I traveled on board the M/V Ortelius to the Ross Sea and Antarctica as an independent press & media representative with Oceanwide Expeditions. All opinions are my own. 

10 Reasons to Visit Antarctica

Updated September 2023, 10 Reasons to Visit Antarctica was originally written in June 2017

Looking for reasons to visit Antarctica? Still pristine and barely touched, Antarctica is more than barren ice-covered landscapes. Unspoiled by mass tourism and beaconing you to visit its icy shores, now is a better time than ever to visit the polar continent.

Start Planning: The Antarctica Travel Guide
Grab a copy of Bradt Antarctica too!

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1. Penguin Antics

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Hey Ladies

Really, who doesn’t love penguins? They’re the cutest and aren’t usually scared to get right up close and personal with Antarctic explorers.

2. Cool Ice Bergs

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Iceberg, dead ahead! See them while you still can

With icebergs larger than several small countries that have broken off the continent there’s ample opportunity to see Antarctica’s center stage star: the ice. But get there quick! With changes in the climate, the continent’s famed ice is melting faster now than ever.

3. The Desolation

Franklin Island, Franklin Island Antarctica, Adelie Penguin, Adelie penguin Franklin Island
A lonely Adelie Penguin just off Franklin Island, Antarctica

Looking to get away from it all, literally? There’s no better place to escape the crowds, hectic city life and depressing fake news than Antarctica.

Check out the unexpected ice-glazed paradise of Franklin Island

4. The Exciting History

Antarctica, reasons to visit antarctica, Borchgrevink, Borchgrevink hut, Borchgrevink's Hut, Cape Adare, Ross Sea
Cape Adare, the first documented landing site in Antarctica by Carsten Borchgrevink and Henrik Bull. If you look closely you will see Borchegrevink’s Hut on the shore

History buffs rejoice! Walk in the footsteps of Antarctica’s explorers… Borchgrevink, Scott, Shackleton, Amundsen… just to name a few. These guys all had ample reasons to visit Antarctica, do you?

Read about my crazy journey sailing the Beagle Channel after the trip to Antarctica

5. Antarctica’s For The Birds

Albatross, Southern Royal Albatross, Campbell Island, New Zealand, Subantarctic, Subantarctic Islands, New Zealand Subantarctic Islands,
The Southern Royal Albatross nesting on Campbell Island

Did you know Antarctica is chock full of exotic birds? Less colorful than their tropical counterparts, but oh so much more rare. Watch the graceful dives and spins of Skuas, Petrels and giant Albatross.

Bird nerd out! Read about Campbell Island, New Zealand

6. The Countless Glaciers

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Glaciers on glaciers on glaciers! Get here quick, they’re melting and not showing signs of slowing down anytime soon

Antarctica is bursting with glaciers. There are thousands upon thousands. So many that several aren’t even named. But just like the Antarctic ice, glaciers are affected by the warming sea temperatures and melting at an astonishing rate.

7. Watch Sunset At The Lemaire Channel

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Sunset reflections don’t get better than in the Lemaire Channel

Easily Lemaire Channel is the most scenic location in Antarctica. Sunset here is unbeatable with mirror-like reflections in the calm guarded waters of the famed channel.

Check out photos from my time in the Lemaire Channel

8. Whale Watching

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Watching orca whales from the helicopter just off the pack ice in McMurdo Sound area of the Ross Sea

Keep a pair of comfy slip-on shoes handy for that early wake-up call to come across the intercoms of your ship yelling at you to get on deck because the ship is surrounded by thousands of whales.

Read: 10 Reasons To Visit The Ross Sea

9. Face To Face With Seals

leopard seal, Antarctica, Ross Sea
This Leopard Seal inched all the way across an ice flow in the middle of the Ross Sea to come over and peer straight down at us into our zodiac

Nothing is more an adrenaline rush than staring eye to eye with a giant seal that outweighs you 10-fold.

See why you should consider an Antarctica expedition that visits McMurdo Sound

10. Unreal Landscapes

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The landscapes are one of the best reasons to visit Antarctica. From the idyllic spine of mountains bisecting the famous Antarctic Peninsula to the flat barren nothingness of South Pole Station to cruising the ice floes of the Ross Sea with Mt. Eberus looming over you from ashore: Antarctica has a landscape for everyone.

Check out the otherworldly landscapes of the McMurdo Dry Valleys

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