Quark Expeditions - Arctic

When is the best time to visit the Arctic?

a month by month breakdown of what to expect to see in the Arctic

When is the best time to visit the Arctic?

When is the best time to visit the Arctic?

The Arctic cruise season begins in May and ends in late September. Each month offers something special-

May: The first ships of the season usually arrive at the Svalbard archipelago. Sea-ice is still abundant, and you'll see some pristine icebergs. Birds will begin nesting, and Polar bears will prepare for mating season. In ice-free waters, you'll see whales and maybe even the elusive Narwhal.

June: As the ice continues to break, Icebreaker ships will be able to travel to the North Pole. June is the best time to spot Narwhals and even Polar bears hunting seals. You can also expect to see whales, walruses, and 24-hour daylight later in the month.

July: We are getting into the high season, where temperatures are at their warmest, and the wildlife is booming. By mid-July, the Hinlopen Straight is free of ice, allowing cruise ships to fully circumnavigate Spitsbergen. The Polar bear mating season begins, walruses gather in large numbers, and many whales can be seen off the coast of Greenland. If you venture into the Canadian High Arctic, you might see thousands of Beluga whales arrive in Hudson Bay.

August: There is little to no sea-ice left, which means the Northwest and Northeast Passages are available for those who seek a true Arctic adventure. The icebergs will not be as impressive or large, but you'll be able to sail to Scoresby Sound in Greenland, or the west coast of Spitsbergen and have a higher chance of spotting a Polar bear.

September: The autumn colors are beautiful. Temperatures are starting to drop again, and you may even catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. This is a great time to visit the east coast of Greenland.