Dreaming of the ultimate arctic adventure? Look no further than the great North Pole. Contrary to popular belief, this mythical region is more than just the headquarters for the jolly bearded man in the red-and-white suit; it's a mysterious, ever-changing destination that is possible to explore, and one that will deliver the utmost once-in-a-lifetime experience. Sound enticing? We think so, too.
But before you start packing your bags, there are a few things to note. For starters, getting to the very top of the world won't be easy . . . or cheap. The journey will be long, and "cold" doesn't even begin to describe the teeth-chattering weather you'll face. Yet, drawbacks aside, this will be one voyage you'll never forget.
So for those who are feeling extra adventurous and are ready to experience the thrill of polar travel, here's everything you need to know for planning your own trip!
First off, where exactly is the North Pole?
The North Pole is the northernmost point on earth, making it the one spot in the world where the only direction is south. Although this area lies diametrically opposite of the South Pole, unlike its southern counterpart, it is not located on a land mass, but rather covered by a sheet of shifting ice in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. The only reason this region is possible to visit is because the majority of it is frozen.
When is the best time of year to visit?
Just like any other place on earth, the North Pole does have seasons, and the best time to visit is between February and May. This way, you avoid the lack of daylight (read: 24 hours of constant darkness) that takes place during Winter and the risk of dangerous stretches of thin ice that can occur in the summertime.
Rest assured, though, that most North Pole expeditions are conducted during the Spring, when there are very long hours of daylight, if not 24 hours of light.
How cold does it really get?
To put it simply: really cold. During the Winter, the average temperature is minus 40°F. And while there are warmer days in the Summer — July being the warmest month — it is still technically freezing at 32°F. But if it gives you some peace of mind, the South Pole is even colder than the North.
What activities can you partake in while exploring?
Despite the fact that the North Pole is one of the most remote places on the planet, there is actually quite a lot to do here. From helicopter rides and wildlife spotting to warming up in hot springs and running in the "coolest marathon in the world," you certainly won't encounter any boredom.
So, how do you even get there?
Although the North Pole is not exactly a budget-friendly destination, there are several ways you can embark on this arctic adventure. Of course, the easiest way will be joining an already-planned expedition. For instance, Quark Expeditions offers a vast array of cruising options. Whether it be an 11-day cruise on the Spitsbergen Explorer or a short, three-day trip via the Barneo Ice Camp Express, the choice is yours.
Another notable alternative is climbing aboard the icebreaker ship known as 50 Years of Victory through Polar Cruises. In fact, it is even possible to sign up for a polar race — you know, if you're yearning to try something really adventurous. Although, if you go this route, you might want to start training now!