01. Somerset Island, Nunavut
The Weber family has been exploring the Arctic for three generations. In 2000 they established the Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge on Somerset Island in Nunavut, Canada — an otherwise uninhabited island about 56 miles (90 kilometers) from Resolute Bay. Here, guests in search of adrenaline can try kayaking, rafting or hiking. Wildlife enthusiasts can admire the incredible sight of beluga whales annually congregating in the Northwest Passage, or watch polar bears, muskoxen and arctic foxes in their natural habitat.
02. Barrow, Alaska
Barrow, or Utqiaġvik, is the northernmost city in the United States. The residents don’t see the sun for more than 67 days in winter, and have no night for over 80 days in summer. This makes it an ideal location to spot the Northern Lights. The winter skies light up with spellbinding hues of green, blue and pink. Ornithologists will prefer the summer season, when hundreds of rare bird species arrive in Alaska to breed, after journeys all the way from South America, Asia or even Antarctica.
03. Ilulissat, Greenland
Though geographically closer to Canada and the United States, Greenland is strongly linked to Europe and shares many similarities with Scandinavian countries, in particular Denmark, Norway and its neighbor Iceland. Ilulissat is located approximately 184 miles (295 kilometers) north of the Arctic Circle and has a lively cultural scene, a good nightlife and easy access to adventures in the wilderness. Renowned for its UNESCO World Heritage ice fjords, the city’s brightly colored houses give it a whimsical charm.
04. Geirangerfjord, Norway
The Northern Fjords showcase some of Norway’s dreamiest sceneries, and Geirangerfjord is also classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Swimming with orcas and humpback whales in the cold Norwegian waters, surrounded by mythical landscapes, makes a memorable story to cherish and share. Waterproof Expeditions organizes informative and respectful tours.
The Arctic is a distinct territory that’s still not entirely explored and understood. With glaciers dating back to the ice age, it carries the history and evolution of the planet and of our species. However, its unique ecosystem is also greatly endangered due to climate change, and many previously inaccessible areas are now easier to reach. The Arctic might seem like an aggressive and harsh region at first sight, but it is a fragile and delicate ecosystem at its core.
Discover the opposite pole by taking a look at Monique O’Neil’s photographs of Antarctica from our Well Travelled series…
Written by Kamila Beyssembaeva
Headline image by Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge