The European Arctic encompasses a group of countries, including Russia, Denmark, Norway (which includes Spitsbergen), Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. This vast region is home to around four million people who reside north of the Arctic Circle, situated at approximately 66 degrees north latitude. These inhabitants typically live in small, isolated communities. When it comes to exploring the Arctic territories, Russia, Spitsbergen, and Greenland are often accessed via expedition ships led by expert guides who specialize in various fields. These cruises not only provide travelers with an exceptional Arctic experience but also extend support to local communities, affording a unique opportunity to witness their way of life in this remote corner of the world. Meanwhile, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway offer a different Arctic encounter, featuring stays in glass igloos and land-based touring options. No matter which Arctic adventure you choose, rest assured that we'll ensure you have the journey of a lifetime!
Finland: Finland is a land of the Midnight Sun, the Northern Lights, and the Polar Night. During the extended summer days in the northernmost region of the country, the sun never sets, casting perpetual daylight. In the heart of winter, it doesn't rise, casting the dark night in the enchanting hues of the Aurora Borealis. Finnish Lapland, nestled in the far North, hosts one of the world's most mesmerizing light displays, with the Northern Lights gracing the skies on up to 150 nights each year.
North Pole: Achieve the remarkable feat of reaching 90 degrees north! This is a part of the world often associated with fairy tales and folklore, making it the ultimate aspiration for many travelers.
Russian Arctic: For intrepid adventurers and history enthusiasts, the Russian Arctic beckons with a journey to seldom-visited locations, retracing the paths of polar explorers from the past. Rediscover Franz Josef Land, an area teeming with some of the highest wildlife densities in the Arctic, featuring polar bears and walrus. Navigate through the Kara Sea, often referred to as the 'ice cellar' of the Arctic, where you'll encounter unforgettable ice caps, towering ice cliffs, and majestic mountains. Immerse yourself in polar history with visits to abandoned weather stations, former polar research outposts, and active research stations.
Spitsbergen: An excellent destination for those embarking on their first Arctic adventure, Spitsbergen offers a comprehensive Arctic experience, complete with the best chances of encountering polar bears, breathtaking polar landscapes, and glimpses into the history of early European Arctic settlements. Cruises typically commence and conclude in Longyearbyen, the northernmost town in the world with a captivating whaling heritage.
When to go / useful information
When to go
Finland & Norway: September through April is the prime time for hunting the mesmerizing Aurora Borealis. During this period, travelers can enjoy various winter activities, including dog sledding, snowmobile tours, skiing, ice fishing, and even building igloos. Keep in mind that the further south you go, the shorter the Aurora season becomes. The best time to witness the Northern Lights in the more southern regions is between mid-October and March.
North Pole: Expeditions to the North Pole are typically conducted from mid-June to July. Earlier in the year, there is insufficient daylight, and the ice is too thick, making it challenging to reach this iconic destination.
Spitsbergen: For a rewarding exploration of Spitsbergen, plan your visit between May and October. However, we recommend traveling in the early summer, around June, for the best chances of encountering polar bears on the ice.
Russia: The optimal time to explore Russia's Arctic regions is from July to August, as this period offers milder temperatures and more accessible routes through the ice, making it easier to spot wildlife.
Currency Norway: Norwegian krone Sweden: Swedish krona Finland: Euro
Language Norway: Norwegian, Sami, Kven, Tavringer, Romani Sweden: Swedish Finland: Finnish, Swedish, Sami
What makes it special: The European Arctic, encompassing northern Scandinavia and Iceland, is a realm of enchanting experiences. From the captivating Finnish Lapland to Tromsø, Norway's "gateway to the Arctic," to the awe-inspiring and sparsely populated Iceland, this region offers an abundance of captivating sights. Here, you can revel in the mesmerizing Northern Lights, encounter diverse wildlife, and immerse yourself in an authentic Nordic experience.
Weather: The European Arctic embraces Subarctic and Tundra climates. In Tromsø, Norway, you can anticipate average temperatures of -5ºC in winter and 12ºC in summer. Northern Sweden experiences averages of -14ºC in winter and 14ºC in summer, while Finnish Lapland sees averages of -15ºC in winter and 14ºC in summer. In Iceland, expect averages of -4ºC in winter and 14ºC in summer. These temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day, and as you venture further into the Arctic Circle, you may encounter even more extreme variations.
Social customs: Nordic people are generally characterized by their egalitarian, practical, progressive, and modest nature. They place high value on personal space and tend to engage in direct conversations, often avoiding pleasantries and "small talk." When invited into someone's home, it is customary to bring a small gift for the host. While English is widely spoken in Nordic countries, learning a basic greeting in the local language of the country you are visiting is always appreciated. It's best not to assume that everyone will immediately engage in English conversation.