Things to Do in Antarctica

Activities to Do in Antarctica

Looking for things to do in Antarctica? This amazing destination brings to you some of the best experiences and activities that you can enjoy in the most remote place on earth. Surrounded by icebergs, icy glaciers, frozen waters, Antarctica is known as the coldest and driest place on the planet, ranking top on the lists of adventure junkies and travellers all over the world. From sightseeing tours and unique adventure activities, to water-based tours, cruises, aurora tours and more, there is a lot that you can enjoy during your holiday in Antarctica.

If you are a nature lover and into adventure, you can choose between the various top things in Antarctica, including whale watching, cruise tours, kayaking, penguin watching and more. You can also enjoy exploring the numerous active science research bases scattered around Antarctica.

Want to soak in the glorious natural landscapes here? You can also head over to the black sandy beaches or active volcanoes in Antarctica, such as the ones on Deception Island, Cuverville, Neko Harbour and St. Andrew’s Bay, among others. There is no limit to the things you can do in Antarctica, so a holiday here is sure to be like no other you have had before.
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South Shetland Islands

The South Shetland Islands are amongst the top attractions and places to visit in Antarctica. Located on the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, these groups of islands are also home to the unique Deception Island and an active volcano. The islands offer breath-taking views of ice sheets, icebergs and glaciers, and it is here where you can find thousands of penguins flocking around. The interior black sand beaches on the South Shetland Islands are also sites of several research stations and ancient whaling stations that you can pay a visit to.

Location: 120 kilometres north of the Antarctic Peninsula

penguin colonies, research stations, Deception Island, elephant seals, icebergs

Antarctic Peninsula
Known as the northernmost part of Antarctica, the Antarctic Peninsula boasts of a wide range of polar wildlife. From iceberg-clad waterways and passages to frequent polar expedition cruises, natural harbours and snowy islands, the Antarctic Peninsula is a wonder in itself. You can also soak in stunning views of towering glaciers, penguin colonies and various types of whales here, including the minke whale, humpback whale, killer whales and more.

Location: Northernmost part of Antarctica

Highlights: whale sighting, majestic glaciers, penguins, icy passages
Drake Passage
One of the best places in Antarctica, the Drake Passage is home to the roughest seas in the world. It is here in Drake Passage where the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean converge with the Southern seas. This wide stretch of water between Antarctica and South America is full of adventure, adrenaline and dread. You are sure to experience the fear in your stomach from excitement, in addition to the choppy waves, huge gales of water and more. The Drake Passage is also a great place for albatross sightings in Antarctica.

Location: Between South America and Antarctica

Highlights: Huge icebergs, giant albatross sighting, choppiest water on earth, unique wildlife
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands in Antarctica is known all over the world for its vibrant biodiversity, making it one of the most popular tourist attractions in the continent. Exuding a British vibe and ambience, the islands take inspiration from the British architecture and design, which is very clearly present here. The island also serves as a home and nesting area to many different species of birds and marine animals, such as albatross, penguins, etc. You can also visit several museums and historical monuments here.

Location: South Atlantic Ocean, Patagonian Shelf

Highlights: Port Stanley, Dockyard Museum, East Falkland Villages, penguin sighting at Volunteer Point
South Georgia
Amongst the top tourist places in Antarctica, South Georgia is a narrow but long island in the South Atlantic Ocean. Surrounded by rising mountains, South Georgia is known for its verdant grasslands, meadows, stunning glaciers and majestic fjords. This place also boasts of an abundance of wildlife species, from different types of penguins and seas to whales and more. You can also explore the remnants of the whaling stations of the past here.

Location: South Atlantic Ocean

Highlights: Abundance of wildlife, albatross sighting, Fortuna Bay, beaches with penguin colonies, breath-taking glaciers 
Lemaire Channel
The Lemaire Channel is a natural strait that stretches across 11 kilometres and is often known as the Kodak Gap in Antarctica. Located on the Antarctic Peninsula, this narrow passage is amongst the best places in Antarctica, and is surrounded by tumbling glaciers, pristine icebergs and towering mountains. For lovers of marine life, the Lemaire Channel is a great place to be for spotting all kinds of seals and different whale species, including orcas and humpbacks. It is also a haven for photographers, with mesmerising sceneries and landscapes.

