Ireland’s West Coast
- 14 Days
- Dublin, Ireland - Dublin, Ireland
- Voyage code:
- Greg Mortimer
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Perched on the edge of the Atlantic, Ireland’s rugged west coast is a journey through hundreds of islands, enchanting peninsulas and fjords, soaring cliffs, crumbling castles and discover unique flora and fauna. Blessed with fine weather, we hope to land at UNESCO World Heritage Site, The Skelligs, which host a 6th century beehive hut monastery and an expansive colony of puffins and gannets. Hike through spectacular scenery and explore rarely-visited, forgotten islands and an ancient culture of storytelling, mythology and life intertwined with the Atlantic.
- Hike some of the world’s most breathtaking coastal cliff landscapes, home to huge colonies of nesting seabirds such as gannets, puffins and guillemots
- Discover remarkable archaeological ruins dating back 6,000 years
- Tuck into a unique west coast meal cooked from freshly caught fish and locally-grown-and-foraged produce
- Enjoy an authentic “trad session” of traditional music played by local musicians
Little Skellig (Irish: Sceilig Bheag) - An internationally important colony of gannets, with around 30,000 pairs
In true expedition style we encourage exploration and adventure, offering flexibility in challenging environments in a way that puts you among the action to see and do as much as possible. This itinerary is only a guide and subject to change due to weather conditions.
Day 1 Dublin
Arrive in Dublin and transfer to your hotel. Upon check-in, please remind reception staff to provide you with Aurora Expedition cabin tags. Please fill out the luggage tags clearly, showing your name and cabin number so that we can deliver your luggage to your cabin ahead of your arrival.
Overnight: Ashling Hotel (or similar)
Day 2 Dublin, embark Greg Mortimer
This morning, please take your luggage, clearly labelled with your name and cabin number, down to the hotel lobby by 9.00 am. Your luggage will be collected and transferred directly to the port for clearance, and delivered to your cabin. Please ensure you keep any valuable documents with you throughout the day. Once you have checked out of your hotel, you have free time before meeting back in the hotel lobby at 1.00 PM to commence tour of Dublin, UNESCO City of Literature, before embarking the Greg Mortimer in late afternoon. You’ll have time to settle into your cabin before our important briefings. Sail past Giant’s Causeway, an area of about 40,000 interlocking and stacked basalt columns that resulted from an ancient volcanic fissure eruption. The stunning geometric sculptural forms, a national nature reserve, and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986, resemble a man-made art installation. From the ship, we may also see the ruins of medieval Dunluce Castle, located on the edge of a basalt outcrop overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
(Breakfast and dinner included. Lunch is at own expense)
Day 3 Donegal: Inishowen Peninsula & Tory Island
Ireland is blessed with impressive natural scenery: vast valleys, glittering lakes, and cliffs hoisted up from the Atlantic. The jewel in the crown of Donegal is the Inishowen Peninsula. At the peninsula’s tip is Malin Head, Ireland’s most northerly point and a wonderful spot for bird watching as you meander along abandoned beaches along this deserted coastline.
Continue to Tory Island located off the northwest coast of Donegal. Known simply as ‘Tory’, it’s a place that seems to have frozen in time, ruled by its own elected king, and where people still talk of 'travelling to Ireland'. Tory's spectacular cliff scenery is complemented by a rich and varied history which is related in the islanders distinctive Gaelic. Many of Tory’s ancient customs still survive, including the appointment of the island king or Rí Thoraí. Colm Cille figures prominently in the history of this sacred island which he chose as a place of retreat and meditation for his monks. Shipwrecks, poitín (a type of distilled whisky) smuggling and tales of violent storms have also been drawn into its folklore. Interesting historical sites include a round tower that once protected monks from Viking raids, the ruins of St Colmcille’s 6th century monastery and the intriguing Tau Cross that suggests early seafaring links to the Coptic Christians of Egypt. The island also boasts an abundance of rare bird life and wild flower species. However, it is neither the flora and fauna, myths, the monastic ruins nor even the majestic cliffs which make the greatest impression on visitors to Tory. It is the local islanders themselves, and typical of hardworking people who live in remote, the islanders know how to enjoy themselves and they always make visitors feel extremely welcome.
