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Travel to Antarctica
from the UK and Europe

Antarctic Cruise, Adventure Travel With Cool Antarctica and Ice Tracks

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Regions:  Antarctic Peninsula | South Georgia | South Shetland Islands | Falkland Islands

10-24 day Peninsula trips leaving South America from USD$8,050
30 to 35 day cruises leaving Australia or New Zealand from USD$23,000

  Travelling to the Antarctic Peninsula

Antarctica can be reached from Europe via Tierra del Fuego at the tip of South America or from New Zealand (less frequently Australia). There are many more South American departures, the distance is closer, shorter trips are available and you can fly or sail, New Zealand departures are to the deep South.

The majority of trips to Antarctica Leave from the South American port of Ushuaia in Argentina and visit the Antarctic Peninsula and the islands of the Scotia Arc (see map below) that stretches east from the southernmost tip of Tierra del Fuego, to South Georgia, the South Shetland Islands and back to the west again through the South Orkney Islands before joining the northernmost tip of the Peninsula.

There are a smaller number of trips that leave from Australia or New Zealand and visit Eastern Antarctica taking 6-7 days to sail there and the same back again so making the trips longer and consequently more expensive. These trips usually leave from Hobart, Australia or Invercargill, New Zealand, often leaving from one and returning to the other.


antarctica holiday uk

Fig 1. Trips to Antarctica leaving from the UK most commonly leave from Ushuaia, Argentina at the tip of South America and visit the Antarctic Peninsula and nearby islands.

There are a smaller number of trips that leave from Hobart, Australia or Invercargill, New Zealand (frequently leaving from one port and returning to another) that visit the more remote Eastern part of Antarctica.

Distances miles / km
1, London - 2, Ushuaia, Argentina 8,310 / 13,380
1, London - Hobart, Australia 10,790 / 17,370
1, London - Invercargill, NZ 11,800 / 18,990

1 - London UK    2 - Ushuaia, Argentina
3 - Antarctic Peninsula

trips to antarctica from uk

Fig 2. Trips to the Peninsula region of Antarctica. Shorter trips visit the Peninsula 6 only and some nearby islands such as the South Shetlands 5. Longer trips may also take in the Falkland Islands 3 and / or South Georgia 4 and possibly some other landings en route.

Cruises most commonly go down the western side of the Peninsula as they are less likely to encounter problematic sea ice that is more likely found on the Eastern side in the Weddell Sea.

Distances miles / km
1, Ushuaia - 3, Falklands 480 / 770
1, Ushuaia - 4, South Georgia 1,255 / 2,020
1, Ushuaia - 5, South Shetlands 610  / 980
1, Ushuaia - Peninsula tip 724 / 1,165
2, Punta Arenas - Peninsula tip 870 / 1,395
Peninsula top to bottom 765 / 1,230
Peninsula top to Antarctic Circle 280 / 450

Need a Little Guidance? contact our travel partners who will help you find the best cruise for your requirements

antartica trip peninsula

        1 - Ushuaia, Argentina    2 - Punta Arenas, Chile
        3 - Falkland Islands / Islas Malvinas    4 - South Georgia
        5 - South Shetland Islands    6 - Antarctic Peninsula

  Travel to the Ross Sea / Commonwealth Bay Region - Eastern Antarctica

Fig 3. Trips to the more remote Eastern side of Antarctica usually leave from Australia and New Zealand often Invercargill / Port of Bluff in New Zealand 2, Invercargill has the airport, Bluff, 30km away by road has a deep-water port. Less commonly trips may leave/return from Hobart, Australia 1, and Dunedin, New Zealand (about 180 km / 110 miles from Invercargill).

The trip may depart and return to the same port or leave from one and return to another in either direction. It takes about six to seven days sailing to reach Antarctica from Australia or New Zealand, the journey there and back is usually broken up with visits to the wildlife rich Macquarie Island 3 and others such as Snares, Auckland and Campbell Islands that lie between Macquarie and New Zealand.

Once having reached Antarctica trips usually spend their time either in the Commonwealth Bay area 4 or the Ross Sea region between Cape Adare 5 and McMurdo 6 with possibly a short trip along the front of the Ross Ice Shelf R

Distances km / miles
1, Hobart - 4, Commonwealth Bay 2640 / 1640
2, Invercargill - 4, Commonwealth Bay 2760 / 1720
1, Hobart - 3, Macquarie Island 1500 / 940
2, Invercargill - 3, Macquarie Island 1110 / 690
4, Commonwealth Bay - 5, Cape Adare 1300 / 805
5, Cape Adare - 6, McMurdo 760 / 470

        R - Ross Ice Shelf     1 - Hobart - Australia
        2 - Invercargill / Port of Bluff - New Zealand
        3 - Macquarie Island    4 - Commonwealth Bay
        5 - Cape Adare    6 - McMurdo / Scott bases


Eastern Antarctica, Ross Sea Region v Antarctic Peninsula Cruises

Ross Sea region

  • Remoteness - You will see little if any other shipping and get a greater feeling of isolation and being at the end of the world, this is a rarely visited part of the planet. You are going where the world's biggest icebergs are and the most extreme weather conditions.