Kiev Peninsula, between Graham Land and Booth Island, Antarctica

Highlights: whale sighting, seal spotting, photography 

Port Lockroy
When looking for places to visit in Antarctica, do not forget the natural harbour of Port Lockroy. Located on the north western shore of the Wiencke Island, Port Lockroy is a major tourist attraction, especially for those entering Antarctica in cruise ships. This natural harbour has been in use since the second World War, and has served as home for whaling stations as well as military bases. As of now, Port Lockroy is being used as a research station. You can visit the post office and museum here to learn about the port’s history.

Location: North-western shore of Wiencke Island, Palmer Archipelago, Antarctic Peninsula

Highlights: historic significance, Penguin colonies, Penguin Post Office, Bransfield House
Ross Sea

This is a deep bay located in the Southern Ocean in Antarctica, and is known for being the largest ice shelf of the continent. Being several hundred metres thick, the Ross Sea is also considered to be amongst the most beautiful natural attractions on the planet. The sea is also home to the Ross Island, which is the abode of Mt Erebus, an active volcano. From large colonies of penguins and majestic glaciers, to historical sites, icebergs and immense natural beauty, Ross Sea has it all.

Location: Southern Ocean, Antarctica

Highlights: immense natural beauty, the largest floating body of ice on the continent, penguin colonies, photography 
King George Island
King George Island is also one of the top tourist places in Antarctica. The largest of the South Shetland Islands, King George Island is usually the first stop in an Antarctic expedition, and is home to many scientific research stations. Named after the British king George III, the island has presence of many different countries, including Argentina, Russia, South Korea, Chile, Germany and more. As of today, the island serves as an aerodrome for flights to Antarctica. You can also spot numerous different wildlife species and marine animals like seals, penguins and more here.

Location: South Shetland Island, Southern Ocean, Antarctica

Highlights: Trinity Church, research stations, different types of seals, Penguin Island, Admiralty Bay
Colossal Penguin Colonies
Antarctica is known for its penguins and penguin colonies. While you can find colossal penguin colonies in most places in the continent, there are some locations where they are found in giant numbers. You can spot a stunning emperor penguin colony at Snow Hill Island in the Weddell Sea. Alternatively, you can also head over to the Antarctic Peninsula to catch sightings of the chinstrap, gentoo and adelie penguin colonies.

Highlights: different penguin colonies, unique colonies that can only be found in Antarctica
Blood Falls
Considered to be one of the most unique places to visit in Antarctica, the Blood Falls is nothing less than a scientific and visual wonder. The waterfall is bright red in colour and originates from the Taylor Glacier in McMurdo’s Dry Valleys in Antarctica. Scientists have attributed this to the fact that life exists in the waters of the Blood Falls in the form of minute, iron-rich microbes that were frozen in time due to the formation of the surrounding glaciers almost two million years ago. The microbes have existed in this five-storey blood red waterfall with no heat or light and very little oxygen all these years.

Location: Taylor Glacier, McMurdo’s Dry Valleys, Victoria Land, East Antarctica

Highlights: bright red waterfall, helicopter rides
Deception Island
One of the best places in Antarctica, the Deception Island stands true to its name. There is way more than what meets the eye of this island. The island is actually a caldera of an active volcano, with warmer waters than the rest of the continent making it a great spot to indulge in a polar plunge. From old whale skeletons, dilapidated buildings and rusty oil drums to black volcanic sand beaches, the island is often regarded as one of the spookiest attractions of Antarctica. Furthermore, this island is also home to the only thermal spa in all of Antarctica, all due to the volcanic activity present below the surface here.

Location: South Shetland Islands, Antarctic Peninsula

Highlights: polar plunge, active volcano, old whaling stations, thermal spa
Mt. Erebus
Confused about some of the most stunning places to visit in Antarctica? The answer is Mt Erebus, which is the southernmost volcano on earth. The volcano is still very much active, and people often regard Mt Erebus as the place where fire meets ice. This is due to the contradicting temperatures in and around the volcano. Whilst the inside of Mt Erebus has swirling pools of molten magma that are miles deep, the outside of the volcano has freezing temperatures with ice caves.