Day 4 Donegal, Slieve League Cliffs
Slieve League Cliffs, situated on the south west coast of County Donegal, are said to be the one of the highest and finest marine cliffs in Europe. Hike to the top of the cliffs to enjoy some of the highest and finest marine cliffs in Europe. There are terrific views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Sligo Mountains and Donegal Bay as you walk towards the terrifyingly high top of Slieve League, where the cliff face of Bunglas rises over 600 m / 1,968 ft above the raging ocean.
Less experienced hikers can start from the Bunglas Viewpoint, that offer classic views of the cliffs. Most people only follow the first section of this cliff path, built out of stone steps, but within just 15-20 minutes of climbing, you’re in the wild. Follow the cliffs as long as you’d like, until you’re standing at the highest point of the Slieve League cliffs, watching diving sea birds.
More experienced hikers can continue all the way to the Pilgrim’s Path – a 3 km / 1.9 mi hike taking approximately 2-3 hours roundtrip. The Pilgrim’s Path is narrow and steep. Parts of it can be rocky underfoot, and boggy in other places. The trail’s name comes from the time when Ireland’s Penal laws in the 18th and 19th centuries forced Irish Roman Catholic dissenters to convert to the English Anglican Church. This meant that official Catholic worship was outlawed. However, many Catholics refused to convert, and met secretly to say mass in remote, rural places, such as Slieve League.
Day 5 Sligo, Mullaghmore
Jutting out of Sligo’s northern edge, the small peninsula of Mullaghmore sits dramatically out into the North Atlantic. Land and sea meet in dramatic confluence along the coast of County Sligo, a dazzling landscape of jagged mountain peaks that inspired the work of Nobel-winning poet William Butler Yeats. Mullaghmore resides in the shadows of iconic Benbulben mountain, undoubtedly Ireland’s most distinctive mountain, sometimes referred to as Ireland’s own Table Mountain. The most distinctive peak among the Dartry range, it was formed during the ice age by massive glaciers segmenting the landscape.
On the Benbulben Forest Walk (1.5 hours, suitable for all ages and abilities), the trail begins in a secluded forest area before opening out to stunning views of Benbulben head. Further along the walk offers superb panoramic views of Donegal Bay, Slieve League Cliffs, Mullaghmore and Classiebawn Castle. And, of course, Yeats himself is buried "Under bare Ben Bulben's head,", as he predicted in one of his poems – his grave can be found in Drumcliff cemetery, not far from the foot of the mountain. The mountain’s most noted reference in Yeats’s poetry is in the work Under Ben Bulben, in which he describes horsemen who “ride the wintry dawn/Where Ben Bulben sets the scene".
Alternatively, embark on the Mullaghmore Head Walk (2.5 hours, suitable for all ages and abilities). This walk is an easy walk along the stunning coastline of Mullaghmore consisting of a mixture of footpaths, off-road walking trails and public roads, offering stunning panoramic views of Donegal Bay and Slieve League beyond as well as of Benbulben and the Dartry Mountains.
Mullaghmore village, is largely the vision of Henry John Temple, better known as Lord Palmerston, who served two terms in office as British Prime Minister. He inherited a large estate of 10,000 acres in north Sligo, and not only instigated the building of Classiebawn Castle, the dominant landmark of the area, but also the magnificent stone harbour and the main buildings that characterise the village today.
After your morning of hiking, return to the ship for lunch. In the afternoon, land on one of the offshore islands to see a protected wildlife sanctuary and a 6th century monastery, where the discovery of a cist burial and carved ‘cursing’ stones suggests prehistoric occupation.
Day 6 Céide Fields / Clare Island
Ireland’s Stone Age ancestors constructed houses, walls and fields that created an early farming community complete with megalithic tombs. One of these communities was Céide Fields, which contains the oldest known stone-walled fields in the world – dating back nearly 6,000 years. Céide Fields overlooks the mighty Atlantic Ocean pounding against the cliffs below. The landscape itself has been forged from the dramatic upheaval and movement of the earth’s crust over millions of years.
Visit the remarkable Céide Fields Interpretative Centre. The centre has won several awards, including the Gold Medal for architecture. It is located beside some of the most spectacular cliffs and rock formations in Ireland and a viewing platform is positioned on the edge of the 110m high cliff. One of the exhibits that confronts visitors upon entering the centre is a 4,000-year-old pine tree that was unearthed from nearby bog land.
