Everything You Need to Know About Canadian Arctic Tours and Cruises

Mesmerising view of the ethereal Northern Lights from the Canadian Arctic.

Posted by on 27 Jul 2023

The whole of Canada glimmers in winter with beautiful frozen lakes and snow-capped peaks on the Rockies. But did you know that you can experience the frosty, invigorating cold of Canada year-round, too?

Crisp weather and tranquil views are just some things the untouched wilderness of the Canadian Arctic offers travellers any time of the year.

This group of thousands of islands in northern Canada is abundant in astounding glaciers, titillating tundra landscapes and majestic wildlife. If you’re lucky, a visit to this area can even give you the perfect view of the Northern Lights!

The best way to experience this part of the world is through Canadian Arctic tours. You just have to be sure that the route you take will lead you to the region’s top must-sees. Today, we’ll tell you the best tours to take in the Canadian Arctic, and which spots you can’t sleep on.

The Northwest Passage: The Mother of All Canadian Arctic Tours

The Canadian Arctic is quite vast, so there are many ways to explore and enjoy it. You could take just a week or so at one of the key islands in the area or perhaps discover the different areas around the ocean for a few days at a time.

It can be overwhelming planning Canadian Arctic tours if you’re travelling to this remote part of the world for the first time. To help simplify it, we’ll talk about the most popular route travellers take when they want to explore the area: the Northwest Passage.

The Northwest Passage is a route that traverses through the Arctic Ocean, connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific. It was historically used for maritime affairs and trade with Asia, but today, it’s a key factor in planning out Canadian Arctic tours.

Although passing through the Northwest Passage can be unpredictable, it’s an excellent route to look at if you want to see the most breathtaking islands the Canadian Arctic archipelago has to offer. Any well-planned Canadian cruise or tour along the north will likely use this route as a blueprint to see the best sights in the area.

The route goes from Baffin Island—the largest island in Canada—to stunning islands like Victoria Island, Melville Island, and Prince Patrick Island. Then, at the westernmost point of the passage, you can exit by the Alaskan coast. The Northwest Passage pretty much takes you to every island with the best Arctic adventures Canada has to offer.

Top Activities and Destinations You Can’t Miss in the Arctic

Your Canadian cruise or tour probably won’t stop at every single island through the Northwest Passage.

However, there will likely be days you get to choose specific excursions to do or explore some islands with a guide. Here are five activities you can’t miss while you’re in the Canadian Arctic:

Spotting Polar Bears and Other Arctic Wildlife

Animal lovers will enjoy exploring the Canadian Arctic to see polar bears, caribou, Arctic foxes and other creatures you can’t see anywhere else. The Arctic tundra is home to many kinds of wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for any that might come your way as you explore the islands.

Churchill, Manitoba is deemed the Polar Bear Capital of the World, making it easily one of the best places in all of Canada to spot wildlife. These majestic beasts can be seen year-round.

The waters of the Arctic Ocean are also home to tons of beluga whales, which circle the area during the summer months.

Seeing the Breathtaking Northern Lights

The Canadian Arctic is one of the best places to view the ethereal Northern Lights. The islands are quite remote and have little to no light pollution. So, on days when Aurora Borealis graces the region with her presence, she is vibrant and magical.

Some of the best places to watch these colourful ribbons of light in northern Canada include Dawson in Yukon and Churchill in Manitoba. Make stops in either of these areas when planning out your Canadian Arctic. Trust us—you don’t want to miss the show.

Exploring the Wilderness at Quttinirpaaq National Park

If you want to see beautiful, remote landscapes with huge mountains in the Arctic, a visit to the Quttinirpaaq National Park—Canada’s second-biggest national park—is a must.

This park is abundant in tundras with rugged terrain and deep, mesmerising fjords, making it perfect for those who love to see unique outdoor landscapes and love a challenging hike.

Other must-sees in the area include the massive Barnes Ice Cap glacier and the stunning Barbeau Peak.

Visiting Pond Inlet at Baffin Island

The Canadian Arctic may be remote, but it has its fair share of charming, picturesque villages. One of these is Pond Inlet, a hamlet on Baffin Island that preserves and showcases its Inuit roots.

If you want to learn more about the Inuit community’s vibrant arts and culture, Pond Inlet is the place to be. The village has plenty of artisan shops and art galleries where you can appreciate this well-preserved culture.

This small town overlooks Eclipse Sound, a beautiful waterway with tons of icebergs floating by. It provides serene, tranquil views of the Arctic if you want a break from tough excursions at tundras and ice caps.

Go Kayaking Near Icebergs

One of the most unique and unforgettable experiences you can try out in the Canadian Arctic is kayaking near the icebergs floating in the Arctic Ocean.

This is a great way to see icebergs up close. If you’re lucky, maybe a few seals will even join you as you paddle through the Arctic’s deep, blue waters.

However, kayaking in the area can be quite unpredictable due to the challenging environment in the Arctic Ocean. It’s always best to book an excursion with an experienced guide if you want to do this on your holiday.

The best time to go kayaking in the Arctic would be in the summertime, when the ice melts a little more, giving you more space to paddle in the waterway.

The Canadian Arctic is Calling Out to You

If you’re dying to see icy, rugged cliffs and majestic icebergs and think the crisp, cold air of the Arctic won’t bother you, book a tour of the Canadian Arctic for your next holiday.

It’s an amazing area of the world to explore for adventure-seekers and even just for those who want to tick “watch the Northern Lights” or “see a polar bear” from their bucket list.

Want to see more Canadian destinations you might love? Check out all your options with Entire Travel here.

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