Weddell Seal, Antarctica

The best time to visit Antarctica

The best time to visit Antarctica is between late October and March, but which month you should travel will depend on what you hope to experience. October marks the start of summer, with the sea ice beginning to melt making it possible to explore the wildlife, frozen landscapes and glacial waters. We strongly advise planning your trip at least 12 months in advance, or if you are incorporating South Georgia, 18 months ahead is not too early.

Information & Highlights

Antarctica view from ship, Antarctic expedition

Preventing Seasickness

If the only thing standing between you and a once-in-a-lifetime voyage to Antarctica, the Arctic, or the Galapagos, is worrying about seasickness, then we have exactly what you need. Our top tips on how to prevent seasickness will put your mind at ease and have you booking some of the world’s greatest travel experiences in no time.

More about preventing seasickness

Explore the best time to visit

  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

Visiting Antarctica in January

high season

With more than 20 hours of sunlight, this is a fabulous time to visit Antarctica, with temperatures rising as high as 15ºC. Penguin chicks and whale spotting are highlights at this time of year. The ice is starting to recede and cruises can start their polar circle voyages to 66 degrees south. With the opening of the ice comes the opportunity to access the Ross Sea and make visits to Shackleton and Scott’s huts.

Penguin chicks

Shackleton Hut

Visiting Antarctica in February

high season

Arguably prime time to visit Antarctica, with substantial daylight hours and average temperatures of -6°C. The sea ice has melted enough to sail all the way to the Polar Circle, as the sun in December and January have weakened the pack ice significantly. February is one of the best times to spot whales, sea birds and fledgeling penguin chicks having their first swimming lessons. After having had their fill of krill, humpback whales start to show off a little more breaching, spy hopping and lobtailing.

Humpback Whales

Sea kayaking

Visiting Antarctica in March

high season

March marks the end of the travel season for Antarctica with summer drawing to a close. If cetaceans are of more interest than fluffy baby penguin chicks, then March is a fabulous time to travel. Before they start heading north the whales begin to congregate together, so the opportunity to see large groups together increases. Wilhelmina Bay is situated along the west coast of Graham Land between Reclus Peninsula and Cape Anna and is one of the best places to see groups of humpback whales. Whales are refuelled on krill making them more playful, increasing the chances of them putting on a spectacular display for visitors. As Autumn draws to a close, you will have shorter days in which to explore, but also enjoy considerable savings compared with peak season.

Humpback Whales

Whale watching

Visiting Antarctica in April

low season

Closed Season

Visiting Antarctica in May

low season

Closed Season

Visiting Antarctica in June

low season

Closed Season

Visiting Antarctica in July

low season

Closed Season

Visiting Antarctica in August

low season

Closed Season

Visiting Antarctica in September

low season

Closed Season

Visiting Antarctica in October

medium season

Late October is the start of the Antarctica season and the first opportunities for cruises as the ice starts to break up. Penguins such as Adelie, gentoo and chinstrap start to come ashore and pair up for mating. Southern elephant seals are breeding (Aug – Nov), which means you have a better chance of seeing them hauled out on the beeches. October is a great time to see their adorable pups.

Elephant Seals

Penguin mating season

Visiting Antarctica in November

medium season

With the sun low in the sky and icebergs at their largest, November can be a great time for wildlife and landscape photographers. It marks the egg-laying when the female penguins can be seen waddling around with their eggs. It is also the end of the breeding season for elephant seals. Landscape photographers will love the distinctive outlines of the towering icebergs cut against the sea and the sky.

Snowshoeing

Imposing icebergs

Visiting Antarctica in December

high season

Peak season really starts to get going in December, with the summer sun bathing the continent in over 20 hours of sunlight, giving you the maximum amount of daylight to explore this incredible destination. Penguin chicks start to hatch in the middle of the month, but it is also a popular month with travellers with prices likely to reflect this. If you wish to travel over Christmas or New Year make sure you get in contact with us early, so as not to be disappointed. Many of our clients book with us 1-2 years in advance.

Penguin chicks

Leopard seals

Antarctica climate guide

Drag the slider to see monthly temperature and rainfall.

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sept
Oct
Nov
Dec
Maximum Temperature (°C) Monthly Rainfall (mm)
Deception Island
South Georgia
South Pole

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  • Deception Island
  • South Georgia
  • South Pole

Antarctica Holiday Inspiration

Our Antarctica experts have created and curated these holiday ideas to get you started.

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