Antarctica Travel Guide
The most remote continent on Earth is unlike anything you've ever experienced. Here's all you need to know before travelling to Antarctica.
Reasons to travel to Antarctica
What can be more adventurous than exploring one of the most untouched places on the planet? A trip to Antarctica is a non-stop journey of unforgettable experiences.
2. Part of history
Because Antarctica is so isolated and has such extreme weather, very few people have ever visited the continent at all. As opposed to visiting an established destination, you are now part of the story, witnessing the grandeur first hand.
3. Another world
Gabrielle Walker, an environmental scientist in Antarctica, describes the continent as being almost alien: "The first time I went there it was like walking on another planet. It's just ice and rock - no trees, no plants, no anything else."
- Keep reading: 6 more reasons to visit Antarctica
Nature, climate and weather in Antarctica
Being the coldest place on Earth, Antarctica supports no terrestrial mammals – there are no trees or shrubs, and only two species of flowering plants: Antarctic hair grass (Deschampsia Antarctica) and Antarctic pearlwort (Colobanthus quitensis). The sea is what supports most creatures, such as penguins and seals.
On the Antarctic Peninsula, two days of sailing from the tip of South America, the temperatures average 0-5 degrees Celsius during summer. But you can expect periods of high winds when in Antarctica - cold air travels down the glaciers and ice-shelves. These are called katabatic winds and can occur when you least expect it.
However, being one of the driest places on earth, Antarctica does not see a lot of rain. In fact, more rain falls every year on average on the Sahara Desert than on the icy, wild-blown desert of Antarctica. What little snow happens to fall doesn’t thaw in the freezing temperatures and is often blown away by strong winds – it simply creates further ice sheets and ice shelves.
- Keep reading: Learn more about the weather in Antarctica
How to get to Antarctica - and when to go
The most common way to get to Antarctica is by cruise, often starting in Ushuaia, Argentina - the southernmost city in the world. Many cruises to the Antarctic Peninsula also include stops in the Falkland Islands or South Georgia.
Cruising season starts when it's possible to navigate through the ice, just before the Antarctic summer; the first sailings happen late October, while the last expedition usually takes place in March.
Webinar: Exploring the Frozen Continent
As one of the few untouched destinations on the planet, Antarctica is high on the bucket list of true explorers.
In this webinar you can learn more about:
- History of our Antarctic exploration
- What it's like to travel here
- Our ships, daily operations and landings
- Spectacular wildlife - and surprises!
- Sustainability in pristine areas
Cruising in Antarctica - what is it like?
Given its isolation, the Antarctic environment is probably the most pristine natural environment on the planet. For visitors this fact comes with a set of obligations – the most important and general is to leave no traces behind.
However, guests are welcome to go ashore on dedicated landing sites in Antarctica. The Antarctic Treaty and IAATO prohibiting more than 100 people to be ashore simultaneously strictly regulate human traffic in Antarctica. All guests will be given instructions on how to behave when on shore in Antarctica.
3 things you need to know about cruising with Hurtigruten
1. Environmentally friendly tourism in Antarctica
Sailing in such pristine surroundings naturally comes with a huge responsibility. Hurtigruten is committed to the highest standards of seamanship and an environmentally friendly operation. Our activities and reputation rest on our long tradition and experience when it comes to exploring polar waters.
2. A variety of ships and itineraries
With Hurtigruten you can choose among a variety of expedition sailings on MS Midnatsol, the smaller MS Fram, or the newest of our fleet, MS Roald Amundsen and MS Fridtjof Nansen.
3. On an expedition with Hurtigruten, no cruise is ever the same
Each Hurtigruten Explorer voyage is unique and our schedule is dictated by the elements. Although landing sites are always carefully planned in advance, our itineraries are only indicative of your voyage.