Expedition Holidays with Secret Atlas
Join Secret Atlas on one of our expedition holidays to explore the most remote regions on Earth. Choose from one of our small ship cruises and experience the natural wonder of Greenland or the spectacular wildlife of Svalbard. Our unique voyages take just 12 guests and are led by a team of expert expedition leaders.
The Secret Atlas Expedition Experience
Expedition holidays go beyond your average trip in every way – from remote destinations to enriching experiences in nature. We take small groups of curious and adventurous travellers to places free from crowds and tourist traps like Svalbard Archipelago in Norway and Greenland.
If you’ve ever dreamed of seeing polar bears in the wild, hiking through miles of unspoilt Arctic wilderness, or escaping to glacial landscapes – we’ll take you there. We’re a team of passionate conservationists, explorers and photographers sharing our dream of making Arctic cruises more personal and lower impact with people who want to go exploring without leaving a huge footprint behind.
Expedition Holidays With 12 Guests
Secret Atlas began with a vision to make our expedition holidays more personal, more sustainable, and, with lower impact. Which is why we run expedition micro-cruises around northern Norway, Greenland, and (coming soon), Antarctica with just 12 guests. Travelling by small ship, without a large crowd is better for our guests, and much better for the incredible polar regions we visit.
Smaller ships are more flexible, so we can adapt our course depending on conditions, which is all part of the adventure. When conditions allow, we can head to the edge of the sea ice north of Svalbard, or change course for better wildlife watching opportunities. From standing where explorers began their journey to the North Pole, to hiking through untamed and rugged islands and just basking in the Arctic silence – Arctic cruises are a transformative experience.
Svalbard Expedition Holidays
A short flight from mainland Norway takes you to Svalbard, an archipelago of nine islands in the Arctic Ocean known for its abundant wildlife, polar wilderness, and rugged landscapes. Join us in Longyearbyen, the most northern settlement on Earth and your gateway to Arctic adventures.
It sits a few hundred miles from the North Pole, and is filled with remote, and rarely visited places from Ny-Ålesund where Roald Amundsen set off on an expedition to the North Pole by airship and Pyramiden, an eerie former mining settlement that is frozen in time.
By taking an expedition holiday to Svalbard with Secret Atlas you’ll get up close to huge glaciers (there are over 2000 of them on the archipelago), find ancient rock formations, and experience ethical wildlife watching, led by our veteran expedition leader and expert guide, who will share their deep knowledge of the region with you.
Svalbard is one of the best places in the world to see Arctic wildlife including polar bears, walruses, reindeers, humpback whales and many species of birds.
Our expedition mini cruises run from April to August, taking advantage of the 24-hr daylight during the summer months, with better conditions and visibility to get closer to glaciers, settlements, and wildlife. The climate is relatively mild compared with other regions with the same latitude – but layers and walking boots with decent grip are worth packing throughout the season.
Find out more here
Greenland Expedition Holidays
Greenland is a massive country with a tiny population and an exciting place to go exploring on an expedition holiday. Although it’s technically within the Kingdom of Denmark, Greenland is an autonomous country and the largest island in the world. It’s also the most sparsely populated nation, with fewer than 60,000 inhabitants.
Travelling by an expedition micro-cruise is pretty much the only way to visit Greenland, there are very few roads, and small ships like ours are ice-strengthened and perfectly designed for expeditions along its rugged coasts.
Over 80 per cent of Greenland’s landmass is covered by an enormous ice cap. An expedition holiday to this part of the world of offers the chance to get up close to icebergs that are as tall as skyscrapers in stunning areas like Scoresby Sund. We’re also often warmly welcomed by the locals in Nuuk, the tiny capital city, offering a rare opportunity to experience the local culture.
As well as experiencing Arctic landscapes, and colourful settlements, our expedition holidays to Greenland also offer the chance to see wildlife including humpback whales, minke whales and pilot whales swimming in its icy waters.
Secret Atlas micro-expedition cruises to Greeland run from June to September.
Find out more here
Antarctica Expedition Holidays
From 2022 we are excited to offer an expedition holiday of a lifetime, taking a small group of just 12 guests to experience Antarctica, the world’s most remote continent. Secret Atlas will be heading off on a fly and cruise trip from South American to an airbase in Antarctica, so we won’t have to sail across the notorious Drake Passage.
It’s an extremely rare opportunity to explore the Antarctic peninsula on expedition micro cruises ranging between 7 and 14 days. Join us on a voyage around the last frontier, where we’ll witness stunning scenery filled with layered sandstone, lava flows, and majestic glaciers.
Antarctica is a haven for polar wildlife, and taking an expedition holiday there is the opportunity to observe vast numbers of penguins, whales, Arctic terns, and elephant seals in the wild.
Find out more here
Five Reasons to Take an Expedition Holiday on a Small Ship:
People from all over the world join our expedition holidays for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s adventure-seeking, wildlife watching, nature photography or a desire to experience lesser-known parts of the world – here are some of the main reasons why taking a voyage on a small ship is a good idea.
1. True escapism and Arctic adventure
Expedition holidays are more adventurous by nature. The clue is in the name, there is plenty to explore and discover along the way. By joining an expedition micro-cruise, you’ll have a transformative trip to some of the most remote and rarely visited destinations in the world.
We’ll make regular shore landings to explore ashore, hike through the polar wilderness and take in beautiful Arctic landscapes. From the rugged shores and soaring bird cliffs of Svalbard to frozen and uninhabited corners of Greenland, and soon the southern wilderness of Antarctica – every day is the chance of an unforgettable escape.
2 . Small ships create a more intimate and authentic experience
Although expedition vessels are much smaller than commercial cruise liners, these days the largest expedition ships can hold up to 350 passengers. The Secret Atlas expedition micro-cruises are designed to take only 12 guests and a small crew comfortably.
Smaller ships are a better option for independent travellers, who don’t want to spend time in large tour groups. One of the biggest advantages that smaller ships have is that they can reach places that larger ships can’t access too like the fjords in Svalbard and remote settlements in Greenland.
3. The chance to visit places that can’t be reached by land
To visit destinations like Svalbard archipelago or Greenland, you pretty much have to travel by expedition cruise as there are very few roads. Cruising on a small, but comfy and warm vessel is the perfect way to get up close to rugged coastlines and stunning Arctic nature.
We travel to remote and uninhabited islands, following in the footsteps of great explorers and witness polar bears, walruses, and whales in the wild.
Svalbard is one of the best places in the world to see polar bears in the wild, and the perfect way to do that is by taking a micro expedition cruise.
4. More flexible and spontaneous travel
Another advantage of travelling by small ship is that they’re much more flexible than larger expedition cruises. We can change our route according to weather and ice conditions, which means greater opportunities for wildlife watching, and attempting reaching the edge of the sea ice for more exploration.
5. Smaller is better for you and the environment
You don’t need to join a huge expedition to have a big adventure. In fact, we think the opposite is true. Guests who join our expedition holidays are looking for amazing experiences, away from the noise and distractions of daily life. They don’t want to hang out in huge crowds, waiting in line to get ashore.
Our expedition micro-cruise vessels are equipped with Zodiac landing craft, with plenty of space to get all 12 guests on to dry land quickly. There is also one guide for every six guests, so you’ll learn from their deep knowledge about local wildlife and environments. Smaller expeditions leave a lower footprint, which is something we feel strongly about, and they’re less disruptive to wildlife too.
Find out more about our upcoming expedition holidays here