If you are looking to spend holidays in the polar region, then you are in for a unique adventure! Also called the Frigid zones of the Earth, the North Pole and the South Pole take you to places where few visitors have the luxury to go. Here are some of the things you should know before you plan for a polar tour.
Many of us have wanted to visit the North Pole since we were children, and today you can actually make that dream a reality. Don’t be sad if you can’t find Santa Claus, we heard he might be busy in his workshop in Finland. While the South Pole is found on an actual continent, the North Pole is actually located on a large sheet of ice that drifts across the Arctic Ocean, so there can never be an actual set location or marker for the North Pole.
To reach this northernmost point, you must travel as part of a designated expedition. Normally you will travel by air, but you can also reach the North Pole by boat (specifically an ice-breaker). The best time to visit is during April when the Arctic winter is over but the ice is still very strong.
North Pole Tour Highlights
- Go on a dog sledding adventure around the North Pole.
- Keep an eye out for spotting Polar Bears and walruses. The best time to watch them hunt in their natural habitat are from June to mid-July.
- Be on the lookout for the Orca, Humpback and Beluga whales, the Arctic Fox and the Svalbard reindeer — yes, a reindeer! — too.
- The Narwhal, a small sized whale with a six to 10-foot-long tusk is native to the Arctic Circle. Take a look at them and you are sure to know why they are nicknamed the “unicorns of the sea”.
- Ask your tour operator to stick a sign pole into the ice for a great photo op.
- It is tradition to pop a bottle of champagne to drink when you reach the North Pole.
- If you would like to test your endurance against nature then the North Pole Marathon might be for you. Known as the “World’s Coolest Marathon”, the event has been taking place in April of each year since 2002.
Unlike the North Pole, the South Pole does not move around and has been marked on the continent of Antarctica. There is a permanent research station there, operated by United States government, along with an actual (ceremonial) pole sticking out of the ice.
The best time to visit the South Pole is between November and January. This is the Antarctic summer, thus the weather conditions are not quite as harsh. Don’t get us wrong, though - it is still extremely cold and you will want to bring warm clothing with you.
Most trips to this southernmost point on Earth depart from the southern tip of Chile or Argentina. The first part of the journey involves reaching the continent of Antarctica by boat, followed by a flight from the Ellsworth Mountains area to the South Pole.
South Pole Highlights
- See the ceremonial south ‘pole’ that sticks out of the ground and snap a selfie in front of it
- Explore the visitor centre and get familiar with some of the research being conducted. Visit in December to witness the ice sculpture contest held by the researchers who work at the South Pole station
- Watch the penguins as you sip vodka at the Vernadsky Bar, the world’s southernmost bar.
- Spot the Minke, Humpback and Orca whales in their natural habitat.
- The majestic Emperor Penguins are endemic to Antarctica but the Gentoo, Adelie and chinstrap penguins are absolutely adorable too.