Clare Island is a mountainous island guarding the entrance to Clew Bay in County Mayo. It is famous as the home of the pirate queen Grace O'Malley (Granuaile), who was known as a tyrant of the ocean, clan chieftain, mother, wife, survivor and brilliant politician. Although her deeds relatively unknown outside of Ireland, the legacy of her mastery survives in the ruined monuments and the folk-consciousness on Clare Island and Ireland.
Clare is the largest and highest of Clew Bay's many islands, with dramatic coastal cliffs and spectacular views of one of Ireland's best-known peaks, Croagh Patrick. Its spectacular cliffs are home to large numbers of nesting sea birds and its hills, bogs and woodlands make it ideal for hill walking, with a variety of walks and climbs to suit all fitness and interest levels including: Archaeological Trail, Fawnglass Loop and Knocknaveena Loop.
Days 7-10 Connemara
Dubbed a place of "savage beauty" by Oscar Wilde the Connemara lets you experience authentic Ireland. On coastal hills walks take in views of soaring mountains, clear turquoise waters and rare flora and fauna.
Killary Harbour, carved by glaciers, it’s been described as Ireland´s only true fjord. It forms the border between Galway and Mayo counties and features some of the most spectacular scenery on the west coast. This deep-water inlet from the Atlantic was once a hiding place for U-boats in World War Two. The sheltered fjord is also a real treat for birdwatching, with nationally important populations of many species, including ringed plover, mute swan, whooper swan, mallard duck, tufted duck, and barnacle goose. Dolphins are often seen in the fjord, along with otters, a protected species that are known to breed at Killary Harbour.
Breathtaking mountain vistas provide a dramatic backdrop for Leenane, a town nestled beside the water at the head of the fjord. In 1903, Leenane played host to King Edward VIII and Queen Alexandra when they made a tour of Connemara including a visit to nearby Kylemore. Visit the Sheep and Wool Centre in the town centre that includes an excellent museum featuring the history of sheep farming and the woollen industry in Connemara, along with a gift shop and café.
Connemara is Irish landscape at its most dramatic. With soaring mountains, scattered loughs and an intricate coastline, this remote part of Galway offers superb hiking. Stretch out your legs on the Killary Harbour Coastal Walk, also known as the ‘Famine Trail’, where you’ll walk past little cottages that faced extremely gruelling times during the 1840s. In recent times, Killary Harbour has become a centre for aquaculture, with mussels being farmed in the deep, clear waters of the fjord. Fish cages belonging to a salmon farm and mussel rafts are a prominent feature. This spectacular walk offers views of dramatic Mweelrea Mountain towering at your side.
Hiking Connemara National Park
Diamond Hill Loop Walk (7 km / 4.3 mi). Grading: Difficult Your starting point is the visitor centre at the Connemara National Park. There are gravel footpaths and wooden boardwalks on the approach to the mountains, with a steady climb up the western slopes to the summit ridge. The trail offers blanket bog ecology, extensive heather, stunning views of the mountains, Inishturk, Inishbofin and Inishshark islands and coastline and the possibility of wildlife.
To the north and east, the Twelve Bens are nothing short of sensational. To the northeast, Kylemore Abbey’s gothic turrets stand out from neighbouring Kylemore Lough; and directly north, the summit of Mweelrea, Connaught’s highest mountain, can be seen peeping out. There are some steep sections that require the use of hands. Terrain includes stone steps, trail, and surfaced minor road. It can be quite windy on top so bring appropriate clothing.
For those after an easier and shorter hike, the Lower Diamond Hill trail is an excellent option. It’s a 3 km / 1.9 mi, with a duration of 1.0 -1.5 hours. The walk offers some fantastic views of the surrounding Connemara countryside, coastline and islands. Two other shorter walks starting from the visitor centre are also available if you’re after easier options.
Scattered out in the harsh Atlantic, these islands have been shaped by the sheer force of the ocean. Experience Gaelic culture and remnants of life long lost in modern Ireland. Land and explore numerous abandoned or sparsely populated islands off the Connemara coast. Given the moniker “The Enchanted Island”, Inishboffin is set in the wild splendour of Connemara amid the magical beauty of sea, cliffs and mountains that make up the Galway-Mayo coastline. With its westerly position and its protected harbour, Inishbofin was one of the most important shipping havens on the West coast of Ireland. It was one of the last Royalist strongholds to fall to Cromwell’s army. The ruins of Cromwell’s impressive star-shaped fort from 1656 still overlook the harbour.
