10 Reasons Why You Must Visit Antarctica

Not your typical vacation: Antarctica is an unspoiled destination without mass tourism, offering you an incredible adventure trip that you won't forget for the rest of your life...

© Hanneke Dallmeijer-Oceanwide Expeditions
© Hanneke Dallmeijer-Oceanwide Expeditions

If you’re looking to escape the usual humdrum tourist traps then you should definitely take a look at what an Antarctic cruise has to offer. Unlike other overrun destinations, Antarctica is still a pristine and wide-open wilderness, making your time there more of an expedition and adventure than just another vacation.


But being so open, and so big, and with so much to see, what are some of the must-hit hotspots of our coldest continent? Here’s a quick list of 10 of the most eye-catching sights that our southern-most continent has to offer.



1. McMurdo Dry Valleys


Antarctica as a whole is the biggest desert in the world. Of specific note are the Dry Valleys found west of McMurdo Sound. The conditions are as Mars and/or moon-like as we get on Earth, which makes them a fascinating spot for scientists studying environmental factors, and for NASA which uses the region to test equipment and train astronauts. If you’ve ever wanted to experience an alien environment, the Dry Valleys are probably your best Earth-bound bet.



© Dietmar Denger-Oceanwide Expeditions
© Dietmar Denger-Oceanwide Expeditions

2. Ross Ice Shelf


If you’re looking for something that demonstrates the majesty of Mother Nature check out a cruise that sails by the Ross Ice Shelf. Having roughly the width and height of the country of France, the Ice Shelf is the birthing grounds for multitudes of baby icebergs, some of those babies being the size of city blocks.



3. Snowhill Island


There are only two land-bound Emperor Penguin colonies found in the Antarctic Peninsula region, one being on the Dion Islands, the other being Snowhill Island. Roughly 4000 pairs of Emperors meet up each year to breed on the shores which were first spotted by British explorer James Clark Ross in 1842. 60 years later Swedish explorer Otto Nordenskiöld would use the island as his home base during his summer explorations of 1901, 1902, and 1903. His hut is still there today and is registered as a historic site.



© Dietmar Denger-Oceanwide Expeditions
© Dietmar Denger-Oceanwide Expeditions

4. Geographic South Pole


The goal of such famous explorers as Amundsen, Scott, and Shackleton, the geographic South Pole (as opposed to the magnetic South Pole) is now reachable via the wonder of flight. Make sure you bundle up – the interior of the Antarctic tends to be much chillier than the coastal regions.



5. The Antarctic Peninsula


We’ve mentioned islands and regions near the Peninsula, but the Peninsula itself is well worth the trip. Its clean beauty is home to a wide variety of birds (including penguins) and its surrounding seas are alive with fish, seals, walruses, and whales.



6. Lemaire Channel


Antarctica as a whole is a land of rugged beauty, all blue waters and white-capped rugged mountains. That being said, if you really want to get blasted with Antarctic eye-candy, check out the Lemaire Channel. It’s the jaw-dropping icing on the already breathtaking cake.



© Dietmar Denger-Oceanwide Expeditions
© Dietmar Denger-Oceanwide Expeditions

7. Falkland Islands


The Falklands, historically battled over by Britain and Argentina, have grown into a culture all their own. Remotely situated off of the southeast coast of Argentina, the Islands are home to a fantastic array of birdlife (including 5 different species of penguins) as well as sea lions, fur, elephant, ross, and leopard seals, dolphins, porpoises, and sei, sperm, and killer whales.



8. Observation Hill


A 30-minute climb from McMurdo, Observation Hill offers wide-open views of the Ross Ice Shelf, Mount Erebus (the world’s southern-most active volcano), and the chance to visit with the Memorial Cross dedicated to Captain Robert Scott and his intrepid exploratory crew.



© Dietmar Denger-Oceanwide Expeditions
© Dietmar Denger-Oceanwide Expeditions

9. Drake Passage


Step 1: Go to your doctor and load up on Dramamine. Step 2: Power your way through the (occasionally) less-than-gentle waters of the Passage. Step 3: Brag. A rite of passage, the Drake Passage is a necessary step for cruising your way from South America to the Antarctic. Sure, the Passage can result in a few white knuckles, but what good travel story doesn’t have at least a little hint of adventure in it?



10. Weddell Sea


The Weddell Sea acts like a condensed version of some of the best sights that the Antarctic has to offer. Here you’ll pass by drifting icebergs, spot out different species of seals, perhaps catch sight of a whale or two, take in the white-capped landscapes, and enjoy the sights of thousands of penguins scattered amongst multiple breeding sites.



© Dietmar Denger-Oceanwide Expeditions
© Dietmar Denger-Oceanwide Expeditions

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Sabrina Iovino is the founder of JustOneWayTicket.com. She's half German, half Italian and has traveled to more than 50 countries around the globe. She feels weird to write about herself in the third person, so she'll switch now. Phew...much better! Let's restart:

Hi, I'm Sab! This is my blog and I write about the things I love. Mostly.


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