World Journeys Countries

The European Arctic consists of Russia, Denmark, Norway (including Spitsbergen), Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. About four million people live north of the Arctic Circle at 66 degrees north, typically in small remote communities.

Russia, Spitsbergen and Greenland are generally explored by expedition ship with expert guides who specialize in different topics. These cruises also offer support to local communities, while offering travellers an opportunity to see their way of life in this remote part of the world.

Denmark, Sweden and Norway offer travellers the chance to experience the Arctic with stays in glass igloos and land based touring options.

No matter which you decide we will make sure you have the experience of a lifetime!

Russian Arctic
Ideal for real adventurers and history enthusiasts, travelling to rarely visited sites, tracing the steps of past polar explorers. Rediscover Franz Josef Land, an area with some of the highest wildlife densities in the Arctic including polar bears and walrus. Sail through the Kara Sea, the ‘ice cellar’ of the Arctic, with unforgettable ice caps, ice cliffs and mountains. Take in the polar history with visits to abandoned weather stations, former polar stations and active research stations.

North Pole
Reach 90 degrees north! A part of the world more commonly associated with fairy tales and folklore – the ultimate goal for many travellers! A rare experience travelling onboard a Russian nuclear icebreaker ship where you can experience the ship crushing through ice. Upon reaching the North Pole, enjoy an unforgettable celebration on the ice.

Spitsbergen
A great destination for first time Arctic explorers as it has all the Arctic has to offer including the best chance of polar-bear sightings, stunning polar scenery and a glimpse into the history of early European Arctic settlements. Cruises start and finish in Longyearbyen, the most northern town in the world with a fascinating whaling history.

Finland
Home to the Midnight Sun, the Northern Lights, and the Polar Night. During the long summer days in the northernmost part of the country, the sun remains high in the sky for a full 24 hours.  In the dead of winter, it does not rise, bathing the dark night in the dazzling colours of the Aurora Borealis. Finnish Lapland, nestled in the far North, is home to one of the world’s most stunning light shows. Here, the Aurora Borealis can been seen on up to 150 nights of the year.

Norway
The coast of Norway is often rated as one of the most beautiful places on earth and offers travellers the opportunity to cross into the Arctic Circle onboard a Hurtigruten Cruise, sailing past more than 100 fjords and 1,000 mountains before crossing into the Arctic Circle and hunt the Northern Lights.

Russia
Best explored between July and August for warmer temperatures and easier navigation through the ice and and wildlife sightings.

North Pole
Expeditions to the north pole are done mid June – July (earlier in the year there is not enough daylight and the ice is too thick.

Spitsbergen
Best explored between May – October, however we suggest travelling earlier in the summer (June) for the best chance of seeing polar bears on the ice. 

Finland & Norway
September through to April is prime time for Aurora hunting, with travellers being able to enjoy winter activities such as dog sledding, snow mobile tours, skiing, ice fishing, and igloo building. The further south you go, the shorter the Aurora season will be. Between mid-October and March is the best time to see the lights in the more southern areas.

Currency
Norway: Norwegian krone
Sweden: Swedish krona
Finland: Euro

Language
Norway: Norwegian, Sami, Kven, Tavringer, Romani
Sweden: Swedish
Finland: Finnish, Swedish, Sami

Why we love it
Comprising of northern Scandinavia and Iceland, the European Arctic is full of magical experiences. From enchanting Finnish Lapland, to Tromsø – Norway’s “gateway to the Arctic”, to breathtaking and sparsely populated Iceland and all the wonderful bits in between, there’s no shortage of sights to see in the European Arctic. Here you can get an amazing view of the northern lights, see a variety of wildlife, and have a true Nordic experience.

Weather
The European Arctic consists of Subarctic and Tundra climates. Temperatures in Tromsø, Norway average -5ºC in winter and 12ºC in summer; northern Sweden averages -14ºC in winter and 14ºC in summer; Finnish Lapland averages -15ºC in winter and 14ºC in summer; and Iceland averages -4ºC in winter and 14ºC in summer. These temperatures are likely to vary across the day, and you will likely encounter more extreme temperatures the further into the Arctic Circle you travel.

Social customs & quirks
Nordic people are generally very egalitarian, practical, progressive, and modest. Personal space is valued, and they tend to be quite direct in conversation, for the most part avoiding pleasantries and “small talk”. If you are invited into someone’s home, it is good etiquette to bring a small gift for the host.

English is widely spoken in Nordic countries, but learning a greeting in the language of the country you are visiting is always recommended. Don’t assume that everyone will converse with you in English straight away.

Festivals & events
In nordic countries, Christmas is anticipated and festivities begin on December 13th. Christmas Eve is celebrated with families gathering together for a feast.

