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5 Must Visit Destinations in Antarctica

5 Must Visit Destinations in Antarctica

Antarctica is on the bucket list of millions, especially those who want to explore unique places.

September 1st, 2023

Antarctica is on the bucket list of millions, especially those who want to explore unique places. However, the remoteness of this incredible continent makes it an unrealised dream for many. Luckily, many companies are now offering excursions to the Antarctic region, giving people opportunities to discover this incredibly unique place. If you're lucky enough to afford a trip to this continent, here are the must-visit destinations in Antarctica.

1. South Shetland Islands

The South Shetlands are in the itinerary of most expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula since they are directly along the sailing route for cruises from South America. These islands run parallel to Antarctica's northwest coast, and only about three per cent of the peninsula is ice-free. There are few human inhabitants of various bases along the coast. The South Shetland Islands are best known for the presence of penguins and seals and are the main reasons visitors would come here.

The King George Island is the largest of all the South Shetland Islands. It's also the least isolated, home to human bases of twelve different countries. The island is flat and low, and its coastline consists of many bays and fjords, home to Adelie penguins, southern giant petrels, and blue-eyed shags. You'll have the opportunity to see these incredible species up close on your visit to the South Shetland Islands.

The South Shetland Islands are also a haven for nature lovers. While it's famous for its wildlife, it also boasts awe-inspiring landscapes, leaving you with unique travel experiences. Depending on the Antarctic expeditions you will book, you can take guided hiking excursions on the South Shetland Islands - the best way to take in the stunning scenery and visit remote areas home to fascinating animals.

2. Falkland Islands

Also known by its Spanish name "Islas Malvinas," the Falkland Islands are among those places you can visit on your Antarctica expedition. It lies 400 km northeast of Tierra del Fuego, South America's southernmost tip. Just like the South Shetland Islands, the Falkland Islands are renowned for their abundance of fascinating wildlife, such as different species of penguins, sea lions, and seals.

Between November and February is the best time to visit the Falkland Islands due to the warm weather and the wildlife viewing opportunities. It's when you can witness many penguins laying their eggs, a truly incredible experience!

The Falkland Islands consist of two main islands, East and West Falkland, which can be explored when visiting Antarctica, ideal for those seeking adventure. You'll likely start sightseeing in Stanley, also called Port Stanley, reminiscent of a traditional British village in the UK. Take the time to explore this remote British overseas territory, home to over 2,000 residents. Aside from a few restaurants and pubs, you'll come across a cathedral and museum.

The incredible wildlife is the highlight of your visit to the Falkland Islands. It's home to abundant albatrosses, different penguin species, and dolphins!

3. South Georgia

South Georgia is another stunning place you can visit on your trip to Antarctica. The island lies halfway between Antarctica and the southeast coast of Argentina. Although the British Overseas Territory is not technically part of the Antarctic continent, it has become a favourite stop of Antarctic expeditions.

South Georgia is one of the world's remotest places, only accessible by cruise ships. Travelling to South Georgia is an adventure in itself, taking at least two days. But your visit will reward you with incredible scenery and fascinating wildlife, where you'll find enormous numbers of penguins and seals breeding here. In fact, one of the most notable things about the island is its vast population of king penguins - there are over 100,000 breeding pairs!

The king penguins of South Georgia are known for their trademark yellow head markings, making the island a significant breeding spot for penguins and where you witness thousands of penguins herded together. Aside from the king penguins, the other notable penguin species in South Georgia Island are the macaroni penguins, recognised for their distinct orange crest at the forehead.

Aside from the penguins, the other attractions you can expect to see on South Georgia Island are the historic whaling stations and the grave of the famous Irish explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

4. Drake Passage

When visiting Antarctica, you'll likely pass through the infamous Drake Passage. Crossing this notorious place is a milestone for many adventurous travellers. If you're craving thrilling adventures, crossing the Drake Passage is guaranteed to fulfil your sense of adventure. The weather conditions and waves along the Drake Passage are unpredictable, regardless of the time of the year.

Named after the famous British explorer Sir Francis Drake, the Drake Passage is known for its often-turbulent seas, making it a dangerous crossing point for sailing ships. Despite the difficulties in navigating it during the early times, the Drake Passage was a significant part of international trade routes around the 19th and 20th centuries before the opening of the Panama Canal.

The Drake Passage is where the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans converge. As a result, it is a massive convergence of waves, currents, and wind. Because of the thrill of passing through the area, adventurous travellers voyaging to Antarctica often look forward to passing through the Drake Passage.

5. Antarctic Peninsula

The Antarctic Peninsula is one of the most accessible areas of Antarctica because of its proximity to South America. Due to its relatively favourable climate, stunning scenery, and ample wildlife, it has become a favourite place for those exploring the Antarctic continent.

The Antarctic Peninsula lies in the northernmost section of mainland Antarctica. It's about 500,000 square kilometres, with 80% covered in ice. The peninsula consists of a series of bedrock islands separated by deep channels.

The Antarctic Peninsula boasts picturesque scenery not like anywhere else on Earth. You'll also come across diverse wildlife species on your visit, such as seals, penguins, and migrating whales. It's where most of the Antarctic research stations are since it has the mildest climates in the region. Your visit is a chance to peek into the lives of researchers who have called Antarctica their home.

Laura Bartlett

Laura Bartlett

Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.