The Arctic is one of the most magical places on Earth. It’s a frosty, winter wonderland where, for some parts of the year, the sun doesn’t shine at all.
It’s important not to confuse the Arctic with its more extreme counterpart, the Antarctic, where only a few frigid scientists live in total isolation. The Arctic is milder and more varied, offering families the opportunity to have a fantastic time.
Here are some of the places you must visit with your kids in the vast, Arctic expanse.
First Stop: Canada
Of all the places in the Arctic, Canada is one of the friendliest. In the far North of the country, you’ll find the Yukon, a vast swathe of the Northern Territory buried deep within the arctic circle. It’s a barren and bleak landscape, dominated by beautiful vistas and incredible wildlife. Here children will get a chance to see caribou, musk oxen, and seals up close and in their natural environments.
The region is also home to a large Inuit community, settled some 25,000 years ago when humans first migrated away from the plains of Asia and over the Bering Strait during the last Ice Age. Here there are opportunities to learn about the Inuit’s way of life and how the manage to survive and thrive in such an extreme environment. Being with the Inuit is a testament to human ingenuity, and a great opportunity to show your children just how diverse a place the world really is.
The Svalbard Archipelago: Norway
The Svalbard Archipelago in the northern tip of Norway sounds remote, and it is. Flights from Norway’s capital, Oslo, can take nearly 3 hours to reach their destination.
The main island of the archipelago is Spitsbergen, an ideal place for family adventure, thanks to the fact that it is very well served by transport links compared to the rest of the region. Here, you’ll find genuine tundra and immense glaciers.
The main attraction of the area are the polar bears, as well as Austfonna, a giant 3,000-plus-square-mile ice cap that dominates the landscape. It’s worth noting the roads are in short supply here, so most of your trips will have to be by boat. Don’t forget to wrap up warm.
The Lulea Archipelago: Sweden
One of the best holiday adventures for families is a trip to Lapland, especially in the Lulea Archipelago region. Here families can explore the more than 1,300 islands that make up the area, as well as take advantage of the local Swedish hospitality. There are log cabins galore, as well as plenty of activity sites where kids can try out new things. Activities include dogsledding with huskies, snowmobiling and winter safaris in the Arctic wilderness.
Greenland is both an ancient Inuit settlement as well as a Dutch colony. As a result, the culture here is nothing short of magical. The capital city, Nuuk, is a great place to introduce kids to entirely new types of food they won’t have tasted before. There’s also a chance to see the Ilulissat Icefjord, a world heritage site since 2004.