Midsummer, the longest day of the year, is a very popular celebration in Scandinavian countries. Swedish people call the festival “Midsommar” and celebrations include dancing around a flower-adorned maypole. Norwegians, Finnish people, and Danes gather together for evening bonfires and processions.

The arrival of spring and Easter are celebrated across Scandinavia with good company and good food, as the short nights of the harsh winter are fading away. Icelanders celebrate “Sumardagurinn fyrsti” – the first day of summer – on the first Thursday after April 18th with parades and various other events.

Health*
There are currently no health requirements for entering Norway, Sweden, Finland, or Iceland, however there is a risk of hypothermia and frostbite in more extreme climates. Proper preparation will reduce the risks.

Notes *Please be aware that Health information is subject to change at any time and you should always double check these requirements at the time of booking and before travel.

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Island Hopping Around the Arctic

European Arctic, Iceland, Norway, Scandinavia 13 Days / 12 Nights 24 May 2021
Cruise with Hurtigruten

Explore a variety of wild, lush, emerald islands in and around the Arctic on this early autumn voyage that starts in Norway, on to...

Essential Greenland: Southern Coasts & Disko Bay
Price fromUSD$13,495 SELECT

European Arctic, Greenland, Iceland 15 Days/14 Nights Roundtrip Reykjavik, Iceland 25 June 2021
With Quark Expeditions

Book by 31 Jan to save up to 20%!

Enjoy an in-depth exploration of one of Greenland's most remote regions with the Essential Greenland: Southern Coasts and Disko Bay expedition. As you cruise...

High Arctic Odyssey: Remote Russian Archipelagos

European Arctic, Finland, Russia, Scandinavia 22 Days/ 21 Nights Roundtrip Helsinki, Finland 28 July 2021
With Quark Expeditions

Explore the most enigmatic and extreme regions of the Russian High Arctic with our epic High Arctic Odyssey: Remote Russian Archipelagos voyage. In the...

Best of the Western Arctic: Canada and Greenland
Price fromUSD$21,995 SELECT

Canada, Canadian Arctic, European Arctic, Greenland, Iceland 20 Days / 19 Nights Roundtrip from Toronto, Canada 14 September 2021
With Quark Expeditions

Book by 31 Jan to save up to 20%

Venture far above the Arctic Circle, in a land where the sun never sets and polar bears roam, with the Best of the Western...

Arctic Saga: Exploring Spitsbergen via the Faroe & Jan Mayen
Price fromUSD$7,995 SELECT

European Arctic, Norway, United Kingdom 14 Days / 13 Nights Aberdeen
With Quark Expeditions

Book by 31 Jan 2021 to save up to 25%!

This cruise takes you under the midnight sun to some of the most remote islands on the planet, where only a small number of...

Lofoten Islands Self-Drive

European Arctic, Norway, Scandinavia 6 Days / 5 Nights

Far above the Arctic Circle, the Lofoten Islands are a wild and unusual outpost with a dramatic landscape of fjords, mountains, beaches, and wonderful...

Luxury Greenland in Style
Price from$31,740 SELECT

European Arctic, Greenland 7 Days / 6 Nights

Discover the extraordinary wilderness of Greenland on this unique journey that combines exclusive amenities, exquisite meals and incredible adventures. Disconnect with the modern...

North Pole

European Arctic, Finland, Russia 14 Days / 13 Nights Roundtrip Helsinki, Finland
with Quark Expeditions

Your icebreaker, 50 Years of Victory, will take you to a part of the world more commonly associated with fairy tales and folklore -

Spitsbergen Explorer: Wildlife Capital of the Arctic
Price fromUSD$9,495 SELECT

European Arctic, Norway 12 Days/11 Nights Roundtrip Oslo, Norway
with Quark Expeditions

Book by 31 Jan 2021 to save up to 25%

This Quark Expedition Cruise gives you even more chances to connect with unique Arctic wildlife. The archipelago is home to the iconic polar bear,

Spitsbergen In Depth: Big Islands, Big Adventure
Price fromUSD$11,495 SELECT

European Arctic, Norway, Scandinavia 14 Days /13 Nights Roundtrip Oslo, Norway
with Quark Expeditions

Book by 31 Jan 2021 to save up to 20%

This spectacular itinerary offers the most extensive exploration of Spitsbergen while experiencing all the adventure the island has to offer. This is one of...

Three Arctic Islands: Iceland, Greenland, Spitsbergen (13 days)
Price fromUSD$12,495 SELECT

European Arctic, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Scandinavia 15 Days Oslo to Reykjavik or v.v
Cruise with Quark Expeditions

Book by 31 January 2021 to save up to 25%!

Variety is the spice of this adventure, named one of National Geographic Traveler's 50 Tours of a Lifetime. Check three different Arctic regions off...