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It’s Getting Hot Up Here: Arctic Circle Destinations On Holiday Hotspots Lists


Written by Quark's extraordinary president, Hans Lagerweij.

Even as frigid temperatures grip typically mild areas this winter, travelers are gearing up for Arctic expeditions this summer. In fact, 2014 is shaping up to be a banner year for travel in and around the Arctic Circle, as travelers and mainstream media alike are eager to explore and share their adventures at the top of the world.

Recent “top destinations” lists from CNN, New York Times and The Guardian celebrate Icelandic destinations like Jokulsarlon and Hella for their northern lights displays, expected to be particularly spectacular this year thanks to increased solar activity. In fact, viewing the northern lights has become the number one travel experience for Britons.

NYTimes.com, though they feature Jokulsarlon and the Thjorsarver Wetlands in Iceland and the Faroe Islands as top travel destinations in 2014, claim, “There aren’t many reasons to visit the frigid region surrounding the North Pole.”


Northern Lights Northern Lights, East Greenland (photo courtesy of Quark passenger Robert Lee)

We beg to differ.

As polar tourism increases each year – and especially with the advent of social sharing – people are increasingly realizing just how much more the Arctic has to offer.

Once a destination reserved only for the extremely adventurous or wealthy, the Arctic Circle has become a destination of choice for all types of travelers. Of course, we visit each polar region during their respective summer season, enabling passengers to experience more flora and fauna than is available in winter. You won’t get away with running around in your t-shirt and shorts, but the Arctic is surprisingly mild in peak tourism season.


Zodiac Cruise Zodiac cruising photo courtesy of a Quark passenger

Now, adventure options like a helicopter tour, zodiac cruising or even a hot-air balloon ride are attainable for Arctic travelers. Cultural learning opportunities abound, as the people of Sisimiut (Greenland), Spitsbergen (Norway) and other communities dotting the Arctic landscape invite us to enjoy their art, traditions and beautiful surroundings. As The Guardian points out, several blockbuster films have been filmed recently in Iceland, which is gaining some notoriety as the “Hollywood of the North.”

Franz Josef Land is a place few can say they’ve seen and to actually reach the North Pole, to realize you’re standing in the one place on earth where a step in any direction will take you south, is a once in a lifetime experience.

North Pole Video

Except it’s not… not anymore. The Arctic Circle is no longer an out of reach destination. We have passengers join us year after year, to experience new adventures or revisit favorite Arctic destinations. Greenland, Iceland, Spitsbergen, Nunavut – these are places you fall in love with and never really leave. You take them with you and the call of the Arctic stays strong, calling you back.


Hot Springs, Greenland Quark passengers enjoying hot springs in Greenland

The Arctic is a place like no other; one that has to be experienced to be believed. This year, we expect to welcome aboard more old friends and new passengers than ever before. Will you join us?

Feature photo by Quark passenger Yukun Shih.


International Expeditions: Travelling to the Amazon with Hans Lagerweij


Hans Lagerweij is the president of Quark Expeditions and a passionate, avid adventure traveler. He will be travelling with International Expeditions, Quark’s sister company, and pioneers in ecotourism. We invite you to visit International Expeditions website for more information about the company and their voyages, or visit the Amazon with Hans in May 2014!


Hans, why is Quark Expeditions® working together with International Expeditions?

Quark Expeditions® and International Expeditions have a lot in common: dedication to the highest levels of service, mind-expanding and heart-stirring journeys in which connecting with nature is an essential ingredient, being delivered by the best expedition staff. Together we offer more choices of stunning expeditions to our customers.

So Quark Expeditions® and International Expeditions are basically one company?

No, they are two separate companies, each having its unique knowledge, experience and people. But we work closely together.

Blue and Gold Macaw

Why are you going to the Amazon?

After years of enjoying the best “cold” nature expeditions, I think it is time for something in a much warmer environment! Joking aside, I am looking forward to experience something completely new. I am also very anxious to experience the La Estrella Amazonica, a brand new ship purposely built by International Expeditions for their Amazon voyages. I hope to learn something new that we could use with Quark Expeditions®.

Are you looking forward to the trip?

Absolutely! Just think about what the Amazon and the Polar Regions have in common: both are unique, important ecosystems for our earth yet both are under threat. Both are pristine environments in which Mother Nature is still in charge. To explore this with the most knowledgeable guides in a comfortable environment – I am sure I am going to enjoy it!

Amazon Canoe

Any message to Quark Expeditions® passengers?

Why not join me? Your 5% past passenger discount will also count on this trip. Let’s have some fun in the Amazon.

For more information visit: Amazon River Cruises


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