Inishbofin is also home to “Dún Gráinne”, the remains of a fort used by the legendary Pirate Queen, Grace O’Malley from neighbouring County Mayo. It is also home to a second Celtic fort which dates all the way back to 1000 B.C. The island is a breeding area for many bird species, the rarest or most threatened of which is the corncrake. Other species include common tern, Arctic tern, fulmars, shags, guillemots, various gulls, Manx shearwaters, and choughs.
Inishbofin offers three looped walks, all with stunning views of the Islands beautiful scenery and birdlife.
Westquarter Loop (2 – 2.5 hours)
The Westquarter loop takes in some of the most stunning Atlantic Coast scenery in Connemara offering views of the Island’s blow holes and sea arch, sea stags where the Island seal colony can be seen, the Dún More Cliffs and Iron Age promontory fort ruins. The walk also offers views of Inishark Island.
Cloonamore Loop (2 – 2.5 hours) The Cloonamore Loop runs over green roads, bog roads and laneways along the beautiful East End Beach and St. Colman’s 14th Century Chapel and Church Lough. You can experience a fertile valley which supports reed beds that support a wide variety of birds. Inishbofin Middlequarter Loop (1.5 – 2 hours)
This walk runs over Inishbofin’s second highest point, which on a clear day offers panoramic views of Achill Island’s mountains, Inishturk and Clare Island, the Twelve Bens, Maumturks and Croagh Patrick. The trail takes in Inishbofin’s historic and varied Iron and Bronze Age landscapes with mill stones, partitions and evidence of round stone houses.
Perhaps the most famous of Ireland’s isles, Galway’s Aran Islands are synonymous with traditional Irish culture, language, music and tradition. Famed for their wild landscapes, distinctive knitted jumpers and pretty thatched cottages, the picturesque Aran Islands never fail to impress visitors. The islands form part of one of Ireland’s several protected Gaeltacht regions where Irish rather than English is the spoken language.
Inishmore (Inis Mór) is the largest of the Aran Islands and has been attracting visitors to its rugged shores for generations. The island is home to over 50 different monuments of Christian, pre-Christian and Celtic mythological heritage. The geology is an extension of the famous limestone rocks of The Burren, where limestone pavements crisscrossed with grikes, host a plethora of, often extremely rare, wild flowers such as gentian violets and orchids. The landscape of Inishmore is a patchwork of fields hemmed in by precariously balanced drystone walls.
Explore Inishmore, including a visit to the island's most celebrated monument, Dún Aonghusa, considered to be one of the best examples of its kind in Europe. Occupying a site of 14 acres, Dún Aonghusa is a fort that consists of three terraced walls surrounding an inner enclosure containing a platform on the edge of a 100-m / 300-ft high cliff. The views from it are breathtakingly spectacular. Excavations carried out in the 1990s indicated that people had been living at the hill top from c.1500 BC with the first walls and dwelling houses being erected c. 1100 BC. A remarkable network of defensive stones known as a Chevaux de Frise surrounds the whole structure.
Late Bronze Age objects such as rings, tools, beads and foodstuffs found on site are now in Dublin’s National Museum. Archaeologists and scholars from all over the world visit the site annually, and some scholars suggest that the platform overlooking the Atlantic Ocean may have had ritual significance. The Dun Aonghasa Visitor Centre is located on the edge of Kilmurvey Craft Village and provides a wealth of information about Dun Aonghasa, the cliffs, and the Aran Islands in general. It has a number of exhibits and educational materials which are set out in a simple way as so most people can get a good understanding of Dun Aonghasa prior to entering the site itself. You have the option of reaching Dún Aonghasa from the pier at Kilronen village by bicycle (6 km / 3.7 mi) or by coach.
From Dún Aonghasa, you can walk to the Worm Hole, a natural rectangular shaped pool into which the ocean ebbs and flow at the bottom of the cliffs south of Dún Aonghasa. The Worm Hole has recently become more popular since it has become a venue for the Red Bull Cliff diving competition. From Dún Aonghasa the walk to the Worm Hole follows the cliff-edge and offers dazzling ocean views. Back at Kilronan village, where the ship awaits, you can brave a chilly swim in the turquoise water, people watch, or you relax and enjoy a coffee or a pint of Guinness. As we continue our journey south, sail below the towering Cliffs of Moher.