  • Greater chance of rough seas due to longer spent crossing the open ocean which can take 6-7 days in each direction, no flights available.

  • See Emperor Penguins, the birds of the deep south that rear their young in the depths of the Antarctic winter, the largest of all penguins.

  • See Mount Erebus, the world's southernmost active volcano and the Ross Ice Shelf, a 600km long wall of ice between 15m and 50m high.

  • Visit the huts of Mawson, Scott and Shackleton depending on where your particular cruise goes. This is the area where much of the early exploratory history of Antarctica was played out and where historical remains still stand.

  • Exclusivity - of the people who go to Antarctica, only a small proportion visit regions other than the Peninsula, there are relatively few trips here and they are often fully booked up well in advance.

  • Trip length of 26-30 days, sometimes there may be the possibility of a semi-circumnavigation over a similar time period from the Ross Sea to the Peninsula.
Antarctic Peninsula

  • It takes 2 days to cross the Drake Passage to reach the Antarctic Peninsula, rough seas are possible though short-lived, you can also fly across it in 2 hours on a fly-cruise trip.

  • Varied mountainous scenery with glaciers and icebergs, some of the most beautiful scenery on earth.

  • The most wildlife rich area, with huge penguin colonies and many other breeding birds, seals are common and whales may be seen. The sub-Antarctic islands you may visit en route are particularly wildlife rich, especially South Georgia.

  • Historic preserved British Base, now a working post office at Port Lockroy, you may also visit other research bases and historic sites.

  • Easier to reach, The closeness of the peninsula to the tip of South America  means that travel time to reach Antarctica here is much less than in the East. It also means that a greater portion of the trip is spent in Antarctica rather than travelling there and back.

  • A larger number and variety of trips available, duration from 6-24 days, a wide range of ships and choice of travel dates and itineraries.

Need a Little Guidance? contact our travel partners who will help you find the best cruise for your requirements

Antarctic Peninsula - Sample Cruises - 2021 - 2022

Trip Highlights Prices USD* Days
Antarctic Peninsula Expedition South Shetlands, Antarctic Peninsula, Penguin Rookeries, Lemaire Channel. $8,050 -
$28,795
10
Antarctica Basecamp Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp cruise offers hiking, snowshoeing, kayaking, mountaineering, and camping out under the Southern Polar skies free of charge. $8,050 -
$12,950
12
Antarctic Circle Quest Sail down the Antarctic Peninsula and cross the Antarctic Circle, South Shetland Islands, Wildlife, Scenery. $8,995 - $45,995 10-14
Antarctica Ross Sea Region Cruise

Antarctica Ross Sea Region - Sample Cruises - 2021 / 2022

Trip Highlights Prices USD* Days
Ross Sea and Historic Huts Explore the Ross Sea, Historic Huts, Ross Ice Shelf, McMurdo base, Auckland Islands, Macquarie and Campbell Islands. $23,000 -
$32,000
30
Ross Sea region and the Peninsula with helicopters Semi-circumnavigation of Antarctica from the Peninsula to the Ross Sea, Ross Island, Scott and Shackleton's huts, Mt. Erebus and Terror, Dry Valleys, huge penguin colonies, sub-Antarctic wildlife rich islands. $27,400 - $39,500 33
Antarctica Ross Sea Region Cruise

South Georgia / Falkland Islands / Antarctica - Sample Cruises - 2021 / 2022

Trip Highlights Prices USD* Days
Shackleton's Final Quest Vast Colonies of King Penguins, Breathtaking Scenery, Historic sites, 100 years after the death of Shackleton at South Georgia signaling the close of the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration. Optional 5 day pre voyage historical extension to Montevideo. $17,995 -
$27,295
20
Epic Antarctica, South Shetlands, Peninsula, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands All the major Antarctic highlights, anticipate penguins, whales, seabirds and seals as well as magnificent scenery. $18,545 - $129,592 23
Antarctica, South Shetlands, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands All the major Antarctic highlights, anticipate penguins, whales, seabirds and seals as well as magnificent scenery. $12,600 - $31,495 19
South Georgia in depth with the Falkland Islands A spring trip to South Georgia and Falklands when breeding and inwards migration are at a height, South Georgia hosts the most wildlife per square meter in the world. $15,446 - $27,596 17
Notes

* Prices are based per person, the lowest price is usually for triple occupancy in a basic cabin, the highest for double occupancy in the best available suite.

Options may be at additional cost and are usually booked when the cruise is booked - it may be too late once the cruise has started.

Contact me about my trip to Antarctica!

Our partner company, Ice Tracks, UK based and ATOL protected, will help you find the perfect trip to Antarctica, all enquiries will be answered from our office in Warwickshire, England.

Please complete the form
and an Antarctic Expert will contact you

Please note - we cannot help directly to find employment in Antarctica, please do not use this form to request information other than for Antarctic tourist trips

Departures from late October to early March

Dozens of trips - unique combinations of ship + itinerary

Choice of ships - 108 to 139 passenger capacity

$8,050 to $40,000

10 to 33 days

ice berg, antarctica
gentoo penguins


Picture credit: Top banner - Cuverville island, courtesy of LBM1948 used under CC BY-SA 4.0 licence