Best places to visit in Antarctica

Antarctic Peninsula - Best Places - Antarctica - On The Go Tours
Best places to visit in Antarctica: Our pick #1

Antarctic Peninsula

The northernmost part of Antarctica's mainland is a pristine wilderness of snow and ice home to a wide variety of polar wildlife. The iceberg-strewn waterways and narrow passages are often frequented by expedition cruises with landings made on the outlying islands and natural harbours of the Antarctic Peninsula. The scenery here is nothing short of awe-inspiring with jagged mountain peaks, towering glaciers and expansive skies, and aside from plenty of visual interest you'll also find an abundance of penguin rookeries and cormorant colonies. During the migration season there's also numerous opportunities to spot Minke, killer (orca) and humpback whales at close range.

South Shetland Islands - Best Places - Antarctica - On The Go Tours
Best places to visit in Antarctica: Our pick #2

South Shetland Islands

Situated 160 km north of the Antarctic Peninsula, the spectacular South Shetland Islands are one of the frozen continent's most visited sites and a key feature on practically every expedition cruise that departs from Ushuaia. Almost completely covered in ice, the string of islands are home to incredible glaciers and fjords while the rocky coastlines are populated by penguins and elephant seals. A total of eight countries maintain year-round research stations on the islands with the majority of the stations located on King George Island, often named the capital of Antarctica for this very reason. Other well-known islands include Deception Island, home to a collapsed but still active volcanic cone, and the historic Livingstone Island.

Drake Passage - Best Places - Antarctica - On The Go Tours
Best places to visit in Antarctica: Our pick #3

Drake Passage

Connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans between the southernmost point of Argentina and the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, the treacherous Drake Passage offers the shortest and most historical route to Antarctica proper. Named after the 16th-century English privateer Sir Francis Drake, the 600 kilometre-wide passage experiences intense winds and often brutal weather conditions so it's more often than not a stomach-churning journey for intrepid voyagers. On the plus side, you're surrounded by quite incredible scenes of rolling waves stretching all the way to the horizon, punctuated every now and then by icebergs.

Gentoo penguin on Falkland Islands - Antarctica - On The Go Tours
Best places to visit in Antarctica: Our pick #4

Falkland Islands

Isolated and sparsely populated with striking rural scenery and impressive wildlife populations, the Falkland Islands make a popular addition to voyages around Antarctica. Lying off the coast of Patagonia, the archipelago consists of the rugged East Falkland, hilly West Falkland and close to 800 smaller islands. With large and accessible colonies of king, rockhopper, gentoo and Magellanic penguins, as well as impressive nesting areas of albatross, the islands provide the ultimate birding experience with a number of marine animals adding further interest to the wildlife bill. Elephant and fur seals lounge on the shores while whales and dolphins populate the waters surrounding the islands.

South Georgia - Best Places - Antarctica - On The Go Tours
Best places to visit in Antarctica: Our pick #5

South Georgia

The long and narrow island of South Georgia is often referred to as 'the Alps in the mid-ocean' thanks to the steeply rising mountains that cover much of the land mass. Add to this low-lying grasslands, mighty glaciers and dramatic fjords, and you have one of the most picturesque parts of Antarctica. It's not hard to see why it's one of the most visited sites in the region when you also consider the wide beaches where penguin colonies and seals abound, and the photogenic remains of rusting whaling stations and relics from that particular era. The ease of landing on the island has made South Georgia incredibly popular with expedition teams, and later, tourist cruises, since Captain James Cook first arrived back in 1775.

See Also

To help you plan your visit to Antarctica's frozen landscapes, take a look at the rest of our handy resources:

Best Time to Visit - weather and climate in Antarctica
Tourist Visas - details on visa procurement
Top Travel Tips - local customs, what to pack and more
The Ushuaia - everything you need to know about the expedition vessel