Day 11 Dingle Peninsula
There are over 2,500 archaeological sites on the Dingle Peninsula, spanning a period from 6,000 BC through to 1700 AD. The area is regarded as having one of the richest concentrations of archaeological monuments in Western Europe. National Geographic once described it as “the most beautiful place on earth”, and more recently, one of the locations where Star Wars was filmed, at Sybil Head.
We enjoy a ship cruise at Great Blasket Island, and perhaps launch our Zodiacs allowing us to get closer to the cliffs to perhaps get a glimpse of the huge number of breeding seabirds such as puffins, fulmars, guillemots, storm petrels and shearwaters. In the water, you may be lucky and encounter dolphins, whales, orcas and porpoise.
After lunch, we anchor at Dingle and embark on a guided tour of some of Dingle Peninsula’s ancient sites. The tour travels west of Dingle Town on the Slea Head route, considered one of the most scenic landscapes in Europe. Among the sites visited are Ogham stones, monastic sites, beehive huts, ringforts, medieval churches, holy wells, Gallarus oratory.
Afterwards, visit the renowned Dingle Distillery for a tour of their facility where you can learn about the production process of their gin and vodka as well as enjoy a tasting. The distillery is not in the business of creating megabrands, nor do they distil for anyone else. Their scale is modest, their approach to what they make is essentially artisan and they have rekindled the tradition of independent distilling in Ireland. Two hundred years ago, this small island had over a hundred officially recognised distilleries; by the turn of this century there were two. Their unique Dingle Whiskey continually matures in the mild, moist climate of Ireland’s south-west coast while those first spirits are bottled into a magnificent single malt whiskey. You can also enjoy the fruits of their labours in the form of Dingle Original Gin and Dingle Distillery Vodka.
Day 12 The Skelligs
Off the coast of County Kerry, two rocky pinnacles rise from the Atlantic Ocean. These spectacularly Skellig Islands are world-renowned for their ornithological and archaeological significance. Skellig Michael is known throughout the world of archaeology as the site of a well-preserved monastic outpost of the Early Christian period – now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Little Skellig (Irish: Sceilg Mhichil) is equally renowned in matters of ornithology as the home of roughly 27,000 pairs of gannets – the second largest colony of such seabirds in the world. Enjoy a ship cruise around Little Skellig (Irish: Sceilg Mhichil) to get a glimpse of the incredible gannet colony on the island. Afterwards, we dock at Portmagee, and with the blessing of fine weather, we plan to visit and land on Skellig Michael.
Approximately 1,400 years ago a small group of men were searching for a place to practice their religion in complete solitude and isolation. These remarkable men ventured into the open ocean off southwest Ireland determined to build a monastery on one of the most extraordinarily remote locations on earth. Generation after generation of monks helped to hand-carve the 600 stone step with the simplest tools, to build a hilltop monastery 200 m / 656 ft above the pounding waves. The monastery has six corbel stone beehive huts and two boat-shaped oratories. The survival of the terraces and drystone walls to this day are testament to the skill and dedication of the monks. The monastery is inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a striking example of Early Christian architecture. The archaeological remains show the dramatically spartan conditions in which the monks lived, and after enduring several Viking raids, the monks eventually left the island in the 13th century. The site has subsequently become a place of Christian pilgrimage.
After lunch and a rest, disembark at Castletown-Bearhaven for late-afternoon hikes at Beara Peninsula. On the Bullig Bay Loop Walk (4 km / 2.5 mi - one hour), starting near the ruin of Dunboy castle - seat of the O’Sullivan Bear clan who ruled the Beara Peninsula for 600 years, the walk offers a pleasant mix of farmland, quiet country road & forest tracks, and wonderful views of Bullig bay and Bear Island. If you’re after a shorter walk, nearby Dinish Island, offers a 15-minute walk around the Island.
Day 13 At Sea
As we come to the end of the voyage, you may choose to enjoy final talks and presentations from our team of experts, edit and organise your photographs or reminisce over a few drinks with fellow travellers and expedition team on a remarkable voyage.
