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The Best Arctic Retreats to Explore this Winter

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By Niamh Walsh on 13th January 2024

Embark on an Arctic odyssey with our curated selection of premier winter retreats, each paired with luxurious accommodations that redefine winter travel.

As winter blankets the northern hemisphere in a frosty embrace, adventurous travellers seeking a unique and unforgettable escape turn their gaze toward the Arctic. Far beyond the realm of ordinary vacations, the north pole offers a mesmerising escape of ice and snow, where pristine landscapes and unique cultural experiences await intrepid explorers.

1. Svalbard, Norway

Nestled deep within the Arctic Circle, the archipelago of Svalbard beckons with its stark beauty and untouched landscapes. A gateway to the Arctic wilderness, this Norwegian haven offers a range of activities for the adventurous traveler. Embark on a dog-sledding expedition, witness the mesmerising Northern Lights, or explore the unique polar flora and fauna. Base yourself in Longyearbyen, the world's northernmost town, and embark on a journey into the heart of the Arctic.

Svalbard, Norway
Svalbard, Norway

Where to stay: Nestled in the heart of the Arctic wilderness, Nordenskiold Lodge provides a luxurious haven for those exploring Svalbard. With panoramic views of the surrounding glaciers and mountains, this exclusive lodge offers a unique blend of modern comfort and Arctic adventure. After a day of dog-sledding or Northern Lights chasing, unwind in the lodge's cozy atmosphere, complete with gourmet dining and wellness facilities.


2. Ilulissat, Greenland

In the western reaches of Greenland lies Ilulissat, a town surrounded by towering icebergs drifting serenely in Disko Bay. Home to the UNESCO-listed Ilulissat Icefjord, this destination offers a front-row seat to the dance of colossal ice formations. Take a boat tour to witness the breathtaking spectacle or hike along the rugged coastline for an up-close encounter with nature's grandeur. With its unique blend of Inuit culture and Arctic wonders, Ilulissat is a must-visit for those seeking a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

 Ilulissat, Greenland
Ilulissat, Greenland

Where to stay: Positioned on the edge of the Ilulissat Icefjord, Hotel Arctic boasts unrivalled views of the majestic icebergs. The hotel's Igloo Lodge, with its glass ceilings, provides an immersive experience, allowing guests to marvel at the Northern Lights from the comfort of their rooms. Indulge in Greenlandic cuisine at the hotel's renowned restaurant, Ulo, while enjoying the breathtaking backdrop of icebergs floating in Disko Bay.

3. Churchill, Canada

Known as the "Polar Bear Capital of the World," Churchill in Canada provides a rare opportunity to witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Embark on a guided polar bear safari to observe these iconic Arctic inhabitants as they traverse the tundra. In addition to polar bears, Churchill offers a rich selection of wildlife, including beluga whales and arctic foxes. Immerse yourself in the local culture, where the vibrant Indigenous communities share their traditions and stories of survival in this harsh environment.

 Churchill, Canada
Churchill, Canada

Where to stay: For a blend of luxury and wildlife adventure, Lazy Bear Lodge in Churchill is an excellent choice. Featuring well-appointed rooms and suites, the lodge is an ideal base for polar bear safaris. After a day of exploration, relax in the lodge's hot tub or savour regional cuisine at the on-site restaurant. The lodge also offers cultural experiences, allowing guests to connect with the local Indigenous communities.

4. Tromsø, Norway

For those enchanted by the mystical allure of the Northern Lights, Tromsø in Norway stands as the ultimate gateway. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and fjords, this Arctic city provides a perfect blend of natural beauty and urban sophistication. Join a Northern Lights tour for a chance to witness the ethereal dance of the aurora borealis, and explore Tromsø's charming streets filled with historic architecture, vibrant cafes, and the renowned Arctic Cathedral.

Tromsø, Norway
Tromsø, Norway

Where to stay: Overlooking the picturesque Tromsø harbour, Clarion Hotel The Edge combines urban sophistication with Arctic charm. With modern design and panoramic views, this hotel provides a comfortable retreat after chasing the Northern Lights. Guests can enjoy local cuisine at the Kitchen & Table restaurant or unwind in the rooftop bar with stunning views of the Arctic landscape.

5. Wrangel Island, Russia

Far removed from mainstream tourist routes, Wrangel Island in Russia offers a truly remote Arctic experience. Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this isolated haven is a refuge for polar bears, walruses, and countless bird species. Accessible by expedition cruises, Wrangel Island allows travellers to step foot on a land frozen in time, where mammoth tusks protrude from the tundra, and the Arctic ecosystem unfolds in its purest form.

Wrangel Island, Russia
Wrangel Island, Russia

Where to stay: For those venturing to Wrangel Island, the Silver Explorer Cruise offers a luxurious expedition experience. This all-suite cruise ship provides comfort and elegance while navigating the Arctic waters. Enjoy gourmet dining, lectures from expert naturalists, and the thrill of exploring the untouched wilderness of Wrangel Island.


As winter unfolds its icy embrace, these Arctic retreats paired with luxurious accommodations beckon intrepid travellers to venture into the heart of polar paradises. Whether seeking the thrill of a polar bear encounter, the serenity of an iceberg-laden seascape, or the enchantment of the Northern Lights, these destinations and their exquisite lodgings promise a winter escape like no other. Embrace the chill, and discover the magic that awaits in the frozen landscapes of the far north.

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