polar bear swimming through water

12 Best Arctic Tours from Canada, 2020

Otherworldly landscapes, midnight sun and ethereal skies: Can you think of anything more magical than a trip to the Arctic?

The Arctic truly is an exceptional destination to visit. Whether you want to spot polar bears, take a ride on a snowmobile, catch the Northern Lights or explore Inuit culture, there’s something for everyone in this extraordinary part of the world.

Why not make your dreams into reality in 2020 with an Arctic tour from Canada? Whether you only have time to get away for six days or you want to spread your trip over two-weeks, in this article you’ll find the best Arctic tours from Canada in 2020.

polar bear walking on rocks during daytime
Bylot Island, Baffin, Canada | © Isaac Demeester/Unsplash

1. Narwhal and polar bear safari

When you mention the Arctic, one of the first things that come to mind is the incredible creatures that live there. This eight-day narwhal and polar bear safari will take you to the best destination for narwhal spotting at the floe edge of Lancaster Sound.

Throughout the safari, you’ll have the opportunity to spot beluga whales, bowhead whales, seals, polar bears and more, all in their natural habitat, and spend your time soaking up the stunning landscape from your camp on an Arctic beach.

2. Churchill polar bear experience

If you want to encounter polar bears in the wild, this is the Arctic tour for you. Starting and finishing in Winnipeg, the tour will take you to Canada’s Arctic tundra to spend time with expert guides searching for wildlife.

This six-day tour will give you the opportunity to spot Arctic foxes, Arctic hares, snowy owls and, of course, polar bears. You’ll also take a dog mushing tour one evening, where you’ll hopefully be lucky enough to spot the mystical Northern Lights!

a sunset over an ice landscape
Sunsets in Churchill are a masterpiece | © Sridhar Chilimuri/Unsplash

3. Polar bears and glaciers of Baffin Island

This incredible seven-day tour takes you from Ottawa to Baffin Island, the largest island in Canada. You’ll have an amazing opportunity to take in the beauty of Baffin Island’s glacier-capped coastline, and you’ll explore the rugged Auyuittuq National Park.

This tour is the perfect Arctic trip for keen photographers, there will be plenty of chances to get behind the lens, whether you’re taking snaps of the scenery, the local delicacies or bowhead whales and polar bears.

4. Churchill polar bear families

Take the trip of a lifetime with this 11-day tour, offering you the chance to get up close and personal with polar bears and their newborn cubs. A special permit from Parks Canada allows the indigenous guides to take you as close as 100 metres to the bears. You’ll learn all about their habits and life cycle, and you’ll take a trip to Wapusk National Park, which is the world’s largest polar bear denning area. A must-do for polar bear lovers!

5. Harp seals

Harp seals are native to the northernmost Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, and this six-day tour of the Magdalen Islands will let you get close to these beautiful animals in their natural habitat. Every year, 200,000 to 250,000 female harp seals gather on these islands, and you’ll have the opportunity to wander amongst them! When you’re not interacting with the seals, there’s the opportunity to explore the local area with island excursions and visits to local craft shops.

a furry little white seal looks into the camera
See adorable harp seals in real life on an Arctic tour | © Carola/Flickr

6. Ice Road to the Arctic Sea

Experience a road trip with a difference on this eight-day tour package, that takes you from the Pacific to the Arctic. You’ll traverse the traditional trading routes of the First Nations peoples, and have the opportunity to explore some of the most fantastic scenery in Canada.

You’ll also travel through both the youngest and oldest mountain ranges in North America, cross the tundra, and travel ice roads on this epic tour, with excursions along the way to learn about the history and culture of the lands you’re passing through.

7. Akshayuk Pass to Mount Thor

If you want to explore the majesty of the Canadian Arctic on two feet, this eight-day hiking and trekking tour is the one for you. You’ll set off on your trek from Pangnirtung, crossing the Arctic Circle on foot to reach your destination of Thor Peak.

Located in the breathtaking Auyuittuq National Park, Thor Peak is the second-tallest rock face in the world – so don’t forget your camera to snap some jaw-dropping shots! From there, you’ll hike 15km back before taking a boat tour the following day to explore the historic Kekerten Island Territorial Park. This one’s definitely worth getting sore feet for!

8. Explore the Northwest Passage

If you have more time to play with, consider this 17-day tour from Sondre Stromfjord (Kangerlussuaq) in Greenland to Kugluktuk (Coppermine) in Canada. With this remarkable tour package, you’ll experience the very best the Arctic has to offer. You’ll admire icebergs from just a few metres away, cruise along spectacular fjords, get closer to more polar bears and whales than you ever thought possible.

Explore the rich culture of Qikiqtarjuaq, explore Baffin, Devon and Beechey Islands – and many more iconic places in this much-coveted region. It’s a once in a lifetime chance to explore some of the most remote areas in the world.

colourful houses on brown hill during daytime
Explore remote villages in Greenland on a tour through the North Passage | © Filip Gielda/Unsplash

9. Explore remote villages in Greenland and the Northwest Passage

Alternatively, explore the Northwest Passage with this 17-day tour which starts in Toronto and finishes in Calgary. Discover the remote villages of Greenland and meet the Inuit who call this incredible part of the world home.

Cruising the fjords, you’ll have ample opportunities for wildlife spotting, and you’ll be taken to some of the best places for polar bear spotting, including Peel Sound. Sailing the Northwest Passage is a real adventure, packed with beautiful scenery, stunning wildlife and visits to villages steeped in culture.

10. Baffin Island diving experience

Exploring the Arctic from dry land is one thing, but how about venturing beneath the ice? This incredible eight-day tour package is run by the only Canadian Arctic scuba diving operator, allowing you to submerge yourself this incredible part of the world.

This trip is truly for adventurers who want to experience the Arctic from an entirely different perspective and it’s a great option for underwater photographers. You’ll meet all the creatures that make the Arctic seabed their home, as well as spotting narwhals, bowhead whales and polar bears on the floe edge.

11. Spring polar bear and iceberg safari

Starting and ending in Ottawa, explore the Arctic wilderness on this nine-day tour, which offers rare opportunities to spot polar bear mothers with their cubs.

The jaw-dropping beauty of the High Arctic wilderness offers the perfect backdrop for keen photographers, and you won’t want to miss the chance to take close-ups of polar bears in their natural environment. Experienced local guides will help you get as close as possible – whilst staying safe – for memories that will last a lifetime.

12. Polar bear migration and fly-in safari

Over this eight-day tour, you’ll get the unique experience of being in the polar bear capital of the world during the migration of these beautiful creatures back to Hudson Bay. You’ll stay in a cabin which is strategically located in ‘polar bear alley’, right in the heart of their migration path. Don’t miss the chance to photograph polar bears as they make their way back home.

polar bear on seashore
Polar bear on the shoreline in Hudson Bay | © Jason Hillier/Unsplash

Whichever option you choose, put exploring the Arctic from Canada at the top of your travel bucket list this year. You’ll have the trip of a lifetime on any one of these Arctic tours, taking home memories you’ll cherish forever and incredible photographs of one of the most unique places on earth. 

Lauren is a freelance copywriter based in Edinburgh, Scotland. As well as writing, she loves exploring her country (and the rest of the world), and can often be found running up a hill or on her yoga mat.

man walking on pathway with his dog
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