Day 14 Disembark
During the early morning, we cruise into Dublin port, where you disembark at approximately 8.00 am. Farewell your expedition team and fellow passengers as we all continue our onward journeys. A transfer to your hotel or Dublin airport is included in the fare of the voyage.
NOTE: At the conclusion of the voyage, we do not recommend booking flights departing Dublin prior to 12.00 pm on the day of disembarkation in case there are delays.
- Arrival transfer from airport to hotel on Day 1
- One night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Dublin on Day 1
- Half day Dublin tour on day 2 (lunch not included)
- Luggage transfer from your hotel in Dublin to ship on Day 2
- Transfer from Dublin pier to hotel or to airport on Day 14
- On-board accommodation during voyage including daily cabin service
- All meals, snacks, tea and coffee during voyage
- Beer, house wine and soft drinks with dinner
- Captain’s Welcome and Farewell reception including four-course dinner, house cocktails, house beer and wine, non-alcoholic beverages
- All shore excursions, tender boat tours, and Zodiac cruises mentioned in the itinerary
- Educational lectures and guiding services from expedition team
- Complimentary access to onboard expedition doctor and medical clinic (initial consult)
- A 3-in-1 waterproof polar expedition jacket
- Complimentary use of muck boots during the voyage
- Comprehensive pre-departure information
- Port surcharges, permits and landing fees
- International or domestic flights to or within Ireland, unless specified
- Transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
- Airport arrival or departure taxes
- Passport, visa, reciprocity and vaccination charges
- Travel insurance or emergency evacuation charges
- Hotels and meals not included in itinerary
- Optional excursions not included in the itinerary
- Optional activity surcharges
- All items of a personal nature including but not limited to: alcoholic beverages and soft drinks (outside of dinner service), laundry services, personal clothing, additional medical expenses such as medication, Wi-Fi, email or phone charges.
Lectures on wildlife, our environment, history and destinations
One of the most exhilarating ways to experience Antarctica, the Arctic or any of our global voyages. The experience of …
One of the most exhilarating ways to experience Antarctica, the Arctic or any of our global voyages.
The experience of sea kayaking in the humbling wilderness of Antarctica or the Arctic is guaranteed to stir your soul. Paddle between brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes, skim past penguin rookeries or under soaring bird cliffs, or drift quietly as you watch wildlife unobtrusively, absorbing the majestic scenery.
Led by experienced guides, paddling in small groups allows us the opportunity to paddle between ice floes, brash ice and icebergs of all shapes and sizes as well as allowing easy and intimate access to beautiful coastlines.
Rather than travelling large distances, our aim is to see as much as possible. We paddle anywhere between 5 to 15 kilometres (2 to 4 hours) per outing, sometimes taking a snack and a flask of hot chocolate to enjoy on our excursion.
Each small group of kayakers will have their own intimate exploration of the small hidden bays and coasts that may be inaccessible to the Zodiacs and will also make time for their own shore excursions and wildlife encounters.
When we visit the poles, the elements play an important role. It is important that you have an adventurous attitude and understand that our kayaking time will be affected by the weather that we experience.
Even if your experience is limited, we’d encourage you to call us to discuss your suitability. There is often ample time to gain the required experience before you depart.
Encounter sea-ice seals hauled out on ice floes, dodge rafts of porpoising penguins and perhaps be pleasantly startled by curious whales surfacing to get a closer look at you.
Experience the raw power of nature when you paddle in the open ocean below towering birdcliffs, among sea stacks and along shorelines where seabirds nest.
Paddle over colourful coral reefs, in sheltered bays, where you may encounter dolphins showing off acrobatic skills, or along spectacular coastal desert landscapes surrounded by sparkling seas and perhaps playful sea lions.
Our guides have years of kayaking experience in our destinations. The sea kayaking guide will lead the group on each excursion, explaining facts about the wildlife and other highlights we paddle across. Read about some of our guides below.
How to Book
Please return the relevant kayaking form at time of booking if you would like to include the optional sea kayaking activity for your expedition. Places are limited so we recommend reserving your place early.
In 1998, Aurora Expeditions offered the world-first commercial dive trip to Antarctica, and we’ve built on our polar experience ever …
In 1998, Aurora Expeditions offered the world-first commercial dive trip to Antarctica, and we’ve built on our polar experience ever since. In Antarctica and the Arctic, we bring you the exciting and unique chance to get a closer look at the amazing marine life of our polar regions.