Location: Mt Erebus, Ross Island, Antarctica

Highlights: Mount Erebus Volcano Observatory, consistently active volcano
Ice Cube Research Station
When in Antarctica, pay a visit to the IceCube Research Station and get a chance to see the largest neutrino telescope in the world. Learn about the secrets of the universe at the South Pole at the station and see numerous sensitive monitoring equipment and particles in ice. Speak to scientists here, who are studying the behaviour and workings of the neutrinos, otherwise known as the most mysterious building blocks in the entire universe.

Location: IceCube Array, Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica

Highlights: Southern Lights, learn about the way the universe works, speak to scientists
Trinity Church
Amongst the famous tourist places in Antarctica, the Trinity Church is also the southernmost Russian orthodox church in the whole world. Located on King George Island, this church was built by the Russians and then transported here in the mid-1990s. You can find two Russian priests here all through the year. In addition to being one of the eight churches on the continent, Trinity Church is also the southernmost Eastern orthodox crouch in the world.

Location: Airport Rd, Base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva, Antarctica

Highlights: Built in the traditional Russian style of architecture, one of the only churches at the bottom of the world 

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Antarctica Things To Do FAQs

Which are the best things to do in Antarctica?

1. Pay a visit to Deception Island: Being a lot more than what it looks like, a visit to the stunning Deception Island is amongst the best things in Antarctica. Being the abode of sailors from all over the world, the island is also home to an active volcano that holds numerous mysteries and secrets of the old whaling industry of Antarctica.
It is here where you can find several processing plants where whale blubber is processed for sale, along with ship processing plants and factories. Furthermore, Deception Island is also home to the only thermal spa in all of Antarctica. As of today, the island is known for its spooky ancient buildings, old whale skeletons and rusty oil drums, all of which are surrounded by black volcanic sand.

Location: Near South Shetland Islands Archipelago, Antarctica

2. Explore the icy waters of Antarctica by scuba diving: Scuba diving is undoubtedly one of the top things in Antarctica. Offering an experience like no other, scuba diving allows tourists a chance to explore the icy waters of this continent. Get a chance to experience the changing colours of the water with the ever changing position of the sun while you dive under.
With scuba diving, you can also enjoy crystal clear views of the icebergs, along with the vibrant and unique marine and coral life present in Antarctica.

Location: Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctic Circle

3. Explore the Vernadsky Scientific Research Station: Exploring the famous Vernadsky Scientific Research Station is one of the most unique Things to do in Antarctica. On your expedition of this land, head over to this research station and take a close look at some of the best and most cutting-edge research conducted on earth.
Dating back to the 1940s, this Ukrainian science base is especially known for its research on environmental issues, global warming, temperature changes and more. You can tour the base and also get a resourceful insight into the life of one of the most unspoilt and remote places on the planet.

Location: Marina Point, Galindez Island, Argentine Islands

4. Camp under the open sky and indulge in stargazing: Amongst the best experiences and activities in Antarctica is stargazing. Spend some time camping under the open sky during your Antarctic holiday and get a chance to catch millions of stars, constellations and more for a more adventurous and unique experience.
What makes the experience even better is the fact that you get to wake up to one of the most breath-taking sunrises of your life when you camp in Antarctica. With the stars glowing and giving you company at night, with the snowy terrain and complete solitude, this is one thing you should absolutely do when you visit Antarctica.

Location: Hovgaard Island

5. Witness colonies of penguins: One of the best Things to do in Antarctica is to watch the different species of penguins. The beautiful land of Antarctica is home to numerous different colonies of these unique bird species, and on your holiday here, you can hang out with these creatures. Watch the penguins in their natural habitats as they waddle around freely. However, tourists are advised to keep an optimum distance from the penguins to maintain their safety.

Location: Antarctic Circle, Weddell Sea

6. Kayak with whales: Want to experience something that you have never done before? Go on a kayak tour on your holiday, which is one of the top Things to do in Antarctica.Explore the beautiful cold surroundings of the continent and the stunning landscapes on a tranquil kayak tour. On your kayaking journey, you can also spot various marine animals, the most common of which are different species of whales, including orcas, humpback whales, minke whales, killer whales and more. Witness the beauty of this land along with the whales and soak in an experience that is incomparable.

Location: Along the Gerlache Coastline

Which are the best places to stay in Antarctica?

1. Whichaway Camp: Staying at the luxurious Whichaway Camp in White Desert is one of the best experiences and Things to do in Antarctica. One of the finest accommodations in the continent, this camp boasts of modern amenities, private charter jet service, ice tunnels, adventure activities and more.

