxen.

Follow in the wake of explorers along the Northwest Passage

Retrace the footsteps of legendary explorers in the fabled Northwest Passage, a lucrative shipping route connecting Europe and Asia that has enchanted adventurers for hundreds of years. On the Arctic Express Canada voyage, you’ll discover this great sea route positioned at the top of the world, sailing on the new expedition ship Ultramarine. In this modern day Arctic adventure, guests will explore the region’s diversity alongside Quark Expeditions’ world-class team, searching for wildlife including polar bears and muskoxen, discovering the biodiversity highlights of Lancaster Sound, and visiting Inuit communities to learn about their traditions and customs. This epic voyage continues with the chance to experience once-in-a-lifetime flight seeing and heli-landings aboard the ship’s two helicopters, and cruise in a Zodiac or jump in a kayak to get up close to dramatic fjords, glaciers and icebergs.

Reach Canada’s most northerly islands

If venturing to a mysterious region few ever get to see floats your boat, then Quark Expedition’s Canada’s Remote Arctic voyage should be of definite interest. On this spectacular sailing, guests can channel their inner explorer in luxury as new state-of-the-art ship Ultramarine sets out to reach Canada’s most northerly islands: Axel Heiberg and Ellesmere Island. At the top of the world, nature has many surprises in store, and the ship’s twin-engine helicopters and quick launching Zodiacs provide the perfect platform in which to explore the environment from a brand new perspective. The itinerary traces the natural guides of sea and ice to showcase the region’s cultural, historic and geographical treasures, aiming to approach the farthest stretches of this rarely visited landscape, and with encounters with indigenous wildlife including sea mammals, polar bears and possibly even the Arctic wolf, along the way.

Cruise along the face of an active glacier

At the top of the world there are many natural wonders and landscapes to see. From expansive waterways to stunning alpine vistas and spectacular glacial formations, Canada's remote far north few ever get to experience, but guests on Quark Expedition’s Canada’s Remote Arctic voyage can navigate this alien environment just like intrepid Arctic explorers of the past. While the surroundings are steeped in history, this adventure has a distinctly modern day twist: lucky guests will be sailing on the game-changing new polar class vessel, Ultramarine, which is equipped with two twin-engine helicopters and a fleet of Zodiacs for to get up close to the likes of bird-rich Coburg Island and Devon Island. Along with discovering the wildlife that live and survive in the forbidding region like polar bears and walruses, the adventure also gives guests the chance to soak up Inuit culture on foot, and Zodiac along the face of an active glacier in Croker Bay.

Spy polar bears in Radstock Bay

Despite the remote and unforgiving environment, the High Arctic is home to some elusive and iconic creatures, including the polar bear, and is one of the reasons many modern day explorers venture here. Radstock Bay is a popular research location for observing polar bears, which are often seen here in the summer; you’ll navigate this and other remote regions of the Canadian Arctic archipelago including the fabled Northwest Passage, on the technologically advanced Ultramarine, Quark Expedition’s newest ship in the fleet, which offers more off-ship adventures and features more outdoor wildlife viewing spaces than any other expedition ship its size. It’s the perfect platform for witnessing the vast Arctic wilderness, participating in included helicopter activities and landings, exploring the likes of the Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and keeping your eyes peeled for other indigenous wildlife including whales, walrus and muskoxen.

Svalbard & Spitsbergen

The largest island in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, glacier-rich Spitsbergen is often called ‘the land of the midnight sun’ due to the sun never setting from April till June. This increased visibility is welcome news for travellers on a quest to observe the native wildlife which includes polar bears, walruses, reindeer, and beluga whales.

See why Svalbard is the Arctic’s wildlife capital

If pinch-me encounters with iconic wildlife is on your adventure bucket list, you’ll be interested in this longer sailing to Spitsbergen, the largest island of the Svalbard archipelago that’s also known as the ‘wildlife capital of the Arctic.’ The 12-day Spitsbergen Explorer voyage is designed to maximise time on the west and northern/southern tips of the island, providing guests with countless opportunities to witness the array of creatures who make this environment home, including whales, walruses, and of course, the polar bear. The midnight sun – the continuous daylight this region experiences in the summer months – maximises the chances of successful sightings. Additional off-ship adventures include ample time to hike the vast tundra and explore the polar desert, Zodiac cruising to discover glaciers, fjords and icebergs, and even kayaking into the icy realm.

Hike through tundra and polar desert in one trip

Those new to expedition cruising or the Arctic region might want to consider an introductory adventure that ticks all the boxes – from wildlife viewing in what’s known as the ’wildlife capital of the Arctic,’ to exploring and discovering the diverse landscape. Sailing on Quark Expedition’s new ship Ultramarine or the passenger favourite Ocean Adventurer, the Intro to Spitsbergen voyage provides a taste of everything Spitsbergen has to offer, starting with its largest settlement, Longyearbyen. It is also geared towards optimum wildlife viewing, from walrus to reindeer and the iconic Arctic denizen, the polar bear – all illuminated by continuous daylight in summer. Hike the colourful tundra and polar desert, learn about the history and geology of this remote wilderness, or take to a kayak or a quick-launching Zodiac to view the icy landscape from a totally new perspective.

Explore the Land of the Midnight Sun

As all photography buffs know, great light is key to witnessing and documenting unforgettable travel experiences. And there are few places better for successful snapping than the Arctic, which is blessed with continuous daylight all summer, a natural phenomenon that has earned it the title, Land of the Midnight Sun. Accompanied by award-winning photographer and filmmaker Chris Linder, the Spitsbergen Photography voyage is ideal for wildlife fanatics, as it meanders along the coast and inner fjords to capture the best of Spitsbergen in late July, more accessible in the Arctic summer season thanks to melted ice and snow-free tundra. Possible sightings include polar bears, whales returning to the ice-free fjords, walruses, the arctic fox, and a flurry of birds on the towering cliffs. “July is a magical time to visit Svalbard, when the light-filled summer days fuel a brief but intense explosion of life,” says Linder.

Spy secret icy corners other humans seldom have

The crown of Arctic Norway, Spitsbergen is situated in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard and bathed in continuous daylight during the summer months. Take a deep dive into this remote, icy landscape on the 14-day Spitsbergen in Depth voyage, an extensive exploration that includes the chance to witness Arctic wildlife a-plenty – herds of reindeer, walruses, endemic birds such as puffins, and polar bears – alongside a glimpse into 16th-century maritime culture at secluded landing sites, and the rare chance to take in the views at birdwatching utopias 14th of July Glacier and Alkefjellet. If conditions allow, your ship will also attempt a full circumnavigation of the archipelago, including a visit to the uninhabited Arctic desert of Nordaustlandet. Off-ship adventures include kayaking through the sea ice, Zodiac excursions that transport guests up close to glaciers, fjords and icebergs, and hiking through the tundra and polar desert.

Feeling inspired?

To start planning your Arctic cruise adventure, head to the Quark Expeditions website.