With numerous diving opportunities on your expedition, no two days will be alike. A truly inspiring and unforgettable experience awaits.
Polar Scuba Diving
Antarctic and Arctic diving reveals a world of ice, where glaciers, gigantic icebergs and a unique blend of marine life greet us, making for a very special experience.
Temperate Scuba Diving
In a wetsuit or perhaps even a drysuit, you may explore remarkable kelp forests, swim among sonorous whales, uncover historic ship-wrecks and perhaps even swim between two continents!
Tropical Scuba Diving
Embark on a wreck dive, encounter majestic marine wildlife including dugong, sea turtles and whale shark, or marvel at spectacularly-shaped and brightly-coloured coral.
Our team of experienced dive guides have over 20 years’ diving experience and provide divers with detailed briefings and best practice procedures to ensure a safe diving experience. Your dive master will ensure Standard Safety Diving Practices are adhered to at all times.
How to Book
Please return the relevant scuba diving activity form at time of booking. If you have any queries regarding our scuba diving option, please contact our friendly Expeditions Experts or your preferred travel advisor for more information.
Witness wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth. Through crystal clear waters you’ll discover the amazing mobility and …
Witness wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth. Through crystal clear waters you’ll discover the amazing mobility and speed of penguins entering and exiting from the ice, marvel at beautiful sculpted icebergs below the water and witness marine life such as crustaceans, isopods, starfish and nudibranchs!
With a longstanding tradition of pushing the boundaries, Aurora Expeditions launched our Antarctic snorkelling adventures in 2014. In 2016, the activity has also been added to a range of our Arctic expeditions. This unique experience will allow passengers to see both destinations in a completely new dimension, witnessing wildlife and scenery unlike any other place on earth.
This latest innovative activity option is led by our expert polar diving guides, and utilises state of the art equipment including drysuits, gloves, hood, fins, mask, and snorkel. Passengers will be provided with all of the training and equipment they need to experience Antarctica from this truly unique angle.
Passengers who take part will enjoy the opportunity to snorkel daily (weather dependent), taking delight in sheltered bays, off shore islands and secluded ship wrecks which make for spectacular wildlife viewing.
Through crystal clear waters, you’ll discover the amazing mobility and speed of penguins entering and exiting from the ice, marvel at beautiful sculpted icebergs below the water and witness marine life such as crustaceans, isopods, starfish and nudibranchs!
Discover a mysterious kelp forest where timid creatures seek refuge, encounter curious sea otters or if you’re very lucky, hold your breath in the presence of a majestic whale.
Snorkel among a kaleidoscope of coral reefs brimming with brightly-coloured tropical fish or perhaps swim with curious sea lions.
Our team of experienced guides have over 20 years’ experience and provide snorkellers with detailed briefings and best practice procedures to ensure a safe snorkelling experience.
Polar snorkelling requires at least 6 snorkellers for the activity to proceed. Please ask our team for numbers at time of booking.
How to Book
Please return the polar snorkelling activity form at the time of booking. Simply inform our Expedition Experts at time of booking that you would like to include the optional snorkelling activity to your expedition. Places are limited.
Be one of the first to experience our new activity – Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP). Experienced paddlers can explore Scotland’s waters …
Be one of the first to experience our new activity – Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP).
Experienced paddlers can explore Scotland’s waters on a stand-up paddleboard. Spot birds perched on the rocky, jagged cliffs, crumbling stone buildings still standing on the rolling green hills and picturesque villages as you paddle by.
If you want to try stand-up paddleboarding for the first time, you can paddle in protected bays, over coral reefs in warmer waters on our Costa Rica and The Panama Canal expedition. More experienced paddlers can enjoy the larger waves on beaches. The experience of stand up paddle-boarding (SUP) in one of the most biologically intense regions of the world both above and under the water is guaranteed to stir your soul.
We offer small, guided, intimate groups a chance to take SUP paddling to the next level. Weather permitting, we will offer daily outings with a support Zodiac. We provide waterproof day packs to carry our cameras and spare clothing to make the most of our excursions above the water and on shore.
Each group of three to eight paddlers generally visit the same wildlife or historic sites as our fellow expeditioners. However, our smaller craft (SUP) and manoeuvrability often means that we also have the opportunity to access areas that are often not accessible by Zodiacs. We will also make time to do some shore landings with the rest of the group (without exceeding Costa Rica Park regulations of 100 people ashore at any one time).