2. Gould Bay Camp: Located in the Weddell Sea, a stay in this tented camp is amongst the best things in Antarctica, especially due to its proximity to a colony of emperor penguins in the area. The amenities here are simple, just perfect for everyday use and stay, with comfortable beds, running water, good food, etc.

3. Union Glacier Tented Camp: This camp offers an experience like no other, making it one of the top things in Antarctica. Located in the Ellsworth Mountains, this is a full-service camp with 35 clam tents, basic amenities and good food. A stay here is nothing short of experiential, with a thick blanket of snow all around you.

4. Hebridean Sky: Stay in the Hebridean Sky, a luxury cruise ship, during your holiday in Antarctica. This luxury expedition boat boasts modern amenities, comfortable rooms, penthouse and veranda suites with private balconies, along with a sun deck, lounge, fine dining restaurants, library and more.

Which are the best places to see wildlife in Antarctica?

1. Shetland Islands: Exploring the exotic and unique wildlife at Shetland Islands is one of the top things in Antarctica. From Antarctic terns, chinstrap and Adélie penguins, to blue-eyed shads, southern giant petrels, albatrosses, whales, dolphins as well as numerous seabirds, the Shetland Islands boasts of an abundance of wildlife.

2. South Georgia and the Falkland Islands: Amongst the Things to do in Antarctica is to head over to the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia and witness over 40 species of birds, from seabirds to albatross and others. It is here where you can catch sights of the only meat-eating duck in the world, also known as the pintail, along with the popit bird, different penguin species, elephant seals, fur seals and more.

3. Macquarie Island: Visiting this world heritage site and exploring the diverse wildlife here is one of the best activities in Antarctica. The island is home to wildlife and bird species like albatross, penguins, petrels, shearwaters, prions, sea lions, fur and elephant seals, in addition to different penguin species.

How can I reach Antarctica?

To reach Antarctica, you need to fly into Ushuaia in Argentina, from where you can avail a cruise to Antarctica. The traditional cruise route from Ushuaia takes around two days and passes through the Beagle Channel and the famous Drake Passage, which is an experience in itself. Alternatively, you can also avail a charter flight in Ushuaia and fly to the King George Island in the South Shetland Islands, which takes around two to three hours.

What is the best month to go to Antarctica?

The best months to go to Antarctica are November to March, when this land experiences the summer season. These are the months when there is abundant sunshine in Antarctica and the ice caps melt to give way to ships and cruises coming in. These months are also great to explore the wildlife of the region, in addition to 24 hours of daylight, adventure activities and sightseeing, among other things.

What is Antarctica known for?

From thick ice covering almost 98 percent of the land to unique wildlife such as whales, penguins and elephant seals, Antarctica is known all over the world as the southernmost continent. It is also the highest, driest, coldest, windiest and iciest continent on the globe. You can also enjoy watching icebergs and glaciers here, in addition to indulging in adventure activities such as scuba diving, whale watching and cross-country skiing, etc.

Is it safe to go to Antarctica?

Yes, it is safe to go to Antarctica. However, it is imperative to discuss your travel plans with the guides, and be prepared for sudden weather changes there, owing to extreme weather conditions.

How many days are enough in Antarctica?

A minimum of ten days is required for a holiday in Antarctica. This includes cruise travel, along with sightseeing and other activities.

Where can I go for whale watching in Antarctica?

Some of the best places to go for whale watching in Antarctica include the Drake Passage, Wilhelmina Bay and Lemaire Channel. It is in these places where you can catch a glimpse of the various different species of whales, including killer whales, humpback whales, minke whales and orcas.

Which are the famous places to do kayaking in Antarctica?

Some of the most famous places in Antarctica where you can enjoy a kayaking experience are Danco Island, the Mikkelson Harbour and Wilhelmina Bay.

Which is the famous cruise in Antarctica?

The famous cruises in Antarctica include the Silversea Expeditions Cruise, the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises and Aurora Expedition Cruise, among others.

Why is Vernadsky Research Station famous in Antarctica?

The Vernadsky Research Station is famous for being one of the longest operating research bases in Antarctica. Along with conducting scientific research studies on trends related to long-term temperatures, the station is also a pioneer in studies related to global warming and other environmental issues.

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