Antarctica may not be the first destination you think of for a holiday, but if you’re looking for somewhere different, exciting and truly remarkable, you really won’t find anywhere better. Still not convinced? Read on to find out why it’s worth making the trip to the world’s most southerly continent.
For the adventure
While there are loads of adventurous pursuits you can try on holiday – everything from skydiving to white water rafting is available around the globe nowadays – there are few places you can visit that are in themselves an adventure.
Getting to Antarctica isn’t easy and, even in the summer months, conditions can be incredibly harsh, so just travelling here is a massive adventure. On top of that, you can see amazing wildlife, walk on deserted ice fields and watch vast icebergs as they float by.
For the exclusivity
Because Antarctica is difficult to access, there are few vessels that can travel this far south – and even fewer that do so with tourists. While Antarctic cruises have become more common in recent years, they’re still not your average holiday.
As well as these tours being few and far between, they are also very expensive, as running a boat in these conditions and getting to such a remote location is not a cheap thing to do. This means that Antarctic holidays are exclusive, with only a lucky few able to find the time and money to go on a true voyage of discovery.
For the scenery
There are many spectacular views around the world, but few are quite like the vast ice cliffs of Antarctica, looming out of the snow-covered ground of the continent. The ice sheet and its icebergs are another incredible sight to behold and one that you’re not likely to forget in a hurry.
There are astounding shapes in the ice that have been carved out by the harsh weather and the sea – these serene and beautiful structures often look like works of art and present wonderful opportunities for keen photographers.
If you’re on an Antarctic tour that takes you on to the continent itself, you may see some of its mountains rising up out of the ice – dark towers of rock with snowy white caps. The empty valleys and sheer peaks make for a dramatic and imposing landscape. A helicopter tour is the best way to get an idea of the scale of this incredible wilderness.
For the wildlife
There’s a surprising amount of wildlife that lives in Antarctica, particularly during the summer months. On land are huge penguin colonies, with gentoo, rockhopper, Adelie and chinstrap penguins just some of the species you’re likely to come across. You can see the adults as they make their way in and out of the sea, while the chicks remain in large groups back at the colony.
Within the sea itself are a range of whales, with orcas, minke, humpback and blue whales all found in the waters around the continent for at least part of the year. There are also large numbers of seals in Antarctica – leopard seals are among the continent’s most voracious predators, while crabeater, Weddell and Antarctic fur seals are just a few of the other species you may come across.
Some of Antarctica’s islands are also a haven for birds, with albatrosses and petrels among those that breed here each year. Skuas, cormorants and gulls are some of the other birds you are likely to see during a cruise in this part of the world.