It is vital that you have an adventurous attitude and understand that our paddling will be affected by the weather that we will experience.
To join our SUP adventure paddling it’s best to book ahead of your departure. We do require previous experience on the Scotland trip, but on our Costa Rica adventures, beginners are welcome. On board sign-ups are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
Even if your experience is limited, we would encourage you to call us to discuss your suitability. There is often ample time to gain the required experience before you depart. Paddlers should be aged 16 or over.
- SUP board, leash & paddle
- Neoprene boots
- Safety gear
- A dry bag
- PFD (Life jacket)
- Dry suits (Scotland only)
- Insulated gloves (Scotland only)
Our guides have many years of stand-up paddleboarding experience in the destinations we visit. The paddleboarding guide will lead the group on each excursion, explaining facts about the wildlife and other highlights we paddle across.
How to Book
Complete and return the relevant activity form at time of booking. For safety reasons, we limit our group size to a maximum of only eight paddle boarders per voyage, so we recommend reserving your place early.
Cabins & Prices
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The city of Dublin is full of charm and character…and characters! From Vikings and Normans, to writers and rebels, discover …
3 DAYS / 2 NIGHTS
Across Iceland’s Wilderness
From: Reykjavik, Iceland To: Reykjavik, Iceland Explore Iceland’s unique volcanic and icy wilderness filled with glaciers, thundering waterfalls and Viking legends on …
11 DAYS / 10 NIGHTS
Iceland Self Drive
From: Keflavik, Iceland To: Keflavik, Iceland Discover Iceland on a self-drive journey, taking in breath taking fjords, lakes, glaciers, waterfalls and icebergs …
10 DAYS / 9 NIGHTS
Daily from May to September
Norway in a Nutshell
Start: Oslo End: Bergen Enjoy one of the world’s most scenic rail journeys and then explore picturesque Bergen at your own pace. …
6 DAYS / 5 NIGHTS
From: Reykjavik, Iceland To: Reykjavik, Iceland Discover the world’s largest lava mass in Cross Eldhruan and later continue to the birthplace of …
9 DAYS / 8 NIGHTS
Taste of Copenhagen
Day 1 – Copenhagen Arrive in Copenhagen where you will be met by a representative from Aurora Expeditions, and transferred to …
3 DAYS / 2 NIGHTS
Taste of Oslo
Day 1 – Oslo Arrive in Oslo and make your own way to the Thon Opera Hotel by train. The hotel …
3 DAYS / 2 NIGHTS
Kirkenes City Stay (Pre-Voyage)
Day 1 – Kirkenes Arrive in Kirkenes and join a shared transfer to the Thon Hotel Kirkenes. Enjoy the remainder of …
3 DAYS / 2 NIGHTS
Kirkenes City Stay (Post-Voyage)
2 DAYS / 1 NIGHT Day 1 – Kirkenes Disembark from the M/V Greg Mortimer and join a shared transfer to …
2 DAYS / 1 NIGHT
Reykjavik City Stay (Pre-Voyage)
Day 1 – Reykjavik Arrive in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital and transfer by Flybus (join-in service) to Foss Hotel Reykjavik. Enjoy the …
3 DAYS / 2 NIGHTS
Departs in conjunction with an Aurora Expeditions' Voyage
Reykjavik City Stay (Post-Voyage)
3 DAYS / 2 NIGHTS Departs in conjunction with an Aurora Expeditions Voyage Day 1 – Reykjavik Arrive back in Reykjavik, and …
3 DAYS / 2 NIGHTS
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*Terms & Conditions apply. Valid on select ship voyages only. Offer is valid on new bookings only aboard the Greg Mortimer or Sylvia Earle which must be booked and deposited by 28th May 2021. Promotion is subject to availability at the time of booking and capacity controlled. The promotion is only available in conjunction with the back to back voyage discount or the loyalty program offer, and not available with any other offer. The promotion can be withdrawn at any time and is not redeemable for cash. Normal booking terms and conditions apply. To confirm your booking, a completed booking form and non-refundable deposit of $2,500 pp in the booking currency is required within 7 days of reserved berth/s. Additional terms and conditions may apply. Please see full terms and conditions.