Arctic Polar Bear Tours –
The Arctic is a polar region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. It consists of the Arctic Ocean, and parts of Canada, Russia, Denmark, Greenland, Norway, US/Alaska, Sweden, Finland and Iceland. While there are several ways to get to the Arctic, one of the most popular is by expedition ships out of Norway (with their full stabilized, ice class ships). This is an amazing way to experience the breathtaking Norway Fjords while heading north to the Arctic. The Arctic promises intriguing beauty through its ice formations, blue waters and unique wildlife – of which the polar bear is at the top of many travelers’ must see lists.
Arctic Activities and Attractions
Svalbard Archipelago in the Arctic
This wilderness region is home to massive icebergs, deep fjords, ice-capped mountains—and the masters of the Arctic, polar bears. Only 600 miles from the North Pole, Svalbard is the best place on earth to observe polar bears in their natural habitat – on the pack ice.
Norway’s Fjords in the Arctic Circle – Few places on Earth has such sheer drama to its coastline. Mile after mile of vertical walls stretch northward, while only a few small villages cling to the rocky shores. The fjords often are a great place to zodiac in to see nesting seabirds.
Wildlife in the Arctic – Visitors love to soak up the wildlife that makes the Arctic its home. Some favorites include huge walrus, bearded and ringed seals, arctic foxes, muskoxen, reindeer and polar bears. Of course the waters are plentiful with a wide variety of whales — from minke and killer whales to the rare narwhal, with its long tusk that can project up to ten feet.
Zodiac rides and kayaking in the Arctic – Expedition ship guides help navigate the waters to give visitors a close-up view of the Arctic’s iconic creatures and sites. Paddling kayaks around icebergs, into inlets and through quiet coves is another unique experience that only the Arctic could provide.
Arctic Fast Facts
Population of the Arctic – Indigenous populations now range from about 80% in Greeland, 50% in Canada, 20% in Alaska, 15% in Arctic Norway and as little as 3-4% in Arctic Russia.
Time zone in the Arctic – Because of its enormous size, the Arctic spans 24 time zones.
Weather in the Arctic – The weather in Norway is the most mild (60s F during the day, 50s F at night) between June and September, which is a great time to visit (the midnight sun is best seen from mid-May until the end of July!). If you’re a cold-weather lover and skier, winter is amazing throughout the country.
Arctic Geography – Much of the Arctic region is composed of a drifting ice pack, which can be up to nine feet thick during winter. In the summer, this ice pack is replaced mainly by open water that is often dotted with icebergs that formed when ice broke from land glaciers and/or chunks of ice that have broken away from the ice pack.
Arctic Fun Facts
- The name ‘Arctic’ comes from a Greek word meaning ‘near the bear’.
- The Arctic ice sheet is four times as large as the state of Texas.
- The enormous Arctic region spans more than 18 million square miles.
- No single country owns the geographic North Pole or the Arctic Ocean area surrounding it. However, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, all coastal nations have jurisdiction over territorial waters extending 12 nautical miles from their shores.
- In the Arctic, the ice floats on the ocean (unlike the ice in Antarctica).
- In the summer the Arctic has almost 24 hours of sunlight, and in the winter it has almost 24 hours of darkness.
- During the summer months, the temperature can climb to 50 degrees F.
- The coat of the Arctic fox changes color in the summer to a brown color and back to white in the winter.
- The polar bear relies on a layer of blubber to keep them warm.