Because Aurora Expeditions visits some of the most unique places in the world, compiling this list of bucket-list destinations wasn’t an easy exercise.
Each of the incredible destinations we explore have been selected for their combinations of natural beauty, remarkable biodiversity, geological wonders, fascinating archaeological sites, rich history and cultural heritage – many even tick all of these boxes!
Here are our top picks of bucket-list destinations to suit every taste and interest.
Best for history buffs: the Northwest Passage
Get a glimpse into the world that captivated early explorers when you tick the fabled Northwest Passage off your catalogue of bucket-list destinations. Visit Beechey Island, a National Historic Site of Canada and indeed one of the most historic sites in the Arctic, where you will be transported back to the explorations of Captain William Edward Parry, the first European visitor in 1819, and to the times of the lost expedition of Sir John Franklin and his ill-fated crew in 1845. Your knowledgeable Expedition Team will share epic tales of these heroic early explorers as you retrace their footsteps. Experience the thrill of ice threatening to halt your journey through the passage and brace yourself for a genuine expedition!
Best for avid adventurers: East Greenland
The East Greenland landscape is dominated by mountains, fjords, sheer granite cliffs and epic glaciers. It is a true adventurer’s playground, with many peaks yet to be attempted. Experienced mountaineers and climbers will relish the opportunity to scale one of East Greenland’s remote and rugged peaks, knowing that they will be rewarded with breathtaking views of Scoresbysund’s fjords that few get to see, not to mention the ultimate bragging rights.
Best for wildlife encounters: South Georgia
South Georgia boasts an incredibly rich history, a stunning snow-capped mountain range that forms its spine, and numerous abandoned whaling stations that dot the landscape. However, it’s the sheer volume and diversity of wildlife that sets it apart from anywhere else on the planet. On our South Georgia itineraries, you will have the opportunity to marvel at the island’s king penguin colonies – some of the largest on earth. You can also join a guided walk to see fur seals and elephant seals sunbathing on beaches, and there will be ample opportunities to spot unique and rare endemic birds including burrowing petrels and albatrosses.
Best for soaking up culture: Cornwall
Year after year, people keep returning to the British Isles for its historic castles, ancient ruins, dazzling coastlines and unique culture, customs and traditions. One of our favourite counties is charming Cornwall, which is home to iconic coastal villages including Fowey, with its strong Celtic connections and maritime history. Another is the hidden gem of Penzance, which you can discover on a walking tour of the town. Listen as your knowledgeable guide transports you to a time when pirates and smugglers where aplenty, and recounts its long tradition of music and song.
Best for natural wonders: the Azores
Located in the central Atlantic Ocean, the archipelagos of the Azores has something for everyone – stunning hiking trails, wildlife, beautiful Portuguese architecture, volcanic landscapes, caves and one of the most fascinating collections of flora in Europe. On a new voyage for 2023, we visit two islands in the Azores that have been classified as UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. On the island of Flores, you will be spoilt for choice for walking trails along the coast or inland for rolling hills, shimmering crater lakes, magnificent waterfalls and sheer cliffs. In Graciosa you will be inseparable from your camera as you descend into caverns beneath fuming volcanoes with bubbling mud pools.
Best for ruins: the Antarctic Peninsula
The Antarctic Peninsula has been home to numerous whaling stations and scientific bases that have been abandoned to the elements, offering unique glimpses into human history. Deception Island is a particularly fascinating place we visit on many Antarctic Peninsula voyages. In the early 1900s, a Norwegian-Chilean whaling company built a whaling station here, which was abandoned in the Great Depression. In 1944, the British Admiralty and the Colonial Office decided to build a base on Deception Island to establish a permanent presence in the Antarctic. However, the site was once again abandoned due to a string of volcanic eruptions in the late 1960s, and it has remained this way since.